Culinary Content Network blogger Desserts Required writes, "For my Pumpkin Cake with Caramel Cream Cheese Frosting, all one has to do is think of how wonderful a carrot cake is and realize how much more appropriate pumpkin cake is for the Thanksgiving holiday. The caramel is brought into the frosting because it works so beautifully with pumpkin. The toasted pecans on the outside add a fabulous 'pop' to the cake."
A shortening/flour mixture or butter/flour combination may be used instead of Pan Grease to grease the baking pans.
If the frosting is too warm, the pecans will weigh the frosting down and it will puddle at the bottom of the plate. If this happens, put the cake in the refrigerator for 10-15 minutes to cool the frosting before applying the pecans. Same goes for the piping of shells. Allow frosting to sit in fridge for 10-15 minutes and then apply the shells. Test out the frosting consistency on a piece of aluminum foil. If the frosting is too soft, return it to the refrigerator.
Don’t forget to take out 1 toasted pecan, for the center swirl, before you break the halves.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease two 9-inch pans, and line with parchment paper. Set aside.
In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, allspice, and cloves. Set aside.
Cream the butter with both sugars for 3 minutes on medium-high speed, scraping down the bowl periodically. The mixture will look similar to maple sugar cubes that have been mashed down. Add the eggs and mix until combined.
With the mixer on low speed, add 1/2 of the dry ingredients. Mix in the whipping cream and then the rest of the dry ingredients.
Add the pumpkin purée and vanilla. Mix only until smooth.
Divide the batter evenly into the pans. Bake for 30 minutes. The sides of the cake will have pulled away from the pan and the top will spring back when lightly touched. Remove the pans from the oven and cool on a rack for 10 minutes. Flip pans out onto a cooling rack and then invert cakes to cool completely on another rack.
Place 4 tablespoons of butter and all of the brown sugar into a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly. As soon as the mixture begins to boil, turn the stove off and add the cream, stirring until blended. Set aside to cool completely. Set aside the remaining 8 tablespoons of butter and let them come to room temperature.
Once the caramel mixture is cool, cream the remaining 8 tablespoons of butter and the cream cheese together in a large mixing bowl on medium-high speed until smooth. Add the remaining ingredients and mix until all are blended in, scraping the bowl a couple of times.
Reserve ½ cup of the frosting to decorate the top, if desired. Place one of the cake layers on a cake round or serving plate. Take strips of waxed paper and place the edges of the paper under the edge of the cake to catch the pecans.
Spread 2/3 cup of the frosting over the bottom cake layer. Top with the second cake layer. Use the remaining frosting to frost the top and sides of the cake.
Use the palm of your hand to gently apply the toasted pecan pieces to the sides of the cake. If desired, use a #21 star tip to pipe either shells or stars around the edges on top of the cake and a swirl in the center of the cake. Place a toasted pecan half in the middle of the center swirl.
Refrigerate until set.
Remove from refrigerator 30 minutes before serving.