This Cinnamon Swirl Pumpkin Pound Cake is the ultimate fall dessert! Moist and flavorful, it has a rich cinnamon swirl, a delicious brown sugar frosting, and gorgeous chocolate leaves!
Things have been a little quiet around here lately. I’ve been working on an exciting non-SugarHero project that I get to talk about soon, and it turns out there is just not enough Liz to go around. During this unintended hiatus, it’s been killing me to not be able to post all the fall/Halloween desserts I’ve had planned. Pretty soon the season for disgusting desserts will be over and I won’t have posted a single moldy tart or eyeball-filled recipe! At least I’m here now, fulfilling my contractual obligations as a blogger to flood the internet with pumpkin recipes during the great month of Pumptober.
To try and get a little more pumpkin out into the world, I give you this Cinnamon Swirl Pumpkin Pound Cake. I already have a recipe for pumpkin bundt cakes on the site, but those are a little different, with more of a traditional pumpkin cake texture, plus a different flavor from brown butter. This cake is more closely related to a pound cake in texture, but with a cinnamon-pumpkin flavor.
To spice things up further (see what I did there?) It has a thick cinnamon swirl running through it, and a brown sugar frosting that just might be my FAVORITE FROSTING EVER. I know I say that about once a month (ummmm it’s possible I eat entirely too much frosting….) but I might really mean it this time. It’s fudgy and thick and richer than Trump, and forms the most irresistible crackling crust that is so dreamy on top of the soft cake.
Oh, those edible decorations on top? Just a little something I whipped up with some candy coating, luster dust, and leaves from my yard. I did them in 10 minutes in between looking for my neighbor’s lost cat in our backyard. That is not a brag (well, not much of one) but it is meant to illustrate how easy these chocolate leaves are! I have a tutorial over on About.com Candy if you want to make some chocolate leaf magic yourself.
This might sound strange, but I’m experiencing a real autumn for the first time, maybe ever. In Southern California, Octobers were always unbearably hot and muggy, so it’s strange but wonderful to live somewhere where things like “crisp falling leaves” and “brisk winds” and “chilly temperatures” are more than just urban legends. My scarves and I are having a love affair with October, and this cake is really the perfect accompaniment. It just tastes like a big mouthful of fall, and I could not be happier about it.
Cinnamon Swirl Pumpkin Pound Cake
For the Cinnamon Swirl:
- 2 oz toasted pecans (1/2 cup)
- 2 tbsp granulated sugar
- 1 tsp cinnamon
For the Pumpkin Pound Cake:
- 15 oz canned pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
- 4 oz buttermilk (1/2 cup)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 10.12 oz all-purpose flour (2 1/4 cups)
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp ginger
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp allspice
- 6 oz unsalted butter at room temperature (3/4 cup)
- 5.25 oz granulated sugar (3/4 cup)
- 3.75 oz brown sugar (1/2 cup)
- 3 large eggs at room temperature
For the Brown Sugar Frosting:
- 2.5 oz unsalted butter (5 tbsp)
- 3.5 oz brown sugar packed (1/2 cup)
- 1.5 oz heavy cream (3 tbsp)
- 6 oz powdered sugar (1 1/2 cups)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- pinch salt
To Make the Pumpkin Pound Cake:
- Preheat the oven to 350 F. Generously grease a bundt pan and dust it with flour, then tap out the excess flour.
- Combine the ingredients for the cinnamon swirl in a food processor and process them until they're in fine crumbs. Set aside for now.
- Whisk together the pumpkin, buttermilk, and vanilla in a small bowl, and in a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices.
- Combine the butter and both sugars in the bowl of a large mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Beat on medium-medium high speed until light and fluffy, for about 3-5 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Turn the mixer speed to low and add a third of the flour, then when that's almost mixed in, add half of the pumpkin mixture. Continue to alternate adding wets and drys, ending with the dry ingredients. When just a few streaks of flour remain, turn the mixer off and finish mixing by hand, scraping down the bottom and sides with a rubber spatula.
- Spoon about a third of the batter into the bundt pan and smooth it out. Add half of the cinnamon swirl mix, then top with more batter. Add the rest of the cinnamon mix, and finish by spreading the rest of the batter on top. Bake the cake for about 45 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
- Cool the cake on a rack for 15 minutes, then invert it out of the pan and cool completely before frosting.
To Make the Brown Sugar Frosting:
- Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the brown sugar and cook, stirring, until the sugar melts. It might look separated, but that's okay. Stir in the cream, and it should all come together. Bring the mixture to a boil, then pour it into a mixing bowl fitted with a paddle attachment to cool for 10 minutes.
- After 10 minutes, add the powdered sugar, vanilla, and salt. Beat well on medium speed for 30-45 seconds, until there are no lumps of sugar and the frosting is satiny and smooth. If the mixture appears too thin, add more confectioners' sugar, if it's too thick, add a spoonful of hot water. Be aware that it sets up QUICKLY, so as soon as you're finished mixing it, pour it over the cake while it's still warm. Know that it's hard to go back and correct mistakes because it starts setting and crusting soon after being poured, so one option is to put it in a large Ziploc bag and cut off a corner. Pipe the frosting over the top so it drips down where you want it to. Add any toppings or decorations before the frosting crusts over.