Harvest Cake with Brown Sugar Frosting

A Cake with a Tender, Buttermilk Crumb Sweetened with Yams, Spiced with Ginger and Cinnamon, and bite of Tart Cranberries and Nuts.  This cake is the epitome of what the Fall season brings!  

Harvest Cake with Brown Sugar Frosting | urbanbakes.com

I’m sure like you, this past week flew by fast.  I cannot believe within days it will be Thanksgiving!

I love everything that comes with Fall baking.  There’s just so much to make and like last year, I feel as though getting enough recipes out in time to share is always a struggle.  Between moving, work and family time, juggling everything can be a challenge but one thing I knew I couldn’t let slip away, was this Harvest Cake.

Harvest Cake with Brown Sugar Frosting | urbanbakes.com

I’ve had my eyes on this since last year!  I bought “harvest” sprinkles (even says so on the bottle) and although these photos didn’t give it justice in showing their cute pearl-like Fall colors, I couldn’t wait to find an excuse to use them.  By the way, as mentioned in my last post, my photos may appear a bit “moodier” due to a lack of sunlight coming in from this south-facing apartment.  At the time I finished frosting the cake, it began to get dark out which means I had to amp my camera settings to allow enough light in thus, achieving crystal clear shots (especially of the sprinkles) was nearly impossible.  Something I’ve got to work on, all within time.

Hope you like the new look but don’t worry, it’s only temporary.

Harvest Cake with Brown Sugar Frosting | urbanbakes.com

And to give you yet another option to your Thanksgiving table, this cake pretty much sums up the season all in one slice.  Talk about sweet potato, cranberries, nuts and spices, you’ll find it all in this cake.  The only exceptions I can think of are, apples and pumpkin.  Decided to give you a break on that one.

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Harvest Cake with Brown Sugar Frosting | urbanbakes.com

Harvest Cake with Brown Sugar Frosting

  • Author: Connie
  • Total Time: 2 hours, 30 minutes
  • Yield: 2 layered, 8-inch cake 1x




  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour or 2 cups cake flour
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 (15 oz.) can cut yams, drained and mashed
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 cup sweetened dried cranberries
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 2 large eggs


  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 3 cups confectioners sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • sprinkles (optional)



  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Using baking spray with flour, generously coat bottom and sides of 2 8-inch round baking pans; set aside.
  2. In a large bowl using an electric mixer, beat all cake ingredients together on low speed for 1 minute. Increase speed to medium and continue to mix until just combined, about 2 to 3 minutes. Pour batter evenly into pans.
  3. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into center of each cake comes out clean.
  4. Allow cakes to cool in pans for 15 to 20 minutes. Place a plate over the pan and invert to release cake onto the plate. Allow cakes to continue cooling until room temperature to the touch. Wrap each cake layer in plastic wrap and chill in refrigerator.


  1. Meanwhile in a small saucepan on medium heat, melt 3 tablespoons of butter and brown sugar; whisk continuously until completely melted. Increase heat to high, add 3 tablespoons milk and boil for 3 minutes, continue to stir.
  2. Remove saucepan from heat and allow to cool to room temperature.
  3. In a large bowl using an electric mixer on low speed, beat 1/2 cup butter, confectioners sugar and vanilla until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
  4. Add cooled brown sugar mixture and 2 tablespoons milk and continue to beat frosting until smooth and spreadable.


  1. Remove cakes from fridge, discard plastic wrapping and set cakes above a flat leveled surface. Using a long serrated knife, at eye level to the cake, cut any dome-shaped mounds of each cake to create a flat surface.
  2. Generously place about 1 cup of frosting onto the bottom cake layer. Using an angled spatula, spread frosting evenly across the surface. Stack second cake layer above and repeat frosting the top. Note: frosting may spill over the sides of the cakes, it will be used.
  3. Using the angled spatula, evenly frosting around the sides of the cake and generously apply more frosting on the top. Use the back of the angled spatula on a (45 degree angle) to create vertical stripes by lightly pressing the tip of the spatula to the bottom edge of the frosted cake and drag upward towards the top edge of the cake. Continue this process around the sides of the cake making sure to clean spatula of excess frosting after every few strokes.
  4. Decorated with sprinkles and/or any decorative flowers. ENJOY!
  • Prep Time: 25 minutes
  • Cook Time: 40 minutes

Harvest Cake with Brown Sugar Frosting recipe was adapted from (p.161) The Big Book of Cakes

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