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Brown Butter Pumpkin Cake with Caramel Frosting & Toffee

Brown Butter Pumpkin Cake with Salted Caramel Frosting and Toffee

This cake is 3 layers of fluffy, moist brown butter pumpkin cake that's slathered in the most luxurious salted caramel frosted and filled with pieces of buttery, crunchy homemade toffee.
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword butter cake, dessert, pumpkin cake
Prep Time 2 hours
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 35 minutes
Calories 450kcal


  • ½ cup unsalted butter cubed
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ¼ tsp sea salt
  • ¼ tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 large eggs, separated and room temp
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon powder
  • 1 tsp ginger powder
  • ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
  • tsp ground allspice
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 15 oz pumpkin puree
  • 1 ½ cup unsalted butter at room temp
  • 2 cup confectioner's sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp heavy cream
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 3 tbsp butter cubed
  • 1 ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ cup heavy cream, room temp


First to make the toffee:

  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • In a heavy bottomed sauce pan, combine the sugar and butter.
  • Cook on medium heat, mixing continuously, until the sugar is an almond brown color, about 10 minutes.
  • Remove the pan from the heat and add the salt and vanilla extract. Mix until combined.
  • Pour the toffee on the prepared sheet, and allow it to cool until brittle. (about an hour)

While the Toffee Cools, Make the Cake:

  • Make the brown butter by placing the butter in a heavy-bottom saucepan over medium heat.
  • Once the butter melts, continue to cook it over medium heat, occasionally swirling it. It will foam then it will crackle and pop. At this point, the water is being cooked out. Once the popping and crackling stops, this is when the milk solids will begin to brown and cook. Keep a close eye on it so that it doesn't burn. It is cooked once it's a light brown.
  • Immediately pour the browned butter into a bowl, and scrape out the browned milk solids that are in the pan as well.
  • Place the browned butter aside to cool while assembling the rest of the cake.
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F
  • Line the bottoms with parchment paper and grease 3, 6-inch round pans.
  • In a medium bowl, sift the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and allspice. Set aside.
  • In the bowl of a mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form.
  • Place the egg whites in a bowl and set aside.
  • In the bowl of a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine the cooled brown butter, sugar, and eggs. Beat on medium-low until just combined (1 or 2 minutes).
  • Slowly add in the dry ingredients. Mix until just combined.
  • Mix in the pumpkin puree and fold in the beaten egg whites.
  • Divide the cake batter evenly between the three pans.
  • Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with moist crumbs attached.
  • Place the cake pans on a cooling rack and allow the cakes to cool in the pans for about 15 minutes.
  • Turn the cakes out on to the cooling racks and allow them to cool completely.

While the Cakes are Baking Make the Salted Caramel:

  • Place the sugar in a medium-heavy-bottom pan. Cook over medium heat.
  • Once the sugar at the edges of the pan starts to turn dark amber, use a heatproof spatula to drag the cooked sugar to the center of the pan. There's no need to continually mix.
  • Allow all of the sugar to reach a deep, amber color. Watch the caramel carefully because it can easy turn from being a deep amber to being burnt!
  • Once the sugar is a deep enough color, remove from heat and add the butter, and stir until melted.
  • Then carefully add the salt and cream. At this point, the caramel will bubble vigorously, and it will be extremely hot. Please add the cream with caution.
  • Whisk the mixture until smooth.
  • Transfer the caramel to a bowl and allow it to cool until it's a thick consistency.

For the Salted Caramel Frosting:

  • In the bowl of a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the sugar until fluffy (about 1-2 minutes)
  • Add the confectioners' sugar. Beat until fluffy.
  • Add the vanilla and salt. Beat until just combined.
  • Add ¾ of the cooled, thickened salted caramel. (Reserve the rest to decorate the cake)Mix until just combined.
  • Add the cream and beat until fluffy.

To Assemble the Cake:

  • Crush the toffee into small pieces.
  • Level the cooled cakes.
  • Fill the cakes with a scant ¼ cup of frosting followed by a sprinkling of toffee.
  • Place the cake in the refrigerator to chill for 10 to 20 minutes.
  • Cover the entire cake with a thin layer of frosting to lock in the crumbs. Place the crumb coated cake in the refrigerator for 15 to 20 min.
  • Frost the entire cake with a final layer of salted caramel frosting. Place the cake back into the refrigerator for an additional 20 min. (You want the frosting to be very solid and cold before pouring over the salted caramel.)
  • Warm the reserved salted caramel until just runny (I placed it in the microwave for 7 seconds.).
  • Pour the salted caramel over the top of the cake. Using an offset spatula, spread the salted caramel in an even layer over the top of the cake, allowing it to run over the edges of the cake.
  • Pipe small dollops of salted caramel frosting on top of the salted caramel.
  • Take a shard of the toffee and place it in each of the frosting dollops.


Calories: 450kcal | Carbohydrates: 4g | Protein: 30g | Fat: 30g | Saturated Fat: 200g | Cholesterol: 200mg | Sodium: 300mg | Potassium: 264mg | Fiber: 20g | Sugar: 65g | Vitamin A: 300IU | Vitamin C: 18mg | Calcium: 205mg | Iron: 23mg