Sunday, November 8, 2009

Pumpkin Praline Layer Cake

This is one of those recipes that I believe is passed around from family to family, among coworkers, and printed in church cookbooks. I found tons of versions online, all seeming to stem from the Mid West. For this version, I substitued the 'pumpkin pie' spices for my own spice blend because I tend to get bored of pumpkin pie spice after about the first time I've had it each year. But pumkin pie spices would work just fine. My blend just offers a little unexpected *zing*.

1 c. packed brown sugar
1/2 c. butter
1/4 c. whipping cream (more needed, below)
3/4 c. chopped pecans
2 c. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground coriander
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. allspice
1/2 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp. fresh ground nutmeg
1-2/3 c. granulated sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup cooking oil
4 eggs
2 cups canned pumpkin
1 3/4 c. whipping cream
3 T. brown sugar
reserved spice mix


1. In a heavy saucepan, combine brown sugar, butter, and whipping cream. Cook over low heat until the brown sugar just dissolves, stirring occasionally. Divide mixture evenly into two greased 9" round baking pans. Sprinkle evenly with the pecans.

2. Make spice blend. Stir together: coriander, cinnamon, allspice, ginger & nutmeg (or you can use 1-2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice--there is something so humdrum about pumpkin pie spice that it bores the pants off of me. I made a "cake spice" but pumpkin pie spice would be fine, also.)

3. Reserve in a separate bowl about 1/2 a tsp or so of spice blend to garnish the top of finished cake.

4. Sift remaining spice blend with flour, baking soda and salt and set aside.

5. In a mixing bowl of standing mixer, beat together the granulated sugar, cooking oil, vanilla and eggs. Add the pumpkin and dry ingredients alternately to the wet mixture, beating until the mixture is just combined.

6. Carefully spoon the batter over the praline mixture in the baking pans. Place pans on a baking sheet. Bake in a 350 degree F oven for 35 to 40 minutes or until toothpicks inserted in the centers come out clean. Cool the cakes in pans on wire racks for 5 minutes (don't cool much longer as the praline begins to harden and that could make it more difficult to get cakes out of pan in one piece). Invert them onto wire racks, replacing any brown-sugar mixture that remains in the pans. Cool before assembling.

7. No more than 1 hour before serving: prepare the Whipped Cream Topping. Whip 1 3/4 cup whipping cream with 3 tbsp brown sugar until stiff peaks form. Tip: If you whip by hand, not only do you burn calories :) but the cream will be much more stable and hold it's shape when the cake is cut.

8. To assemble the cake, place one cake layer on a serving plate, praline side up. Spread with 1/2 of the topping. Add the second layer, praline side up. Pipe or dollop with the remaining topping. Sprinkle lightly with reserved spice and a little extra fresh nutmeg, if you like. Makes 12 generous servings. Refrigerate leftovers

Not for the faint of heart, but worth doing a Thanksgiving 5-K run for!  For 1/12 of cake:

nutrition facts


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. I copied this over the weekend, but I had a question about the baking soda. Is it 2 tsp or was it double entered? Just curious! I'm going to try to do a dry run of this over the weekend before Thanksgiving.

  3. Double entered...good editing, Carrie ;-) Thanks.