Brown Butter Pumpkin Cake
(Adapted from Fine Cooking)
Probably the best pumpkin cake that I have ever had. Ever.
Makes one 13x9 sheet cake or one double-
6 oz. (3/4 cup) unsalted butter
9 oz. (2 cups) unbleached all-purpose flour
1-1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1-1/2 tsp. baking soda
3/4 tsp. table salt
1 ½ cups pumpkin puree (not pie filling)
1 ½ cups granulated sugar
2/3 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1/3 cup buttermilk
FROSTING (DOUBLE IF MAKING LAYER CAKE)
4 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
¼ cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon table salt
1 cup heavy whipping cream
FOR THE CAKE
1. Position a rack in the center of the
oven and heat the oven to 350°F.
2. Layer cake: Butter two 9-inch round
cake pans, line the bottoms with
parchment, butter the parchment, and
flour the pans). Sheet cake: Butter
and flour one 13x9 pan.
3. Melt the butter in a heavy-duty 1-
quart saucepan over medium heat.
Stir frequently, until the butter
turns a nutty golden-brown, about
4 minutes. You will see brown bits
appear at the bottom of the pan – this
is what will give you that golden-
nutty-caramel flavor. Be very careful
not to burn! Pour into a small bowl
and let stand until cool but not set,
about 15 minutes.
4. In a medium bowl, whisk the flour,
cinnamon, ginger, cloves, baking
5. In a large bowl, whisk the pumpkin
purée with the granulated sugar,
brown sugar, eggs, and buttermilk
until very well blended.
6. With a rubber spatula, stir in the
flour mixture until just combined.
Gently whisk in the brown butter
until completely incorporated.
Divide the batter evenly between the
prepared pans. Batter will be very
thick – do not be alarmed.
7. Bake the cake(s) until a tester
inserted in the center comes out
clean, 25-28 minutes for 9-inch
round cakes or 28-32 minutes for
13x9 pan. Cool to room temperature.
FOR THE FROSTING
1. When cake has cooled, place cream
cheese, sugar, vanilla, and salt in
bowl of standing mixer fitted with
whisk attachment. Whisk at medium-
high speed until light and fluffy, 1 to
2 minutes, scraping down bowl with
rubber spatula as needed.
2. Reduce speed to low and add heavy
cream in slow, steady stream; when
almost fully combined, increase
speed to medium-high and beat until
mixture holds stiff peaks, 2 to 2 1/
2 minutes more, scraping bowl as
- Cake can be made in advance,
wrapped in plastic wrap and foil
and then frozen. Thaw at room
temperature before frosting.
(Uncover when thawing).
- Make the frosting on the day you
plan to serve the cake. (Whipped
cream will lose its structure and the
frosting will get soupy otherwise).
- Refrigerate the cake (because of the