Two of the season’s most beloved flavors are combined in one delicious cake! It’s simple to assemble and makes a great alternative to pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving Day dessert.
Pumpkin pie recipes are plentiful on the blogosphere right now, but I’d like to draw your attention to this pumpkin cake for just a moment. It’s a rustic beauty that isn’t too hard to put together, and it’s one of the tastiest pumpkin cakes I’ve ever made. The batter is loaded with pumpkin puree, which is then poured atop a pool of butter caramel and chopped pecans.
At the end of baking you’ll have two caramel upside-down cakes with sugar-crusted edges. The two cakes are layered with freshly whipped cream, which balances the sweetness of the pecan praline topping.
If you’re like me, and stock cans of pumpkin in fall months, then you may already have all the ingredients on hand to make this torte.
Buttery brown sugar caramel is cooked on the stove top and then poured into two lined 9-inch pans. I recommend using 9×3-inch pans for this recipe (or two spring-form pans) because my 9×2-inch pans bubbled over just a little bit in the oven. The mess was minimal (1-2 drips) so if you don’t have the larger cake pans, a sheet of aluminum placed under them in the oven will help avoid drips on the oven floor.
If you’re looking for crunchy pecan goodness (sans pecan pie) then this torte has plenty!
The cake batter is thick and fluffy. After you pour the batter in, spread it gently with an offset spatula to the edges of the pan.
Turned out of the pans, you’ll find the butter-caramel has cooked to a praline consistency. This flavor and texture is SO delicious with the crunchy pecans.
The cooled cake is layered with freshly whipped cream – and the decor on top? – More chopped pecans!
I’ll say it again: this is such an easy layer cake to make! It is wonderful at room temperature, but I think we enjoyed it even more the next day after it chilled in the refrigerator overnight.
Pecan Praline Pumpkin Torte
1 cup (213g) light brown sugar, loosely packed
1/3 cup (75g) unsalted butter
1 3/4 cups (425ml) plus 3 tablespoons heavy cream, divided
1 1/4 cups (150g) chopped pecans, divided
1 2/3 cups (266g) granulated sugar
1 cup (240ml) vegetable oil
2 cups (460g) canned pumpkin puree
1 teaspoon vanilla extract, divided
2 cups (260g) all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup (60g) powdered sugar
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Spray two 9×3-inch round cake pans with flour-based baking spray and line bottoms of pans with parchment. In a medium saucepan, stir together brown sugar, butter and 3 tablespoons cream over low heat until melted, about 5 minutes. Pour brown sugar mixture into prepared pans, dividing equally. Divide 1 cup of chopped pecans between the pans, sprinkling evenly.
Beat eggs, sugar and oil in bowl of an electric mixer until well blended; stir in pumpkin and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract. Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, pumpkin pie spice and salt in a separate bowl. Add dry ingredients to pumpkin mixture and stir until incorporated. Pour half of the batter into each pan and smooth tops using a rubber spatula.
Bake 30 to 35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in center of cakes comes out clean. Let cool in pans about five minutes, then invert out onto racks and remove paper. Let cool completely.
Beat remaining 1 3/4 cups cream in a large bowl with mixer on high speed until soft peaks form. Gradually add in powdered sugar and remaining vanilla extract. Set one cake layer on a serving plate, pecan praline side up. Spread two-thirds of whipped cream mixture over top, and add second cake layer with praline side up. Top with remaining whipped cream mixture and sprinkle with remaining pecans.
This cake can be served at room temperature, but it’s also very tasty when served chilled!