07 Oct Pumpkin Spice Latte Cake
Happy Thanksgiving weekend to all of my fellow Canadians and happy regular old Sunday to everyone else!
If you’re up super early like I am, you probably look forward to a cup of coffee or two (or 5?), to help make you feel like a human being. I personally am I big fan of lattes and every year, I look forward to the pumpkin spice version and while sipping on one the other day it dawned on me: I need to make this into a cake!
This dessert begins with pumpkin cake layers, which are then stacked up and filled with espresso frosting and then finished with a generous coating of pumpkin spice frosting. It’s super moist, just sweet enough and as far as cake recipes go, it’s a fairly simple one to follow!
So tomorrow, instead of whipping up a traditional pumpkin pie (which I still love oh-so-much), this is what I’ll be serving to my family after dinner!
Sidenote: If you want the all flavour of the espresso but not the caffeine, you can substitute with decaf espresso powder. Also, I normally use a cake board to build all of my cakes on, but as you may have noticed in the photos, I didn’t this time – and thats only because I completely ran out (oops!). Of course, you can build your cake directly on a turn table or even a cake plate, but I find it so much easier to use a cake board.
Happy weekend baking!
Pumpkin Spice Latte Cake
Makes one 8-inch, 3-layer cake
For the cake layers:
Butter, for greasing the cake pans
Flour, for flouring the cake pans
2 cups + 2 tablespoons (265 g) all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
2 cups (400 g) granulated sugar
3/4 cup vegetable oil (I prefer canola)
3 large eggs, at room temperture
1/4 cup + 3 tablespoons sour cream
3 tablespoons buttermilk, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups pure pumpkin (canned is perfect for this)
For the frosting:
3 1/2 cups unsalted butter, at room temperature
7 cups (875 g) confectioners’/icing sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons instant espresso powder
2 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
4-5 drops Americolor food colouring gel in “Pumpkin”
1/2 cup sprinkles
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease and flour three 8-inch round cake pans and line with parchment paper circles. Set aside.
In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and ginger. Set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the sugar, oil, eggs, sour cream, buttermilk and vanilla. Beat on medium speed until blended. With the mixer running on low speed, add the bow of dry ingredients and mix until blended. Turn up the speed to medium and beat for about 30 seconds. Stop the mixer and scrape down the the sides and bottom of the bowl. Add the canned pumpkin and mix on medium speed until the batter is well-blended.
Divide the batter evenly among the prepared pans and bake for 26 – 30 minutes. Allow cakes to cool in their pans for 20 minutes before turning them out onto a wire rack. Remove the parchment paper from the bottom of each cake, turn them right side up and leave them to cool completely.
Make the frosting
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium speed until creamy, about 30 seconds. With the mixer running on low speed, add the confectioners’ sugar, a little at a time, until completely combined. Add the vanilla extract, then turn the mixer up to medium speed and beat for about 1 minute, until the frosting is light and fluffy. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl, then beat for an additional 30 seconds on medium speed.
Scoop 2 1/2 cups of the frosting into a small bowl. Add the espresso powder and use a rubber spatula to mix until blended. Set aside.
Add the pumpkin pie spice to the remaining frosting in the mixer bowl and mix on medium speed until blended. Add the food colouring (I used 5 drops) and mix until combined. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl, then mix again on medium speed until blended.
Frost the cake
Once the cakes have cooled, use a serrated knife to level each once, removing any domed top that may have formed (detailed instructions for this can be found on page 14 & 15 of my cookbook or in this video I made years ago).
Place a nonslip square in the centre of a cake turntable and set a cake board (I recommend a 9 or 10 inch board for this cake) on top. Apply a small dollop of frosting to the centre of the cake board, and then place the first cake layer, cut side up, on top. Use an offset spatula to spread half of the espresso frosting, in an even layer, onto the cake. Place the next cake layer, cut side up, on top then spread the remaining espresso frosting on top again. Place the last cake layer, cut side down (we’re trying to keep all the crumbs inside the cake) on top. Inspect your cake to make sure that the layers are all lined up as best as possible.
Use a small amount (about 1/4 cup) of the pumpkin spice frosting to apply a very, very thin layer of frosting on top of and around the outside of the cake. This is called “crumb coating” and this step will help any crumbs stick to the cake, so that they don’t end up in your lovely outer layer of frosting. If you need a visual of what this should look like, you can check out that video I mentioned above or find detailed instructions in my cookbook. Lift the cake off of the turn table and place it in the refrigerator to set, about 30 minutes.
Once the cake has set, place it back on the cake turntable. Scoop out about 1 cup of the pumpkin spice frosting and place it in a small bowl. Set aside – this will be used for decorating the top of the cake. Use an offset spatula to apply the remaining bowl frosting to the cake, working from the top of the cake down and smoothing with a cake scraper. Once the cake is smooth, fit a pastry bag with a piping tip of your choice (I used an Ateco 866 tip), spoon the remaining pumpkin spice frosting into the bag and pipe little dollops all over the top of the cake.
Once finished, place the cake back in the refrigerator for about 5-10 minutes – this will help the frosting firm up a bit so that the sprinkles are easier to apply (less mess). Once the frosting has firmed up slightly, place the cake back on the turn table and gently press sprinkles, a little at a time, onto the base of the cake.
Serve immediately or store in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours. Allow the cake to stand at room temperature for at least 1-2 hours before serving.