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Pumpkin Gingersnap Cake
Pumpkin Gingersnap Cake – Moist and flavorful pumpkin cake layers, filled with cream cheese frosting, gingersnap crumble and cinnamon chip ganache.
Cake on the Brain
I’m going to be real honest with you right now. I don’t think I’m ever NOT thinking about cake. I’m serious. I think about it in the morning, afternoon, evening… even while I’m sleeping. I always find myself brainstorming new flavor combinations, and how I can turn another treats, like cookies, bars, pies, ice creams, and even breads, into a cake. In fact, that’s how I came up with this cake.
While scrolling through Pinterest one day, I saw a recipe for pumpkin cream cheese streusel bread. I knew immediately that I needed to turn those flavors into a cake! I was particularly inspired by the streusel element. How could I get a muffin-like streusel on a cake? And what other flavor could I add to the cake?
Previous Pumpkin Cake
A couple years ago, I did a Pumpkin Cake with Chocolate Ganache and Maple Cream Cheese Frosting. Then last year, I flipped that around and made a Pumpkin Cake with Maple Cinnamon Cheesecake Filling and Chocolate Ganache. I loved the flavor combinations of both of these cakes, but I was missing that “crunch” element! It was time for another iteration of pumpkin cake.
Pumpkin Gingersnap Cake
In an attempt to hit this one out of the park (not just a home run hit, but a grand slam hit), I chose to add a gingersnap crumble and my secret weapon, a cinnamon chip ganache (which you may be familiar with from my Churro Cake). I originally intended the gingersnap crumble to be a streusel but after several attempts, I wasn’t satisfied with the outcome. The gingersnap flavor was too subtle and the texture was too crumbly. So, I switched the streusel to a crumble, using finely ground gingersnap cookies, chopped cookie pieces, rolled oats and molasses. The result is exactly what I was hoping for: crunchy with a little chewiness, and sweet with a strong blend of that dark cookie flavor you get from a beloved molasses cookie.
I’m so happy with how this cake turned out. I even tried it out on one of my cake classes and it was a huge hit. I hope you try it and love it as much as I do!
Pumpkin Gingersnap Cake
Moist and flavorful pumpkin cake layers filled with cream cheese frosting, gingersnap crumble and cinnamon chip ganache.
Prep Time 1 hr
Cook Time 40 mins
Total Time 2 hrs 40 mins
FOR THE CAKE
- 1 1/2 cups (300 g) granulated sugar
- 3/4 cup (165 g) light brown sugar packed
- 5 large eggs room temperature
- 1 cup (218 g) vegetable oil
- 1 1/2 teaspoons (6.3 g) vanilla
- 2 cups (450 g) pumpkin purée
- 3 cups (360 g) all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 tablespoons (21 g) baking powder
- 3 teaspoons (7.8 g) ground cinnamon
- 1 1/2 teaspoons (3.9 g) ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon (2.64 g) nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon (5.6 g)salt
FOR THE CRUMBLE
- 1/2 cup (45 g) quick cooking oats
- 1/4 cup roughly chopped gingersnap cookies about 2 cookies
- 1/2 cup finely ground gingersnap cookies about 8 cookies
- 3 tablespoons (65.6 g) molasses
- 1/4 cup (55 g) brown sugar packed
- 3 tablespoons (42.3 g) unsalted butter melted
- 1/2 teaspoon (1.32 g) ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon (1.4 g) salt
FOR THE BUTTERCREAM
- 7 cups (875 g) powdered sugar measured and then sifted
- 6 ounces cream cheese room temperature
- 1 1/2 cup 3 sticks (339 g) unsalted butter slightly cold
- 2 teaspoons (8.4 g) pure vanilla extract
- *This buttercream recipe makes enough to fill and cover your cake. If you want to add additional piping, you’ll want to make an extra 1/2 batch.
FOR THE GANACHE
- 1 cup (150 g) cinnamon chips
- 1/3 cup (77 g) heavy cream
FOR THE CAKE
- Preheat 350 degrees F. Spray three 8-inch or four 6-inch round cake pans with cooking spray and line the bottoms with parchment paper rounds. Spray again and set aside.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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).
- Let pans cool on a wire rack 10 minutes, and then invert cakes onto rack and cool them completely.
FOR THE CRUMBLE
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
- In a medium-sized bowl, combine all the ingredients and mix with a wooden spoon until the mixture resembles clumps of sand.
- Pour the mixture over the parchment paper and spread it out evenly. Bake for 10 minutes, stirring the mixture about halfway through.
- Let it cool completely and then crumble the mixture into smaller pieces. The mixture will still be soft when you take it out of the oven. It will harden as it cools.
FOR THE BUTTERCREAM
- In a large bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese and butter on medium speed until light and fluffy.
- Gradually add in the sugar, 1 cup at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl. Continue to beat until very fluffy, about 4-5 minutes.
- Add the vanilla and beat for another 1-2 minutes.
- Remove the bowl from the mixer and use a wooden spoon and mix by hand to stir out the air bubbles.
FOR THE GANACHE
- Place the cream in a microwave safe bowl. Heat in the microwave for 30 seconds. Alternately, you can heat the cream over the stove.
- Pour the warm cream over the cinnamon chips and let sit for 5 minutes. Stir until smooth and silky. Allow to cool, but not set, before using on your cake.
- After leveling each cake layer, place the first cake layer, top side up, on a cake board. Apply 1/2 cup of the frosting over the cake layer, followed by 1/4 of the crumble and a drizzle of the cinnamon chip drip.
- Repeat these steps for the next two cake layers. Finish by placing the final cake layer, top side down, on top of the last layer of filling.
- Before frosting the entire cake, you will want to apply a thin coat of frosting around the cake and on top of the cake. This layer of frosting doesn't need to look pretty, it's simply functional. We want to lock in any crumbs. Freeze the cake for 10 minutes.
- After the crumb coat is set, apply the rest of the frosting and drip.
I love reading your blog and following you on instagram! I’m having trouble with the crumble. Mine keeps turning out gummy. I’m thinking of trying to do a crumble with just the cookies and butter. Any suggestions?
I would try using quick cooking oats – they absorb the liquids and fats better.
Hi Courtney! I live out in western Massachusetts and can’t find cinnamon chips anywhere out here! Is there another drip that would go well with this cake?
Or is there another way to make make the cinnamon ganache flavor?
I’d say the best alternative to the cinnamon chip ganache is using a caramel chip for the ganache.
Do you freeze the cake again (after drop)before adding the icing border? It looks divine👌
I only freeze the cake after the crumb coat and then again once I’ve frosted the cake and placed the board on top.
Hi Courtney I love your cakes! Usually your recipes are a hit however this one wasn’t quite a success the cakes didn’t rise correctly actually they didn’t rise at all. 🙁
I’m sorry to hear that. This cake should rise quite nicely. It has a fluffy, flavorful texture. Lots of pumpkin and spice in it. There’s a couple reasons your cake may not have risen – your baking powder is older than 6 months old, you over mixed the batter, or your internal oven temperature is off from what it’s telling you on your screen. Could any of those happened?
I need to start printing your recipes, because this recipe used to have molasses in the crumble, but it’s gone. I’m making it right now and I’m going to have to guess. This cake is a family favorite for us!
LOOOOVE this cake! My crumble did not turn out the same the this time though and I think it’s because there’s no molasses on the list of ingredients… I swear there was molasses in the past. Did you change the recipe??
I fixed the recipe! I’m not sure why the molasses was not showing up! It has 3 tbsp of molasses!
This is my all time favorite fall cake! I’m going to try making it using your 9×13 and 8×8 method. Just wondering, do I bake both of those pans at the same time? Or one before the other?
Bake them separately.
This cake was delicious and easy to make and assemble. My only question is about the crumble. I made it twice and it was chewy both times. There’s too much moisture somehow and I increased the amount of ginger snaps the second time but I still got the same result. Do you have a suggestion? Should it be very spread out on the sheet pan? How can I tell when it’s baked enough? Thanks!
You want them to be a golden color when they have baked long enough. They should be crunchy.
I had the same issue with the crumble. I made a second batch and used cold butter instead of melted
butter and mixed it with a pastry blender. I omitted the molasses all together, but I bet you could add it just not the full 3 tablespoons. It made a great crumble:)
Hi, Courtney! I love your cakes, and they always turn out great for me! This one gave me problems though. When I made the cakes the first time, I weighed the ingredients, and I think the weight is off for the baking powder. The cakes didn’t rise at all. 🙁 All your other pumpkin cake recipes call for 16g or so of baking powder, but this recipe only says 6g. I made them again and used 16g, and they came out perfectly. Just wanted to share!
I just fixed it! Some of our grams are off from a technical problem so we are trying to make sure we fix them all! Thanks for letting me know!
This cake turned out exquisite! Autumn in my mouth! I made a couple changes. I added a tsp of ground cloves to the sponge, and multiplied the frosting by 1.5 but only used 6 cups of sugar, and it came out to the perfect sweetness.
The crumble gave me some trouble. After ten minutes it was not nearly done so I put it back in for another ten, and it still needed more. Put it in for another 5 mins and it came out delicious. (Altogether around 25 mins). I would have left it in for five more mins for maximum crispness, but it was just starting to burn so I took it out, and it’s just a bit chewy in places but still fantastic! Perhaps it took longer to crisp because I used dark brown sugar? I figured you used that since you specified light brown in the cake.
Thank you so much!
The best pumpkin cake in the world! I make it every fall and fall in love with it all over again. The flavors are so perfect and it’s so delicious!
That’s such a nice compliment. Thank you!
Hello! Will the recipe fit in two 9 inch pans?
Made this cake and everyone loved it!! The pumpkin cake was so delicious and moist. I couldn’t find the cinnamon chips (well, I did but they were $9 a bag. Lol.) I made a ganache and added some cinnamon and made a drip. I should have added more cinnamon but I used dark chocolate and the combo with the cake was amazing. I would also add the ganache in between the layers next time with the gingersnap crumble filling. There are comments about the crumble being chewy. I experienced this as well buts it’s still good. I think next time I would spread it out more on the pan while in the oven baking so it was more crispy. If you haven’t made this cake I highly recommend it.
I made this delicious cake for one of our desserts for Thanksgiving this year, I wasn’t sure how everyone would like it, but it was a hit!!! Nothing was left. Thank you Courtney for your yummy recipes. 💞