This Pumpkin Butterscotch Cake has pumpkin cake layers filled with a butterscotch walnut filling all frosted with a brown sugar icing.
Well, with all of my “Fall” baking, you knew at some point you would see some pumpkin.
And well, here it is. In fantastic cake form.
This Pumpkin Butterscotch Cake originally had many more components to it, as many of Desaulniers recipes do, but I simplified it.
Now you may be looking at the recipe thinking, that is simple?
I would like to point out that I didn’t say IT was simple, just simplified.
I must say that this is one of the tastiest cakes I have made in awhile, and well, I bake a lot of cakes as you know.
This cake is so moist from not only the pumpkin but the buttermilk (yes, again with the buttermilk).
It also has a wonderful brown sugar icing(yes, again with the brown sugar icing).
This icing is very different from the one with the spice cake.
It is creamy, and tangy (like you would swear there is a little cream cheese in there…but there is not).
It is interesting to spread though and I highly suggest you make a crumb coat.
The butterscotch filling is very light and reminds me of the mousse that I had in my wedding cake.
I was sooooo happy to discover this filling, for I loved my wedding cake and now that I have a filling that tastes similar I plan to recreate my wedding cake…well the flavors at least
(a cake decorator I am not…if you want proof just look at the cake in the pictures).
If you are at all a pumpkin fan, I know you will be loving this cake!
Be warned that this cake comes from a master pastry chef and does take awhile as well as some technique.
P.S. Just 39 more days until NHL hockey starts(but I’m sure you all already knew that!
P.S.S. It’s a great day to buy my cookbook.
Want More Pumpkin Recipes?
Pumpkin Spice Latte Russian Tea Cake Cookies
Salted Caramel Frosted Pumpkin Cupcakes
Chocolate Cinnamon Frosted Pumpkin Cupcakes
Mini Pumpkin Toffee Bundt Cake
Pumpkin Butterscotch Cake
- For the Pumpkin Cake:
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- ¼ tsp ground cloves
- ½ tsp ground nutmeg
- ½ tsp salt
- ¾ cup 100% natural solid pack pumpkin
- ½ cup buttermilk
- ½ cup tightly packed light brown sugar
- ½ cup sugar
- 2 large eggs
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- For the Butterscotch Walnut Filling:
- ¾ cup heavy cream
- ¾ cup sugar
- ¼ tsp fresh lemon juice
- ¼ pound unsalted butter, cut into 4 1 ounce pieces
- 1 cup walnuts, chopped
- For the Brown Sugar Icing:
- 2 cups tightly packed brown sugar
- 1 cup heavy cream
- ½ pound unsalted butter, cut into 8 1-ounce pieces
- ¼ tsp cream of tartar
- For the Pumpkin Cake:
- Grease and flour a 9-inch round cake pan.
- Combine together in a medium bowl flour, baking soda, spices, and salt. Set aside.
- Place pumpkin and buttermilk in a small bowl and combine thoroughly. Set aside.
- In a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment cream together the butter and sugars. Beat on medium for 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
- Increase speed to high and beat an additional 2 minutes. Scrape down the bowl.
- Add the eggs and beat on medium for 30 seconds.
- Add the vanilla and beat on high for 30 seconds.
- With mixer on low alternate adding the dry ingredients with the wet ingredients into the mixing bowl.
- Mix until just combined.
- Remove the bowl from the mixer and use a rubber spatula to finish mixing the batter, until smooth and thoroughly combined.
- Immediately pour the cake into the prepared pan, spreading evenly.
- Bake on the center rack of a preheated 325F oven.
- Bake for about 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
- Remove the cake from the oven and cool in the pan for 15 minutes at room temperature. Invert cake onto a plate or cake circle. Turn the cake upright and refrigerate until needed.
- For the Butterscotch Walnut Filling:
- Heat cream in a saucepan over medium-low heat, until hot(do not allow to boil or simmer).
- Combine sugar and lemon juice in a separate saucepan.
- Stir with a whisk to combine(the sugar will resemble moist sand).
- Caramelize the sugar for 4 to 5 minutes over medium high heat , stirring constantly with a whisk to break up any lumps.
- Remove the saucepan from the heat.
- Add the hot cream, one half at a time.
- Add the butter, on piece at a time, stirring to incorporate before adding the next piece.
- Cool in the refrigerator for 45 minutes before placing in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment.
- Beat on high for 2 minutes, until light(but not fluffy).
- Add the walnuts and stir to incorporate. Set aside for a few minutes.
- For the Brown Sugar Icing:
- Heat brown sugar, heavy cream, 2 1-ounce pieces of butter, and ¼ tsp cream of tartar in a 3 quart saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring frequently while bringing the mixture to a boil.
- Allow the mixture to continue boiling while stirring constantly, for 2 minutes.
- Transfer the bubble hot mixture to a 3-quart stainless steel bowl and allow to stand at room temperature for 1 hour before proceeding. Place the cooled mixture int the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle.
- Beat on low for 30 seconds.
- Then beat on medium for 2 minutes, while adding the remaining 6 pieces of butter, one at a time, until incorporated.
- Scrape down the sides of the sides of the bowl.
- Increase the speed to high and beat for an additional 2 minutes.
- Scrape down the sides of the bowl and beat on high for an additional 1 minute until light and fully.
- Transfer 1 cup of icing to a pastry bag fitted with a large star tip, and place in the refrigerator until needed.
- Assemble the cake:
- Remove the cake from the fridge.
- Taking a serrated knife, split the cake horizontally.
- Spread butterscotch filing on the bottom layer of the cake, evenly spreading the filling to the edges.
- Place the pumpkin cake top layer on top of the butterscotch filling.
- Press gently but firmly to level the layers.
- Refrigerate the cake for 20 minutes.
- Remove the cake from the refrigerator and use a cake spatula to coat the top and sides of the cake with the icing.
- Pipe a circle of twenty brown sugar icing stars along the outside edge of the top of the cake.
- Refrigerate the cake for 30 minutes before cutting and serving.
Oh my heavens it’s GORGEOUS! It looks so moist and tender– I want to dive right in! This is definitely going into the “to make” pile… Just sumptuous!
That looks and sounds absolutely divine….except for the 2 cups of sugar in the icing 🙁 I think that would be a bit much for me – would I be able to cut it down to just 1 cup without too much of a problem do you think?
DENEEN MURPHY says
Your question brings to mind my grade 8 home economics teacher’s voice ,” my dear students , cooking is an art, take liberties. Baking is a science, do not mess with the sugars, the eggs and the moistures, you will fail”.
So, unless you plan on eating the entire cake and the frosting all on your own… You will not be consuming the entire 2 cups of sugar… My recommendation is following this recipe to the latter at least for the first time and then playing around with it on your own as you see fit. But remember baking IS a science.
Wow!! The cake looks Spectacular. I will be adding this of my must trys. Love your site.
That sounds fabulous – and I don’t know what you’re talking about when you say you’re not a cake decorator!
What would you think of Kabocha instead of pumpkin, to really intensify the pumpkin flavor?
I’m so ready for fall too! This heat is making me think twice about turning the oven on. I love pumpkin cake and your butterscotch filling with walnuts is a sure killer!
blue zebra says
Wow this is so impossibly beautiful that you should get a medal for it! I now know what I’m making at Thanksgiving this year instead of the ragged old pumpkin pie for dessert! 😀
I dear God, I could bury my face in that cake, it looks that good. Wow.
I can not wait for Autumn!!! The smells.. the colors.. the crispness of the air.. *swoon* There is nothing better than the fall season for sure.
This cake is made up of flavors that are in my top 10 – so, obviously, I’ll be making this one!
I can see why this recipe is from a book “Desserts to Die For”! I’m ready!
Laura Rebecca says
Yum — I love pumpkin cakes. I’ll have to give this one a try in the cooler days ahead.
I want a BIG piece of that right away please! Pumpkin, spices, walnuts, butterscotch and brown sugar icing…it’s like autumn in a cake. I think your decorations are charming and that icing….tooo yummy looking.
Speechless. This cake is so beautiful, so lovely, so wonderful. You always come up with the very best idea!
Wow! That looks amazing. Wish I could have a slice. It looks so moist and indulgant, I can almost taste it 🙂
Ahhh! (Big exhale of breath.) That looks so fabulous. I want to put a big forkful of it into my mouth right now! You are amazing!
Hmmm…I love pumpkin and sweet potato cakes…this one looks scrumptious and if anything is going to usher in autumn for you, then it must be this!
A fabulous stunning cake! and I have the book 🙂
This looks amazing! I like the idea of using pumpkin in cake. The Butterscotch Walnut filling sounds great.
So lovely!! I can’t wait for fall – I will roll out your pumpkin cheesecake recipe again, wear more fun fall clothes and beging baking!! (well, as much baking as I will do all year that is)
sandi @ the whistlestop cafe says
Peabody… you have outdone yourself again!
Wow ! this cake is absolutely perfect, I envy you my cakes never ever looks lovely,and i donÂ´t know why.But I am happy to see the other people cakes like this wonderful and lovely cake
Oh. My. Goodness. I seriously don’t think it gets any better than this!!!
pumpkin, butterscotch, AND walnut??? three of my favorite baked good ingredients, all combined into one decadent treat – genius!! exceptional craftsmanship on the frosting there!!
monica glass says
wow. i am drooling! fall is my favorite season for baking and thanks forg etting me in the mood!
Mmm this looks like the perfect Thanksgiving dessert. The filling will have a hard time making it onto the cake if a spoon is within my reach. 🙂
Hi there! This cake looks gorgeous! Your frosting looks divine. I wish I can make such a beautiful cake likes yours. I guess it’s back to the kitchen for more practice! =)
Goodness, Peabody. You’re killing me with all the Fall flavors. I was just scoping out Donna Hay’s feature on pumpkin in one of her magazines….YUM. And you can just keep rolling the brown sugar icing out. Oooooh, yah.
No, no Peabody, I need you by my side to keep me hockey oriented and please bring this cake with you!
I need some of that!
It looks so pretty it is almost too pretty to want to eat! Almost…. 🙂
Am I reading this correctly…there is only one cake pan??? The cake looks much higher than one layer split in half,
That’s a seriously amazing cake. I love how you frosted it, too. May I have a small slice, please?
Anything with pumpkin,goes down in my recipe book~once again you have out-baked yourself! This is a perfect cake….I am wondering if i could really do this?
Oh my god, that’s perfect for Thanksgiving.
That looks incredibly rich and delicious! Yum!
OMG. I can almost taste the caramel looking at that. I want it. I HAVE to make that this year for thanksgiving.
I want some NOW! It looks pretty AND delicious.
Holy Moly! This is delicious-looking! Bookmarked!
ohhh wow looks amazing!!!
out of curiousity…the recipe only calls for one pan…so did you double the recipe to make the double layer? and if so did you need to double the icing?
This is a gorgeous cake! I’ve been contemplating baking it since you posted it. And it’s decorated so simply…yet elegant.
Curious…do you think that this could work the same with apple butter? I’m cooking dinner for a friend and he adores apple desserts. I think the apple and brown sugar combination would go over quite well.
Now, that butterscotch filling might not fare well with apple but that is easily fixed by subbing the brown sugar frosting. *scratching head* Or maybe a caramel mousse with the walnuts…
Lordy, I have just found the cake I’m making for my birthday next month! That sounds fantastic, and looks gorgeous.
I made this cake for Thanksgiving and it was awesome! I did have a little trouble with the icing as it didnt get very thick and I over mixed and it broke. I make it again and just put it in the fridge for a bit before icing the cake. Any sugestions you may have on this would be wonderful.
This has already been requested for Christmas!
Thanks for the great recipe.
Susan from Food Blogga says
You captured the essence of fall in this cake! It must be as scrumptious as it is beautiful.
I was brought here by a link from La Mia Cucina. What a beautiful looking cake that I must find an excuse to make.
This looks absolutely delicious! Mmm….butterscotch is my favorite!
Leigh Ann says
did you really only use one 9-inch cake pan for this cake? or did you double the cake recipe and use two? would you have to double the icing?
only asking because i definitely plan to make it, lol – how could i resist?! just LOOK at it!!
I want to see your wedding cake!! I saw La Mia Cucina’s rendition of this cake and her website credited this one. Both cakes look great. I am going to make this for sure.
Leigh Ann says
Made this last week and it is AMAZING. I didn’t make the filling or the frosting, and I doubled the recipe and baked in in a 9×13, but oh my word… Incredibly moist and perfectly spiced. Thank you!
I made this cake this past weekend for thanksgiving and it turned out incredible! The filling was amazing 🙂 I doubled the cake recipe and made it in two pans (although i didn’t need to double the rest, there was a ton) I had a little trouble with my frosting, I’m thinking it was still maybe too warm when i added the butter? so with not enough cream or time to do it over, and a crying baby i added 1 cup of confectioners sugar and i was able to frost the cake 🙂
I made this cake for Thanksgiving last year and it was amazing! I made some substitution to cut down on the calories and I’m not an experienced baker so the frosting consistencies were a bit off. However, everyone LOVED it and asked for the recipe I’m sure it would be even better if I had used the real ingredients. Thank you! 🙂
You say one 9″ cake pan , It looks like two layers ? If not, where do you put the filling?
@Donna if you read the information section on my blog under contact me it says “Why does your cake have only one layer but the recipe calls for two? Or why does your cake look thicker than mine?
If you are a regular reader than you know that I bake a lot. You also know that my husband is a picky eater and doesn’t eat half the things I make. And I can only eat so many baked goods.
So to compensate this I make half batches or quarter batches of cookies. I half most recipes. I almost always make mini cakes. To make the mini cakes I either use 4 ½ inch springform pans or I take one 9-inch round and cut it with a cookie cutter. And sometimes I just make a single layer cake.
However, I always give the recipe for the full size cake because I realize that most people are not just making a cake for 2 people.
You can split the layer cake which is what the recipe was intended for or you to do or you can make two separate layers.
Let me start off by saying that this cake is absolutely delicious… but i had a lot of trouble with it. The picture is very misleading because this cake does not come out as tall as it does in the photo… I probably would have realized that if I had read through the recipe before I decided to make it. Anyways, I only have 2 big complaints… one is the frosting… I had to add about 3 cups of powdered sugar to get is the right consistency. It was entirely too runny to spread. I have read over the recipe many times to make sure I didn’t miss anything so I don’t know how you did it. After I added the sugar it was exactly the same color as the photo and tasted amazing! Then… the walnut filling… I actually made this twice. Both times it came out very runny. Once I put the layer on top of it, it all ran down the sides. Again, it was delicious… it just did not look very pretty. I also had a lot left over.
Also… I feel I should mention this cake took me about 3 hours to make… I will defiantly be reading all future recipes in their entirety before I commit to making something again.
I will not be making this cake again, however I will make the frosting again with my changes.
Thanks for the challenge!
@Dallas – if you read the about pages of this blog (which I suggest doing for most blogs) it will tell you that while I give you the recipe for the full cake like the recipe intended I myself tend to make them in mini’s. That cake looks thicker because it was made in mini not in full size.
Sorry the frosting and filling gave you such a hard time. This recipe comes from Marcel Desaulniers who is a very high end pastry chef and much of his stuff tends to take time and technique.
I will definitely be trying this cake soon. I’ve taken note of the comments, so hopefully I am prepared. It looks delicious/!! P.S. Shame about the NHL hockey season, and this is the first year my son is not playing hockey – I’m definitely having some withdrawal symptoms.
I made this on thanksgiving…it got rave reviews:) it was a time consuming recipe, but he butterscotch filling was to die for..yummo!! I had trouble with the frosting though, I could not get it to the right consistency, and after making a gigantic bowl from trying to doctor it and make it work, I ending up making buttercream and flavoring it with the frosting that was just way too runny to use.but that was pretty good too. The cake was very moist and really good. In the future I won’t put the walnuts in the filling, got a few comments from people that don’t luck nuts, and I will just go ahead and double the cake recipe, because even though it was mentioned that doubling it was recommended, I foolishly didn’t, then had to bake another cake so I didn’t have an tiny little embarrassing cake. I was very proud of myself for making a cake from scratch though and will be making it again.
It would be really nice if you provided the information on your site for the full recipe rather than the half. I think most people are making cakes for more than two people. You would also avoid all the comments that result from people expecting a full sized cake!
@Trish87109- the recipe was not for a layer cake…but a single layer cake like it says in the recipe. I chose to make it into a layer cake so I used small cake pans. I use small cake pans all the time (which is on my about page) but do not give half a recipe. It’s not half a recipe. Read through the recipe and you will see that.