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Spiced Pumpkin Ginger Cake with Caramelized Pears

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Spiced Pumpkin Ginger Cake with Caramelized Pears

Spiced Pumpkin Ginger Cake with Caramelized Pears
New Media Publishing
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total prep
This towering cake is visually impressive, but it's the heady autumnal combination of pumpkin, cream cheese frosting, and caramelized pears that will have your guests raving.


  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ginger powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon madras curry powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 2/3 cup buttermilk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened, plus additional for buttering pans
  • 1 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped crystallized ginger
  • 5 Bosc pears, (about 2 pounds), peeled, cored and coarsely chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons dark rum
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 8 ounces cream cheese
  • 1/2 stick (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
  • 3 tablespoons pumpkin puree
  • 1 tablespoon dark rum
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 4 cups confectioners sugar
  • Equipment: 3 (8-inch) square or round non-stick baking pans; a small offset spatula


  • Put racks in middle and lower third positions and preheat oven to 350F.
    Butter baking pans, then chill pans until butter is firm. Dust pans with flour, then invert and tap pans to rid excess flour. Refrigerate until ready to use.
  • Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, curry, clove, and salt into a bowl and reserve.
  • Whisk together pumpkin, buttermilk, and vanilla in another bowl and reserve.
  • Beat butter, brown sugar, and white sugar in a large bowl with a hand-held or stand mixer until smooth and creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition, until just incorporated.
  • At a lower speed, add one-third of flour mixture, alternating with half of buttermilk mixture and ending with flour mixture, mixing until smooth after each addition. Stir in crystallized ginger.
  • Divide batter evenly between the 3 prepared pans. Smooth top of batter with a small offset spatula. Tap cake pans gently on work surface to eliminate air bubbles. Bake cakes, rotating pans half way through baking, until a skewer inserted in center of cake comes out clean, 30 to 35 minutes.
  • Let cakes cool in pans, on a rack, 30 minutes. Invert cakes on to racks and let cool completely, 30 minutes more.
    While cakes cool, saute pears in butter until just beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Add rum, sugar, lemon juice, and salt and cook over high heat until pears are tender and juices are deep golden brown, 5 to 8 minutes. Reserve.
    Beat cream cheese, softened butter, pumpkin, rum, lemon juice, lemon zest, and vanilla in a bowl with a hand-held or stand mixer until smooth. Add confectioners sugar, cup by cup, continuously beating, until frosting is smooth and creamy, about 5 minutes.