A moist, pumpkin spice cake layered with thick caramel, pecans, and whipped cream — the perfect holiday dessert!
I know I’ve mentioned this before, but I’m actually not a huge fan of pumpkin.
In fact (and I’ve mentioned this before, too) I’m a bit of a picky eater.
But there have been times when I’m forced to eat some of these things I “don’t like” and I realize that there really isn’t anything about them not to like.
I got the idea for this Pumpkin Caramel Naked Cake and I just had to make it, even though I “don’t like” pumpkin. I went looking for a good base pumpkin cake recipe to use because it’s not something I make very often.
I went to one of my favorite baking resources: my Taste of Home Complete Guide to Baking and found a pumpkin cake recipe, but it used a cake mix. I’m trying to get away from taking unnecessary shortcuts, and focus more on naturally quick recipes and from scratch baking.
So I found an Apple Spice Cake recipe and thought that might be a good place to start. But I changed pretty much every aspect of the recipe except maybe some of the amounts of the dry ingredients, so they really are not even close! I was so impressed with the way this cake turned out! I always slice the top of my cakes off to flatten them a little, and I (it’s true!) tasted the cake just plain, and I was blown away. It’s totally moist (thanks to the pumpkin puree and canola oil!), and is full of pumpkin and spice flavor.
But caramel is one of my favorite fall flavors, and since pumpkin is not, it only seemed right to slather some caramel, pecans and whipped cream over top. And maybe a sprinkling of toffee bits for good measure.
I like to use a dulce de leche for a recipe like this, because it’s thicker and won’t just run off. You can see how I make my own here.
I baked them in my two 8″ round Baker’s Secret cake pans — these pans have seen me through thick and thin, kitchen fails and successes! I’m pretty sure my Baker’s Secret pans (my round cake pans, my 9×13″ pan, my cookie sheets…) were the very first pans I owned, and they are keepers. They’re incredibly versatile and non-stick, because, well duh. Stuck on food is my worst kitchen nightmare!
And I have to say…. I am almost coming around to this whole pumpkin thing. I think being a food blogger is forcing me to make some of the things I “don’t like” just to experiment with seasonal flavors, and the more I make them and taste them, the more I get used to them and — gasp — almost enjoy them!
This is a great dessert recipe for your Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner!
*This post is sponsored by Baker’s Secret. As always, all opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting brands that help me continue to bring you these great recipes!
- ½ cup canola oil
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup pumpkin puree (not pie filling)
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1⅔ cup whole wheat flour
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- ¾ teaspoon baking soda
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- ¾ teaspoon cinnamon
- ⅛ teaspoon nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon cloves
- about 3 cups whipped cream or whipped topping
- about 1 cup thick caramel sauce or dulce de leche
- about 1 cup toasted pecans
- toffee bits
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line two 8" round pans with wax or parchment paper and spray with non stick spray (I like to spray the pan before putting the wax paper in to get it to stick, and then spray the wax paper) -- this helps the cake comes out really easily.
- In a large bowl, combine canola oil, eggs, pumpkin, vanilla and brown sugar with a whisk until smooth.
- To the bowl add flours, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. Stir with a whisk slowly until just combined. Batter will be thick.
- Divide batter between the two pans. Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool to room temperature.
- *Optional: if you don't want the tops of the cakes to be rounded, you can slice the top off to flatten it.
- Spread both cake layers with a layer of the dulce de leche. Place one cake layer on your cake plate, sprinkle with half toasted pecans and spread half whipped cream on top of the dulce de leche.
- Place second cake layer on top of the whipped cream. Spread remaining whipped cream on top of the dulce de leche on the second layer, and top with remaining pecans and sprinkle with toffee bits.
- Keep covered and refrigerated until ready to serve. You can also freeze for up to 1-2 months!