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Pumpkin Spice Cake

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. 
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  • 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. 
  • Buttercream
  • 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.
Author: Ashley Byma
Did you make this recipe?Mention @BestFriendsForFrosting or tag #SOBestFriendsForFrosting!