Pumpkin Fritter Cake

I started LOVING all things pumpkin from a very young age because of a silly old wives tale that pumpkin will make your hair curly. Since my lifelong wish was to have curly hair, I just dove into every opportunity to eat pumpkin!

Well, 29 years later and my hair never even developed a miniscule kink! It’s still straight as an arrow.

BUT, I am grateful that this old wives tale was about a tasty vegetable like pumpkin and not about tinned asparagus or something! Phew!


So in all my pumpkin munching years, it was inevitable that pumpkin fritters would enter my life. In South Africa we serve them as a sweet or savoury dish – and ALWAYS with caramel sauce – YUMMM!!!

The first time I had pumpkin fritters I had them as a dessert with vanilla ice cream and of course caramel sauce.

I knew my life would NEVER be the same again. It was one of those food moments where angels erupt into song in the background.

Today, Pumpkin Fritters are my still FAVOURITE food. I love them more than chocolate, more than burgers, more than sushi, more than ice cream and even more than cookies 😀

So, being a home baker, I just HAD to turn that incredible, life changing food experience into a cake!

pumpkin fritter cake

Recipe Techniques

This is quite a long recipe. But I promise you, IT’S SO WORTH MAKING. It is ridiculously delicious.

There are some extra steps in there like roasting the pumpkin, but do not skip these steps. Caramelization makes a COLLOSSAL difference in adding more FLAVOUR.

I’ve used this same principle of “flavour by caramelization” in my Ultimate Banana & Chocolate Cupcakes.

Caramelizing fruits & veggies before adding them into batter intensifies and boosts the flavour like you won’t believe.

It’s extraordinary.

This recipe makes a 2 layer, 9 inch cake, but you can also make it as a 3 layer 8 inch cake (I know that many bakers prefer 3 layer cakes.)

You’ll also see that the cake is filled and finished toasted pecans. Do not settle for regular, raw pecans. Toast them in the oven for 8 minutes at 180C and turn them halfway through. That’s all there is to it and the flavour you get from toasting the pecans is surreal! So good! You’ll never go back to raw pecans again.


I like to use Butternut for this recipe, but I don’t see any reason why it could not work with other orange fleshed pumpkin species as well.

Also, please do not ask me why I have not put pumpkin fritters on top of the cake. The ACTUAL cake tastes like pumpkin fritters. Also, if there were pumpkin fritters on top, everyone would just pick those off and not bother eating the cake – know what I mean?

Super amazing pumpkin flavour, light, creamy, more-ish (that’s an adjective, right?). Paired with my favourite Ultimate Cream Cheese Frosting, salted caramel, a tiiiny bit of Dark Chocolate Ganache (that tiny hit of bitterness adds amazing balance in every bite), toasted pecans and of course my favourite cake decoration – caramelized cheesecake shards!!

Super delicious pumpkin cake! Moist, creamy, more-ish (that’s an adjective, right?). Paired with my favourite Ultimate Cream Cheese Frosting, salted caramel, a tiiiny bit of Dark Chocolate Ganache (that tiny hit of bitterness adds amazing balance in every bite), toasted pecans and of course my favourite cake decoration – caramelized cheesecake shards!! #pumpkincake #fallcake #autumncake #creamcheesefrosting


We are headed into spring here in South Africa, but I just had to share this recipe for the sake of my Northern Hemisphere baker friends – because I am totally obsessed with autumn. And pumpkins. And baking.

Pumpkin Fritter Cake
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
  • 1100 g Butternut (dark orange flesh)
  • 1 Tbsp Canola Oil
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 450 g Cake Flour
  • 1 Tbsp Baking Powder
  • 1 tsp Bicarbonate of Soda
  • ½ Tbsp Salt
  • 2 ½ tsp Cinnamon
  • 2 ½ tsp Pumpkin Pie Spice (1 tsp Cinnamon ¾ tsp Ground Ginger, ¾ tsp Ground Nutmeg
  • & small pinch Ground Cloves)
  • 170 g Egg
  • 350 g White Sugar
  • 275 g Canola Oil
  • 1 Tbsp Vanilla Extract/Essence
  • Water
  • 20 g Egg
  • 120 g Plain, non-aerated Cream Cheese (about 25% fat), COLD
  • ¾ tsp Vanilla Extract/Essence
  • 30 g Icing Sugar FOR THE FROSTING
  • 200 g Whipping Cream (35% fat), COLD
  • 500 g Lancewood Plain Medium Fat Cream Cheese, COLD
  • 175 g Icing Sugar
  • 4 tsp Vanilla Extract/Essence
  • 125 g Whipping Cream (35% fat)
  • 30 g Butter
  • 200 g White Sugar
  • 60 g Water
  • ¾ tsp Sea Salt
  • 110 g Whipping Cream (35% fat)
  • 80 g 65% Dark Chocolate
  • 20 g Milk Chocolate
  • 1 tsp White Sugar
  • 80 g Toasted, unsalted Pecan Nuts
  1. Place the cubes of butternut on a greased roasting tray. Toss with the tablespoon of oil and teaspoon of salt. Roast at 210°C for 35-40 mins until soft and a bit caramelised.
  2. Prepare the cheesecake bits batter. Beat the egg and cream cheese together till completely smooth. Beat in Icing Sugar and vanilla extract till completely combined. Grease a very large baking tin SUPER WELL with non-stick spray. Spread blobs of the mixture out fairly thinly onto the bottom of the tin.
  3. Once the butternut is done roasting, remove it from the oven and set aside to cool. Reduce oven temperature to 180°C and bake cheesecake mixture for around 35 mins. Keep an eye on it as it can catch and burn quite easily. Rotate the pan halfway through the baking time for more even caramelization.
  4. While the cheesecake bits are baking, prepare your cake tins. Spray two 9 inch cake tins with non-stick spray on the sides and line the bottoms with a circle of baking paper. Soak two towel strips in water and squeeze out till they are no longer dripping. Fasten a towel strip tightly around the outside of each tin with a large paperclip. *This helps the cake to rise more evenly.
  5. Next, mix the cake batter. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, spices and salt. Set aside.
  6. In a separate large bowl, whisk together eggs and sugar for 1 minute on high speed till light and fluffy. Stir in oil and vanilla extract.
  7. Mash cooled butternut with a potato masher until smooth. Measure weight as you add it into the batter and top the butternut’s weight up with water until you reach 690 g. Stir with a balloon whisk to combine.
  8. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and stir with balloon whisk to combine. Scrape down sides of bowl and stir again until combined.
  9. When the cheesecake shards are half golden brown and half white, they are done baking, remove them from the oven.
  10. Pour cake batter into your prepared tins. Bake at 170°C for 30 – 40 mins and rotate the pans halfway through baking. Test with a toothpick to see if it’s done. Once baked, remove the cakes from the oven and set aside to cool.
  1. While the cake is cooling you can make the salted caramel. Place sugar and boiling water in a heavy based saucepan on medium-high heat.
  2. While the sugar is dissolving, place butter, cream and salt in separate small saucepan on another burner on medium heat. As soon as it starts to boil, turn the heat right down to its lowest setting just to keep it warm.
  3. Swirl the sugar and water mixture occasionally until the sugar is completely dissolved. Now just leave it to stand and caramelize.
  4. Watch the sugar like a hawk! The colour will start to go golden from 7-10 minutes. Gently swirl the pan every now and then so the sugar doesn’t only caramelise in one spot.
  5. Keep cooking until traces of light smoke releases from the mixture and the sugar is a dark-ish amber colour.
  6. Remove sugar from the heat and immediately pour in the warm cream mixture in four phases, continually whisking with a balloon whisk until fully combined. Return the caramel to medium heat and cook for another 2 minutes. Set aside to cool and transfer to a squeeze bottle when cool.
  1. Once the cake is completely cool, make the frosting. Whip cold cream to stiff peaks with an electric hand mixer in a medium mixing bowl. Beat in cold Cream Cheese till smooth. Scrape down sides of bowl and beat again till smooth and thickened. About 1 minute in total.
  2. Beat in Vanilla and icing sugar. Leave to stand for 1 minute so that sugar can melt into the cream cheese thoroughly. Beat again till smooth and thick – about 1 minute.
  3. The longer you beat the frosting, the thicker it becomes. If it gets a bit runny once the sugar has fully dissolved, just keep beating it in one spot and it will thicken up. After this the “thickness” spreads to the rest of the mixture when you incorporate it. Stir with a metal spoon to smooth out the biggest air bubbles.
  1. Cut off any dome-age on the cakes. Transfer 1 layer to a cake board (Bottom side down and remember to peel off the baking paper!). Spread a bit less than half the frosting on the first layer of cake. Smooth out the top with a pallet knife. Place in fridge for 1 hour. Place remaining frosting in fridge as well.
  2. While you wait, make a little bit of ganache to put in between the layers of cake. Place 20 g of chocolate and 20 g of cream in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave for 30 seconds. Leave to stand for 30 seconds and stir till smooth.
  3. You can also loosen the caramelized cheesecake bits off the tin in this time. Cut and break it up into shards to decorate the top of the cake with later. Crumble the most caramelized bits into a separate bowl to use in between the cake layers.
  4. Once the hour is up, remove the cake from the fridge. Drizzle salted caramel onto the frosted layer (leave a clean 1 cm border around the outside). Follow with caramelized cheesecake bits, drizzles of ganache and ⅔ of the toasted pecans.
  5. Carefully place the second layer of cake on top (bottom side up); lightly press it down so that it adheres to the frosting below. Remember to remove the baking paper!
  6. Beat the remaining frosting again on high speed till stiff. Spread it over the top of the cake and thinly on the sides of the cake with a pallet knife. Smooth out edges as much as you are able.
  7. Make more ganache with the remaining ingredients. Bring cream and the teaspoon of sugar to a simmer over medium heat. Once simmering, remove from the heat. Add chocolate to the cream, lightly stir and leave to stand for 1 minute so that the chocolate can melt. Stir till smooth and glossy.
  8. Drizzle swirls of salted caramel onto the cake in the centre. Drizzle ganache down the sides of the cake in a “drip” style. Fill up ganache another 2 cm along the top border of the cake.
  9. Decorate all along the edge with caramelized cheesecake shards, chocolate curls and remaining pecan nuts.
  10. Cut a ginormous slice and enjoy!


If you’re NUTS about pumpkin (like me), then you’ll definitely want to make my Pumpkin & Cream Cheese Muffins as well! I’ve sold around 10 000 of them in my career as a full time Home Baker, so it’s safe to say that they are AMAZING!!

Thanks for reading and do tag me #philosophyofyum on social media if you make this amazingly YUM cake!

Chat soon!

Got a question? Something to add? Let’s chat in the comments section down below! (I respond to every single comment) 🙂

[et_bloom_inline optin_id="optin_7"]

Library of FREE Resources for Home Bakery Owners