October 22, 2013

Pumpkin Spice Cake with Vanilla Spice Buttercream

My "ittle bittle" is 6 years old!! His new favorite nickname is "green bean", because he's getting so tall and skinny and his favorite color is green and he LOVES beans. 
My Grandma is awesome. She tries her darndest to send out an email with pictures and "blurbs" on every birthday in our whole extended family. She was having computer trouble the night before Joe's, so my Mom took over. Hers was so awesome I simply can't improve on it, so I'm borrowing it!

"The Man of the Hour is Joester, Joebee, or JoeMoe...but just don't call him Jojo, or you'll be ignored, or corrected! He may be small... Only six years old today, but he's larger than life inside. He's pretty intense, and passionate (wonder where he got all that from? *cough cough* parents *cough) He is a musician, and artist, and a great hiker. 
He passed his first parent teacher conference with flying colors, and so it looks like Kindergarten is going to keep him. 

Not even being born waaaay too early could stop this little Mr. Man. He fought for his life six years ago, and has been sucking the marrow out of it ever since. 
*In case you can't tell, Grandma Garney loves her grandson, and can't wait to have lots of hikes with him in Colorado and Utah for years to come."

Happy Birthday Joe!
Now of course, because the boy is obsessed with pumpkins, he demanded a pumpkin cake. Lucky for him, he was born in October!

Pumpkin Spice Cake with Vanilla Spice Buttercream
Printable Recipe

1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs, room temperature
1 cup pumpkin purée
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground allspice

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare cake pans: Using either three 8-inch round cake pans or two 9-inch cake pans, grease and flour the bottoms and sides of all pans. Cut our a circle of parchment paper to fit in the bottom of each pan, then grease and flour the paper. Set aside.

Stir together the pumpkin purée, buttermilk, and vanilla in a medium bowl and set aside. Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and spices in another bowl and set aside.

Cream butter until smooth and fluffy in a large bowl on medium speed. Add the sugars and mix until smooth. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after and scraping down the sides of the bowl between each, until the mixture is smooth and light. Add a third of the flour mixture, mix well and scrape down the sides. Alternate with half of the pumpkin mixture, then flour, pumpkin, and flour again, mixing well and scraping down between each. 

Pour batter into the prepared pans, smooth the surfaces and tap on the counter a few times to release any air. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the middle of each cake comes out clean, about 35 to 40 minutes. Cool the cakes in the pan on wire racks for 30 minutes. Remove cakes from pans and return to the wire racks until completely cool.
Vanilla Spice Buttercream Frosting

1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks), softened but still firm
3-4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
a pinch of salt
1 Tb vanilla extract
up to 4 Tb milk or heavy cream
1/4 tsp nutmeg 
1/2 tsp cinnamon

Beat butter for a few minutes on medium speed till smooth. Add 3 cups of powdered sugar and turn your mixer on the lowest speed (so the sugar doesn't poof everywhere) until the sugar has been incorporated with the butter. It will look crumbly. Increase speed to medium and add vanilla extract, salt, and 2 tablespoons of milk/cream and beat for 3 minutes. If your frosting needs a more stiff consistency, add remaining sugar. If your frosting needs to be thinned out, add remaining milk 1 tablespoons at a time, mixing well between each. Be patient and don't add too much too fast!
 Also, be careful not to overbeat your frosting, or it will start to separate... ahem. Frosting is really not my strong suit. Funny, isn't it? Luckily, you can't tell in these pictures. And refrigerating helped a LOT.

 This cake turned out exactly how I imagined. Rich and pumpkiny with those warm, classic Fall spices, and plenty of them! Lighter than pumpkin bread but just as delicious. Soft and lightly moist and decadent. This one deserves repeats for sure!
It was a hair too sweet for me with the frosting, but I like my desserts a bit less sweet. The frosting turned out spot on too, with a hint of spice and cool vanilla to balance the cake. Perfect for a pumpkiny birthday!


  1. Happy birthday to Ittle Bittle!! And I want several slices of that cake!

  2. Awww....how did I miss this??? What a precious little son he is and I adore that photo of you two together. How special is that. I just know he had a great day, how could he not with a cake like that! LOoks fabulous. What a very lucky little boy he is to have a mom who loves him enough to bake that! xxoo


Your comments really DO make my day, and I promise to try and reply to each and every one, either through email or on here :)