Pumpkin Upside-Down Cake with Bourbon Caramel Sauce

It’s that time of year when I start craving all things PUMPKIN, and this Pumpkin Upside Down Cake with Bourbon Caramel Sauce puts a new spin on classic pumpkin flavors.

This pumpkin pecan cake is a twist on the well-known pineapple upside-down cake, where you place your toppings on the bottom of the pan, and then flip the cake over after baking, making what was the bottom, now the top.

This method allows for a caramelized layer to form in the bottom of the pan, which ultimately ends up making a lovely presentation (and flavor!) on top of your cake.

A moist and spongey pumpkin cake layer, nutty pecans, and a rich and decadent bourbon caramel sauce… thwack on a dollop of whipped cream, and you’ll be in pumpkin dessert heaven….

(If you love upside-down cakes, you might also try my Blood-Orange Upside Down Cake!)

Blood Orange Upside-Down Cake
A simple upside-down cake with a beautiful presentation. It looks fancy, but is easy to make!
Check out this recipe

How to Make Pumpkin Upside-Down Cake with Bourbon Caramel Sauce

Prepare the Pan

First, grease and flour a 9” round cake pan. Line the bottom with a 9” parchment paper circle, and then spray it with nonstick cooking spray.

You want your pumpkin cake to flip out easily when you turn it upside down, so be sure not to skip this step.

Line the round baking pan with parchment and spray with cooking spray to being the Pumpkin Upside-Down Cake with Bourbon Caramel Sauce
Make the Pecan Topping

Melt the butter in a pan over medium heat. Add the brown sugar and stir until bubbly.

Carefully add the bourbon, and continue stirring as the mixture bubbles for another minute or so, giving the bourbon time to burn off.

Make the bourbon caramel sauce for the pecan topping.  Stir until bubbly.
Decorate the Bottom (soon to be the top) with the Pecans

Add the pecan halves to the round pan, creating a pretty design. Remember, this will be the top of your pumpkin cake when you eventually flip it upside down.

Arrange the pecan halves in the bottom of the pan to create the top of the pumpkin cake when turned upside-down.

When you have the pecans in place, carefully drizzle the bourbon caramel sauce over the pecans. Be sure you go slow with this step, so as not to displace the pecans. When the sauce hits the cool pan, it will firm up quickly and hold the pecans in place.

Make the Pumpkin Cake Batter

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a large mixing bowl, blend the melted butter, pumpkin, sugar, eggs, and vanilla until combined.

In another bowl, sift together the dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, and salt.

Slowly add dry ingredients to the wet and mix just until combined.

Add batter by spoonfuls to the round pan, on top of your pecan layer. Use an offset spatula to spread evenly to the edges of the pan.

Bake

Place pumpkin upside-down cake into the preheated oven and bake for approximately 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Flip it Upside Down!

When the cake is done baking, allow it to cool for only about 5 minutes. Run a knife around the edges to loosen from the pan.

Place a serving plate on top of the pan, then invert the cake, to remove it from the pan. Gently remove the parchment paper, being careful not to disturb the pecans.

When finished baking, flip the pumpkin cake upside-down on a cake plate.

Look how pretty it is already. But wait, it gets even better!

Make the Bourbon Caramel Glaze

Melt the butter in a small pan, and then add the brown sugar. Stir until it’s bubbling, and then add a little more bourbon! Stir over medium heat until it all melts together creating a pourable glaze.

You can pour the glaze over the whole cake, if you’ll be serving it to a crowd, or you can slice the cake and drizzle it over the individual pieces as I did.

A dollop of fresh whipped cream is the literal icing on the cake!

Oh. My. Word. Pumpkin heaven.

Tips

  • This cake is best served warm, so the glaze melts down the sides of the pumpkin upside-down cake.
  • If you’re not eating it right away, or if by some small chance you have leftovers, the cake should be stored the fridge.
  • Allow cake to come to room temp before enjoying, or warm a slice in the microwave for a few seconds.
  • If you are making this pumpkin upside-down cake for entertaining, you can easily make it the day ahead. It’s best, however, to make the bourbon caramel sauce right before serving, and drizzle it on while it’s warm.

Pumpkin Upside-Down Cake with Bourbon Caramel Sauce

Niky @ The House on Silverado
A moist and spongey pumpkin cake layer, nutty pecans, and a rich and decadent bourbon caramel sauce…
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 35 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 8
Calories 580 kcal

Equipment

  • 9" round cake pan

Ingredients
  

For the Pecan Topping (which will go in bottom of cake pan for now)

  • 1 cup pecan halves
  • 4 TBSP unsalted butter
  • cup brown sugar
  • 1 oz bourbon

For the Cake

  • 1 cup pure canned pumpkin
  • 4 TBSP unsalted butter melted
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 ½ tsp baking powder
  • 1 ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • ½ tsp ground nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp ground cloves

For the Bourbon Caramel Glaze

  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • cup brown sugar
  • 2 oz bourbon

Instructions
 

  • Grease a 9” round cake pan. Line the bottom with a 9” parchment paper circle, and then spray it with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.

Make the Pecan Topping

  • Melt the butter in a pan over medium heat. Add the brown sugar and stir until bubbly.
    Carefully add the bourbon, and continue stirring as the mixture bubbles for another minute or so, giving the bourbon time to burn off.
  • Add the pecan halves to the round pan, creating a pretty design. Remember, this will be the top of your pumpkin cake when you eventually flip it upside down.
  • When you have the pecans in place, carefully drizzle the bourbon caramel sauce over the pecans. Be sure you go slow with this step, so as not to displace the pecans. When the sauce hits the cool pan, it will firm up quickly and hold the pecans in place.

Make the Pumpkin Cake

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
    In a large mixing bowl, blend the melted butter, pumpkin, sugar, eggs, and vanilla until combined.
    In another bowl, sift together the dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, and salt.
    Slowly add dry ingredients to the wet and mix just until combined.
    Add batter by spoonfuls to the round pan, on top of your pecan layer. Use an offset spatula to spread evenly to the edges of the pan.
  • Place pumpkin upside-down cake into the preheated oven and bake for approximately 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
    When cake is done baking, allow it to cool for about 5 minutes. Run a knife around the edges to loosen from the pan.
    Place a serving plate on top of the pan, then invert the cake, to remove it from the pan as you flip it upside-down. Gently remove the parchment paper, being careful not to disturb the pecans.

Make the Bourbon Glaze

  • Melt the butter in a small pan, and then add the brown sugar. Stir until it's bubbling, and then add a little more bourbon! Stir over medium heat until it all melts together creating a pourable glaze.
    You can pour the glaze over the whole cake, if you'll be serving it to a crowd, or you can slice the cake and drizzle it over the individual pieces.
    Top each slice with fresh whipped cream to serve.

Notes

Tips:
  • This cake is best served warm, so the glaze melts down the sides of the pumpkin upside-down cake.
  • If you’re not eating it right away, or if by some small chance you have leftovers, the cake should be stored in the fridge, covered.
  • Allow cake to come to room temp before enjoying, or warm a slice in the microwave for a few seconds.
  • If you are making this cake for entertaining, you can easily make it the day ahead. It’s best, however, to make the bourbon caramel sauce right before serving, and drizzle it on while it’s warm.
  • Nutritional information is provided as a courtesy only and should be viewed as an estimate. Ingredients can vary and The House on Silverado makes no guarantees to the accuracy of this information.

Nutrition

Serving: 1Calories: 580kcalCarbohydrates: 61.5gProtein: 5.7gFat: 33gSaturated Fat: 16gCholesterol: 130mgSodium: 497mgFiber: 3.2gSugar: 32gCalcium: 17.7mg
Keyword cake, Holiday Baking, Thanksgiving
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Happy Pumpkin Season,

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11 thoughts on “Pumpkin Upside-Down Cake with Bourbon Caramel Sauce

  1. Niky, this cake looks amazing! Like you, I’m craving everything pumpkin these days. Thanks for sharing at CYS. Congrats! You’ve been featured this week 🙂

  2. 5 stars
    Oh my… it looks and sounds amazing Niky!
    Thank you for sharing this recipe at Create, Bake, Grow & Gather this week. I’m delighted to be featuring your pumpkin upside-down cake with bourbon caramel sauce recipe at this week’s party and pinning too.
    Hugs,
    Kerryanne

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