Cake, Pumpkin

Brown Butter Cake & Pumpkin Spiced Buttercream

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We’re keeping it simple & fun this week! This recipe is an easy Brown Butter Cake & Pumpkin Spiced Buttercream! We took a classic vanilla cake and added brown butter, and topped it off with a creamy and richly spiced buttercream. Believe us when we tell you, this buttercream is every bit of sweet and fall that you could ask for. We have the best tips to achieving the perfect buttercream for any cake or cupcake!

Another favorite pumpkin-based recipe is our Pumpkin Spiced Latte Cupcakes

Brown Butter cake

Pumpkin Spiced Buttercream

I’ve come to enjoy making buttercream because there are so many flavors to explore. Whether it’s lemon based, orange based, coconut based, or chocolate based–buttercream can always be fun and exciting! Don’t let the task of making buttercream take you out of your baking zone. Although it can be very tricky, and quite complex to make, I’ve settled on some key tips to making the perfect buttercream:

  • Beat the butter first until it becomes fluffy, then add powdered sugar in small chunks.
    • using softened butter is best
  • Use milk or heavy cream
    • heavy cream will help you get that thick, creamy texture, while milk will give you a fluffier texture.
    • add your milk or cream slowly. you can always add more, but you can never take the milk out.
  • Add vanilla extract (or any other flavored extract)
    • this brings extra flavors and added sweetness to your buttercream
  • Cover the bowl with a towel while mixing
    • there are many times I’ve had powdered sugar flying everywhere when adding it to the mixer because it wasn’t covered
  • The spatula test!
    • this is a quick way to confirm that your frosting is the perfect consistency
    • press a spatula into your frosting and pull it up.
    • the frosting should be a stiff peak with a slight curl on the end
    • if it’s too stiff add more milk, if it’s too thin, add more powdered sugar (1/3 cup at a time)

And that’s it! There’s nothing more satisfying than putting buttercream into a piping bag or an offset spatula and letting your creative mind flow when you’re decorating.

Brown Butter Tips

This is not your typical vanilla cake. It has a brown butter base, which instantly give s the cake an amazing, nutty taste! Brown butter cakes have a tender crumb and are filled with so much flavor. Here are a few of our tips to ensure you get the best brown butter:

  1. Add the butter to a light colored pan over high heat. 
    1. Having a light colored pan will help you see the butter clearly! You’ll know when it goes from bright yellow, to a darker yellow, and finally settling to brown.  
  2. Once the butter fully melts, reduce the heat to medium. 
    1. Melting the butter on high gets you jumpstarted on the process. As soon as the entire block of butter has melted, quickly reduce the heat to medium. This heat change will give you control of the browning process.
  3. Constantly stir the butter in a clockwise (or counterclockwise) direction.
    1. Stirring ensures even cooking time and prevents burning. 
  4. Once the butter starts to darken, immediately remove the pot from the stove. 
    1. Don’t wait for the butter to get very dark! As soon as you see brown specs appear, you’re good to go! There’s only a few seconds between having great brown butter and getting burnt butter. 
  5. Pour the browned butter into a heat-safe glass dish and let it cool to room temperature. 
    1. Even if it’s off the stove, the butter can still burn in the pot! I use Pyrex or any clear glass dish that can handle high heat. It’ll help the butter cool to room temperature. 

Check out some of our popular brown butter desserts: Gluten Free Brown Butter Maple Chocolate Chip Cookies + Gluten Free Coffee Cake.

Pumpkin Spiced Buttercream


We used pumpkin puree and pumpkin spice for this rich buttercream! These are 2 of the 3 ways to incorporate amazing pumpkin flavors into your desserts:

  1. Pumpkin Puree
    1. Pumpkin puree is probably the most common way to include 
  2. Pumpkin Spice
    1. Pumpkin pie spice is very similar to chai spice, and if we’re really honest, I sprinkle this spice into my other desserts throughout the year, not only during the fall. It’s just so good. It’s the fastest way to get a spicy pumpkin flavor without overpowering the extracts in the dessert. You can use it in scones, muffins, cakes, pretzels, and even bagels! 
  3. Pumpkin Extract
    1. Pumpkin Extract is exactly like vanilla extract. If you don’t have pumpkin puree or pumpkin spice, this still gets the job done! 

Now that you’re a brown butter, pumpkin, & buttercream expert, let’s get to baking!

Brown Butter Cake with Pumpkin Spiced Buttercream

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Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes


Brown Butter Cake

  • ¾ cup all purpose flour
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ cup brown butter
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • cup greek yogurt
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Pumpkin Spiced Buttercream

  • ½ cup butter softened
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 tbsp pumpkin puree
  • 1 tsp milk
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp pumpkin spice


Brown Butter Cake

  • Preheat oven to 350°F.
  • Grease down a 6-inch cake pan and line with parchment paper. Set aside
  • In a small bowl combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together. 
  • In a large bowl cream brown butter and sugar together. Add an egg and mix on medium until egg is incorporated. Add greek yogurt and vanilla extract and mix. 
  • Add flour mixture into wet mix. Mix until all flour is absorbed and a thick batter forms. 
  • Fill pan ½ way with cake batter (you may have a bit left over, be sure not to overfill your pan). Bake for 30-32 minutes.*

Pumpkin Spiced Buttercream

  •  In a large bowl, beat softened butter for about 2-3 minutes on medium speed or until it's slightly fluffy. Add in powdered sugar (I did 1/3-1/2 cups at a time) and beat on medium speed. Add in milk + beat for an extra minute. 
  • Add pumpkin puree, pumpkin spice, and vanilla. Beat 2-3 minutes on medium speed until a smooth buttery consistency. Frost on a cooled cake + top with cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice! 


*To get a flat cake, we used Wilton Bake-Even Strips around our pan. Order them here
Keywords Cake, Pumpkin
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Checkout our Instagram for BTS video reels in making this Brown Butter Cake with Pumpkin Spiced Buttercream!

Was your favorite part the buttercream or the brown butter cake? Tell us in the comments!

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