Pumpkin Layer Cake with Butterscotch Filling

This cake taught me a very important lesson.  Always read through a recipe completely before you start baking or cooking.  Otherwise, you will put off making your frosting – whose one hour chilling time you are unaware of – until an hour before your party is scheduled.  And you will try to make it work by putting it in the freezer, which won’t work because shortcuts never work, and you’ll end up passive aggressively shoving your cake in the refrigeratory while yelling to your roommate about how you refuse to serve substandard desserts.


I did this.  All of this.  Thankfully, I came to my senses before I left and saw how ridiculous it was to waste a cake that I had literally spent three hours making.  The frosting, while incorrectly made, hardened into a nice sort of brown-sugar-icing-shell around the cake.  I ate the last piece at the party, and while I would have preferred the lighter whipped frosting, it ended up turning out relatively well.  I was also told it was the best dessert I’d made.

So, the moral of the story (as opposed to the lesson) is that sometimes a complete kitchen disaster ends up being the best thing you’ve ever made.  How about that?

Pumpkin Layer Cake with Butterscotch Filling



I refused to let anyone touch this at the party until I took glamor shots with my phone.

You can’t take us food bloggers anywhere.



For the cake:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp of cloves
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cups of pumpkin puree
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 sticks butter, softened
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla

For the filling:

  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 stick butter, cut into four pieces
  • 3/4 cup chopped nuts

For the icing:

  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 sticks butter, cut into 8 pieces
  • 1/4 tsp cream of tartar


For the cake:

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees and prepare two cake pans.  In a bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, spices and salt and then set aside.  In a small bowl, combine the pumpkin puree and buttermilk until smooth.  Cream together the butter and sugars.  Add the eggs one at a time, mixing until combined.  Next, add the flour mixture and pumpkin-buttermilk mixture, alternating between the two.  Mix until just combined.

Pour into the prepared cake pans and smooth the tops.  Bake for 30-45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Let cool completely before frosting.

For the filling:

Heat the cream in a medium saucepan until it is hot.  Do not let it boil or simmer.  Combine the sugar and lemon juice in a separate bowl on the side.  Next, caramelize that sugar in a separate sauce pan for 4-5 minutes.  Stir constantly to break up lumps and to keep the sugar from burning.  After the sugar is caramelized, remove the saucepan from heat and add the hot cream, one half at a time.  Add the butter, one piece at a time, whisking each piece in until incorporated.  Let cool in the refrigerator for at least 45 minutes.

When you’re ready to dress the cake up, remove the bowl from the fridge and mix with a handheld mixer until it turns into a light consistency.  Fold in the chopped nuts.

For the icing:

Heat the brown sugar, heavy cream,  1-2 ounces of the butter, and cream of tartar in a saucepan.  Stir frequently while you bring the mixture up to a boil.  Allow it to boil for around 2 minutes, stirring constantly.  Pour the mixture into a bowl and let sit at room temperature for one hour.

Next, mix with a handheld mixer for one minute.  Increase the speed and add the remaining butter, one piece at a time.  Mix until light and fluffy.

To assemble the cake:

Spread the filling on the top of one of the pumpkin cakes.  Place the other cake on top and then frost the entire cake with the icing.  For those of you not well versed in frosting cakes, I find it easiest to sort of plop all the frosting on the top of the cake and then work my way down.  An off-set spatula is pretty great for decorating, but you could even use a butter knife.

Place the full pecans decoratively on the top of the cake.  If you want something more rustic than what I did, I think just sprinkling some chopped nuts on top would have worked really well.

Source:  Joanne Eats Well With Others (just noticed the name of this blog and I LOVE IT)

4 thoughts on “Pumpkin Layer Cake with Butterscotch Filling

  1. I often find myself in such kitchen predicaments where I hope to serve something in an hour or less and then realize the recipe I’m using have two three hour chill steps. Annoying. But your finished product is beautiful!! I’m SO glad you liked the cake!

  2. So I totally did this with cookies a couple of weeks ago. Totally missed the part about chilling the dough for an hour. So here I am with 30 minutes until party time and it’s just not going to happen. So I skipped that part and the dough was SO hard to work with. I made the same cookies again later that week (with the proper chilling time) and it was amazing how much easier it was to work with! So yes, like you, I have learned to read all the instructions first!

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