Sugar & Spice Delight Cake
6 layers of moist pumpkin & ginger cake smothered in buttery cinnamon sugar and filled with vanilla bean whipped cream and frosted in Cinnabon-style cream cheese vanilla frosting.
For the Pumpkin Ginger Cake:
  • 2 cups 400 g sugar
  • 4 large eggs at room temperature
  • 1-1/4 cups 315 ml sunflower oil (or vegetable, safflower, canola oil)
  • 1-1/2 cups 360 ml pumpkin puree
  • 3 cups 345 g cake flour
  • 1 tablespoon 7 g ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons 8 g baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon 7 g salt
  • 1 teaspoon 3 g ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon 1.5 g ground ginger
  • 2 tablespoons 30 ml brandy or dark rum
  • 2 teaspoons 10 ml pure vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup 60 g chopped crystallized ginger
For the Cinnamon Sugar Spread Filling:
  • 1 cup 200 g sugar
  • 1/4 cup 30 g ground cinnamon (I love Vietnamese Cinnamon for its intensity)
  • 1/2 cup 115 g unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon 5 ml pure vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt
For the Vanilla Bean Whipped Cream Filling:
  • 3 tablespoons 45 ml cold water
  • 1 packet 1 tablespoon unflavoured gelatin (such as Knox brand)
  • 2 3/4 cups 660 ml whipping cream (35-37% fat), cold, divided
  • 1/2 cup 65 g confectioners' sugar
  • 1 teaspoon 5 ml vanilla bean paste, or pure vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt
For the Fluffy Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting:
  • 1 package 250 g cream cheese, softened 30 mins
  • 1 cup 227 g unsalted butter, softened 30 mins
  • 4 cups 500 g confectioners' sugar, sifted
  • 2 teaspoon 5 ml clear vanilla extract (or pure vanilla extract)
  • 1/8 teaspoon orange flavor oil or 1/4 teaspoon orange extract, if possible
For the Pumpkin Ginger Cake:
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease three 8-inch round cake pans, dust with flour, tap out excess and set aside.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the sugar and eggs together on medium-high speed (I use #6 on KitchenAid) until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the oil and beat on medium until combined. Add the pumpkin puree and mix until combined.
  3. Sift dry ingredients together (cake flour, cinnamon, baking powder, salt, nutmeg and ground ginger) and then add to pumpkin/egg mixture.
  4. Mix in brandy/dark rum (I used dark rum) and vanilla. Gently stir in crystallized ginger.
  5. Evenly distribute batter into the prepared pans (weigh them if possible with digital kitchen scale for 560 g per pan), smooth with a small offset palette knife and place in the center of the middle rack of the oven, about 2 inches apart. (Depending on your oven, you will likely need to bake 2 pans, followed by the third.) Bake until a knife or skewer inserted into the center comes out clean, about 25 minutes.
  6. Let pans cool on a wire rack 10 minutes. Invert cakes onto rack and cool them completely.
  7. For the Cinnamon Sugar Spread Filling:
  8. In a medium bowl, combine sugar and cinnamon. Stir in the melted butter, vanilla and salt.
For the Vanilla Bean Whipped Cream Filling:
  1. In a small stainless steel bowl, place the cold water and sprinkle with the gelatin. Let sit for at least 10 minutes. In a small saucepan, bring 1/2 cup of the cream just to a simmer, then stir into the gelatin mixture until the gelatin has dissolved. Refrigerate, stirring frequently, until cool but not set, about 8 minutes. (Be careful to keep your eye on it, or you'll end up with Panna Cotta!)
  2. In a chilled stainless steel mixer bowl with a chilled whisk attachment, beat the remaining whipping cream until it thickens just slightly, and then add the confectioners' sugar, vanilla bean paste and salt until very soft peaks begin to form, about 1 minute. Very gradually add the gelatin mixture and continue beating until medium-firm peaks form (should be thick enough to spread, but not spongy). Keep covered and chilled until ready to use.
For the Fluffy Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting:
  1. In an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, blend the cream cheese and butter for 6 minutes on low speed (#2 on KitchenAid Mixer).
  2. Add 2 cups (250 g) of the confectioners' sugar and mix for 1 minute on low speed. Add the remaining icing sugar and mix for an additional 2 minutes. Add the flavors and mix for 1 minute on medium-high speed.
  3. Transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate.
Assembly of the Sugar & Spice Delight Cake:
  1. Chill cake layers until cold and firm. Slice all three cake layers in half horizontally, so you have 6 cake layers total.
  2. Smear a small dollop of the frosting on the plate, pedestal or cake board, and place your first layer cut side up (so bottom of the cake layer is touching plate), and spread 1/5th of the Cinnamon Sugar Spread Filling on the layer, followed by ~3/4 cup of Vanilla Bean Whipped Cream Filling with a small offset palette knife, leaving 1" or so around the edge.
  3. Repeat previous step until you get to the final cake layer. Place last layer face down, wrap tightly with plastic wrap and chill cake for at least 30-40 minutes to set.
  4. Frost entire cake with a thin "coat" of Fluffy Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting and chill until firm, about 30 minutes. Repeat frosting, using a turntable and palette knife to create texture (as in photo)--use one hand to turn the turntable and hold the palette knife in the other hand. Keep palette knife in place and let the turntable do the moving. Top with dollops of the remaining Vanilla Bean Whipped Cream Filling. Sprinkle with cinnamon and white sugar. Chill cake to set.
  5. Finished cake can be kept at room temperature for up to 8 hours. Keep refrigerated if longer than 8 hours, but serve at room temperature (although it does taste very good cold!.