Caramel Pecan Pumpkin Cake
Can we talk about the microwave for a second? Does anyone else struggle to keep their microwave clean, or is just me?
I swear, no sooner I scrub the thing, somebody (ahem, Squirrel) blows their food up and I have to clean it all over again.
I’ve tried numerous things to get Squirrel to quit blowing things up when he’s heating his food. I’ve recommended using a paper towel or napkin to cover his food. It’s not like he has to go far; they’re located right next to the microwave. I’ve even resorted to threats. Hey, desperate situations call for desperate measures.
“If you don’t cover your food, I’ll stop feeding you. Do you want to starve?” That threat buys me a few days of covered microwave sessions, but, for the most part, it’s a futile effort.
After a couple of days, it’s back to a microwave war zone. Chili splattered on the walls, sticky residue on the door, and food smears on the outside handle.
Just the other day, I thought there was a spider in the microwave. I sat there and stared at it for a bit before I got the courage to fish a spoon out of the drawer and poke it. Nope, not a spider. It was just a crusty piece of microwave shrapnel.
Maybe I need to start bribing him. That’s where this pumpkin caramel pecan cake frosted with pumpkin buttercream comes in handy. Who can resist moist, melt-in-your-mouth cake topped with the creamiest buttercream ever? Surely no one that I know.
Here’s an idea: maybe I’ll bribe friends and family into cleaning my microwave with dessert. Whatdoya think? Will it work?
Remember the oreo cookies stuffed with pumpkin buttercream that I made last week? Well, I loved the pumpkin buttercream filling so much that I had to make it again and frost a cake with it.
It’s the easiest buttercream to whip up, and the flavor is amazing. Think pumpkin pie in the form of buttercream. It’s full of warm pumpkin pie spice and pumpkin puree. It’s my new favorite frosting.
Let’s talk about the cake. It’s a pumpkin cake with a caramel and toasted pecan center. Remember the apple cider bourbon caramel I made the other week? I used it for the sticky caramel/pecan center.
As the cake bakes, the caramel gets absorbed into the layers, creating an extremely moist, melt-in-your-mouth texture. The toasted pecans are nestled in the middle, adding a lovely crunch. The crispy ends are my favorite part. I could cut off all the corners and dunk them in the buttercream.
There is no need for a mixer; this cake can be whipped up in one bowl. I’m always looking for ways to get out of scrubbing numerous bowls and whisking utensils. If you are too, then this recipe is for you.
One piece is good, but two pieces are even better. Enjoy!
- 1 stick unsalted butter, melted and cooled
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ cup pumpkin puree
- 1¼ cups all-purpose flour
- 1¼ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ cup caramel sauce (store-bought is fine)
- ½ cup toasted pecans, roughly chopped
- 1 stick unsalted butter, at room-temperature
- 2 tablespoons pumpkin puree
- ½ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¾ cup confectioner's sugar
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour an 8-inch square pan.
- In a large bowl, whisk together brown sugar and pumpkin puree until smooth. Add the egg and vanilla extract and whisk until combined. Slowly whisk in the melted butter.
- Add the flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda, and salt to the bowl with the pumpkin mixture. Using a rubber spatula, stir in the dry ingredients until thoroughly combined.
- Transfer half the mixture to the bottom of your prepared pan. Spread the mixture out evenly. Drizzle with caramel and top with toasted pecans. Spread the remaining mixture over the caramel/pecan layer (it's okay if some of the caramel/pecans peek through the batter).
- Bake for 25-28 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out mostly clean. Cool in the pan for 15-30 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
- In the bowl of your stand mixer attached with the paddle attachment, cream butter until smooth. Add pumpkin puree, pumpkin pie spice, and vanilla extract. Whisk until fully incorporated and smooth. Slowly whisk in the confectioner's sugar. Beat until smooth and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
- Frost your cooled cake with the pumpkin buttercream.