Bourbon Pumpkin Cake with Boozy Brown Sugar Glaze



So, I am in charge of dessert for Thanksgiving dinner this year. Not a charge I take lightly. I like a good tradition, and I like pretty much all things pumpkin, but oddly I do not enjoy pumpkin pie. Woe to the traditionalist at the table this year.

Or is it!?

I may have discovered and subsequently tweaked and perfected my favorite cake of all time. All time.

I may like this more than I liked my wedding cake.

I found another recipe and adjusted it, to my taste. I left the pecans out of the cake itself because I will be in mixed company and not everybody loves a nut. But the candied pecans are a delicious touch and add nice crunch. If you follow the link, she tells you how to candy your own, but I find that Trader Joe’s candies them just fine and I like to remove a step where possible.

I also chose to use my favorite Wild Turkey American Honey Bourbon because it is delicious and the honey adds something nice, but you could use your favorite non-flavored bourbon too.

A heads up: this is a LARGE cake. If you do not have a large bundt pan, make sure you have two smaller pans prepared. Also, if you can,  make the cake a day ahead and cover it with plastic wrap or a cloche over night before glazing it really makes it rich. But you will have a hard time not eating it warm.

I have now made this cake twice and will make it twice more before the week is up. Maybe now, I’ll have some company!

Let me know what you think!


Bourbon Pumpkin Cake with Boozy Brown Sugar Glaze

You will need:

  • ½ C. Butter (softened)
  • 3C. All-Purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. Baking powder
  • 2 ¼ tsp. Ground ginger
  • 1 tsp. Salt
  • 1 tsp Baking soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 (heaping )tsp. Ground nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp Ground cloves
  • ¾ C. Buttermilk
  • 3 Tbs. of American Honey Bourbon (plain bourbon also works)
  • 1 ½ tsp. Vanilla Extract
  • ½ C. Greek Yogurt
  • 2 C. Dark Brown Sugar
  • 4 Eggs, room temperature
  • 1 15oz Can of Pumpkin Puree

For the Glaze:

  • ¾ C. Packed Brown Sugar
  • ½ C. Butter
  • 2 tbs. Agave Nectar
  • 1 ½ Tbs. Bourbon (same as whatever you used for the cake)
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/3 C. Heavy Cream
  • 1 ¼ C Powdered Sugar (SIFTED!)
  • 1/8 tsp. Vanilla Extract


For the Cake:

  • Preheat the oven to 350˚
  • Grease and flour large bundt pan (or two smaller bundt pans)
  • In a medium sized bowl, whisk together dry ingredients.
  • In a small bowl, mix buttermilk, vanilla and bourbon, set aside.
  • In a mixer, fitted with paddle attachment, cream the butter and brown sugar on medium/high for about 5 minutes
  • Scrape down the bowl, add Greek yogurt. Mix to combine.
  • Add the eggs, one at a time. Mixing in between.
  • Mix in the pumpkin.
  • Reduce mixer to low, add the buttermilk mixture.
  • Add dry ingredients in 4 parts. Mix just until combined.
  • If you are adding pecans, mix them in by hand here.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared pan (or pans) and wiggle a little to set.
  • Bake for 40-55 minutes, test with toothpick for done-ness.
  • Let cool in the pan for 15 mins, then turn it out onto a cooling rack.

 For the Glaze:

  • In a saucepan, combine brown sugar, butter, agave and salt. Cook over medium heat until smooth.
  • Stir in bourbon, stir constantly until mixture is calm
  • Stir in cream, raise the heat to high and bring to boil for 1 minute. Stirring constantly.
  • Remove the pan from heat and whisk in powdered sugar. Once combined, switch to a rubber spatula and stir vigorously to make smooth. (Tip: if you have not thoroughly sifted your powdered sugar, or ahem, skipped that all together because, I mean, who has the time… there will be lumps. Lots of them. Just run the glaze through a sieve into a small pitcher or cup.
  • Let the glaze rest for 5 minutes.
  • Place the cake on a wire cooling rack on top of a sheet pan so the pan will catch the drippings, pour the glaze over the ring of the cake so it drips down both sides.
  • Decorate cake with candied pecans.
  • Try and save some for your guests.


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