This Pumpkin Spice Cake is the perfect way to kick off the fall season! With such a fluffy and moist cake filled with pumpkin spice and espresso Swiss Meringue Buttercream frosting, this recipe will help you celebrate the new season at any gathering.
Pumpkin Spice Cake
Calling all of my pumpkin spice obsessed friends! Seriously, if I were a Spice Girl, I’d be Pumpkin Spice! Who’s with me?! Fall is officially here and that means I am always at Starbucks getting my pumpkin spice latte! I seriously can’t get enough of them during this season! It has become my all-time fall favorite drink, and I will totally admit, I’m obsessed with pumpkin spice! That’s why I’m SUPER excited to be sharing this gorgeous cake from my friend Ashley Byma. This cake tastes exactly like our favorite fall drink from Starbucks, and it is decorated to match! What a total game changer. I cannot believe she was able to pull this off, especially since it’s inspired by my absolute favorite fall drink. How perfect! This cake will be the perfect addition to any fall celebration you’re planning. I know it’s going to make an appearance at one of my fall events for sure!
Pumpkin Cake Recipe
This cake is easy to put together, but you can also “cheat” and use your local bakery to help! If you will be making this from scratch, first preheat your oven to 325° F (convection) or 350° F (conventional). You will need 1 cup cake flour, 1 package of spiced cake mix, 1 cup canned pumpkin puree, 1 cup dark brown sugar (packed), 1 ¼ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (with clove), ¾ teaspoon of salt, 3 eggs at room temperature, 1 tablespoon vanilla extract, 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, ½ cup sour cream at room temperature, and 2/3 cup room temperature buttermilk. Make sure you spray three 6-inch pans with cooking spray and line the bottoms with parchment paper, so your cakes will not stick to the pans!
How to Make a Layered Cake
With your stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, add dry cake mix, flour, brown sugar, salt, and pumpkin pie spice into the bowl and have it mix on a low to medium speed. Then put pumpkin puree, buttermilk, vanilla, vegetable oil, and sour cream into a different bowl and mix it by hand until it is smooth. Once it is smooth, add eggs and whisk it some more until all ingredients are combined. Then, put a paddle attachment onto the mixer and add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients in one bowl. Keep the mixer on a low speed until all the ingredients are combined. Make sure you scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl to make sure you got all of the ingredients. Also, make sure you do not over mix the batter!
How to Bake a Cake
Now your batter is ready to go into the pans! Grab the three 6-inch pans and fill them with 1/3 batter each. Bake the pans in the oven for about 30-33 minutes, or until the middle is set. You can do the trusted toothpick test to ensure the cake is done. All you need to do is insert a toothpick into the middle of the cake, and if nothing comes up on it, the cake is done! Once the cake layers are cooked, put them to the side so they can cool. Having cool layers will make sure the cake parts can be decorated and makes sure they won’t crumble!
When the layers are baking, it is the perfect time to make the Espresso Swiss Meringue Buttercream frosting! This is easily one of my favorite frostings, which is why I use it on most of my cakes! The only ingredients you’ll need are butter, salt, vanilla extract, egg whites, 1 oz of espresso or strongly brewed coffee at room temperature, and sugar. First, whisk the sugar, salt, and egg whites together. Grab the saucepan and heat up a small amount of water, up until it starts boiling. Make sure you create a double boiler for the mixing bowl and the saucepan, and continuously whisk the egg mixture until it heats up. Put the ingredients into the mixer, and make sure you mix them on a low setting, gradually moving it to high. The meringue will get glossy and have still peaks, so this is when you mix the butter in until it’s smooth. Put in the vanilla extract and switch the whisk for the paddle attachment on the mixer. Mix the frosting on a medium setting so it can beat the frosting. The frosting will get smooth, and that will show the buttercream is complete!
How to Make Buttercream
Set aside 2 cups of the Swiss Meringue Buttercream you just made in your stand mixer. Make sure the mixer has the paddle attachment, and add the espresso and mix the buttercream on low until it is smooth. Just a tip, for the espresso to fully emulsify with the buttercream, it may take some time. So don’t worry if it feels like it’s taking a bit. Good things take time, and this buttercream is so worth the wait. ;)
How to Stack a Cake
Sometimes the cake layers do not bake evenly, and that’s okay! You can use a bread knife and cut the top off to make it flat, and trim the sides so the layers will be easier to decorate. If you froze the layers to make sure they wouldn’t crumble, just make sure you let the layers thaw before trying to trim them. First, place a layer of cake onto the cake board. I like to use a spoonful of buttercream as “glue” between the cake and the cake board, so if you want to you absolutely can! Use 1 cup of the espresso buttercream and put it all over the layer. Use a spatula to make it smooth, and if you like, this is the layer to add the pumpkin spice caramels to. I love adding them, because it gives a little extra sweetness and flavor to the cake. I got the pumpkin spice caramels at Sprouts. Then, add the second layer of cake and use another cup of the espresso buttercream, and add more of the pumpkin spice caramels if you desire. Add the third layer of cake and use the rest of the buttercream to frost the sides and top of the cake.
This is my favorite time of the year. I love the weather, the activities, and the pumpkin spice lattes! ;) This is why this pumpkin spice cake has become a fall favorite of mine. The cake is super fluffy and mixes well with the espresso buttercream frosting. I have never enjoyed pumpkin cake so much! I know this cake is going to be a big hit with my friends and family, and I cannot wait to bake it so we can celebrate the new season! What event do you have coming up that this cake would be the perfect fit for? I’d love to hear in the comments below!
Pumpkin Spice Cake
- Pumpkin Spice Cake
- 1 package Spiced cake mix
- 1 cup cake flour
- 1 cup dark brown sugar packed
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- 1 ¼ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice with clove
- 1 cup canned pumpkin puree
- ½ cup sour cream room temp
- 2/3 cup buttermilk room temp
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 3 eggs room temp
- Espresso Swiss Meringue Buttercream
- 1 batch Swiss Meringue Buttercream recipe & instructions
- 1 oz espresso or strongly brewed coffee room temp
- Optional: Pumpkin Spice Caramels
- Pumpkin Spice Cake
- Preheat oven to 325° F (convection) or 350° F (conventional). Spray three 6-inch cake pans with cooking spray, and line the bottoms with parchment paper.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, add the dry cake mix, flour, brown sugar, salt, and pumpkin pie spice. Mix on low/medium until combined.
- In a separate bowl, add pumpkin puree, sour cream, buttermilk, vegetable oil and vanilla. Mix by hand with a whisk until smooth. Add eggs and whisk again until combined.
- Replace your whisk attachment with a paddle attachment on your mixer. Slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, mixing on low speed just until combined. Scrape sides and bottom of bowl. Do not overmix.
- Pour 1/3 of the batter into each cake pan and bake for about 30-33 minutes or until the middle is set. Insert a toothpick in the middle of the cake to test.
- Follow recipe and instructions linked here.
- Set aside 2 cups of buttercream in your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add espresso and mix on low until smooth. It may take some time for the espresso to fully emulsify with the buttercream.
- If the cake layers do not bake evenly, you can use a bread knife to trim the top off and make it flat which is easier for decorating. If you froze the cake layers after baking, you will need to let the cake layers thaw just a bit before trimming.
- Start with the frozen/semi-thawed cake layers, and place one layer on a cake board. You can use a spoonful of buttercream as “glue” between the cake layer and cake board if you like.
- Starting with one cake layer (already “glued” to the cake board with buttercream), add 1 cup of espresso buttercream and level with an offset spatula. Here, you’ll see I also added some Pumpkin Spice caramels I found at my local Sprouts.
- Add your second cake layer and repeat with another cup of espresso buttercream, then top with 3rd cake layer and frost the outside with the remaining vanilla SMBC.