Salted Caramel Pumpkin Spice Latte Cake
Since Labor Day is the last unofficial day of Summer, it only seems appropriate to end Summer and kick off Fall with a Fall-themed dessert.
And it doesn't get more Fall than a Pumpkin Spice Latte!
I knew I wanted to make something pumpkin, and it only seemed appropriate to do a cake. Then, with the announcement that Starbucks is now selling their PSLs why not make a pumpkin spice latte cake!
But wait, there's more!
Let's just throw some salted caramel on top? What's not to like.
Seriously, there is nothing not to like. This cake is freaking delicious! You need to make it at some point this fall.
How to Make It
The recipe for this cake is adapted from How to Cake It's "Yo's Pumpkin Spice Cake". Her cakes are not only amazing looking, her recipes are some of the best I have tried.
For this cake, you will need unsalted butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar, vegetable oil, molasses, all your favorite pumpkin spice spices, eggs, vanilla, flour, espresso powder, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and pumpkin puree.
First, cream together butter, oil, and sugars until light and fluffy. Then mix in all of the spices.
Then mix in the vanilla and eggs, one at a time.
Set the butter mixture aside and mix together your dry ingredients: flour, espresso powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
If you don't want this to be a pumpkin spice latte cake, just skip the espresso powder.
Then alternate mixing the flour and pumpkin into the butter mixture.
I typically mix the dry and wet ingredients in 5 steps: dry, wet, dry, wet, dry. You always want to start and end with the dry ingredients.
Then portion your cake into the cake or cupcake pan of your choice and bake at 350 for anywhere from 20 (for cupcakes) to 60 (for a large cake pan) minutes.
How to Decorate It
While the cake on its own is delicious! I think it's all the other accouterments that make it amazing!
There is also some yummy salted caramel drizzled in between the layers and smothered on top.
After the cakes have cooled, level the cakes as necessary. Then start assembling the cake by placing one layer on and cake board and topping it with the cream cheese frosting.
Drizzle the salted caramel over top of the frosting then add the second layer. Repeat with the frosting and salted caramel.
Top off with the last layer. (Tip: place the layer on upside-down so that the super flat bottom is the top ensuring you have a level cake.)
Add a thin layer of icing around the cake to lock in the crumbs (a crumb coat). It's okay if it doesn't look perfect, but make sure to scrape off the excess.
Chill the cake for about 10 minutes to set the crumb coat.
While it's chilling, wrap a cake board in foil ensuring one side is really smooth and flat. The other side can be wrinkled and bumpy. Set the cake board on the top of the cake (place a circle of parchment to ensure it doesn't stick too much) then slather on a thick layer of frosting.
Run a bench scraper along the top and bottom cake board to scrape off the excess frosting. This will ensure you have a nice, smooth surface.
Remove the top cake board and then flatten out the top.
Let the cake chill in the fridge for another 10-20 minutes to set the frosting. Meanwhile, prepare the salted caramel by warming it up a bit just to ensure that it's viscous enough to run down the side of the cake.
Then spoon the caramel around the edges of the cake, intentionally pushing some off the edge. Then cover the entire top of the cake with additional caramel.
For some additional embellishments, pipe some additional frosting of whipped cream on top of the cake then sprinkle on sea salt (over the caramel) and cinnamon (over the whipped cream.
There are a lot of steps in this decorating process, but it doesn't take a lot of practice to make it look beautiful. You can make this bakery worth cake for your friends and family even if you don't have a lot of experience making cakes! I promise!
I highly recommend investing in a set of cake pans that are good quality and clean easily. 9" cake pans are pretty standard, but I like taller, skinnier cakes which is why I prefer 8" cake pans if I want to make a standard size cake. But for my blog posts, I almost exclusively use 6" cake pans which make the cutest cakes with really thick layers.
Other things I use to make my cake baking, assembly, and decorating a bit easier are:
Prep Time: 20 minutes Cook Time: 45 minutes Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
Makes 24 cupcakes, 2 8-9" layers, 3 6" layers
- 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 3 tbsp vegetable oil
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 3/4 cup brown sugar
- 3 tbsp molasses
- 1 tbsp cinnamon
- 2 tsp cloves
- 1 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- 1 1/4 tsp ginger
- 1/8 tsp allspice
- 4 eggs
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 3 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 tbsp espresso powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 1/4 cup pumpkin puree
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare cake pans by spraying lightly with baking spray and covering the bottom of the pan with a circle of parchment.
In a large bowl, cream together butter, oil, sugars, and molasses until light and fluffy. Then mix in spices until completely combined.
Mix in the vanilla and eggs, one at a time until butter and eggs are well mixed.
In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, espresso powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
Mix about 1/3rd of the flour mixture into the butter mixture. Then mix in half of the pumpkin. Mix in half of the remaining flour, then the rest of the pumpkin puree. Finally, mix in the rest of the flour.
Portion the batter into cake pans or cupcake tins. Bake cupcakes for 20-25 minutes. Bake a 6" cake pan for 40-45 minutes. Bake 8-9" cake pans for 45-50 minutes, or until a toothpick stuck in the center comes out clean.
Let cakes cool completely, then wrap in plastic wrap and chill.
When ready to decorate, level the cakes with a serrated knife or cake leveler. Top each layer with frosting and then drizzle on salted caramel sauce. Once all layers are stacked, frost the entire cake with a light layer of frosting. Chill the cake for 10 to 20 minutes to set the frosting.
Add another layer of frosting on top of the crumb coat then let that layer chill again for another 10-20 minutes.
Drizzle the salted caramel around the edge of the cake, then cover the top with additional caramel. Add additional dollops of frosting around the top.