Pumpkin Flan Cake With Maple Brown Butter Glaze

10 Servings
1 hr 50 min

If this pumpkin flan cake doesn’t impress your guests, then you’re catering to a rough crowd (hee hee)!

Joking aside: some things are worth a little time and effort, and this cake is one of them. There are two layers—a pumpkin cake layer and a flan layer.

What’s so unique about this cake is the baking process. Before going into the oven, the batter is poured into the bundt cake pan first followed by the flan layer. During baking, the layers flip. What was on top is now on the bottom and vise versa! Whoa!!

But what really matters is the taste. The cake is pumpkiny and moist, with warm flavors of fall from pumpkin pie spice. The flan layer is smooth, creamy and luscious. To top the cake, there is a maple brown butter glaze that is liquid gold! To balance all the sweetness, salted toasted pecans finishes off this beauty.

This pumpkin flan cake screams fall and is perfect for a special dinner, Thanksgiving and even Christmas! It’s been one of the holiday dessert favorites at my house in recent years.

More information and images can be found at In Good Flavor.

Pumpkin Flan Cake With Maple Brown Butter Glaze
Recipe details
  • 10  Servings
  • Prep time: 35 Minutes Cook time: 75 Minutes Total time: 1 hr 50 min
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For the cake layer:
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tbsp. pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup vegetable or corn oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup half and half (or whole milk)
  • 1 scant cup pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
  • enough hot water to add to the steam bath
For the flan layer:
  • 3 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
  • 3 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 (14 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cup half and half (or whole milk)
For the maple brown butter glaze:
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
For the salted pecans:
  • 1 tbsp. butter
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/4 rounded tsp. Kosher salt
To make the cake layer:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In a small bowl, combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and pumpkin pie spice. Set aside.
Beat sugar, oil, and eggs on medium high in a large bowl for 2 minutes. Beat in vanilla extract. Add 1/3 of the flour mixture, beating until just incorporated. Add half of the half & half. Blend. Continue adding another 1/3 of the flour mixture, beat until just incorporated. Add the remaining half & half. Beat in the last 1/3 of the flour mixture. Add the pumpkin puree, beating until well blended.
Generously coat a 10-inch bundt pan softened butter. Coat with flour. Shake off excess. Pour cake batter into pan. Set aside.
To make the flan:
Beat cream cheese until smooth. Add eggs, beating until well blended. Add sweetened condensed milk, half and half, and vanilla, beating for 1 minute. Pour over the cake layer. Cover tightly with a greased aluminum foil.
Place bundt cake pan in a larger pan. Place into oven. Pour enough water into the larger pan to fill the bundt cake pan half way up. Bake for 70 to 80 minutes or until a toothpick comes out with a few dry crumbs attached.
Cool on a rack for 1 hour. Invert bundt pan onto a cake platter. Unmold by giving it one vertical shake to loosen the cake. Remove bundt pan. Chill cake.
To make the glaze:
Melt butter on a saucepan on medium heat. Allow butter to become bubbly then foamy and develop a nutty smell, in about 3-4 minutes. Stir gently and watch butter carefully once it begins to foam as it could burn quickly. Check for milk solids that deposit at the bottom of the pan. Once the milk solids turn golden brown, remove from heat. The butter will darken as it sits.
Pour brown butter into a small mixing bowl. Allow to cool to room temperature. Once cooled, beat in powdered sugar and maple syrup until smooth. Chill for about 15 minutes before glazing cake.
To make the salted pecans:
Melt butter in a medium skillet on medium heat. Add pecans. Cook, stirring frequently until pecans become fragrant, about 4 minutes. Remove from heat. Add salt. Transfer to a plate. Allow to cool.
To finish cake, use a spoon to drizzle glaze over cooled cake. Sprinkle with salted pecans. Keep refrigerated.
  • If you are using 1 pint of half and half, you will be a little short on the 3/4 cup needed for the flan layer. Add enough milk to make up the difference.
  • My cake is done in 80 minutes in my oven. Check your cake early if your oven tends to cook fast.
  • Prep time given does not include the 1 hour cooling period prior to unmolding the cake from the bundt pan.
In Good Flavor
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  • Audrey Audrey on Nov 10, 2021

    can it be made ahead? Will it freeze well?

    • In Good Flavor In Good Flavor on Nov 11, 2021

      You should be able to freeze it Because of the flan layer doesn’t hold up as well as the cake layer, it’s best eaten within 2 months.

  • Audrey Audrey on Nov 10, 2021

    Can you substitute sweet potatoes?

    • In Good Flavor In Good Flavor on Nov 10, 2021

      I have not tried it with sweet potato.you should be able to. The sweet potato might not have as much moisture as the pumpkin purée, so you might need to add a little bit of that moisture back. Adding a bit more half and half or milk might help.