Allison Malec is a Marketing Manager at Clarkson Potter, a division of Random House, and is an editor at The Recipe Club. She lives in New York City, and loves to cook, bake and eat. She loves anything sweet, especially Momofuku Milk Bar’s Compost Cookies, Ben and Jerry’s Oatmeal Cookie Crunch Ice Cream, and Vanilla Mr. Softee cones with rainbow sprinkles.
Looking for something other than Pumpkin Pie to have at the holidays this year? Here’s your solution. Two big birthdays recently occurred in my family, and I knew a special cake was in order. I was sold at the word “pumpkin,” but throw in coconut and cream cheese frosting and I’m done. This Spiced Pumpkin Layer Cake was incredibly moist and had that rich pumpkin flavor that I crave like crazy in fall. I made three layers in 8″ cake pans (because I love super tall cakes) instead of two layers in 9″ pans, but either will work.
Spiced Pumpkin Layer Cake
Recipe from The Epicurious Cookbook by Tanya Steel and the editors of Epicurious
Yield: Makes 12 servings
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 ¾ teaspoons ground allspice
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon salt
1 ½ cups granulated sugar
1 cup (packed) light brown sugar
1 cup canola oil
4 large eggs
1 (15-ounce) can pure pumpkin
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon grated orange peel
¾ cup raisins
¾ cup sweetened flaked coconut, plus additional for garnish
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, at room temperature
10 tablespoons (1 ¼ sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 tablespoon dark rum
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
4 ½ cups confectioners’ sugar (measured, then sifted)
Special equipment: 2 (9-inch) round cake pans
1. Position the rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter two 9-inch-diameter cake pans with 1 ½-inch-high sides. Line the bottoms of the pans with parchment; dust with flour.
2. Sift 3 cups flour, the baking powder, baking soda, spices, and salt into a medium bowl. Using an electric mixer, beat both sugars and the oil in a large bowl until combined (mixture will look grainy). Add the eggs 1 at a time, beating until well blended after each addition. Add the pumpkin, vanilla, and orange peel; beat until well blended. Add the flour mixture; beat just until incorporated. Stir in the raisins and ¾ cup coconut. Divide the batter between the pans and smooth the tops.
3. Bake the cakes until a tester inserted into the center comes out clean, about 1 hour. Cool the cakes completely in pans on a rack. Run a knife around the cakes to loosen. Invert the cakes onto racks; remove parchment. Turn the cakes over, rounded side up. Using a serrated knife, trim the rounded tops of the cakes to level them.
Make Frosting and Ice Cake
1. Using an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and butter in a large bowl until smooth. Beat in the rum and vanilla. Add the sugar in 3 additions, beating just until the frosting is smooth after each addition (do not overbeat or frosting may become too soft to spread).
2. Place one cake layer, flat side down, on a platter. Spread half of the cream-cheese frosting over the top to the edges. Top with the second cake layer, trimmed side down. Spread the remaining frosting over the top (not sides) of cake. Sprinkle additional coconut over.