Elements of Food

Maple Pumpkin Stack Cake

Every year at Thanksgiving (Christmas and Easter) We have set menus. Everyone has their favorites and the world would fall apart if we didn’t continue these traditions. Thanksgiving at our house ALWAYS includes both pumpkin pie and apple pies. Always. There would definitely be disappointment if one of these didn’t show up on Thanksgiving Day. However…two years ago, I broke the rules and made an addition to the dessert assortment. I brought over a delectable Pumpkin Creme Brulee and it was a huge hit. Everyone loved it and no one was out of sorts. However, we still had the traditional apple and pumpkin pies. This year, my mom wanted to try a new way to cook the turkey and we thought it would be a great opportunity to try out a new dessert. My mom and I are big Cooks Illustrated and Cooks Country magazine fans and we found both recipes in the October/November issues. We put on a “trial” Thanksgiving last Sunday and made a small version of almost everything to test out the new recipes. My mom’s new turkey recipe was delicious and the cake I’m about to show you was wonderful. When my mom suggested we replace the apple pie with it…my dad gave us an disapproving stare…but was okay with the idea when my mom promised him an apple pie another time.
This cake is incredibly moist and tender, not too sweet and the perfect combination of flavors. It’s festive and pretty enough to be the Thanksgiving centerpiece. Not to mention, super easy to make. A lot of people are intimidated by the layer cake simply because cutting a 9 inch round cake into two equal pieces can prove to be very difficult. However, this recipe has you divide the batter into 4 cake pans (or two at a time) for 4 equal layers. Anyone can do that!


  • 1 1/2 cup flour
  • 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice (or an equal mix of ground cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and allspice. Some blends also include cloves and cardamom)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 8 tbs unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 15 oz can pumpkin puree
  • 2 cups heavy cream, chilled
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup pecans, toasted and chopped


  1. Adjust your oven rack to the middle position. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease 2 8″ or 9″ round cake pans, line with parchment paper, and grease the parchment paper. Flour the pans and take out any extra flour.
  2. Whisk flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking powder, soda, and salt together in a bowl.
  3. Using a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, beat the sugar, butter, and eggs on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Reduce the speed to low, add pumpkin and mix until combined. Carefully add the flour mixture until incorporated
  4. Spread 1/4 of the batter (about 1 cup) in an even layer in both prepared pans. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 12 – 14 minutes. (I found it took 14 minutes for my 9″ pans) Let cool on wire rack for 10 minutes. Turn out cake onto a cooling rack and peel of parchment. Cool completely
  5. Reprep pans and repeat with remaining batter, or bake the remaining two prepared pans (if using 4 pans)
  6. Whip the cream and maple sugar in the bowl of your stand mixer on medium speed until stiff peeks form, about 3 minutes


Place one layer of cake on a cake stand or cake plate and spread a 1/2 inch layer of whip cream. Top with another layer of cake and repeat until all layers are assembled. Top remaining layer with whip cream and garnish with toasted pecans.

maple pumpkin stack cake