Pumpkin Pie Layer Cake

with buttercream frosting

I hope you’re all ready for some serious pumpkin recipes today. Some of my absolute favorite bloggers, led by the incredible Cake Over Steak, have teamed up to make today the biggest pumpkin day ever. If you head to Instagram or Twitter, you’ll be able to see them all via #virtualpumpkinparty, so I hope you had breakfast or else you’re going to be hungry almost immediately. I decided to go for an ambitious project, seeing as how this is such a big event. I don’t do cakes very often. I hate all of the bowls, I really don’t like dealing with frosting, and I very rarely have an occasion for a cake. You need, like, 15 or 20 people to consume a cake, right? Sure, I could eat the whole thing myself, but I’m trying to cut back. Annnnywho, I wanted to make a cake that reminded you of pumpkin pie, but how to do that? Well, start with a really great basic pumpkin cake recipe (like this one), then add a layer of pumpkin spice syrup (oh yeah), followed by a layer of thick, creamy vanilla buttercream, and – wait for it – candied graham cracker. I thought the graham cracker would really bring the whole thing together and remind you of that beloved graham cracker crust that you see on a lot of pumpkin pies. Give the whole thing one more loving layer of vanilla buttercream, top with a little more candied graham cracker, and boom: you’ve got yourself one mighty fine pumpkin pie layer cake. This was definitely my most impressive cake to date, and I may or may not have asked Kramer if he agreed that it was beautiful. His response? “Yes, darling.” Good man. This is the thing to bring to any pumpkin lover’s birthday, or a great way to impress your family on Thanksgiving (or even Halloween). Go pumpkin crazy today and enjoy!

pumpkin pie layer cakePeep all these amazing pumpkin recipes, guys:

Cake Over Steak • Pumpkin Ginger Cookies with a Vanilla Glaze
B. Britnell • Pumpkin & Goat Cheese Macaroni
A Couple Cooks • Pumpkin Spice Almond Butter
I Am a Food Blog • Roasted Pumpkin and Pork Stuffed Shells
Well and Full • Harissa-Spiced Pumpkin Gnocchi
Loves Food, Loves to Eat • Pumpkin Pork Burrito Bowls
Girl Versus Dough • Pumpkin Challah
Snixy Kitchen • Black Sesame Pumpkin Mochi Cake
Hungry Girl por Vida • Pumpkin Chocolate Crumb Cake
Donuts, Dresses and Dirt • Pumpkin Spice Latte Truffles
Two Red Bowls • Pumpkin & Caramelized Onion Galette
The Frosted Vegan • Dark Chocolate Pumpkin Gingersnaps
Warm Vanilla Sugar • Dulce de Leche Pumpkin Ice Cream + Affogato
An Edible Mosaic • Pumpkin Spice Latte Snack Cake with Brown Butter Buttercream
Kitchen Konfidence • Yeasted Pumpkin Waffles with Candied Ginger
Chocolate + Marrow • Pumpkin Scones with Cinnamon Butter Swirl
The Pig & Quill • Pumpkin Pie Milkshakes with Pumpkin Spice Caramel + Coconut Cream
Salt & Wind • Apple Cinnamon Pumpkin Muffins with Pepita Streusel
With Food + Love • Creamy Pumpkin Polenta with Balsamic Roasted Beets
A Cookie Named Desire • Pumpkin Crepes with Cinnamon Ginger Cheesecake
Nommable • Pumpkin Moon Pies
Feed Me Phoebe • Thai Pumpkin Curry with Shrimp and Bok Choy
The Yellow Table • Coconut-Curry Pumpkin Soup
Ginger & Toasted Sesame • Pumpkin Ricotta Gnudi
The Swirling Spoon • Pumpkin Hand Pies
Erin Made This • Pumpkin Rye Waffles with Coconut Caramel
Beard and Bonnet • Pumpkin Spice Pizzelle Ice Cream Sandwiches
My Name is Yeh • Pumpkin Slice and Bake Cookies
Earthy Feast • Pumpkin-Stuffed Turnip-Ravioli with Pepita Pesto
Broma Bakery • Pumpkin Pie White Chocolate Brownies
Floating Kitchen • Pumpkin Beertail with Tequila and Spiced Rum
The Sugar Hit • Pumpkin Everything Bagels
The Bojon Gourmet • Pumpkin Flatbread with Gruyére and Crispy Sage (gluten-free)
Sprinkled with Jules • Pumpkin Spice French Macarons
Feast + West • Dark Chocolate Pumpkin Seed Toffee Bark
Jojotastic • Pumpkin Cinnamon Rimming Sugar
Fix Feast Flair • Pumpkin Spice Japanese Cheesecake
Appeasing a Food Geek • Pumpkin Ale Cake
Tending the Table • Roasted Pumpkin with Tamarind and Coriander Chutney
Long Distance Baking • Pumpkin Pie Ice Cream + Pumpkin Pancakes
My Blue & White Kitchen • Roasted Pumpkin Risotto with Crispy Prosciutto
Fork Vs. Spoon • Pumpkin Buttermilk Pudding
Alyssa & Carla • Pumpkin Tea Bread (in a Coffee Can!)
Twin Stripe • Pumpkin Spice Toffee
Le Jus d’Orange • Lentil-Stuffed Acorn Squash, Crispy King Oyster Bacon + Aged Goat Cheese
The Scratch Artist • Japanese Pumpkin Temaki with Ginger Kale Chips
Brewing Happiness • Caramelized Apple Pumpkin Muffins
Blogging Over Thyme • Homemade Candied Pecan Pumpkin Ice Cream Drumsticks
Heartbeet Kitchen • Pumpkin Swirled Mashed Potatoes
The Speckled Palate • Pumpkin Brown Butter Streusel Muffins with Maple Cream Cheese Glaze
Cookie Dough and Oven Mitt • Pumpkin Gingersnap Pie
Style Sweet CA • Chocolate Stout and Pumpkin Checkerboard Cake
Fork to Belly • Pumpkin Orange Brulee Pie
Tasty Yummies • Grain-Free Pumpkin Spice Pancakes
Påte á Chew • Pumpkin Almond Cake with Almond Butter Frosting
Holly & Flora • Pumpkin Pie Martini with Coconut Cream + Homemade Pumpkin Spice Syrup
Southern Soufflé • Sorghum Pumpkin Soufflés
Okie Dokie Artichokie • Creamy Pumpkin and Chorizo Pasta Bake, Cheese Tortellini, Sage-Mascarpone Sauce, Toasted Hazelnuts
Kale & Caramel • Pumpkin Goat Cheese Polenta with Brown Butter Thyme Mushrooms & Kale
The Little Epicurean • Maple Pumpkin Butter Brioche Toast
Vigor and Sage • Maple Pumpkin Harvest Smoothie
Tried and Tasty • Whole Wheat Pumpkin Sugar Cookies
Sprouted Routes • Creamy Vegan Pumpkin Risotto with Sweet & Spicy Roasted Pepitas (gluten free)
The Fauxmartha • Baked Pumpkin Donuts
So… Let’s Hang Out • Grain-Free Apple Crumble Pumpkin Pie
Wit & Vinegar • Pumpkin Flaxseed Dog Treats
Dunk & Crumble • Pumpkin Roundup
Biscuits and Such • Pumpkin Pound Cake
SugarHero! • Cinnamon Swirl Pumpkin Pound Cake
A Little Saffron • Spiced Pepita Brittle

pumpkin pie layer cakeYour color palate.

pumpkin pie layer cakeYour reality – it’s worth it, I promise.

pumpkin pie layer cakepumpkin pie layer cakeMake your batter.

pumpkin pie layer cakeClean out your bowl and froth your egg whites.

pumpkin pie layer cakepumpkin pie layer cakeGently fold your frothy egg whites into your batter.

pumpkin pie layer cakeBake for 30-35 minutes, until set.

pumpkin pie layer cakeMake your candied graham crackers.

pumpkin pie layer cakeThen let them cool.

pumpkin pie layer cakeNow it’s time to frost your cake! Level that first layer off.

pumpkin pie layer cakeSpread the syrup on first, then the frosting, then the candied graham cracker. Repeat.

pumpkin pie layer cakeAfter your crumb coat, you can start scraping off extra frosting with a bench scraper.

pumpkin pie layer cakeSo smooth.

pumpkin pie layer cakeTop with some more candied graham cracker and you’re in business.

pumpkin pie layer cakepumpkin pie layer cake

Pumpkin Pie Layer Cake
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 15-20 servings
Moist pumpkin cake, soaked in pumpkin spice syrup, sprinkled with candied graham crackers and frosted with simple vanilla buttercream.
For the Cake:
  • 2⅓ cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 2¼ cup plus pumpkin purée
  • 2 cups vegetable or canola oil
  • 2⅔ cups granulated sugar
  • 1½ teaspoons kosher salt
  • 6 large eggs, yolks and whites separated
For the Candied Graham Crackers:
  • 6 graham cracker sheets
  • ½ cup unsalted butter
  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • pinch ground cinnamon
For the Pumpkin Spice Syrup:
  • 1 cup water
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons pumpkin purée
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
For your Buttercream Frosting:
  • 2 cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter, cubed and room temperature
  • 5½ cups powdered sugar
  • ¾ teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. First, make your cake. Preheat your oven to 325 degrees F and grease and/or line three 9-inch cake pan. Set aside. Whisk together your flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and nutmeg and set aside.
  2. In your mixer or a large bowl, whisk together your pumpkin puree, oil, sugar and salt. Using your paddle attachment or a wooden spoon, beat in your egg yolks only, incorporating one at a time before adding in the next, until fully mixed, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Mix together your dry ingredients, and add them to your batter.
  3. In a separate bowl (or, do what I did, which was place your cake batter in the bowl you mixed your flour in and beat your egg whites in a sort-of wiped out mixing bowl), beat your egg whites until frothy, which will take about 5 minutes and a good amount of elbow grease, but it's worth it. Once your egg whites are frothy, fold them into your cake batter until fully incorporated, but don't overmix. Pour your batter into your prepared cake pans, smooth out the top and bake in the middle of your oven for 30-35 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Place on a wire rack to cool. Note: I made the cake part of this the day before, and once the cakes were cooled, I wrapped them in plastic and kept them out at room temperature until the next day.
For your Syrup:
  1. In a small sauce pot, combine your water and sugars. Over medium-high heat, stir until the sugars are totally dissolved, about 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium, and add in your pumpkin, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg. Stir to combine, and continue stirring until the pumpkin is dissolved. Remove from heat and set aside.
For your Graham Crackers:
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Line your baking sheet with parchment (do NOT use foil) and place the graham crackers on top. In a pot, melt together your butter and sugars until fully incorporated and the sugars have dissolved, about 8-10 minutes over medium heat. Pour the butter mixture over the graham crackers, then bake for 10-15 minutes until bubbling. Allow to cool completely, for at least an hour, before using.
For your Frosting:
  1. Beat your butter until smooth, about 3 minutes, then add in your powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Once all of the powdered sugar is incorporated, add in your vanilla, and beat on high to aerate the frosting, for another 2 minutes or so. Use immediately, or cover, place in the fridge, and allow to sit out at room temperature for about an hour, then aerate again, before using.
For Assembly:
  1. Place your first layer down on your cake board and secure the cake to the board with a dollop of frosting (you can also secure your cake board to your preferred surface with a dollop of frosting). Level off your first layer with a serrated knife, then soak the layer with a few tablespoons of your pumpkin syrup. Let it dry for about 5 minutes, then spread ¼ of your frosting over that layer. Crumble up bits of candied graham cracker over that, about 1 sheet, then press it lightly into the frosting. Place your next layer on top and repeat. Place your third layer on top, level it, and coat your cake in a thin layer of frosting (otherwise known as a crumb coat). Refrigerate for 15 minutes.
  2. After 15 minutes, take the cake out again and finish frosting. Using a bench scraper or cake leveler, scrape off the frosting you just applied for a flat, "naked" look. Top the cake with more crumbled graham crackers. This will keep well, in a cake saver, in the fridge for up to 3 days.


18 Responses

  1. Jonathan says:

    I love a good Pumpkin Pie Cake!

  2. Grace says:

    This is insane! Oh what I would give for a piece of this right now! Happy pumpkin party day!

  3. Asiangirl Go says:

    Healthy and tasty NYC crepe. Good for breakfast, snack and dessert. Great google and yelp reviews. Try best crepe NYC in T-Swirl! http://t-swirlcrepe.com/

  4. Erica says:

    Candied graham crackers!?!? SOLD. This cake is a stunner.

  5. Sarah says:

    am I missing the instructions for the graham cracker part?

  6. This is such a beautiful cake. I love all of your step by step photos. Your blog is so beautiful. Happy we could meet through this pumpkin party!

  7. Floored by this cake, Sydney! LOVE the idea of candied graham crackers!

  8. thebrickkitchen says:

    Candied graham crackers?! You are a genius, seriously! And absolutely gorgeous cake – that naked cake look with layers showing through is one of my favourites <3

  9. Ileana says:

    This cake looks incredible! Making me wish this party was happening IRL!

  10. Hannah says:

    This looks so amazing. Wow.

  11. cindy says:

    This cake sounds and looks incredible!

  12. […] frosting and the tops of the cake layers I’d leveled off from when I made that awesome pumpkin pie layer cake earlier in the day, and I made these. Leftover cake parfaits are my new favorite thing, and I […]

  13. That is one fine looking cake! Who needs pumpkin pie when you can have a sexy cake like this one? Nice work!

  14. […] Pumpkin Pie Layer Cake 75. Maple Cupcakes with Pumpkin Pie Frosting 76. Pumpkin Pie Cupcakes 77. Pumpkin Pound Cake 78. […]

  15. […] For the original recipe, go here. […]

  16. This is so beautiful. Thanks a ton for being a part of this!!!!!

  17. Kate says:

    The graham crackers totally didn’t work for me (the butter and brown sugar never really came together, didn’t bubble in the oven, and ended up tasting super burned), but the cake was AMAZING! Will definitely be making the cake again.

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