This pumpkin toffee crunch cake is like a mouth full of fall. Not only is this cake super moist with tons of pumpkin flavor, but it’s got bits of crunchy, buttery toffee throughout it, then it’s covered in a delicious cinnamon cream cheese buttercream.
This has got to be one of my favorite fall cakes. I’m a huge fan of pumpkin bread and this just takes that over the top. Plus the cinnamon cream cheese buttercream is amazing on it.
Hey there! Before you scroll, there’s lot’s of important stuff in the post!…including the FAQ section, which may answer any questions you might have about this recipe. Enjoy!
Now, if you’re not a fan of pumpkin, I’m not gonna try to convince you that you MUST try this out. Ok, that’s not true…I AM gonna try to convince you and here’s why:
A lot of people say they won’t like pumpkin cake because they don’t like pumpkin pie. Well, I don’t like pumpkin pie either, but this cake is nothing like that.
I had two people try it out who said to me that they didn’t like pumpkin because they didn’t like pumpkin pie, but both those people loved this cake.
So, I’m just sayin’ try it out…even if you’re not a fan of pumpkin pie. You might surprise yourself.
Personally, I have my cake flavor favorites (vanilla) and honestly, I never thought that a pumpkin cake would be at the very top of that list…until I made this one.
It’s just so super moist and full of flavor. It’s the absolute perfect cake for fall.
(Let’s talk a little about just some of the ingredients in this cake. The entire ingredient list will be in the recipe card lower down in the post.)
All-purpose flour: You’ll just use regular all-purpose flour for this one, so there’s no need to go out and buy a special flour.
Pumpkin pie spice: This is a mixture of several spices (cinnamon, ginger, cloves and nutmeg). If you don’t have pumpkin pie spice, I’ll give you another option in the recipe card below.
Light brown sugar: This really gives the flavor a boost and depth.
Canned pumpkin: You don’t have to use canned pumpkin, but it does make things easier. You can always use fresh pumpkin if you like that better.
Vanilla bean paste: This stuff is so good and it’s a little extra, so if you just have plain vanilla extract, that’s okay too.
Chopped toffee bits: You can buy this in the baking aisle of most grocery stores. You don’t have to use this, but it does add some good buttery flavor to your cake.
(We’ll get into all the steps in the recipe card below.)
The mixing method for this cake is really straight-forward as well. No alternating ingredients on this one. You’ll just add your dry ingredients to one bowl, liquid in the other bowl and mix. Simple, right?
This cake really is very simple to mix up. So simple in fact, that you could even use a wooden spoon to mix it if you wanted to.
Tips and FAQ’s:
You really don’t want to go substituting or attempting to lessen some of the ingredients with this one, because you may not get the same results.
If you don’t have pumpkin pie spice, don’t worry. Instead of 2 teaspoons of pumpkin pie spice, you can instead use 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon, ½ teaspoon ground ginger, ¼ teaspoon of ground cloves and ¼ teaspoon of ground nutmeg.
Either is fine, but I used light brown. Also, make sure when you measure brown sugar that you pack it into the cup.
Yes, you can use vanilla extract in place of vanilla bean paste. Just use the same amount.
No, but it really gives the cake added flavor and a buttery hint to it.
I used toffee bits. You can usually find the chopped toffee bits on the baking aisle over by the chocolate chips. I used Heath Bits O’ Brickle.
You don’t want to microwave them to warm them up though as that will heat them unevenly and most likely cause them to be too warm.
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Now let’s get to the recipe.
***I write recipes using volume (cups) measurements because here in the U.S., this is what people are used to seeing and using. For weight in metric measurements, click the ‘metric’ button under the ingredients in the recipe card. The weights are converted by a program, not me, and it’s a best guess. Please note that because I develop recipes using ‘cups’ I can’t guarantee that weighing the ingredients will produce the exact same results.
Pumpkin Toffee Crunch Cake with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Buttercream
For the cake:
- 2 ¾ cups all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (If you don’t have pumpkin pie spice, you can substitute with: 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon,½ teaspoon ground ginger, ¼ teaspoon cloves and ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg.)
- 1 cup packed light brown sugar
- ⅔ cup regular sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 1 cup oil (vegetable or canola oil)
- 1 15 oz can solid pack pumpkin
- 2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste (or vanilla extract)
- 1 cup chopped toffee bits (I used Heath Bits O’ Brickle)
For the buttercream:
- 1 ½ cups unsalted butter (room temperature)
- 1 8 oz. pkg. cream cheese (room temperature)
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste (or extract)
- 7 cups confectioners sugar
- ½ tablespoon milk or cream (can use more if needed to reach the correct consistency)
- 1 cup chopped toffee bits for sprinkling (just use the rest that’s leftover in the bag.)
For the cake:
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Grease and flour two, 8 inch round pans.
- Mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices in a large bowl. Whisk well and set aside.
- In another bowl, mix together the brown sugar, regular sugar, eggs, oil, pumpkin and vanilla extract. Whisk well.
- Pour the liquid mixture into the dry mixture and mix on medium until combined. An electric mixer can be used or a wooden spoon to mix the batter. Only mix until all the ingredients are well incorporated. Don't over-mix the cake batter or the cake will turn out dense.
- Stir in the chopped toffee bits.
- Spread the batter into the pans.
- Bake at 350 for 40-45 min
- Cool cake layers in their pans, on a cooling rack, for about 15 minutes. Then turn out of the pans and directly onto the racks and cool completely before adding buttercream.
For the buttercream:
- In a bowl, add the butter and mix well with an electric mixer.
- Add the cream cheese and mix well on medium.
- Add in the salt, cinnamon, vanilla and three cups of confectioners sugar. Mix on medium.
- Add in the last four cups of confectioners sugar and a ½ tablespoon of milk and mix well on medium.
- Check the consistency. If it’s too thick, add in another ½ tablespoon of cream or milk and mix well.
Putting the cake together:
- Add a cake layer to your cake board or cake plate.
- Cover that layer with buttercream.
- Sprinkle toffee bits over the buttercream.
- Set the next layer of cake over the previous layer and cover the entire cake with the buttercream.
- Sprinkle the top with any remaining toffee bits.
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I am a new subscriber and I am loving all the recipe s I have tried.Looking forward to your next delish dessert!
Hi Gloria! Glad to have you as a subscriber and I’m so glad you’re enjoying the recipes! 🙂
I usually only have skim milk or 1% milk. Does it call for a fattier milk?
This one doesn’t call for milk, so you should be good.
Oh my goodness Kara! Made this cake this weekend and it is absolutely to die for! So moist and delicious! The buttercream is heavenly! I could not find the toffee bits so I used Symphony bars chopped up, however I actually forgot to mix it into my batter until the cakes were already baking! I sprinkled the pieces on top of the cake after frosting. This will be a new fall recipe for me. I’ve slowly been working my way through several of your recipes and my family and I have simply loved every single one so far! Your recipes are delicious and easy to follow. Thank you so much for being my new trusted source for cake recipes! This is truly a one stop shop for everything you need to know about caking! Thank you, thank you, thank you!!
PS…I love your Quick & Easy Baking website too!!
PSS…Prayers for your vision issues to be resolved
Amanda, thanks so much for that wonderful review! I’m so glad you loved this one. It’s really one of my favorites. I’m really happy you’re finding lots of recipes to try here! Oh and thanks so much for your kind words about my other site and my vision. I can use all the positive vibes I can get. Thanks again for the great review!
I haven’t made the recipe yet- but I loved your email! I would kill for the coveted Hollywood handshake! The cake looks delicious- I’m hoping to try it out before the season is over ?
Yes, I know right! I think I would just pass out if I got the handshake. lol! Let me know what you think when you try the cake out! 🙂
This cake looks amazing- can’t wait to try it. What are are thoughts on making cupcakes instead of 8” rounds??
Hi Jennifer, I haven’t tried it as cupcakes yet, but I’m thinking it should work just fine. If you try it, let me know how it goes!
The pumpkin toffee cake was amazing. Was a big hit at Thanksgiving dinner.
Hi Anthony…that’s great! I’m so glad it was a hit and everyone liked it! Thanks so much for letting me know. 🙂
Hi there, wondering if the toffee bits in the cake keep their crunch, or if they kind of melt into the cake
Most of them melt, but some actually live through the baking. 🙂 I feel like it gives the cake good flavor though. I do think it’s good to add some toffee bits when you’re putting the cake together though…in the middle of the cake and on top. That gives it added crunch.
So I’m not too good at layer cakes. Would there be any change of ingredients if I just went with making a 9×13 cake instead of a layer cake?
Hi Christy, no change in the ingredients needed. It should be just fine as a 9×13 inch cake. Start watching the cake for doneness at about 35 minutes. I think it should take about the same amount of time as the layers, but just to be on the safe side.
I love this recipe. I’m wondering if the cake can be baked and frozen, the. Taken out and frosted after a week?
Oh yes, that should totally be fine. I try to wrap mine with plastic wrap (or press-n-seal wrap), then in foil. That helps prevent freezer burn. Oh and I’m so glad you love the cake!
I made this cake over the weekend & am sharing it with coworkers. It’s delicious made just the way the recipe is written, BUT if you love toffee … add more between the layers & on top! I think it would be good with the chocolate covered toffee bits too! TY for the yummy recipe!
Hi Sheila, so glad you liked this one! Thank you for the wonderful review. 🙂 And I always add extra toffee to mine too! 😉
I could only find the chocolate covered toffee bits. Will they be ok in the cake itself or do you think I should just put them in the middle frosting layer?
Laura, I think that should be just fine. I don’t think there’s a ton of chocolate on them, so I don’t think it would change the flavor a ton.
I wish you would have put in the recipe to cut the top off the cakes before layering. I’m sure this is a given to some, but I didn’t know any my cake didn’t stack well.
Thanks, Holly, that is a good tip for me to add. 🙂
Can’t wait to me this recipe! Can make a Bundt cake instead of a layered cake?
Hi Missy. I think this would be fine in a bundt cake pan. I haven’t tried it myself, but I think it’ll work. Make sure to grease and flour the pan really well or it’ll stick. I’d also bake it at 325 degrees F instead of 350 degrees. It’ll take a bit longer to bake…start checking at about 45-50 minutes, but I think it’ll take longer.