I intended to get this post up before Thanksgiving...and then before Christmas but I failed at both attempts. So, being that I missed two of the biggest food-related winter holidays, I am hoping that you have an event in the future that calls for a dessert because I highly recommend this pumpkin layer cake.
It took me a long time to find just a few cake recipes that work on a consistent basis and this is one of them. It is incredibly easy to prepare (no mixer needed) and always rises perfectly. It is just the right amount of pumpkin and spice which means that not only will pumpkin pie lovers like it, pumpkin pie haters should like it, too. While I filled it with a homemade pumpkin butter (that I made on a whim, i.e. recipe is rough), it could be filled with a store bought version or simply the meringue frosting.
Make the cake: Preheat oven to 350°F. Prepare two 8" or 9" round cake pans with a coating a non-stick spray and a piece of parchment (this makes removing the cake so much easier).
In a large bowl, sift together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg. Using a whisk, mix the ingredients together to ensure that everything is incorporated. In a second large bowl, use a spatula to combine the brown sugar and one third of the pumpkin puree making sure to get rid of any lumps. Once the two ingredients are fully combined, add the remainder of the pumpkin and oil. Whisk the pumpkin mixture and oil and then add the eggs, one at a time, stirring to incorporate after each addition.
Add the dry ingredients one third at a time, blending after each addition. Divide the batter between the two pans and place onto a baking sheet and into the oven. If using 8" pans, weigh 1lb 7oz of batter into each pan and bake for 35 minutes or until the cake has risen and springs back when you touch it. Once cake has cooled for 30 minutes, remove from cake pans and let cool completely.
Make the frosting: Place sugar, corn syrup, salt, water, and egg whites in a glass bowl or the top of a double boiler. Beat with an electric hand mixer for one minute. Place bowl or pan over boiling water, ensuring that boiling water does not touch the bottom of the bowl. Beat on high speed with electric mixer until fluffy, about 7 minutes. Beat in vanilla.
Make the pumpkin butter: Place all ingredients in a pot on the stove and cook, stirring frequently, on medium until mixture thickens.
Assembly: Place one layer of cake on a cake board or directly on serving dish. Level cake with a bread knife making sure to not cut your hand or fingers (be careful!). Remove layer one and repeat step with layer two. Spread a thick layer of the pumpkin butter on top of one layer. Place the second layer of cake on top pressing down slightly. Clean up any pumpkin butter that drips down the side. Frost the cake with as much as the meringue frosting as you like. Eat.
3 cups all purpose flour
1 cup sugar
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
1 tbsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp ground ginger
2 tsp freshly ground nutmeg (it is worth it, I promise)
1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
2 cups canned pumpkin puree
5 large eggs, at room temperature
1 1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tbsp corn syrup
1/8 tsp salt
1/3 cup water
2 egg whites
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
I forgot to note exactly how much I used of each ingredient so spice to taste:
Remainder of pumpkin puree from cake
~1/4 cup brown sugar
~1 tsp cinnamon
~1/4 tsp ginger
~1/4 tsp nutmeg