This Chai Pumpkin Cake with Maple Browned Butter Frosting is the cake to make this Thanksgiving! Three soft, perfectly sweet, extra pumpkiny, chai spiced pumpkin cake layers. Each generously frosted with the most delicious maple browned butter frosting. Decorate with mini pumpkin cakes and you’ll have a deliciously festive pumpkin cake that beats out any ordinary pumpkin pie.

front on photo of Chai Pumpkin Cake with Maple Browned Butter Frosting

And just like that November is here. It’s time to talk Thanksgiving recipes…are you ready?

As you can guess, I am so very excited. There is A LOT happening this month and things are definitely busy. But I’m trying to take it one day at time and really enjoy my favorite time of year. Which is also my favorite time to create recipes! The one thing I’ve found so hard the last few months is that I really just want to do it all. I love what I do, I love working, and I love creating incredible content for you guys. It makes me so happy. The issue is that there are only so many hours in a day. It’s a bit of a balancing act. But again, one day at a time, enjoy the season, and try not to over think it all too much…over thinking can be a major pitfall of mine.

In the theme of November, I’m feeling very grateful for the small team we have here at HBH. My mom especially, who’s been putting in a lot of hours working behind the scenes on blog updates, hour-long meetings, finishing up the studio barn, and so much more. I’d be lost without her!

I’m also very thankful for you guys, and beyond thrilled that we have so many long time readers. I love that SO many of you are not only making HBH recipes, but you seem to be loving them too. Makes me happier than you know!

Which brings me to this chai pumpkin cake…

side angle close up photo Chai Pumpkin Cake with Maple Browned Butter Frosting

I’ve made a lot of cakes over the years, I kind of love them, especially layer cakes. This cake however? I really do think it might just be my favorite to date. It. Is. So. GOOD.

And cute, which you know is a big thing for me. Recipes need to look just as delicious as they taste.

close up photo of Chai Pumpkin Cake with Maple Browned Butter Frosting overhead photo half cut Chai Pumpkin Cake with Maple Browned Butter Frosting

This cake has been a long time coming. You guys have been asking for the recipe for a couple of weeks now. I teased it on my Instagram stories, and in this blog post. But I had to wait until November was here to share the recipe.

Three chai spiced pumpkin layers with maple browned butter frosting. And yes, I do think it’s actually better than pumpkin pie. I know that’s saying a lot, but it’s the truth. This cake is honestly that good.

For the cake base, I knew I really wanted the pumpkin flavor to shine. To achieve this, I used a whole lot of pumpkin, and a whole lot of chai spice. The chai spice highlights the sweet flavor of the pumpkin, while also adding that extra special touch that makes this pumpkin cake better than any other.

I baked my cake up in three (6-inch) layer cakes. I wanted my cake to be tall and skinny, as I was looking to do something a little different. That said, if you don’t own a 6-inch cake pan, you can also bake the cake in two (8-inch) cake layers. This works just as well, but you’ll have a more traditional looking cake. Still just a delicious!

Each cake layer is incredibly moist, so soft, and perfectly sweetened. The secret is truly in all that pumpkin. It makes for the best cakes.

overhead photo of Chai Pumpkin Cake slices

So that’s all about the cake, now we need to talk about the frosting. This cake is good, but it’s nothing without the maple browned butter frosting.

Hands down one of my favorite frosting recipes. There’s so much flavor from the maple and browned butter, but the cream cheese keeps it incredibly light. Honestly? It’s addicting, and you should slather on more than you think your cake will actually need. Because people lick the frosting off the plate. It’s true, and I do believe that it’s all because of the browned butter, it’s the best.

The frosting pairs so perfectly with the pumpkin flavors and balances out the sweetness. Beyond perfect.

photo of Chai Pumpkin Cake slice with fork on plate

To decorate the cake, I made mini pumpkins simply by using a mini bundt pan (that’s the exact one I used), some cinnamon sticks and a little melted chocolate. They certainly aren’t perfect, but I kind of love that about them.

Each little cake is unique and so cute.

And delicious. Obviously.

side angle photo of Chai Pumpkin Cake slices with cake stand in photo

I know it’s hard to believe, but Thanksgiving is a little under three weeks ways. So very, very close.

I’ll be sharing my full menu and tablescape this Sunday. And yes, this cake is part of my dessert line-up. I decided to save the chocolate for the pies, and serve up my new favorite cake instead.

My recommendation? Plan on making this cake for Thanksgiving, but give it a test run this weekend. Because if there’s one rule you should follow, it’s to always test out new recipes before entertaining with them. I mean, I’m fully confident this will turn out great (because I’ve now made it 4 times). But come on, don’t you really need a double dose of pumpkin this month anyway.

So make this cake this weekend, enjoy, and then make it again for Thanksgiving. You’ll be sure to impress all.

overhead photo of Chai Pumpkin slices with forks on plate

If you make this chai pumpkin cake please be sure to leave a comment and/or give this recipe a rating! Above all, I love to hear from you guys and always do my best to respond to each and every comment. And of course, if you do make this recipe, don’t forget to also tag me on Instagram! Looking through the photos of recipes you all have made is my favorite!

Chai Pumpkin Cake with Maple Browned Butter Frosting | halfbakedharvest.com #pumpkin #chai #fall #autumn #thanksgiving
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4.5 from 44 votes
The Recipe

Chai Pumpkin Cake with Maple Browned Butter Frosting

Three soft, perfectly sweet, extra pumpkiny, chai spiced pumpkin cake layers. Each generously frosted with the most delicious maple browned butter frosting. Decorate with mini pumpkin cakes and you'll have a deliciously festive pumpkin cake that tops any ordinary pumpkin pie.

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 0 12
Calories 405 kcal

Ingredients

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • ½ teaspoon all-spice
  • ½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 cup canola oil
  • 1 ½ cups granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 can (15 ounce) pumpkin puree

Maple Browned Butter Frosting

  • 3 sticks (1 ½ cups) salted butter, at room temperature
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • ½ cup real maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. 1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease 3 (6-inch) round cake pans or 2 (8 inch) round cake pans. Line with parchment paper, then butter/spray with cooking spray.

    2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, all-spice, nutmeg, and pepper.

    3. In the bowl of a stand mixer (or use a hand-held mixer) beat together the canola oil, sugar, vanilla, eggs, and pumpkin until combined. Gradually add the dry ingredients until smooth and no lumps remain in the batter.

    4. Pour the batter among the cake pans and bake 30-35 minutes, until the tops are just set, and no longer wiggly in the center. Remove and let cool five minutes, then run a knife around the edges of the pan and turn the cakes out onto a cooling rack. Cover and let the cakes cool completely before assembling.

    5. To make the buttercream frosting. Add 2 sticks butter to a skillet, set over medium heat. Allow the butter to brown lightly until it smells toasted, about 2-3 minutes. Stir often. Remove from the heat and transfer the butter to the mixing bowl, let cool until it's room temp.

    6. Add the remaining stick of room temperature butter and the cream cheese to the bowl. Then add the powdered sugar and maple syrup. Beat together until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla and beat until combined. If the frosting feels too loose, add powdered sugar to thicken.

    7. To assemble. Place one cake layer on a serving plate. Spread 1/3 of the buttercream over the cake. Repeat with the remaining 2 cake layers. Be careful not to overfill your layers or the cake will be hard to slice. Frost the outside of the cake. Chill 30 minutes. Serve, or store in the fridge for up to 1 day. Decorate, as desired with mini pumpkins and melted chocolate.

Chai Pumpkin Cake with Maple Browned Butter Frosting | halfbakedharvest.com #pumpkin #chai #fall #autumn #thanksgiving
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4.43 from 35 votes
The Recipe

Mini Pumpkin Cakes

Perfect not only as decoration, but equally great as a cute little dessert for the kiddos!

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 0 12-16 mini cakes
Calories 233 kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/4 teaspoon all-spice
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree

Maple Glaze

  • 1/4 cup real maple syrup
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • cinnamon sticks, melted chocolate, coarse sugar, for decorating

Instructions

  1. 1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a mini bundt pan with butter.

    2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, all-spice, nutmeg, and pepper.

    3. In the bowl of a stand mixer (or use a hand-held mixer) beat together the canola oil, sugar, vanilla, eggs, and pumpkin until combined. Gradually add the dry ingredients until smooth and no lumps remain in the batter.

    4. Divide the batter evenly among the prepared pan, filling it 2/3 the way full. Transfer to the oven and bake 12-15 minutes, until the tops are just set, and no longer wiggly in the center. Remove and let cool five minutes, then invert the cakes onto a cooling rack. Let cool. 

    5. To make the glaze. In a medium bowl, whisk together the maple syrup, powdered sugar, and vanilla. If needed, add water to thin the glaze, 1 tablespoon at a time.

    6. Dip each cake in glaze and insert a cinnamon stick in the center. Drizzle chocolate around the cinnamon stick to look like stems. Sprinkle with coarse sugar. Let dry for 30 minutes. Use to decorate the cake. 

horizontal photo of Chai Pumpkin Cake with Maple Browned Butter Frosting Chai Pumpkin Cake with Maple Browned Butter Frosting | halfbakedharvest.com #pumpkin #chai #fall #autumn #thanksgiving