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Prepare to impress: This decadent, over-the-top, and shockingly easy Pumpkin Spice Cake will make jaws drop everywhere. Three layers of unapologetically flavorful cake (there’s a full tablespoon of the season’s signature pumpkin pie spice in the batter), show-stopping meringue frosting, and rich and tangy cream cheese filling make this recipe the absolute best pumpkin recipe to make for fall. A drizzle of molasses in the batter gives it extra oomph, while a quick torch of the meringue frosting (optional, but good) develops even better flavor — think heavenly toasted marshmallow vibes.

How do you make pumpkin spice cake from scratch?

Despite its ridiculously ‘gram-gorgeous look, this pumpkin cake is easy to prepare in just a few straightforward steps.

First, you’ll make the cake batter using just two bowls and a mixer. Pour the spice-flecked batter into three 8-inch cake pans; these will be your layers.

Next, mix cream cheese, butter, and sugar together to create the simplest-ever cream cheese filling that makes this fall cake recipe even more luxurious and moist.

Finally, we’ll show you how to prepare the fluffy meringue frosting using a basic double-boiler method. Bonus: If you have a culinary torch, toasting the meringue gives it a deep, caramel-y depth of flavor. Just stack all the layers with the cream cheese filling, top with the sweet, airy meringue, and dip a fork into delicious, autumn-scented bliss.

YIELDS:

16

PREP TIME:

0 hours 40 mins

TOTAL TIME:

1 hour 20 mins

Ingredients

For the Cake

3 c. all-purpose flour

1 tbsp. pumpkin pie spice

2 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. salt

1 15-oz. can pure pumpkin

1/4 c. molasses (not blackstrap)

2 tsp. vanilla extract

1 3/4 c. granulated sugar

1 c. (2 sticks) butter, softened

4 large eggs

For the Cream Cheese Filling

2 8-oz. bricks cream cheese, softened

6 tbsp. butter, softened

1 c. confectioners' sugar

1/8 tsp. salt

For the Fluffy White Frosting

3 large egg whites, room temperature

1 c. granulated sugar

1/4 c. water

1 tsp. light corn syrup

1/4 tsp. cream of tartar

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Directions

Prepare Cake: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease three 8-inch cake pans. Line bottoms with parchment paper; grease paper. Dust pans with flour. In medium bowl, whisk flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In another medium bowl, stir pumpkin, molasses, and vanilla.

With mixer on medium speed, beat sugar and butter until well blended and creamy, scraping side of bowl as needed. With mixer on low speed, beat in eggs, one at a time. Add flour mixture and pumpkin mixture, alternating. Beat until smooth, scraping down side of bowl as needed. Divide batter evenly among prepared cake pans. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until toothpick inserted into centers comes out clean.

Cool on wire rack 10 minutes. Loosen sides of cake with offset spatula. Invert cakes onto wire rack; cool completely.

Prepare Cream Cheese Filling: With mixer on medium speed, beat cream cheese and butter until fluffy. Beat in confectioners' sugar and salt until blended.

Prepare Fluffy White Frosting: In 4-quart saucepan, heat 1-inch water to simmering on high. Reduce heat to medium. Place medium stainless steel bowl on top of pan. With hand mixer on high speed, beat egg whites, sugar, water, corn syrup and cream of tartar until soft peaks form and temperature reaches 160 degrees F on candy thermometer, about 5 to 7 minutes. Carefully remove bowl from pan. Continue beating another 5 to 10 minutes or until stiff peaks form.

Assemble Cake: Place 1 cake layer on cake plate; spread with half of Cream Cheese Filling. Repeat with second cake layer and remaining filling. Top with final cake layer. Spread Fluffy White Frosting over sides and top of cake. Toast frosting with culinary torch if desired.

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