During this week of hectic preparations for the “kickoff of the holiday season” holiday, I decided to take a break last night and make something sweet to follow-up a great throw-together dinner of roasted garlic chicken sausage with quick homemade sauce over whole wheat spaghetti. In all honestly, I have been neglecting my beloved Kitchenaid Mixer and haven’t yet had the opportunity to use it since Kyle installed an electrical outlet directly behind the mixer so that I wouldn’t have to drag it (for it’s too heavy to pick up) out from under the only spot on the counter where it would fit under the poorly-leveled upper cabinets all the way across to the closest outlet – nearly 4 feet away. I suppose his food-intuition (ie, man’s intuition as opposed to a women’s or mother’s intuition) told him that I would be bringing him home some fantastic cake that I had made earlier that day at my parent’s house because the outlet was finished and the counter was cleaned up by the time I came home – it was a complete surprise to me that he was planning to put this outlet in for me. This transaction suited us both perfectly.

So back to last night. I pulled this recipe off one of my new favorite website a few weeks ago and finally had some extra energy (and time) last night to make it. Kyle begged me to make cookie dough even though we didn’t have any chocolate chips in the pantry – he just wanted the raw dough to snack on – but I stood my ground and promised him that this would be a great recipe, only going on the hunch that it would be though because how bad could a Martha Stewart recipe be? I haven’t had a bad one yet…and this one keeps the streak alive. It turned out to be an amazing, mouth-watering, perfect fall-in-New-England pumpkin spice cake with a cream cheese frosting that will knock your socks off. It seriously was worth the wait and the agony of *watching* the cake cool down far enough so that I could frost and serve it.

I should note a couple of things here:

  1. As much as I was longing to try the honey cream cheese frosting, I omitted the honey because Kyle is allergic to it when it’s uncooked. BOO!! Nonetheless, I added about 1 tsp of vanilla and between 3/4 and 1 cup of powdered sugar in place of the honey to assure that the frosting would be sweet enough.
  2. I’ve had a terrible time as of late adding melted butter to recipes that have eggs. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve cooked the eggs in the wet mixture and had to start the recipe over. This time I decided to heavily soften the butter for the cake batter, but asked Kyle to do so in an effort to quicken the process since I was sifting the dry ingredients, cracking eggs, measuring sugar, etc. After he dumped his version of very soft butter into the bowl and I started mixing, hundreds of little tiny butter clumps arose, and I realized the butter wasn’t nearly soft enough (why do I trust anyone other than myself?!?). But I perservered and put the batter in the oven, butter clumps included. It still turned out perfectly but I admit that I was very nervous during those 40 long minutes in the oven.
  3. I learned the hard way that it’s necessary to adjust the oven temp when using dark pans. I baked this cake in a dark non-stick 9×9″ pan at 325 degrees F rather than 350 and it was done just right.
  4. And lastly, Martha’s recipe says that this cake yields 9 servings. One serving of 9 is a very rich serving, and the next time I make this recipe, I’ll cut the cake into 12 pieces instead of 9.

Pumpkin Spice Cake with Honey Frosting

source: Martha Stewart


  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted, plus more for pan
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon pumpkin-pie spice (or 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon, 3/4 teaspoon ginger, 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg, and 1/8 teaspoon each allspice and cloves)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 can (15 ounces) solid-pack pumpkin puree


  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, very soft
  • 1 bar (8 ounces) regular (or reduced-fat) cream cheese, very soft
  • 1/4 cup honey * I subbed 1 tsp pure vanilla extract and between 3/4 to 1 cup powdered sugar for the honey
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9-inch square baking pan.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk flour, baking soda, salt, and pumpkin-pie spice. In a large bowl, whisk eggs, sugar, butter, and pumpkin puree until combined. Add dry ingredients to pumpkin mixture, and mix gently until smooth.
  3. Turn batter into prepared pan, and smooth top. Bake until a toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out with just a few moist crumbs attached, 45 to 50 minutes. Cool cake 10 minutes in pan, then turn out of pan, and cool completely, right side up, on a rack.
  4. Make Honey Frosting: In a medium bowl, whisk butter, cream cheese, and honey until smooth.
  5. Spread top of cooled cake with honey frosting. Cut cake into squares to serve.

Prep time: 20 minutes

Cook time: 40-45 minutes

Yields: 9-12 squares

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Leave a Comment

  • Anonymous Eater
    November 21, 2007 at 12:48 AM

    This looks great and so does the sour cream cake! To prevent your eggs from cooking in hot butter you should temper them. That is, put a tbsp or so of the butter in with the eggs and mix to slowly bring up the temperature of the eggs. Do this 2 or 3 times and then you can add your egg/butter mixture to the remainder of the butter. Hope this helps!

  • sweetflutterbys3
    November 24, 2007 at 4:39 PM

    This looks so good! I think I’ll add it to my Christmas menu. Great blog, by the way!

  • Ben and Nikki
    November 28, 2007 at 1:41 AM

    Yummmy!! I’m glad you mentioned “cooking” your eggs. Now I know what those solid “egg-looking” clumps were in a recipe I tried months ago. I thought maybe the eggs cooked, but couldn’t figure out how. duh! 🙂