Pumpkin Pie Layer Cake
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Moist pumpkin cake, soaked in pumpkin spice syrup, sprinkled with candied graham crackers and frosted with simple vanilla buttercream.
Serves: 15-20 servings
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.
Recipe by The Crepes of Wrath at http://www.thecrepesofwrath.com/2015/10/21/pumpkin-pie-layer-cake/