Best Pumpkin Cake Recipe
adapted from Williams-Sonoma
This one never disappoints, in fact my family looks forward to this recipe every fall. I've been baking this recipe for over ten years now and it is still the most deliciously spiced version of pumpkin bread /cake and always super moist. I do not use the frosting, and bake my recipe in loaf pans most of the time.
Ingredients for the cake:
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 1/4 tsp. salt
2 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 1/4 tsp. ground ginger
3/4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 tsp. ground allspice
1/8 tsp. ground cloves
10 Tbs. (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter room temp.
1 1/4 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
3 eggs, room temp.
2/3 cup milk, room temp.
1 1/4 cups pumpkin puree
For the frosting (optional):
8 oz. cream cheese, room temp.
8 Tbs. (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temp.
1 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
Food coloring as desired
Have all the ingredients at room temperature.
Position a rack in the lower third of an oven and preheat to 325°F. Generously grease and flour the wells of two bundt cake pans; tap out excess flour. This step is important if you do not want your cake to stick and break while removing. You may also use loaf pans.
To make the cake, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, allspice and cloves; set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the flat beater, beat the butter on medium speed until creamy and smooth, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the both sugars and beat until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
Reduce the speed to low and add the flour mixture in three additions, alternating with the milk and beginning and ending with the flour. Add the pumpkin puree and beat until incorporated.
Divide the batter between the wells of the prepared pans and spread it evenly. Bake until a toothpick inserted near the center of a cake half comes out clean. Usually between 45-60 minutes for loaf pans.
Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let the cake halves cool upright in the pans for 15 minutes.
Gently tap the pans on a work surface to loosen the cake halves. Invert the pans onto the rack and lift off the pan. Let the cake halves cool completely before decorating.
If you are making the pumpkin shaped cake version with frosting:
Meanwhile, make the frosting: In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the flat beater, beat the cream cheese on medium speed until smooth, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the butter and beat until combined, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the confectioners sugar and vanilla and beat until fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes.
Using a bread knife, cut 1/4 inch off the flat side of each cake half. Place one cake half, flat side up, on a cake stand or plate and spread the pumpkin frosting on top. Place the other cake half, flat side down, on top. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Add food coloring as desired to the remaining frosting (green for leaves and tendrils, orange for a jack-o’-lantern). To create leaves and tendrils, using a rubber spatula, transfer the green frosting to a pastry bag fitted with a leaf or medium plain tip. Pipe leaves and tendrils on the top of the cake. To create a jack-o-lantern, using a rubber spatula, transfer the orange frosting to a pastry bag fitted with a medium plain tip. Pipe an outline of the face on the cake, then fill in the design. Serves 12.