Pumpkin Cake With Browned Butter Icing

Pumpkin cake with browned butter icing

The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga

  • Total: 53 mins
  • Prep: 18 mins
  • Cook: 35 mins
  • Yield: 1 cake (16 servings)

Browning the butter for this pumpkin cake's icing adds wonderful flavor and it goes so well with the spiced cake. Feel free to use your favorite cream cheese icing or if you're pressed for time, use a purchased frosting. This pumpkin cake makes a fabulous dessert for Thanksgiving or make it for a fall treat any time.

Ingredients

  • For the Cake:
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar (packed)
  • 1 cup vegetable oil (such as canola, safflower, or corn oil)
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin puree (packed)
  • For the Brown Butter Frosting:
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons milk

Steps to Make It

Note: while there are multiple steps to this recipe, this cake is broken down into workable categories to help you better plan for preparation and cooking.

Prepare the Cake

  1. Gather the ingredients. Preheat the oven to 350 F.

    Ingredients for pumpkin cake
    The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga
  2. Grease and flour a 9 x 13 x 2-inch baking pan. 

    Flour pan
    The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga
  3. Combine the flour, baking powder, soda, salt, and spices; stir and set aside.

    Combine the flour
    The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga
  4. In a mixing bowl with an electric mixer, beat the granulated sugar and brown sugar with oil, eggs, vanilla, and pumpkin until smooth and well blended.

    Add wet ingredients
    The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga
  5. Slowly beat in the dry ingredients until moistened; beat for about 1 minute on medium speed, or until the batter is smooth and well blended.

    Slowly beat in dry ingredients
    The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga
  6. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.

    Pour batter in pan
    The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga
  7. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until the cake springs back when lightly touched with a finger. Cool completely before frosting.

    Bake cake
    The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga

Prepare the Frosting

  1. Heat the unsalted butter in a saucepan over medium heat until melted. Continue cooking, stirring constantly, just until the butter begins to turn a golden brown, about 5 minutes. Immediately remove from heat and let cool.

    Heat butter
    The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga
  2. Sift the confectioners' sugar into a mixing bowl. When the butter is completely cooled, add to the confectioners' sugar along with the vanilla and 1 tablespoon of milk. Slowly beat to blend, adding 1 to 2 tablespoons of milk, or enough to get to a desired spreading consistency.

    Stir in confectioner's sugar
    The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga
  3. Spread on the cooled cake.

    Spread on cooled cake
    The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga
  4. Cut into bars or squares and serve.

    Slice a piece
    The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga