Layered Pumpkin Gingerbread with Hot Caramel Sauce

Layered pumpkin gingerbread with hot caramel sauce

A long time ago I had been going through my recipe box, converting all of my old handwritten recipes, newspaper and magazine clippings, and so forth onto my computer. What a mess. For two years I have found recipes all over the house because I taken them from room to room, wherever I happened to be typing on my laptop. Last night one of the recipes jumped out from under my bed like a cat attacking my feet and waited for me to pick it up. It’s true–the thing honestly hurled itself at me when I lifted the dust ruffle on my bed. So weird. I guess that it has been hiding all this time just waiting for the right moment to lunge. That sounds creepy, doesn’t it? I’ll paint a better picture…The recipe card fell gently from its hiding place and floated down to my feet, like an Autumn leaf set free by a momentary breeze to drift at its leisure until it came to rest on the still warm earth. Pretty.

Layered pumpkin gingerbread with hot caramel sauce

“Purple, Miss Cook.” That would be the voice of my 11th grade high school English teacher, Jean Fitzsimmons, ringing in my ears were I to have written that sentence in class. Heaven forbid. Mrs. Fitzsimmons had little tolerance for purple prose. As I read the title of the recipe, I thought how ironic that this particular recipe would appear at this particular time of year. What are the chances? And why hadn’t I found it in all of the times I went on search and seizures under my bed? Baby, you could make some money in Vegas if you bet on the right side of that equation. Not that I know anything about betting or gambling or winning or losing. I’ve never gambled in my life. It scares the starch out of me to even think about it.

Anyway. The recipe. It came out of a local newspaper and is credited to Marcia Adams’ Heirloom Recipes. It feels like an heirloom recipe. Do you know what I mean? There are just honest to goodness ingredients in it; nothing flashy or overdone and the instructions are uncomplicated. It was the perfect thing to bake today while snowflakes were falling; the first of the year. I’m not ready for them just yet. So, I hope that Autumn is only practicing for the days ahead. Sigh.


Layered Pumpkin Gingerbread with Hot Caramel Sauce


    For the cake:
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2/3 cup cold butter
  • 3/4 cup finely chopped pecans
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup light molasses
  • 1/2 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • For the sauce:
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
  • 1 1/4 cups packed light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 1 cup half and half
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


    For the cake:
  1. Preheat oven to 350-degrees F.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, mix together flour and sugar. Cut in butter until mixture resembles fine crumbs. (This step can be done in a food processor.)
  3. Add pecans and stir lightly to blend.
  4. Press 1 1/4 cups mixture firmly in a 9-x 9-inch square pan. Set aside.
  5. To the remaining crumbs, add the ginger, baking soda, cloves and salt; mix lightly.
  6. In a medium size mixing bowl, mix together the molasses, pumpkin, egg, and vanilla extract. Add to flour mixture and mix well.
  7. Pour evenly over the cookie base. The mixture is thick; be careful when spreading it because the cookie base will easily stick to the mixture and pull away from the bottom of the baking dish.
  8. Bake 40 minutes, or until crust is firm and a tester comes out clean. (I found that the crust did not actually get very firm.)
  9. For the sauce:
  10. In a saucepan, melt the butter over medium-low heat.
  11. Add the brown sugar and corn syrup.
  12. Bring the mixture to a boil and cook until the sugar dissolves, stirring frequently, for about 5 minutes.
  13. Add the half and half, return to a boil, and remove from the heat.
  14. Stir in the vanilla. Serve the warm gingerbread, cut into squares, with teh hot caramel sauce over the top.


The recipe states that this makes 9 servings. However, because the gingerbread and sauce are so rich together, I made 16 squares instead of 9. This would also be delicious served with a small scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Layered pumpkin gingerbread with hot caramel sauce


  1. says

    I happen to like your “purple prose” and think it painted a lovely picture. This is a wonderful heirloom recipe for us to try. Snow! So soon?? It’s only the end of October for Pete’s sake.

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