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Pumpkin Layer Cake

This spiced pumpkin cake is enhanced by layers of a delectably rich frosting that features cream cheese and goat cheese. Quince, available in the fall, has a fragrant, apple-like flavor. If you can’t find fresh ones, use pears or apples instead.

  • servings: 12
Photography: Jonathan Lovekin

Ingredients

  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pans and parchment
  • 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for parchment
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups packed light-brown sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups solid-pack pumpkin (not pie filling)
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3/4 teaspoon grated peeled fresh ginger
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • Goat Cheese Frosting
  • Quince-Ginger Compote (optional)

Cook's Note

Make Ahead: Unfrosted cakes can be stored, wrapped in plastic, at room temperature for up to 2 days.

Directions

  1. Step 1

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Brush two 8-inch round cake pans with butter; line with parchment rounds. Butter parchment; dust with flour, tapping out excess. Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt in a medium bowl.

  2. Step 2

    With an electric mixer on medium speed, beat butter and brown sugar until pale and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes. Beat in eggs, 1 at a time. Beat in pumpkin; add vanilla and ginger. Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture in 3 batches, alternating with 2 batches of buttermilk; beat until just combined, scraping down sides of bowl as needed.

  3. Step 3

    Divide batter evenly between prepared pans. Bake until cakes are golden brown, edges pull away from sides of pans, and a cake tester comes out clean, about 35 minutes. Transfer pans to wire racks to cool 15 minutes. Turn out cakes onto racks to cool completely.

  4. Step 4

    Place bottom layer on a cake stand or platter, and spread evenly with half the frosting. Top with second layer, and spread remaining frosting over top. Top cake with some quince-ginger compote, and serve remainder on the side.

Source
Martha Stewart Living, November 2010

Reviews (4)

  • 27 Sep, 2013

    I made this cake for a work birthday. Everyone loved it! the fruit compote is a must. I used 5 pears instead of the quince and cut the amount of sugar in half since the pears are naturally sweeter. Perfect. Awesome cake and easy to make too.

  • 11 Dec, 2010

    This is a delicious cake-light, spicy, and just the right amount of sweet. I have also added carrots and it was a lovely, light carrot cake. I use cream cheese frosting because quince and goat cheese are not readily available to me. I like the idea of apple and pear compote. Maybe that's next.

  • 3 Dec, 2010

    This cake was very good but not what anyone at our Thanksgiving table expected. Everyone thought it to be a heavy cake and not very sweet. I also did not have time to make the compote, which I think would have added the sweetness it was missing. On the second day I warmed it up and that brought out it flavors and made it taste much better. I would make it again, as long as I had time to also make the compote.

  • 27 Nov, 2010

    I want to say that this cake is fantastic. However, I didn't care for the frosting (nor did anyone else) and all my guests agreed that it would be better with just a dusting of powdered sugar. It was a very busy cooking day, so unfortunately I was unable to make the compote, but I think the compote with the "plain" cake sounds fabulous. I will certainly make the cake again! (just a note: quince are very difficult to find so I'm going to try it with half apples and half bosc pears).