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Chai-Spiced Italian Buttercream

While cream cheese frosting might be the norm for pumpkin bars, go ahead and ditch it for this Pumpkin Cake in favor of this spicier, more elegant Chai-Spiced Italian Buttercream. It’s not only sophisticated but well-suited to be the centerpiece of your holiday table.


enough for one 4-layer cake

Total Time

30 minutes

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Coat the inside of a heatproof glass measuring cup with nonstick spray.

Stir together cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cardamom, and cloves.

Boil sugar, water, and corn syrup in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally. When syrup reaches 230°, begin whipping egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer on high speed with the whisk attachment until foamy. Add cream of tartar and beat to stiff peaks. Meanwhile, continue cooking syrup until it reaches 245°, about 5 minutes total.

Immediately pour the 245° syrup into prepared measuring cup. With the mixer running on high speed, drizzle syrup and spice mixture into the whipped whites until thoroughly combined. Continue drizzling syrup, beating until all is added and combined. Continue beating meringue until sides and bottom of bowl are cooled to room temperature.

Add butter to meringue, 1 Tbsp. at a time, beating well after each addition. Buttercream may appear curdled, but continue beating. It will become smooth once all the butter is added.

Step 1

The egg whites should hold a stiff peak and be glossy before drizzling in the sugar syrup.

Step 2

Pour syrup into egg whites between the bowl and beater, so it doesn’t get kicked onto sides of the bowl.

Step 3

The butter should be soft on the outside and slightly firm in the center for the best consistency.

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