Pumpkin Bourbon Cake with Brown Butter Icing

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Sweet pumpkin with heady cloves and cardamom topped with a nutty brown butter icing make this cake evoke all the best fall flavors. This pumpkin bourbon with brown butter icing is the perfect dessert for this time of year!

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This is one of my favorite pumpkin recipes. I am definitely all about being cozy during this time of year, and I love love love all things pumpkin! My favorite though is probably adding it into pumpkin desserts. Adding a little bourbon flavor to the mix takes it to a whole other level. This cake definitely tops a pumpkin spice latte for me!

One thing I love about this cake is that instead of using pumpkin pie spice, this recipe uses a mixture of other spice flavors to create its cozy flavor. I made this for Julian's family this Thanksgiving and it was a total hit! Everyone loved it - I think I'm going to have to make a double batch next time. I highly recommend you make this for when you have company next - it will truly be a hit!

pumpkin bourbon cake with brown butter icing on platter
pumpkin bourbon cake with brown butter icing

What Do I Need to Make This Pumpkin Cake?

While the full recipe details are available below, here is an ingredient list of what you will need to make one of the best cakes for fall!

For the cake:

  • Unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • Granulated sugar
  • Brown or dark brown sugar
  • Pumpkin puree
  • Eggs, at room temperature
  • Vanilla extract
  • Bourbon
  • All purpose flour
  • Ground cinnamon
  • Baking powder
  • Baking soda
  • Salt
  • All spice
  • Cardamom
  • Ground ginger
  • Ground cloves

For the Brown Butter Frosting:

  • Unsalted butter
  • Bourbon
  • Half and half cream
  • Powdered sugar
  • Ground cinnamon
pumpkin bourbon cake with brown butter icing on platter
pumpkin bourbon cake with brown butter icing

How to Make the Best Pumpkin Spice Cake

While the full recipe instructions are available below, here are some tips to make the best pumpkin flavor cake!

  • First, you will prepare your pan. Grease the sides of a ten inch round spring form pan. Cut a piece of parchment paper and place it on the bottom of the pan. Now heat oven to 350 degrees F.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment or in a large bowl with an electric mixer, cream together the butter and both sugars until the sugar dissolves into the butter. Once the butter and sugars are well combined, add the pumpkin puree and mix until it is well combined. Next, add the eggs, vanilla extract, and bourbon and mix until well combined.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk the dry ingredients together. Once the pumpkin mixture is well combined, add the flour mixture to the bowl and mix together until just combined, pushing the dough down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. Once the dough has been combined, pour it into the prepared pan and spread it to ensure it is evenly distributed in the pan.
  • Bake in the oven for forty to forty five minutes. Let cool on a wire rack for approximately ten minutes and then remove the sides of the springform pan. Let the naked cake continue to cool completely on a cake plate.
pumpkin bourbon cake with brown butter icing
pumpkin bourbon cake with brown butter icing

How to Make the Brown Butter Icing

This browned butter frosting is the perfect complement to the pumpkin flavor of this super moist cake. I think this is one of the best parts of the whole dish!

  • First, we will prepare our brown butter! Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Stir often as the butter melts. Once the butter has fully melted, turn to medium-high heat and keep stirring constantly until the butter turns golden brown and gets a nutty flavor. You will also see the milk solids turn golden brown on the bottom of the pan - do not worry - this is normal! Once the butter has been browned, pour it into a small heatproof bowl and let it cool completely.
  • Now that the butter has fully cooled, let's mix our frosting! In the bowl of a stand mixer with a whisk attachment or large bowl with a hand mixer, mix together the bourbon and half and half cream. Next, add the cooled brown butter and mix it with the bourbon and cream. Then add the cinnamon and one cup of the confectioner's sugar and mix together on high until nice and smooth. As the sugar is incorporated into the frosting, add another cup and mix in until well combined until all of the sugar has been mixed in.
  • With your naked cake on a cake pan, spread your frosting using an offset spatula. Once the icing has been spread evenly over the cake, sprinkle with some ground cinnamon or candied pecans. Slice and serve on a plate with some vanilla ice cream or whipped cream. Enjoy!
I love this cake for its balance between the spices of the spongey cake, and the nutty sweet icing. It is even great the second day! Keep in an airtight container on your counter or under plastic wrap.
pumpkin bourbon cake with brown butter icing
pumpkin bourbon cake with brown butter icing

Other Desserts You Will Love

If you loved this festive pumpkin cake, try these other recipes that have so much flavor this fall season!

Pumpkin Bourbon Cake with Brown Butter Icing

Sweet pumpkin with heady cloves and cardamom topped with a nutty brown butter icing make this cake evoke all the best fall flavors. This pumpkin bourbon with brown butter icing is the perfect dessert for this time of year!

Author:
Kirsten

Ingredients

For the Cake:

  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp bourbon
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 + 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp all spice
  • 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves

For the Brown Butter Icing:

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 2 tbsp bourbon
  • 2 tbsp half and half cream
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 3 cups powdered sugar

Instructions

For the Cake:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Grease the sides of a 10-inch round springform pan and line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer with paddle attachment or hand mixer, cream the butter and both sugars, approximately 2 minutes. Add the pumpkin and mix until well combined, approximately 1 minute. Add the eggs, vanilla, and bourbon and mix until well combined, one more minute.
  3. Whisk all remaining cake ingredients (dry ingredients) in a large bowl. Pour the dry ingredients into the pumpkin mixture and mix until just combined.
  4. Pour into the prepared pan and bake for 40 to 45 minutes, until a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean and the edges start to turn golden brown. Let cool in the pan on a cooling rack for 10 to 20 minutes. Remove the sides of the springform pan and let cool completely before icing your cake.

For the Brown Butter Icing:

  1. Melt your butter in a small saucepan over medium low heat, stirring often. Once melted, turn the heat up to medium-high, stirring constantly. Once the butter has turned brown and has a nutty scent, remove from heat immediately. Pour into a heat proof bowl and let cool completely.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment or in a large bowl with hand mixer, mix the bourbon and half and half cream together. Then add the cooled brown butter and mix until well combined.
  3. Now add the ground cinnamon and add one cup of the icing sugar and mix until well combined and smooth. Next, add another cup and mix until well combined and smooth. Repeat until all of the icing sugar has been mixed into the frosting and it is smooth. Spread over the cooled cake using an offset spatula. You can sprinkle with cinnamon or candied pecans. Slice and enjoy!

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