5 Delicious Thanksgiving Cakes


Nov 15

Pie may be the traditional go-to Thanksgiving dessert, but these five Thanksgiving-inspired cakes put a delicious spin on well-known flavors and textures that will have everyone questioning their old holiday traditions!

Thanksgiving’s New Dessert

I grew up learning to make pies from my mom and eating them with my family every Thanksgiving. We always had french apple pie, lemon meringue pie, and pumpkin pie, with the occasional french silk thrown in there. They were always delicious, but truth be told, pie never excited me.

Cake, on the other hand, now that excites me! And because I love cake so much, I decided a couple years ago that it was time to make some changes to our Thanksgiving menu and include CAKE! I’ve spent the last couple holiday seasons perfecting a handful of Thanksgiving inspired cakes I know you’ll love.

I’ve rounded up a few of my favorites that are perfect for this time of year and make the perfect “Thanksgiving cake”- first up:

SWEET POTATO CAKE

Sweet Potato Cake – sweet potato cake layers with toasted marshmallow filling, toasted pecan crunch and pecan buttercream.

TOASTED MARSHMALLOW FILLING

The marshmallow filling for this was a no-brainer. I am obsessed with the toasted marshmallow filling in my Ultimate S’mores Cake.

THE PECAN BUTTERCREAM

And you know me, I love a good crunch in my cakes. Similar to my Butternut Squash Cake, I added toasted pecans between layers. I also added the toasted pecans to the buttercream, in the form of a nut butter. You guys! I think you’ll go nuts over this one (pun totally intended)!

The combination of textures and flavors in this cake make it a winner in every way! If you need nut allergy alternatives I have included them on the original recipe as well.

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PUMPKIN CAKE WITH MAPLE CREAM CHEESE FROSTING

Pumpkin Cake with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting – Moist pumpkin cake layers with chocolate ganache and maple cream cheese frosting.

This cake is made with a perfect combination of fall flavors that leave it moist and combines to bring out all of the best tastes of the season in a fabulous Thanksgiving cake.

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PUMPKIN PIE CAKE

Pumpkin Pie Cake – six pumpkin cake layers with toasted marshmallow filling, pumpkin pie filling, shortbread crumbs and vanilla buttercream.

I’ve split three layers of pumpkin cake into six thin layers to maximize the amount of fillings I can add to the cake. I then used toasted marshmallow filling, Ryan’s mom’s pumpkin pie filling and a shortbread crumb to fill each layer. The cake is then covered using my vanilla buttercream recipe.

You will be saying goodbye to pumpkin pie and hello to pumpkin pie cake with this recipe!

You can find my tips for buttercream frosting here.

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FRENCH APPLE PIE CAKE

French Apple Pie Cake – apple cider cake layers with shortbread frosting, apple pie filling, streusel crumble and vanilla bean buttercream.

This cake is inspired by my mother’s apple pie recipe, while it’s fantastic as far as pie goes, you probably know by now that I am not a big pie fan. This cake takes all of the best parts of her recipe, including the streusel crumble!

For my apple pie cake, I started with apple cider cake layers. I recommend using a quality brand of apple cider. I actually got mine at Rowley’s Red Barn in Utah. The flavor is incredible and tastes more homemade than I could ever do myself. I think the key in a quality apple cider is that the flavor is much stronger than a cheap store brand version. And flavor is always number one for me. Especially if it will be a special Thanksgiving cake.

You can find my tips for buttercream frosting here.

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TRIPLE CHOCOLATE PECAN PIE CAKE

Triple Chocolate Pecan Pie Cake – caramel cake layers baked on top of a shortbread crust, with a triple chocolate pecan filling, drizzled dark, milk and white chocolate, and a caramel buttercream. 

This recipe was inspired by the Chocolate Chunk Pecan Pie that Ryan’s mother makes each year. She always makes two and they are the first to eaten. The filling is just so so good!

To turn this pie into a Thanksgiving cake, I decided to pair the filling with my easy caramel cake recipe, a shortbread crust and my caramel frosting. I added some more buttermilk and another egg. I also added a chocolate drizzle in between each layer to give it more chocolate.

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If you are still looking for more Thanksgiving cakes that will deliver all the best autumn flavors, take a look at some of these other cakes:

RECIPES

Sweet Potato Cake

Sweet potato cake layers with toasted marshmallow filling, toasted candied pecans and pecan buttercream.

Course Dessert
Cuisine Cake
Prep Time 2 hours
Cook Time 26 minutes
Servings 18 people

Ingredients

For the Cake

  • 3 cups mashed sweet potatoes about three large sweet potatoes
  • 1 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 5 large or extra large eggs room temperature
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 cups cake flour
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract

Toasted Marshmallow Filling

  • 24 large marshmallows
  • 1 cup unsalted butter room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar measured and then sifted
  • 1/2 jar marshmallow fluff about 100 grams
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Toasted Pecans and Pecan Butter

  • 2 cups chopped pecans
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

Pecan Buttercream

  • 6 cups powdered sugar measured and then sifted
  • 2 cups unsalted butter slightly cold
  • pecan butter recipe above
  • 3 tbsp heavy cream

Instructions

For the Cake

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Spray three 8-inch round cake pans with non-stick spray, line with parchment and spray again. Set aside.

  2. In a medium bow, combine the cake flour, cinnamon, baking powder, salt, nutmeg, and ground ginger. Set aside.

  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the sugar and eggs together on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about five minutes. Add the oil and beat on medium until combined. Add the cooled sweet potatoes and mix until combined. Add the vanilla.

  4. With the mixer on low, gradually add the dry ingredients. Stir until just combined. 

  5. Evenly distribute the batter into the prepared pans (about 20 ounces of batter in each of the three 8-inch round pans). Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cakes comes out mostly clean.

  6. Let pans cool on wire racks for 10 minutes before inverting cakes onto racks to cool completely.

For the Marshmallow Filling

  1. Place the marshmallows on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and sprayed with nonstick cooking spray. Place on the middle rack of the oven, and broil the marshmallows until golden brown on top, about 30-60 seconds. Keep your eye on them!

  2. Remove the pan from the oven and gently turn the marshmallows over and broil them again until they are golden brown on the other side.

  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the butter and powdered sugar and beat on low until blended. Add the vanilla and mix on medium speed for about three minutes.

  4. With the mixer on low speed, add the marshmallow cream and (cooled) toasted marshmallows, and mix for about one minute. 

Toasted Pecans

  1. Over medium heat, toast the 2 cups of pecans in the olive oil, stirring frequently. Once toasted, remove one cup of the pecans and cool them on parchment paper.

  2. While the 1 cup of pecans is cooling, add the sugar to the remaining pecans and stir until the sugar is dissolved and is coating the pecans. Pour the sugared pecans over other parchment to cool and use for the filling.

For the Pecan Buttercream

  1. In a food processor, combine the one cup of (non-sugared) toasted pecans with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Pulse until you've created a smooth nut butter.

  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter for about 2 minutes on medium-high speed. This helps to soften the butter without the butter getting too warm by sitting on the counter half the day.

  3. Add your homemade pecan butter. Mix on medium-high speed until well blended, making sure to scrape down the sides and bottom of your bowl.

  4. With the mixer on low speed, gradually add the powdered sugar, followed by the cream. Turn the mixer to medium-high and beat the buttercream for about 3 to 5 minutes.

Assembly

  1. Place your first cake layer, top side up on a cake board or cake plate. Spread about 3/4 cup of the marshmallow filling over the cake, followed by a generous sprinkle of the toasted pecans.

  2. Place the second cake layer on top of the fillings and layer with another 3/4 cup marshmallow filling and more pecans.

  3. Cover the entire cake with a thin coat of the pecan buttercream. This is your crumb coat. It's not meant to be beautiful, it's meant to be functional – so don't spend a lot of time on this or use too much frosting. You'll freeze the crumb coat for 10 to 15 minutes to lock in the crumbs.

  4. After the crumb coat is set, continue frosting the cake with the remaining buttercream.

Pumpkin Cake with Chocolate Ganache and Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

Pumpkin cake with chocolate ganache filling and maple cream cheese frosting.

Ingredients

FOR THE CAKE

  • 1 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup packed brown light brown sugar
  • 5 large eggs room temperature
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 cups pumpkin purée 
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon salt

FOR THE GANACHE

  • 1 cup semi sweet or dark chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream 

FOR THE BUTTERCREAM

  • 1 cup unsalted butter slightly cold
  • 1 cup cream cheese room temperature
  • 5 cups powdered sugar measured and then sifted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup

Instructions

FOR THE CAKE

  1. Preheat 350 degrees F. Spray three 8-inch round cake pans with cooking spray and line the bottoms with parchment paper rounds and spray again. 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 until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the oil and vanilla and beat on medium until combined, about 30 seconds. Add the pumpkin filling and mix until combined, about another 30 seconds. 
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, ground ginger, nutmeg, and salt, and with the mixer on the lowest speed, gradually add to the pumpkin/egg mixture.
  4. Evenly distribute batter into the prepared pans, smooth with a small offset palette knife and place in the center of the middle rack of the oven, about 2 inches apart. Bake until a knife or toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 25 minutes. (Mine took 23).
  5. Let pans cool on a wire rack 10 minutes, and then invert cakes onto rack and cool them completely.

FOR THE GANACHE

  1. Place the chocolate chips and cream in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave for about 30-60 seconds. Stir until glossy.

FOR THE BUTTERCREAM

  1. In an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, stir the butter and cream cheese until light and fluffy, about two minutes.
  2. Gradually add in powdered sugar, while mixer is on low speed.

  3. Add vanilla, cinnamon and maple syrup and whip until light and fluffy, about 4-5 minutes.

ASSEMBLY

  1. Level each of your cake layers, if needed. Place a dollop of frosting on the cake board or cake plate. Place the first cake layer, top-side up, on the cake board or cake stand.

  2. Pipe a rim of frosting around the edge of the cake and then spread about 1/2 cup ganache on the first layer of cake. Repeat with second cake layer.

  3. Place the third cake layer, bottom-side up, on top and frost with a crumb coat.

  4. Let the cake chill in the freezer for 10 minutes and then add additional frosting.

PUMPKIN PIE CAKE

Six pumpkin cake layers with toasted marshmallow filling, pumpkin pie filling, shortbread crumbs and vanilla buttercream.

Course Dessert
Cuisine Cake
Keyword Pumpkin Cake, Pumpkin Pie, Pumpkin Pie Cake
Prep Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours
Total Time 3 hours 30 minutes
Servings 20 people
Author cakebycourtney

Ingredients

FOR THE PUMPKIN CAKE

  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar packed
  • 5 large eggs room temperature
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 cups pumpkin purée
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons baking powder
  • 3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon salt

FOR THE PUMPKIN PIE FILLING

  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon light brown sugar packed
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch sifted
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 can about 16 oz. pumpkin puree (not pie filling)
  • 3/4 cup whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 3 large eggs beaten

FOR THE SHORTBREAD CRUMBS

  • 16 tablespoons unsalted butter melted
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 3 tablespoons water

FOR THE TOASTED MARSHMALLOW FILLING

  • 24 large white marshmallows
  • 1 1/2 cup powdered sugar measured and then sifted
  • 1 cup 2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 jar about 100 g marshmallow fluff

FOR THE VANILLA BUTTERCREAM

  • 2 cups unsalted butter chilled (I take the butter out of the fridge 30 minutes before I make my frosting)
  • 6 cups powdered sugar measured and then sifted
  • 3-4 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1-2 drops orange food gel optional

Instructions

FOR THE PUMPKIN CAKE

  1. Preheat 350 degrees F. Spray three 8-inch round cake pans with cooking spray and line the bottoms with parchment paper rounds. Spray again 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 until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the oil and vanilla and beat on medium until combined, about 30 seconds. Add the pumpkin filling and mix until combined, about another 30 seconds.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, ground ginger, nutmeg, and salt, and with the mixer on the lowest speed, gradually add to the pumpkin/egg mixture.
  4. Evenly distribute batter into the prepared pans, smooth with a small offset palette knife and place in the center of the middle rack of the oven, about 2 inches apart. Bake until a knife or toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 25 minutes. (Mine took 23).
  5. Let pans cool on a wire rack 10 minutes, and then invert cakes onto rack and cool them completely.

FOR THE PUMPKIN PIE FILLING

  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. Spray a 9×13 baking dish with nonstick spray. Set aside.
  2. Using a whisk, mix the sugar, brown sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, ginger, and salt in a medium sized bowl until no lumps remain.
  3. Blend in the pumpkin, whipping cream, sour cream and eggs.
  4. Pour the mixture into the pan and bake for 50 to 55 minutes or until filling has puffed at the edges and center is almost set. Let cool completely and then move to an airtight container, mix, and then store in fridge overnight.

FOR THE SHORTBREAD CRUMBS

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a half sheet pan with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. Combine the salt and flour into a large bowl. Stir to combine. Pour in the melted butter and water. Stir to combine, until you get small clumps.

  3. Bake for about 15 minutes, until lightly golden brown on top.

FOR THE TOASTED MARSHMALLOW FILLING

  1. Place the marshmallows on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and sprayed with nonstick cooking spray. Place on the middle rack of the oven, and broil the marshmallows until golden brown on top, about 30-60 seconds. Keep your eye on them!
  2. Remove the pan from the oven and gently turn the marshmallows over and broil them again until they are golden brown on the other side.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the butter and powdered sugar and beat on low until blended. Add the vanilla and mix on medium speed for about three minutes
  4. With the mixer on low speed, add the marshmallow cream and (cooled) toasted marshmallows, and mix for about one minute.

FOR THE VANILLA BUTTERCREAM

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter for about 2 minutes. This will soften the butter without it having to be warm.
  2. With the mixer on low speed, gradually add the sifted powdered sugar, one cup at a time, mixing a little in between each addition.
  3. With mixer on medium speed, add whipping cream, vanilla and salt.
  4. Turn the mixer to medium-high speed and beat for an additional 5 to 7 minutes. The frosting will become lighter in color and texture.
  5. Before spreading on your cake, spend a couple minutes mixing the buttercream by hand with a wooden spoon to push out the air pockets.

ASSEMBLY

  1. Slice each cake layer in half horizontally, so you have six cake layers.
  2. Place the first layer on your cake board, cut side up (so bottom of the cake layer is touching the board), and spread about 3/4 cup of the pumpkin pie filling on top, followed by about 1/2 to 3/4 cup of shortbread crumbs. Gently pat the crumbs into the filling with your hands to set them in place.
  3. Place the next cake layer on top and cover with about 3/4 cup marshmallow filling.
  4. Repeat step 2 and 3 until you get to your final cake layer. Place the final cake layer, top side down, on top of the final layer of pumpkin pie filling and shortbread crumbs.
  5. Cover the cake with a thin layer of frosting and chill for 10 to 15 minutes in the freezer. This crumb coat will set the crumbs in place.
  6. Frost the cake with the remaining buttercream.

French Apple Pie Cake

Apple cider cake layers with shortbread frosting, apple pie filling, streusel filling and vanilla bean buttercream.

Course Dessert
Cuisine Cake
Keyword Apple Pie Cake, French Apple Pie Cake, Pie Cake, Thanksgiving Cake
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 2 hours
Author cakebycourtney

Ingredients

For the Apple Spice Cake

  • 1 cup butter softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar packed
  • 5 large eggs room temperature
  • 1 cup apple cider room temperature
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

For the Shortbread Frosting

  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 16 tablespoons butter melted
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter slightly cold
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar measured and then sifted

For the Crumble

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar packed
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter cold

For the Apple Pie Filling

  • 4 large Granny Smith apples
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 cup light brown sugar packed
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Pinch of salt

For the Vanilla Buttercream

  • 2 cups unsalted butter slightly cold
  • 6 cups powdered sugar measured and then sifted
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
  • Pinch of salt

Instructions

For the Apple Spice Cake

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Spray three 8-inch round pans with nonstick spray, line the bottoms with parchment paper, and spray the parchment. Set aside.
  2. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Whisk lightly to combine. Set aside.
  3. In the small mixing bowl, combine the apple cider, buttermilk and vanilla. Stir to combine. Set aside.
  4. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the butter and sugars. Beat on medium speed for about 2 minutes, until light and fluffy.
  5. Gradually add the eggs, beating after each addition. Make sure to scrape down the sides and bottom of your bowl occasionally too.
  6. With your mixer on low speed, add 1/3 of the flour mixture, followed by half of the apple cider mixture. Continue to add another 1/3 of the flour, the rest of the wet ingredients and finish with the remaining dry ingredients. Mix until the dry ingredients are incorporated into the wet ingredients. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl and mix again on low for another 10 to 20 seconds.
  7. Evenly divide all of the batter between the three pans (about 18 ounces of batter in each pan).
  8. Bake the cake layers for about 20 to 23 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes in the cake pans and then invert onto wire baking racks to cool completely.
  9. Level your layers.
  10. Can be made ahead of time and wrapped separately in plastic wrap and stored in the freezer. Let the cake layers thaw for about an hour before stacking and decorating.

For the Shortbread Frosting

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Combine the flour and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and paddle on low speed until well mixed.
  3. Add the butter and water and beat on low speed until the mixture starts to come together in small clusters.
  4. Spread the clusters on a parchment lined sheet pan. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, breaking them up occasionally and keeping an eye on them toward the 20 minute mark. The crumbs should be golden brown and still slightly moist to the touch at that point; they will dry and harden as they cool.

  5. Let the crumbs cool completely before using in a recipe or eating. The crumbs can be stored in an airtight container for 1 week at room temperature or 1 month in the fridge or freezer.
  6. Combine the shortbread crumbs and milk in a blender, turn the speed to medium-high, and puree until smooth and homogenous. It will take 1 to 3 minutes (depending on your blender). If the mixture does not catch on your blender blade, turn off the blender, take a small teaspoon, and scrape down the sides of the canister, remembering to scrape under the blade, then try again.
  7. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the butter and powdered sugar. Cream together on medium-high for 2 to 3 minutes, until fluffy and pale yellow. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula.
  8. On low speed, paddle in the contents of the blender. After 1 minute, increase the speed to medium-high and beat for another 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. If the mixture is not a uniform, very pale, barely tan color, give the bowl another scrape-down and another minute of high-speed paddling.
  9. Use the frosting immediately, or store it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week.

For the Crumble

  1. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
  3. Combine the flour and the sugar. Stir until well mixed.
  4. Cut in the butter to the flour mixture until small clumps have formed. You can also use your hands to create clusters if you need to. 

  5. Bake for 10 minutes, stir the mixture, and bake another 5 minutes.
  6. Cool completely before using in the cake.
  7. Can be made ahead of time and stored in an airtight container in the fridge for 1 week or freezer for about a month.

For the Apple Pie Filling

  1. Peel the apples and then cut them into quarter inch chunks.
  2. Combine the apples with the butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt in a medium pot. Slowly bring to a boil over medium heat, using a spoon to gently stir the mixture as it heats up and the apples begin to release liquid. Reduce the heat and simmer the apples gently for 3 to 5 minutes. Be careful not to over cook the apples – you’ll get applesauce.
  3. Transfer to a container and put in the fridge to cool down. Once completely cooled, the filling can be stored in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 1 week. I wouldn’t recommend freezing this filling.

For the Vanilla Bean Buttercream

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment cream the butter on medium speed for about 3 minutes, until the mixture is light and fluffy.
  2. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the powdered sugar, followed by the heavy cream, vanilla bean paste, vanilla extract and dash of salt.
  3. Continue to beat the frosting on medium-high speed for an additional 5 minutes.
  4. Before frosting your cake, mix the frosting by hand with a wooden spoon to push out the air pockets.

Assembly

  1. Using a pastry brush, spread some of the caramelized apple juice from the apple filling onto each cake layer.
  2. Spread a small dollop of frosting on your cake board. Place the first cake layer on the board, crumb side up.
  3. Spread about 3/4 cup shortbread frosting on the cake layer. Make sure to get eye level with the cake to ensure it is level.
  4. Using the vanilla frosting, pipe a rim of frosting around the edge of the cake to hold in the apple filling.
  5. Spread about 1/2 cup of the apple filling onto the shortbread frosting. You don’t want to add too much filling because it will compromise the structure of your cake. Instead, reserve the remaining filling and serve on the side of each cake slice.
  6. Sprinkle about 1/2 cup of the streusel crumble over the apple pie filling.
  7. Top with the second cake layer and repeat steps 3 to 6.
  8. Place the final cake layer, top side down, on top of the fillings.
  9. You’ll then spread a thin layer of vanilla frosting around the entire cake to lock in any crumbs. This is called the crumb coat. Freeze the cake for 10 to 15 minutes to ensure the crumbs get locked into this coat of frosting.
  10. After the frosting is set, continue to frost the cake with the remaining vanilla frosting.

Triple Chocolate Pecan Pie Cake

Caramel cake layers baked on a shortbread crust, with a triple chocolate pecan filling, drizzled dark, milk and white chocolate, and covered in a caramel buttercream. 

Course Dessert
Cuisine Cake
Keyword Thanksgiving Cake, Triple Chocolate Pecan Pie Cake
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 30 minutes
Servings 18
Author cakebycourtney

Ingredients

For the Shortbread Crust

  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 12 tablespoons unsalted butter room temperature
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt

For the Caramel Cake

  • 1 cup unsalted butter room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup light brown sugar packed
  • 2 cups dulce de leche
  • 7 large eggs room temperature
  • 1 cup buttermilk room temperature
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 cups cake flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

For the Triple Chocolate Pecan Filling

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter softened
  • 3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup pecans 4 oz, toasted and broken into small pieces
  • 2 oz each of dark semi sweet and white chocolate

For the Salted Caramel Frosting

  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 8 tablespoons water
  • 4 teaspoons light corn syrup
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 6 cups powdered sugar measured and then sifted
  • 2 cups unsalted butter slightly chilled

Chocolate Drizzle

  • 2 oz. dark chocolate
  • 2 oz. milk chocolate
  • 2 oz. white chocolate

Instructions

For the Shortbread Crust

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray three 8-inch round cake pans with nonstick spray, line each pan with parchment and spray again. Set aside.
  2. Combine the sugar and butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat for 1 to 2 minutes until creamy. Stir in the flour. If the mixture is too crumbly, you can add another tablespoon of butter.
  3. Evenly divide the shortbread cookie crumbs into each cake pan. Using the back of a spoon, press the shortbread cookie crumbs into an even layer on the bottom of the pan.
  4. Bake for about 10 to 12 minutes, until lightly golden brown on top.

For the Caramel Cake

  1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Combine the butter and sugars in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and cream together on medium-high speed for 2 to 3 minutes.
  3. Scape down the sides of the bowl, add the dulce de leche, and beat on high for another 3 minutes.
  4. Scrape down the bowl again. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating on medium-high for one minute after each addition. After you add the last egg, beat on high for 4 more minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl once more.
  5. On medium-high speed, stream in the buttermilk, oil and vanilla very slowly. This process should take 3 to 4 minutes to add. Don’t rush the process. You’re basically forcing too much liquid into an already fatty mixture that doesn’t want to make room for that liquid. There should be no streaks of fat or liquid and the mixture should look smooth and not curdled. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl.
  6. On very low speed, add the cake flour, baking powder, and salt. Mix for 45 to 60 seconds, just until your batter comes together and any remnant of dry ingredients have been incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. If you see any lumps of cake flour in there while you’re scraping, mix for another 30 to 45 seconds.
  7. Evenly distribute the cake batter in the three pans with the shortbread crust, about 16 to 18 ounces of batter in each.
  8. Bake the cake for 23 to 25 minutes. The cake will rise and puff, doubling in size, but will remain slightly buttery and dense. To check if it’s done, gently poke the edge of the cake with your finger. The cake should bounce back slightly and the center should no longer be jiggly. Leave the cake in the oven for an extra 3 minutes it if doesn’t pass this test.
  9. Let cool completely before using.
  10. Can be made ahead of time and wrapped in plastic wrap and frozen until ready to use. Let thaw for 60 minutes before decorating.

For the Triple Chocolate Pecan Filling

  1. Preheat your oven to 275 degrees F. Spray a 9×9 baking dish with nonstick spray. Set aside.
  2. Melt the butter in a medium sauce pan. Remove from heat.
  3. Add in the sugar and salt with a wooden spoon until butter is absorbed. With a hand mixer, beat in the eggs.
  4. Add the corn syrup and vanilla and mix for another 20 seconds or so.
  5. Return the pan to medium heat and stir the mixture until it is shiny and reaches 130 degrees F. Remove from heat and stir in the pecans.
  6. Pour mixture into the pan and then scatter the chocolate pieces over the pecan mixture. Bake for about 55 to 60 minutes. Let cool completely before using in the cake.

  7. Can be made ahead of time and stored in an airtight container in the freezer.

For the Salted Caramel Frosting

  1. Mix sugar, water and corn syrup in a small saucepan
  2. Bring the water and sugar mixture to boil over medium heat, but DO NOT STIR. (Stirring encourages crystallization). Let the mixture cook until it caramelizes into a golden brown color (as seen in the photo above). It happens quickly, so keep an eye on it.
  3. Remove the caramelized sugar syrup from the heat and slowly mix in the cream. Pour in just a tiny bit at a time, especially at the beginning, and mix to combine. You can start adding more and more as you go along.
  4. Mix in salt and vanilla. Stir to combine.
  5. Set the caramel sauce to the side and let cool completely before making the frosting.
  6. Once the caramel sauce is cooled completely, divide it in half and reserve one half of the caramel for the drip. Use the other half for the frosting.
  7. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the softened butter, powdered sugar and half of the caramel together in a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat until smooth.

Assembly

  1. Spread a small dollop of frosting on your cake board. Place the first cake layer on the board, with the shortbread cookie crust on the bottom.
  2. Spread about 3/4 cup caramel frosting on the cake layer. Make sure to get eye level with the cake to ensure it is level.
  3. Break up the chocolate pecan filling into pieces and cover the frosting with the filling. Drizzle half of each of the chocolate drizzles over the pecan filling.
  4. Place the second cake layer, shortbread cookie crust on the bottom, on top of the pecan filling and chocolate drizzle. Repeat step 3.
  5. Place the final cake layer, shortbread cookie crust on the bottom, on top of the second layer of frosting and filling.
  6. You’ll then spread a thin layer of frosting around the entire cake to lock in any crumbs. This is called the crumb coat. Freeze the cake for 10 to 15 minutes to ensure the crumbs get locked into this coat of frosting. After the frosting is set, continue to frost the cake with the remaining caramel frosting.

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