I wish this picture did the flavor of this cake justice.
I found this recipe on JoyOfBaking.com and slightly adapted it only because I couldn't find our bottle of maple syrup.
No matter -- this is an amazingly delicious cake! Why can't all cakes be like this?
The cake is moist and delicate, with a distinct autumnal flavor from the pumpkin, cinnamon, ginger and clove. The frosting's cream cheese tang is mellowed by the butter, honey, and vanilla, and the nuts give the cake a finished look and a bit of crunch.
Make this very, very soon.
Pumpkin Spice Cake with Honey Cream Frosting
1 stick (8 Tbsp.) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 ¼ c. light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 c. fresh or canned pure pumpkin (about 1/2 of a 15 ounce can)
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
2 c. sifted cake flour
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground ginger
1/8 tsp. ground cloves
1/2 c. (120 ml) buttermilk, room temperature
8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
1/4 c. unsalted butter, room temperature
2 Tbsp. honey
1 tsp. vanilla
2 c. confectioners' (powdered or icing) sugar, sifted
¼ cup walnuts or pecans (optional)
Preheat the oven to 350-degrees F. and place rack in center of oven. Grease two 8- or 9-inch cake pans, lining the bottom with parchment. Set aside.
In the bowl of your electric mixer (or with a hand mixer), cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy (about 2-3 minutes). Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add the pumpkin puree and vanilla and beat until incorporated.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and spices. Add the flour mixture and buttermilk alternately to the pumpkin batter, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Divide the batter between the prepared pans. Bake for approximately 25 - 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes and then invert and remove the cakes from their pans. Cool completely before frosting.
Place the cream cheese and butter in the bowl of an electric mixer (or use a hand mixer) and beat until smooth. Add the honey, vanilla and confectioners' sugar and beat (slowly at first) to combine. Adjust syrup or sugar until you have the right consistency.
Place one of the cake layers, top side down, on a serving plate. Frost with a layer of icing. Place the second cake, top side up, onto the first layer and frost. Garnish with nuts if desired. Refrigerate but bring to room temperature before serving.