Tag Archives: candied pepita recipe

Pumpkin Layer Cake with Cream Cheese Buttercream Frosting and Caramel Filling

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Here is the ultimate pumpkin cake! It’s the cake that will make your holiday unforgettable! It’s a delicious, decadent , over the top dessert! Spicy pumpkin cake in four layers, caramel layered between the cake, then topped with a cream cheese buttercream frosting.  On top of the cake are shards of pepita ( pumpkin seed) brittle. The cake stays moist so you can make it a day in advance and keep covered in the refrigerator. It’s sublime!

From by the bay wishing you, pumpkin food memories!


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Butter for coating cake pans, at room temperature
3 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 15-ounce can pure pumpkin
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/4 cups vegetable oil
4 large eggs
2 teaspoons finely grated orange peel

Cream Cheese Frosting
2 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, at room temperature
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 tablespoons canned unsweetened pumpkin purée
1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Caramel Filling

  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 1/4 cups confectioner’s sugar or until thick enough to spread

Directions for the cake

Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350°F. Butter two 9-inch diameter cake pans with 1 1/2-inch sides. Line the bottom of each pan with a circle of parchment paper. Butter the parchment paper. Sprinkle the pans with flour, tap the pans to evenly distribute the flour, and then shake off the excess flour. Set aside.
To make the cake, in a large bowl, sift together the 2 cups flour, the granulated sugar, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, cardamom and allspice. In a electric mixer using the paddle attachment combine the pumpkin, sugar and oil. Add eggs one at a time. Mix in orange zest. On low speed add the flour mixture to the flour mixture until just combined. Divide the batter between the prepared pans, spreading it evenly. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes until a tester inserted into the center of a cake comes out clean. Transfer to wire racks and let cool in the pans for 15 minutes. Run a table knife around the edge of the pans to loosen the cakes. Invert the cakes onto the racks and peel off the parchment paper. Let cool completely before frosting the cakes.

Directions for the cream cheese buttercream frosting
To make the frosting, in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese on medium speed for about 3 minutes until smooth. Add the butter and beat for about 2 minutes until combined. Add the pumpkin purée and beat until incorporated, about 1 minute. Add the confectioners’ sugar and vanilla and beat for about 3 minutes until fluffy.
Place 1 cake layer on a cake plate or platter. Using an offset spatula, spread half of the frosting over the top of the first cake layer. Spread the frosting right to the edge of the top without frosting the sides of the cake. Carefully place the second cake on top, lining up the edges. Spread the remaining frosting over the top of the cake without frosting the sides. Swirl the frosting to decorate the top. Refrigerate the cake to set the frosting. Remove from the refrigerator 30 to 40 minutes before serving.

Directions for caramel filling

In a medium sauce pan add brown sugar and butter and cook for two minutes on medium heat, melting butter. Add mild and bring to a boil. Take off heat add vanilla, mix and cool. Once cool whisk confectioner’s sugar until good consistency to spread and smooth. Add more sugar until thickened if needed.

To assemble cake :

Cut each cooled layer of pumpkin cake in half with a serrated knife. Place first layer on cake stand and using an offset spatula spread on top of cake. Spread the frosting right to the edge of the top without frosting the sides of the cake. Carefully place the second cake on top, lining up the edges.Repeat with the remaining 3 layers.

Spread  cream cheese buttercream frosting over the top of the cake and sides. Swirl the frosting to decorate the top. Refrigerate the cake to set the frosting. Remove from the refrigerator 30 to 40 minutes before serving.Spread the top and then sides with the cream cheese buttercream frosting. Keep in the fridge until ready to serve. Let come to room temperature.

Optional : garnish with pepita/ pumpkin seed  brittle recipe follows below

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Pepita Brittle

Adapted from “Craft of Cooking” by Tom Colicchio and Smitten Kitchen Blog from 11/1/2008

Makes one 12 x 16 – inch pan

Canola -oil spray

2 cups sugar

1/4 pound unsalted butter

6 tablespoons corn syrup

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 pound  or 1 1/2 cup shelled raw unroasted pepitas ( pumpkin seeds)

1 1/2 tablespoons Maldon sea salt 


Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Spray parchment paper with Canola oil. Take a large non-stick pot and add sugar, butter, corn syrup and 1 1/3 cups water. Place on high heat melting sugar until the caramel turns amber color, stir occasionally as this is cooking. This might take awhile, it will thicken as it boils before it finally turns amber. At this point add the baking soda and salt, then remove from heat and add the pepitas. Stirring well, then quickly pour onto the baking sheet and spread out evening with a spatula. An alternate method for a smoother brittle is slide the parchment paper out of the baking pan and onto a smooth counter top. Cover with another sheet of parchment paper and use a rolling in, to smooth the brittle and roll it out thin. Once the brittle is rolled out you can remove the top sheet of parchment paper and  let the brittle cool and then break into pieces. If you can resist eating this , store in an air tight container.

New York City Wine and Food Festival with Train

The New York City Wine and Food Festival just wrapped up. I attended the Trucks and Train event on Sunday night. It was sponsored by the New York Times and Save Me, San Francisco Wine Co. and hosted by Andrew Zimmern. There were 24 terrific food trucks. Some of the highlights from the food trucks were succulent hand rolled and pan- seared Tibetan dumplings in broth from Chinese Mirch,  warm charcoal grilled pork wrapped in pita with tzatziki from Souvlaki GR, who won the honors as best truck ,a delicious take on a cuban sandwich from the Bongo Brothers which was made with slow roasted pork, smoked honey ham, swiss cheese and homemade pickles on medianoche bread and for dessert the Big Gay Ice Cream Truck went with an awesomesauce sundae and awesome it was with a vanilla soft serve ice cream, spicy chocolate sauce, crunchy candied pepitas topped with fresh whipped cream. There was also plenty of  fine wine provided by the San Francisco Wine Co. – Calling All Angels Chardonnay, California 37 Cabernet and Drops of Jupiter Red.  As if all this good food and wine was not enough there was a special performance by the grammy- award winning group Train. They gave a powerhouse performance which rocked Pier 36 where the event took place. It was a fantastic event and a beautiful evening in one of the best cities in the world.


Participating Trucks

The Big Gay Ice Cream – awesomesauce sundae, inspired me to make a spicy chocolate sauce and candied pepitas to make my own sundae. Here are my recipes for those two ingredients!

Spicy Chocolate Sauce

6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup heavy cream, room temperature
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon

Place all the ingredients in a small saucepan and place over low heat. Stir together until chocolate and butter have melted and the ingredients come together. Let cool before serving on top of ice cream.

Candied Pepitas

1 cup pepitas, crumbled
5 tablespoons sugar
1 large egg white beaten
1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place all ingredients into a bowl and mix together. Spread them on a parchment lined baking sheet in a single layer. Bake until the pepitas are golden brown, approximately 10 minutes. Let cool before using.