Pumpkin Buttermilk Cake with Cream Cheese Butter Frosting

Pumpkin Buttermilk Cake

To most people, I guess, turning thirty-one is all about forgetting you’re thirty-one. To me, turning thirty-one is all about cake.


Or at least, I plan for that to be the case. I’m still sitting at a solid three zero. There’s no rush. For now, this is practice. Last weekend we celebrated one of our good friend’s birthday with a trip to our local bowling alley, a few cocktails, and cake! 


This cake. This moist, decadent, and not very pretty cake. It’s buttermilk, sugar, and pumpkin. It’s egg yolks, cream cheese, vanilla, and almond. It’s a bit of an ugly duckling. (At least this one, frosted by me, is) But it’s good. It’s just darn good.

Pumpkin Buttermilk Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

I’d made it a few weeks prior. In hindsight this was a good and bad decision. Good, in that I love this cake. Bad, in that I only gave away one-quarter of it. The rest sat on my counter, taunting me with its thick frosting and delicate crumb. Eventually, after WAY too many bites, I put the remainder down the garbage chute and swore I wouldn’t make this again unless there was a party.


Thank you Andrew.


To take the cake without fussing over dishware, I stopped by my church’s local thrift store – Jubilee REACH. This is one of my favorite “potluck” tricks. I bought a cheap used plate to carry the cake. At $1.12, I didn’t care if the plate ended up in the garbage or was taken home by a friend.

Used Christmas Plate

Plus, the plate I found is adorable. Just look at it. It’s seasonally perfect. Perhaps Andrew even thought it was his gift. (I know you’re probably thinking, “Guys don’t care about things like that.” But, Andrew has a soft side once you break through his rough and tough shell. You never know. He might be thinking a little splash of Christmas cheer is just what his home needed.)


So, with no further ado, the cake!


Pumpkin Buttermilk Cake with Cream Cheese Butter Frosting
Found on My Name Is Yeh

This isn’t an inherently pretty cake. Molly, over at My Name Is Yeh, gives it a beautiful touch with the addition of caramel sauce. But the caramel sauce requires some freezing and refrigerating, which doesn’t make for a cake that travels well.

The fact that this cake isn’t adorable might make you balk. Rest assured. It’s only due to the artistic ability of this froster. Yours will look much better. Plus, its flavor will earn you more than enough accolades to make up for its appearance.

The Cake
1¾ cups sugar
2½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1½ tsp kosher salt
1½ tsp baking powder
1½ tsp baking soda
1 TB pumpkin pie spice
2 large eggs
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup pumpkin puree
½ cup vegetable or canola oil
1 TB vanilla extract
¾ cup water

Preheat oven to 350. Line the bottoms of two 8-inch cake pans with parchment paper and spray the sides with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together sugar, flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and pumpkin pie spice. In a separate, medium bowl, whisk together eggs, buttermilk, pumpkin, oil, vanilla, and water. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir to combine.

Divide batter evenly between the two prepared cake pans. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Begin checking for doneness at 28 minutes.

Let cool in the pans for 10 minutes and then turn onto a wire rack to cool completely.

The Frosting
½ cup unsalted butter, softened
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
2½ cups confectioners’ sugar
1 TBS vanilla extract
½ tsp almond extract
¼ tsp kosher salt

Using an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat together the butter and cream cheese until smooth.

Gradually add the confectioners’ sugar and beat to combine. Beat in the extracts and salt.

Once the layers are cooled, place one layer with the rounded side one the plate. Spread the top with a generous layer of frosting (roughly ½ cup).

Place the second layer on top of the frosted first layer so the flat side is set in the frosting and the rounded side is on top.

Frost the remainder of the cake, beginning on the top layer and working your way down the sides.




About Mikaela Cowles

I’m a food-gobbling, book-reading, aspiring photog. Born and raised in Seattle, I love dancing in the rain, bouquets of fresh basil and green grass between my toes. I like how kneading butter into flour makes my fingers soft. I’m passionate about all things sweet potato. I prefer my coffee black, my scotch on the rocks and my steak bloody. I hunt, when I have time; play basketball; and hike. I’ve been known to laugh so hard I hyperventilate. And, I’m the owner of Making Language Count, a boutique freelance writing business.

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