Pumpkin Spice Cake with Brown Butter Frosting

Some ingredients are available all year long, but only truly acceptable at certain times.  Canned pumpkin puree is one of those ingredients.  You can buy it in July, but a pumpkin dessert just doesn’t seem like something I’d bring to a 4th of July picnic.  Since it is now November I am going to take advantage of my freedom to use this glorious non-perishable good and make something delicious.


The cake recipe is courtesy of Martha, and the brown butter frosting is a variation on a cookie frosting I used on a pumpkin cookie last year.

I love brown butter.  It is nutty, warm, comforting and so much tastier than regular butter frosting.  The little specks of burnt butter in the frosting make me happy.  I said it.  Butter makes me happy.

This recipe is easy.  Easy, simple, accessible ingredients, easy preparation and presentation, and also quite easy to consume.  The flavor is lovely and perfect for fall.  The pumpkin and spice are great together.   The brown butter frosting is a perfect partner for the cake, although a cream cheese frosting or a simple dollop of whipped cream would also be lovely accompaniments.

Pumpkin Spice Cake (courtesy of Martha Stewart)


  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted, plus more for pan
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon pumpkin-pie spice (or 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon, 3/4 teaspoon ginger, 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg, and 1/8 teaspoon each allspice and cloves)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 can (15 ounces) solid-pack pumpkin puree


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and sugar a 9-inch square baking pan.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk flour, baking soda, salt, and pumpkin-pie spice. In a large bowl, whisk eggs, sugar, butter, and pumpkin puree until combined. Add dry ingredients to pumpkin mixture, and mix gently until smooth.
  3. Turn batter into prepared pan, and smooth top. Bake until a toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out with just a few moist crumbs attached, 40 to 45 minutes. Cool cake 10 minutes in pan, then turn out of pan, and cool completely, right side up, on a rack.
  4. Frost with brown butter frosting.

Brown Butter Frosting

  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 2 – 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 – 4 tablespoons milk
  1. Melt 6 tablespoons butter in 1-quart saucepan over medium heat. Continue cooking, stirring constantly and watching closely, until butter just begins to turn golden, 4 to 6 minutes. (Butter will get foamy and bubble.) Remove from heat. Cool completely.
  2. Combine browned butter, powdered sugar and 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla in small bowl. Beat at medium speed, gradually adding enough milk for desired spreading consistency.