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Challenge: Fall Harvest

Pumpkin Cake with Penuche Frosting

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A melt in your mouth pumpkin cake with warm spices topped by a brown sugar frosting.

Pumpkin Cake with Penuche Frosting

  • Servings: 1 slice
  • Yield: 8 - 10 servings
  • Prep Time: 30 min
  • Cooking Time: 55 min


  • 1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 ⅔ cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • ¾ cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • ½ cup milk, any variety
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • ½ cup packed light brown sugar
  • ¼ cup milk, any variety
  • 2 - 2 ½ cups confectioners' sugar


  1. Make the cake. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter an 8 or 9 inch round cake pan. Line the bottom with parchment, butter the parchment, and flour the whole pan, tapping out any excess.
  2. In a medium bowl, stir together flour, cinnamon, allspice, ginger, salt, baking powder, and baking soda.
  3. In a large bowl, cream 1 stick room temperature butter and ¾ cup granulated and ¾ cup light brown sugar until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. I did this by hand but a hand or stand mixer would work as well. Add the vanilla and eggs and mix until once again light and fluffy. Add the pumpkin and ½ cup milk and mix until fully combined. Add the flour mixture and mix until a batter is formed.
  4. Pour batter into the prepared cake pan and bake 40-50 minutes, rotating halfway through if necessary, until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out with only a few moist crumbs. Allow cake to cool in pan about 20 minutes, before gently loosening from the pan and inverting onto a cake plate. Allow cake to cool completely.
  5. Once the cake is cool, make the frosting. In a small saucepan, combine remaining butter and sugar over medium heat. Stirring frequently, bring to a boil and boil for 1 minute. Allow to cool for 10 minutes. The mixture will harden. Loosen it with a spoon and add the remaining milk, stirring until it is fully incorporated. Add 2 cups of confectioners’ sugar and mix to combine. Continue adding sugar in ½ cup increments, until the frosting is quite thick but still spreadable. Immediately pour frosting onto cake, focusing in the middle. Spread to cover almost the entire cake, leaving about ¼ inch boarder.
  6. Cake may be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days, or frozen, wrapped in parchment and foil and placed in a zipper bag in quarters for up to 3 months. Thaw at room temperature for several hours.

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