Caramel Pumpkin Cake

by Sarah

in Cakes, Dairy-Free, Desserts, vegan

caramel pumpkin cakeSilky pumpkin pie is one of my favorite desserts of the Fall. With Halloween around the corner, there is no shortage of caramel candies either. When I was young enough to trick or treat, I remember picking out the caramels and the toffees among the sea of snickers, dum dums, and milky ways filling my candy bag. This cake melds together two of my favorite Fall flavors – caramel and pumpkin – as a caramel pumpkin cake.

caramel pumpkin cakeThe cake itself is very moist (I almost made it into a Bundt cake without frosting since it tasted so good on its own), so the the caramel frosting is there to dress the cake up so it’s ready for birthdays and celebrations. The recipe below makes one three layer 6 inch cake, which is equivalent of one 10 inch diameter bundt cake or a two-layer 9 inch diameter layer cake. I usually go for making 9 inch cakes, but it takes so very long to consume such a large cake that I’m beginning to see the beauty in 6 inch cakes too. The only thing I miss about having a large 9 inch cake is the larger decorating area – but we’ll save those cakes for birthdays to come :)

caramel pumpkin cake

The fondant pumpkin on this cake was especially fun and easy to make. Below are pictures showing the step-by-step. Baisically, start with a ball of fondant that you tint orange with food coloring. Then use a toothpick to make markings where the pumpkin indents. Then take a small piece of green fondant (tint white fondant with green coloring) and roll it around your toothpick. Then plop the rolled green fondant onto the pumpkin base to complete your pumpkin.caramel pumpkin cake tutorialOutside of this cake, it’s been a while since I posted! I’ve been doing my clinical rotations as a third year medical student. Rotations have been great, and I love being able to for the first time take care of patients in the hospital in addition to reading about patients in the book and thinking about their disease theoretically. There are so many interesting people in the world, and talking to patients feels like getting a super condensed version of someone’s life.

caramel pumpkin cake

While on rotations, I recently had a cupcake that was brought in by one of the staff members who is a talented baker. She had made panda-shaped cupcakes complete with ears, eye, and a nose. The cupcake was delightfully cute and perfectly fluffy all at once. I was in cupcake perfection and the more cupcake I ate the more I wished to bake cake again after not having made a cake for a long time. And that is how this cake came to be :)

Caramel Pumpkin Cake
Moist delicious pumpkin caramel cake
Recipe type: Dessert
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup canola oil
  • 3 eggs or 3 Ener-G equivalents of egg
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour, unbleached
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 can (15 oz) solid-packed pumpkin pure
  • ¾ cup Earth Balance vegan margarine
  • 1½ cup dark brown sugar
  • ¼ and ⅛ cup soy milk
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 4½ cups powdered sugar
  • 4 tablespoons soy milk
  • ½ cup vegan chocolate chips
  • ½ cup coconut cream (not milk)
  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Mix sugar, oil with a whisk.
  2. Make Ener-G egg equivalents according to package instructions (mix with water). Alternatively, set aside 3 eggs. Add eggs to sugar/oil mixture.
  3. Sift flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, pumpkin spice together.
  4. Add egg/sugar/oil mixture to the dry mixture in the previous step, mixing in between. Alternate the dry and egg mixture to achieve even mixing.
  5. Cut 6 inch parchment squares and place into three greased (I use Earth Balance and smear over the sides) 6 inch aluminum cake pans.
  6. Pour batter into the pans, about ½ full each. Bake 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.
  7. Remove from pan and let cool on cooling rack completely.
  1. Melt vegan margarine in a pot on the stove, and mix in sugar, soymilk, salt.
  2. Bring to gentle rolling boil for 3-4 minutes.
  3. Remove from heat, stir in vanilla, and let cool for 15-20 minutes. The mixture will thicken.
  4. Add powdered sugar in 1 cup at a time, mixing in between with the electric mixture. Add non-dairy milk one tablespoon at a time, to make the frosting creamier as you mix. I added about 4 tablespoons total.
  1. Heat ½ cup of coconut cream on a small sauce pan until a gentle boil for 3 minutes.
  2. Pour over ½ cup of vegan chocolate chips in a separate bowl. Cover and let steep for 10 minutes.
  3. Mix gently with a whisk starting from the center to the outside of the bowl, until homogenous and a dark chocolaty color. Let sit for 15 minutes to cool before pouring onto cake.
  1. Level each cake layer, cutting off the rounded tops (these make yummy snacks).
  2. Add frosting to cake board and place first layer of cake on top of board. Add frosting to the cake top, and add second layer of cake, repeat for the third and last layer.
  3. Crumb coat the cake and put in the fridge for 15 min to cool and seal in crumbs. Finish frosting the cake.
  4. Pour chocolate ganache over cake, and use an off-set spatula to push some over the edge to create a flowing effect down the sides.
  5. Add fondant pumpkin and some gold stars for decoration.


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{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Beeta @ Mon Petit Four October 13, 2015 at 8:53 pm

This looks so great, Sarah! And it couldn’t have come at a better time! My vegan cousin is coming into town in a couple of weeks and I wanted to make her a vegan-friendly dessert that fit the season…this is it! Can’t wait to make this, thank you!


2 Sarah October 25, 2015 at 10:10 pm

Hi Beeta! I hope your cousin enjoys this cake!! 😀


3 Grace October 21, 2015 at 9:31 pm

Such a beautiful cake! The gold star sprinkles and fondant pumpkin are too adorable to eat. I love this time of year when every blog seems to burst at the seams with pumpkin recipes.


4 Sarah October 25, 2015 at 10:09 pm

Thanks Grace! 😀 Fall till the Winter holiday time is one of my favorite seasons!


5 Natalie @ Obsessive Cooking Disorder October 22, 2015 at 7:26 am

Yumm, this looks amazing and glad to see you baking again. Love that tiny pumpkin fondant – too adorable


6 Sarah October 25, 2015 at 10:09 pm

Thanks! I like the fondant pumpkin too – reminds of how much I like playing with fondant :)


7 Sonali- The Foodie Physician October 27, 2015 at 9:13 pm

Another stunner Sarah! That fondant pumpkin is adorable :)


8 Sarah October 29, 2015 at 11:37 pm

Thank you!


9 Lynn | The Road to Honey November 21, 2015 at 6:20 pm

Oh Sarah. This is the cutest little pumpkin cake. I absolutely adore the cloak of ganache. The way it hugs the cake makes it all the more dreamy. And that adorable fondant pumpkin. I’ve never worked with fondant before. . .but you have me wanting to try my hand at it.


10 Sarah December 15, 2015 at 3:45 am

Thanks Lynn! Fondant is very fun, like silly putty :)


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