The Little Epicurean

Sep 22 2015

Butterscotch Pumpkin Cake

Butterscotch Pumpkin Cake | the little epicurean

I’m so happy The Big Bang Theory is back on TV. Mondays are no longer a day to dread. I can’t wait for next week’s episode. I’m really liking this new dynamic between Amy and Sheldon.

You know what else makes me happy? CAKE.

This butterscotch pumpkin cake is everything. I make a lot of desserts, but I normally don’t each much of it. I’ll taste a little bit and share the rest with those within driving distance. I couldn’t share this cake. Alex and I devoured it as soon as I uploaded the photos onto my computer.  This pumpkin cake has become my absolute FAVORITE cake. So much so that I need to have this at our wedding.

Butterscotch Pumpkin Cake | the little epicurean

I’ve noticed the sun setting earlier these days. Farewell, bright summer light and hello, dark moody light. I’m still trying to get a grasp of dark backgrounds. (But I’m really liking it!)

This pumpkin cake is unlike any other pumpkin desserts I’ve made before. Instead of butter or vegetable oil, I made this using coconut oil. Coconut oil does not have a pronounced coconut flavor, so don’t worry about it affecting the taste of the pumpkin. It does however, lend a very moist and tender crumb- which makes this cake absolutely delightful. It’s the kind of cake that doesn’t need much frosting (if any, at all).

Butterscotch Pumpkin Cake | the little epicurean

I used my favorite cream cheese frosting. This is the same base frosting I’ve used on this honey earl grey fig cake and strawberry vanilla cake. To make it a little different, I spiked it with a touch of butterscotch. You can’t go wrong with butterscotch. If given the choice between caramel or butterscotch, I choose the latter.

Caramel is made with white granulated sugar, butter and heavy cream. The sugar is cooked until it is almost burnt, giving it that nice amber color. Butterscotch isn’t cooked as much as caramel. It’s main difference is the use of brown sugar. Depending on how dark the brown sugar, the more pronounced the molasses flavor. It’s a taste that I associate with autumn and winter… think gingersnaps and gingerbread.

Butterscotch Pumpkin Cake | the little epicurean

I was in NYC last week to attend the Better Homes and Gardens Stylemaker Event. I had a ton of fun meeting other bloggers and being surrounded by so much creative energy. It really pumps me up and energizes my love for blogging. So much so that I’m thinking about attending BlogHer Food in Chicago this November. Are any of you going?! Let me know! I’d love to meet you!

Print Recipe

Butterscotch Pumpkin Cake

Yield: 6-in cake


Pumpkin Cake:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup coconut oil, unrefined
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin puree
  • 1 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp fine sea salt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup whole milk


  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup light corn syrup
  • 2/3 cup dark brown sugar, packed
  • 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Cream Cheese Frosting:

  • 8 oz cream cheese, room temperature
  • 4 oz unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 3 Tbsp butterscotch sauce
  • 1/4 tsp fine sea salt


Pumpkin Cake:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter two 6-inch round cake pans and line with parchment paper. Set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, pumpkin pie spice, and ground cinnamon. Set aside.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream together coconut oil and pumpkin puree. Add sugar, salt and eggs. Mix until smooth.
  4. Add half of dry flour mixture. Mix on low speed until almost combined. Add milk. Mix on slow speed and then add remaining dry flour mixture. Mix until there are no longer any dry streaks of flour. Scrape down bowl as needed to ensure thorough mixing.
  5. Divide cake batter between the two prepared cake pans. Level batter using a mini offset spatula. Bake for 35-40 minutes until toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean. Allow to cool in pan for 5 minutes before unmolding. Allow cake to cool to room temperature on wire rack.

*Butterscotch Sauce: In a heavy-bottomed sauce pot, melt butter over medium heat. Add corn syrup, brown sugar and salt. Stir together and bring to a boil. Continually stir the mixture to ensure contents do not burn along the sides of the pot. Reduce heat to a simmer and allow mixture to cook for about 3 minutes. While the mixture simmers, whisk together the cream and cornstarch. Stir cornstarch mixture into the pot. Increase heat and bring mixture back to a boil. Continue to cook and stir until mixture starts to thicken, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Transfer to a heat-proof container and allow to cool. Once cool to the touch, keep stored in the fridge until ready to use.

Cream Cheese Frosting: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream together cream cheese and butter until smooth. Scrape down bowl as needed to ensure thorough mixing. Add powdered sugar, cooled butterscotch sauce, and salt. Mix until smooth.

* Butterscotch sauce will thicken substantially in the fridge. Microwave for 15 second intervals to gently loosen the sauce and get it to a pourable consistency.

The Little Epicurean

Butterscotch Pumpkin Cake | the little epicurean

33 Responses to “Butterscotch Pumpkin Cake”

  1. September 22, 2015
    7:40 am

    Whoa!! Totally gorgeous Maryanne! Sounds delicious and I’m lovin’ the photos! Great job!

  2. September 22, 2015
    11:24 am

    I love baking with coconut oil! Did you use refined or unrefined coconut oil in the cake? I’m always scared to use the unrefined kind in non-coconutty treats! This cake looks amazing (I LOVE butterscotch!) and by the way, your profile picture is super cute. :)

    • Maryanne Cabrera replied...

      I used unrefined coconut oil. The flavor is very subtle because of the spices in the cake. Thank you!! :)

  3. September 22, 2015
    12:46 pm

    Maryanne, this cake is out of this world amazing! I love that gorgeous pumpkin hue and that butterscotch draping all over it–gorgeous!

    • Maryanne Cabrera replied...

      Thanks Amy! I about to hop onto your site and drool over your pumpkin cinnamon rolls! ;)

  4. September 22, 2015
    3:09 pm

    Perfect for fall – just pinned this beauty!

  5. September 22, 2015
    3:13 pm

    This cake is beautiful! I would make it if I thought it would turn out half as nice as this one!

    • Maryanne Cabrera replied...

      Thanks Maris! It will! I believe ALL cakes are beautiful!! :)

  6. September 22, 2015
    6:10 pm
    Maria says...

    Yum! I am drooling over this flavor combination!

  7. September 22, 2015
    7:15 pm

    Shut the front door! Pumpkin, butterscotch AND cream cheese frosting? I think I’ve died and gone to heaven!

  8. September 22, 2015
    9:00 pm

    Pumpkin and butterscotch are perfect together and I LOVE the drizzle down the sides of the cake!

  9. September 23, 2015
    8:48 am

    Swoon! This butterscotch pumpkin cake is gorgeous!!

  10. September 23, 2015
    11:17 am

    That is one beautiful Fall cake!

  11. September 23, 2015
    3:01 pm

    What a beautiful cake! Love the minimalistic style you used to decorate it :) plus butterscotch and pumpkin sounds like a great combination, need to try that sometime :D

    • Maryanne Cabrera replied...

      Thank you, June! As soon as fall hits, I’m all about maple and butterscotch :)

  12. September 23, 2015
    9:06 pm

    Ack! That second picture is killin’ me!!!! pre-Selah I used to be all about pumpkin-everything to the point where I’d just eat it with a spoon, but since I had her I’ve been so indifferent for some reason. 0_0 Strange things happen with kids, strange things….But this is one of the few recipes and pictures that look so scrumptious as of late! Great job with the colors, too :D

    • Maryanne Cabrera replied...

      Thanks Ellie! Really?! Yeah, I’ve heard tastes and preferences changing after pregnancy. I know this one lady that developed a shellfish allergy in her teens but after having kids, she tried shellfish again in her 30s and like magic- the shellfish allergy disappeared!

  13. September 24, 2015
    7:49 pm

    Gorgeous cake! Butterscotch and pumpkin go so well together!

  14. September 29, 2015
    2:16 am
    Ron B says...

    Is the cake in the photo the result of using the 6 inch pans? Would this pan be similar to the Wilton Decorator Deep pan that is 6 inches x 3 inches? Thanks!

  15. October 26, 2015
    1:47 pm
    alli says...

    Can you please share instructions on filling and frosting and assembling this cake?

    I can’t find any instructions on the creation of the frosting components I’ve got the raw ingredient list and cooking instructions for them, but don’t see info on the combining of the butterscotch syrup and cream cheese frosting to make it a “complete” cream cheese-butterscotch frosting.

    And I can’t find the instructions on any assemblage of the cake…

    am i missing something…? Is it all somewhere written down I can’t see?

    i’d love to make this cake perfectly….

    Please help??

    Thank you!!

    • Maryanne Cabrera replied...

      Hi Alli, scroll to the bottom of the directions and you’ll see the process for making the butterscotch sauce and the cream cheese frosting. It’s written in paragraph form. As for assembly, the amount of cream cheese frosting is at your discretion. Use the remaining butterscotch sauce to pour on top of the finished cake.

  16. May 25, 2016
    10:56 pm
    Valerie says...

    Hi Maryanne,
    I’m craving this cake so much now! I noticed what you wrote about normally sharing your desserts with friends, which is what I always do, and I was actually wondering how you present your desserts- it’s something that always irks me, and although I normally use paper plates, I was wondering if you had any suggestions. (A bit random, I know.) Thanks!

    • Maryanne Cabrera replied...

      I use reusable glass or plastic containers to transport and share my baked goods.

  17. August 24, 2016
    1:47 pm
    Leticia says...

    Hi, Maryanne! I discovered your blog today and spent all day long reading it! It is fabulous! I want to do/eat everything :)
    Here in Brazil we don’t heve canned pumpkin puree, could you tell me how to bake the pumpkin and have the same texture as the canned one?
    Can I use this pumpkin to make the puree?

    Thank you! and congratulations on the blog!!! :)

    • Maryanne Cabrera replied...

      Hi Leticia! Thanks for checking out my blog! I’m sorry, I don’t have any experience baking with fresh pumpkin puree.

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