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Pumpkin Cake with Brown Butter Icing

The consistency of this icing should be thin enough to spread but not runny.

  • Servings: 10
Pumpkin Cake with Brown Butter Icing

Source: Martha Stewart Living, November 1998


  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pan
  • 1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pan
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup Pumpkin Puree, or canned
  • 1/2 cup warm (110 degrees) milk
  • Brown Butter Icing
  • Caramelized Walnut Halves


  1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9-by-2-inch round cake pan. Line pan with parchment, and butter the parchment. Coat pan with flour, and tap out any excess.

  2. In a large bowl, sift together flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, salt, baking powder, and baking soda; set aside.

  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat sugar and butter together until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add eggs, and beat until combined. Add pumpkin puree and milk; beat until combined. Add reserved flour mixture; beat on low speed until just combined.

  4. Pour batter into prepared pan, and bake until a cake tester inserted into the middle comes out clean, about 55 minutes. Transfer the cake to a wire rack to cool. Let cake rest 20 minutes.

  5. Unmold cake. Using an offset spatula, spread icing over top of cake, and decorate with caramelized walnut halves.

Reviews (15)

  • Sewing Mary 5 Sep, 2013

    This cake was a nice and easy cake to make. Very palatable and unassuming. Warm pumpkin flavor. Not overly sweet.

    I love lots of rollercoaster flavors in food. I wanted something a bit more "spicy" than this. Next time, I think I will double the spices and add cloves.

    I didn't make the brown icing yet, will do today.

  • Sarrebearr13 29 Dec, 2012

    Fantastic. My husband hate s cake but looks pumpkin pie, wonderful he enjoyed all the flavors

  • CleverIngenuity 19 Oct, 2012

    Tried this today and it was so fantastic, I can't wait to make it for Thanksgiving. I used less sugar. I didn't brown the butter, just melted it, and then I added a little cinnamon to the icing. My husband is getting a second slice as I write.

  • Valerie Armijo 18 Oct, 2012


  • MomLinda 14 Nov, 2010

    A super easy, moist and flavorful cake. I did do one thing different, instead of the brown butter icing, I simply dusted mine with powdered sugar. It allowed the wonderful flavor of the cake to speak for itself. I will make a couple to serve for dessert on Thanksgiving.

  • robin1250 9 Nov, 2010

    Wonderful, moist cake. The batter looked curdled as I was mixing it but I kept going and it turned out fine. I'd never made brown butter icing and doubled the recipe to cover the sides and top of the cake. The icing quickly developed an odd consistency (like soft clay) and the butter and sugar started to separate but I was able to pat it into place with my fingers around the sides and after a while in the fridge it was all good. Perfect taste combination. I'll definitely make this again.

  • MarlaPearce 5 Oct, 2010

    Delicious and super easy! It was gone in minutes and the recipe wanted by all!

  • ITALIANSHORTIE 27 Sep, 2010

    Delicious and easy! The cake is super moist and flavorful

  • Marthaisgenius 2 May, 2010

    I have made this a few times and it is absolutely delicious. You will be pleased!!!

  • CanCanGirl 27 Oct, 2009

    Made this cake last night! It was so tasty and easy!! I ran out of white sugar, so ended up adding a 1/4 cup brown and the result was fantastic! The frosting was sensational... of course, I doubled the frosting recipe and everyone was quite pleased :)

  • simranbakehouse 12 Oct, 2009

    @MrsJacks - I'd also like to try this recipe for cupcakes! How many did it make? How long did you bake them? Looks delicious! I may try it with a cinnamon cream cheese frosting instead of the brown butter icing... we'll see!

  • Lovecarrotcake 19 Nov, 2008

    I use this recipe to make pumpkin muffins and people love it. I use a cream cheese frosting recipe on top, delicious.

  • MrsJacks 6 Oct, 2008

    I made these as cupcakes and used the cream cheese frosting recipe from the back of the "Soft as Silk" box. They were amazing!!! MOIST and yummy especially the next day, cold from the fridge. Can't wait to try the brown butter icing!

  • Catel 19 Mar, 2008

    The best use for leftover pumpkin I have tried. Delicious. My daughter made it with white butterceam icing instead and we loved it. Moist and just the right amount of spice. A definite keeper .

  • CarlyNJ2SC 29 Dec, 2007

    I was looking for something special to bake for Thanksgiving and came across this recipe. Mind you, I am NOT a fan of pumpkin but I have to admit, this is better than the usual old pumpkin pie! I thought the brown butter icing was going to be a little strange tasting but if you do it correctly, it turns out great and taste nutty and wonderful with the cake. I'll make this again next Thanksgiving!!

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