Pumpkin Chai Cake with Brown Butter Frosting

Desirably effortless, this tender Pumpkin Chai Cake will evoke the very essence of fall with its notably sweet spice and fragrant Brown Butter Frosting.

Pumpkin Chai Cake with Brown Butter Frosting | URBAN BAKES

The countdown to Thanksgiving is ON! Before you know it, many of us will be in the kitchen for hours whipping up some of our favorite dishes to be shared amongst our loved ones. Yet with this time spent cooking, it’s only normal to feel a bit exhausted and wanting to have dessert made beforehand or at the very least, relatively quick to assemble. If cake is your dessert of choice to share, a sheet cake can make your day so much lighter!

Pumpkin Chai Cake with Brown Butter Frosting | URBAN BAKES

One-layered cakes or more specifically, sheet cakes, are one of the easiest to come to together. Though many of us love a layered cake with pretty designs, I know this can be quite stressful to make when there is food to prep and mouths to feed all while trying to keep everyone entertained. And if you’re traveling with a layered cake, good luck!

As shown in photos below, you can see how easy it is to decorate the top of the cake. Simply use a large spoon to make the deep swirls, sprinkle chai spice and place a few star anise and cinnamon sticks, and VOILA! The cake is officially done! It takes minutes to complete. You can travel with the frosting and prep on location or have made a day ahead and cover.

Now for the best part of the cake, its flavor… I’ve decided to create a small twist on the classic pumpkin spice by using chai spice. Between the two, many of the ingredients are the same however, chai revs up the flavor a notch, mainly due to cardamom. And although in this dessert there’s less cardamom than cinnamon used, cardamom is able to still come through to the forefront but ever so softly with the other spices.

Pumpkin Chai Cake with Brown Butter Frosting | URBAN BAKES

Pair this pumpkin chai spice with the brown butter frosting and now this cake is simply AMAZING!  When it comes to flavor in either a savory or sweet dish, you can’t go wrong with browned butter.  Between its aromatic nutty scent that initially draws you in as the butter is cooked, to its mesmerizing taste, it’s one flavor you’ll ask yourself why you haven’t made this sooner!

If you enjoyed this recipe, consider commenting & rating below. I love to see your feedback and help answer any questions. Don’t forget to check below for related recipes.

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Pumpkin Chai Cake with Brown Butter Frosting | URBAN BAKES

Pumpkin Chai Cake with Brown Butter Frosting

  • Author: URBAN BAKES
  • Total Time: 2 hours
  • Yield: 9x13 inch cake 1x
  • Diet: Vegetarian


Desirably effortless, this tender Pumpkin Chai Cake will evoke the very essence of fall with its notably sweet spice and fragrant Brown Butter Frosting.




  • 2 cups (240 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon (8 grams) ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons (4 grams) ground cardamom
  • 2 teaspoons (4 grams) ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 large eggs (100 grams)
  • 1 1/3 cups (267 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1 cup (244 grams) pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup (113 grams) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup (120 grams) buttermilk
  • 2 teaspoons (10 grams) pure vanilla extract


  • 1 cup (226 grams) unsalted butter
  • 4 to 6 cups (460 to 690) powdered sugar
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons (45 to 60 grams) milk

OTHER (optional)



  1. CAKE: Heat oven to 350°F (175°C).  Coat the bottom and sides of a 9×13 inch 9×13 inch (23×33 cm) pan with nonstick cooking spray with flour; set aside. 
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, cloves, baking powder, baking soda, nutmeg, salt and pepper; set aside.
  3. In a bowl of a stand mixer, using the paddle attachment on low to medium speed, mix eggs and sugar for 1 minute. Mix in pumpkin, butter, buttermilk and vanilla until just combined.  Reduce speed to low and gradually add the flour-chai mixture and continue to mix until just combined. 
  4. Bake for 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean or with a few dry crumbs.  Allow the cake to cool to room temperature before adding the frosting.
  5. FROSTING:  In a small skillet over medium heat, melt butter. Stir continuously until butter has turned to light golden to amber color, about 5 minutes. Quickly remove from heat.  You should notice dark specks within the melted butter and a nutty aroma should arise. Allow the butter to slightly cool.
  6. Stir in 4 cups of powdered sugar and 3 tablespoons of milk until the frosting is smooth and spreadable.  If the frosting is too thin, add more powdered sugar, 1/2 cup at a time. If the frosting is too thick, add more milk, 1 teaspoon at a time.  Spoon and lightly spread frosting over the cooled cake.  Sprinkled with sugared chai spice and add star anise and cinnamon stick to decorate.  Slice and ENJOY!
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 35 minutes
  • Category: Cake
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: pumpkin chai cake, chai cake, pumpkin cake, brown butter frosting, fall baking, sheet cake, 1 layer cake

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