This pumpkin spice cake is my favorite “welcome to fall” treat. A super moist butter cake that uses real pumpkin puree, pumpkin spices, buttermilk, and oil which helps it stay moist, even after a week in the fridge. Frosted with cream cheese frosting and adorable marzipan candy pumpkins! Its really the perfect centerpiece for the Holidays.
Preheat your oven to 350ºF (177ºC) and prepare three, 8"x2" cake pans with cake goop or another preferred pan release. You can also use two 9" pans, just bake for longer. Measure out your ingredients with a scale and bring eggs and buttermilk to room temperature.
In a large bowl, add your flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, nutmeg and salt and whisk together to combine. Set aside.
In the bowl of your stand mixer, add your room temperature eggs, white sugar, brown sugar and vanilla. Mix on medium/medium-high with the paddle attachment for 1 minute. You can also do this with a hand mixer, just mix for longer and go by look instead of time. It should look aerated and bubbly.
Add in your pumpkin puree, oil, melted butter and room temperature buttermilk and mix until combined.Make sure you're using pumpkin puree and not pumpkin pie filling, which has added spices and flavors.
Slowly add in your flour mixture and mix on low until all your dry ingredients are just incorporated and your batter is smooth. Do not over-mix.
Pour batter into three, 8"x2" prepared cake pans and smooth out. Bake the cakes for 30-35 minutes or until the center of the cake bounces back when you touch it and a toothpick comes out clean.Cool the cakes for ten minutes in the pan and turn out onto a wire rack to cool fully before frosting. I like to trim off the domes of my cake to make it easier to stack. You can wrap the cakes in plastic wrap and freeze to chill them faster.
Cream the softened cream cheese with the paddle attachment until smooth. Add in your softened butter and continue creaming on low until fully incorporated and smooth.
Slowly add in powdered sugar one cup at a time, letting fully incorporate before adding the next cup. Add in vanilla and salt. Mix at low for 5-6 minutes until smooth.
For a whiter frosting, add white food coloring. Store leftover frosting in the fridge for up to a week or freeze up to 6 months.
Divide your marzipan into 5-7 sections and color them with food coloring. I used egg yellow, orange, red, green, white, and brown for the pumpkin stems.
Roll a piece of marzipan into a ball and use a modeling tool to add lines to the side.
Form a small stem for the top of the pumpkin
Dust the lines with some edible food coloring dust to add shading. I used a dark reddish orange for the orange pumpkins and dark green for the green pumpkins and the white pumpkins.
Decorating Your Cake
Trim the domes off your cooled pumpkin layers
Fit a piping bag with a coupler so that you can easily switch between a round piping tip and a leaf piping tip.
Add a layer of cream cheese frosting with your offset spatula. Try to keep the layer nice and even, I shoot for about ¼" thick frosting.
Add your second layer of cake. Add more frosting and finish with the last layer of cake on top.
Cover the whole cake in a thin layer of your cream cheese frosting. This is called the crumb coat and seals in the loose crumbs. Place into the fridge or freezer for about 20 minutes to firm up the frosting.
Add your final layer of buttercream with your offset spatula. Smooth the sides with a bench scraper to make the sides smooth and then smooth the top with your offset spatula. (see the video in the recipe card for more visual instructions)
Use your piping bag to add some wood grain to the sides of the cake and pipe a border around the top of the cake of some dollops of frosting.
Add your marzipan pumpkins on top of the frosting dollops
Fill in the spaces with piped leaves using a leaf piping tip.
Store your finished cake in the fridge until it's ready to be served but the cake will taste the best if you take it out of the fridge two hours before serving to allow it time to warm up.
Important Things To Note Before You Start1. Bring all your ingredients to room temperature or even a little warm (eggs, buttermilk, butter, etc) to ensure your cake batter does not break or curdle. 2. Use a scale to weigh your ingredients (including liquids) unless otherwise instructed (Tablespoons, teaspoons, pinch etc). Scaled ingredients are much more accurate than using cups and help ensure the success of your recipe. 3. Practice Mise en Place (everything in it's place). Measure out your ingredients ahead of time and have them ready before you start mixing to reduce the chances of accidentally leaving something out.4. Chill your cakes before frosting and filling. You can cover a frosted and chilled cake in fondant if you wish. This cake is also great for stacking. I always keep my cakes chilled in the refrigerator before delivery for easy transporting. 5. I'm using my Bosch Universal Plus mixer for this recipe, check out my review for comparisons, pros and cons, and more information.6. Check out my 'how to make your first cake' blog post to learn how to properly trim, fill, stack, crumb coat, frost and decorate a cake. I decorated this cake using my offset spatula, bench scraper, a turn table, an 8" cake board, and adorable little marzipan pumpkins. 7. I also used a #10 round wilton piping tip to make this cool, modern tree texture on the outside of the cake. Check out my video below to see how I did it! 8. If you don't have buttermilk, you can make your own with yogurt, sour cream, or even vinegar and milk. Check out my buttermilk blog post for recipes.