A Bohemian Wedding Cake

by jenna on October 13, 2010

The other night, as I was laying on my floor paging through cookbooks like usual, I came across an interesting recipe that really struck my fancy. It was for “Bohemian Wedding Cake” and the cookbook was My Nepenthe: Bohemian Tales of Food, Family and Big Sur.

Bohemian Wedding Cake.

Doesn’t just the name alone intrigue you?

Am I the only one who lays awake at night thinking about interesting new cakes?

I can’t be the only one!

There should be a support group for people like us.

This is essentially a pumpkin spice cake, made with half whole wheat flour, a whole can of pumpkin puree and a healthy dose of walnuts thrown in for good measure. I figured it was perfect for October and it makes a wonderful afternoon snack, served with a tall glass of cold apple cider. The recipe in the cookbook calls for cream cheese frosting, but I was out of cream cheese so I used The Pioneer Woman’s “best frosting ever” recipe and it was glorious. Simply glorious.

I’d like to dedicate this one to all you pumpkin lovers out there….this ones for you!

Gosh, I just love everything about this cake. Everything. I love the way it’s like a pumpkin version of a carrot cake, love the way it’s so rustic, dense and hearty, and love the use of the word “Bohemian” in the title….

I just love it. Please make it!

Here’s what you need to make your own:

No need to dirty your Kitchen Aid for this one—this cake comes together in the same method you would use to bake pumpkin bread and involves only two bowls, a measuring cup, some spoons and a whisk. I think it only took me about ten minutes to throw together…start to finish!

Just stir together the dry ingredients (white flour, whole wheat flour, salt, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda):

And then in a separate bowl, combine the oil, brown sugar, eggs, pumpkin and molasses!

Molasses = amazingness. So glad I finally picked up some at the store. Now I can bake gingerbread!

After you combine the wet ingredients, dump the flour mixture back in and give it a good stir.

Now, fold in the walnuts….raisins, too, if you like! (I just use walnuts because I’m not a huge fan)

And pour into a buttered and floured nine inch cake pan. I think I’ve said this before, but I really don’t like cooking spray at all. Its made a bunch of my pans pretty gnarly and, personally, if I can’t pronounce any of the ingredients on the back of the Pam can, I don’t want to use it.

Plus, everything tastes better with butter.

Bake the cake at 350 for about fifty minutes, or until a toothpick stuck in the center comes out clean. Let cool for about ten minutes (resist the urge…I know!) and then run a knife around the sides and invert onto a clean plate.

When it’s totally, one hundred and ten percent cool, plop some frosting on that bad boy and get at it. Like I said, I used Pioneer Woman’s frosting (which I highly recommend because that woman knows her frosting!), but you could really just use anything you want. Brown sugar buttercream would be stellar and so would just a basic cream cheese frosting. Or, if you are more of the minimalist type, just a dusting of powdered sugar would be a divine!

And don’t worry about being all perfect with the frosting application, either. This is supposed to be more of a rustic cake anyway. The beauty is in it’s imperfections!

Bohemian Wedding Cake

Inspired by My Nepenthe: Bohemian Tales of Food, Family and Big Sur

makes 1 nine inch cake

1 cup whole wheat flour

1 cup all purpose flour

1 15-ounce can pumpkin

1.5 tsp baking soda

2 tsp pumpkin pie spice

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 cup (big handful) roughly chopped walnuts

1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar

1 cup canola oil

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/4 cup molasses

Preheat your oven to 350 and butter/flour a nine inch cake pan. Set aside.

In a bowl, combine the dry ingredients (flours, pumpkin pie spice, salt and baking soda). Mix well.

In another bowl, whisk together the canola oil, eggs, pumpkin, molasses, brown sugar and vanilla. Add the dry ingredients and stir to combine.

Fold in the walnuts and then pour batter into prepared cake pan. Bake for about fifty minutes, or until the cake starts to pull away from sides of pan. Let cool for ten minutes and then invert on a plate and let cool all the way.

Frost as desired.

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{ 94 comments… read them below or add one }

Tabitha (From Single to Married) October 13, 2010 at 8:07 am

Oh – this is my idea of the perfect dessert! Love anything with pumpkin!


Beth @ Beth's Journey to Thin October 13, 2010 at 8:11 am

My gosh this looks SO good Jenna! I love pumpkin spice flavor in the fall.. its perfect for the cooler temps.


Andrea October 13, 2010 at 8:14 am

OH no…I was laying awake last night thinking about pumpkin green monsters and about how to get mascara off my pillow cases. You know, the important things!


R @ Learning As I Chop October 13, 2010 at 8:15 am

Oh my, might have to abandon my applecake plans this weekend and make this instead…


Taysa October 13, 2010 at 8:17 am

Hey Jenna, This post reminded me of how much I love cakes but how intimidated I am of frosting — of any kind! The kind I’m most intimidated of is the powder sugar glaze kind that you put on holiday cookies…perhaps that could be a future post, what with the holidays coming and all?


Angharad October 13, 2010 at 8:18 am

Ok, I just wrote a post about being scared of “big cakes” (and wimped out, making carrot cake muffins) but you’ve made this look so easy and accessible that I feel like I can do it! I will do it.
And also, yes, the word “bohemian” somehow makes everything about this cake better!


Allie (Live Laugh Eat) October 13, 2010 at 8:23 am

‘Pumpkin version of carrot cake’

I’m sold. I kinda want this for my wedding cake now. Although a wedding probably won’t happen for another 80 years so I better make it myself.


Mary & Christina (Sisters Running the Kitchen) October 13, 2010 at 8:26 am

this looks so awesome. i am a huge fan of carrot cake and i loveeee pumpkin. Definitely a cake i need to make. I like the raisins though!


Michelle October 13, 2010 at 8:26 am

This sounds AMAZING!!! <333


Sara Palacios October 13, 2010 at 8:27 am

I am thinking that this cake MUST be made tonight! Like you said, I too love that it is a rustic cake similar to a carrot cake. Sounds yummy!

Just out of curiosity….what do you do with all of the stuff that you make/bake all of the time? Your neighbors/friends must love you. 🙂 I pawn mine off on coworkers or I would EAT IT ALL!


Tiffany (Stuffed with Fluff) October 13, 2010 at 8:28 am

I honestly think that I gain about 5 pounds every time I look at pictures of all the yummy treats you make. Haha, it’d be so worth it if I can eventually try all of your recipes…It’s currently a goal of mine to make all of them!


Charlie October 13, 2010 at 8:31 am

Looks amazing!!! 😀


rachael @peace, kale, and yoga October 13, 2010 at 8:32 am

Yum! Have you tried the harvest cake from the kitchn? It’s a personal favorite of mine and judging from this post I think you would love it!


kelsey@snackingsquirrel.com October 13, 2010 at 8:36 am

the name totally reels you in <3
mmm molasses and pumpkin- darn thats a good blast of two flavors!
its so pretty too with the icing against the color of the cake <3


Michelle @ Turning Over a New Leaf October 13, 2010 at 8:41 am

So yum!

I’m convinced the word “Bohemian” is an ingredient. Like butter and bacon. Makes everything better!

My mom used to make Moravian Lovefeast Bread. Moravian! I love it!


Jasmine @ Eat Move Write October 13, 2010 at 8:41 am

This would be perfect for Thanksgiving! I think I’ll have to debut it for the family. I’m hosting my first ever Thanksgiving (for family) at my house this year. I’m skerrred.


Jessica @ How Sweet October 13, 2010 at 8:43 am

This cake sounds divine. I am so glad that you page through cookbooks too. I do the same every single day. It’s my way to decompress!


Maria @ Oh Healthy Day October 13, 2010 at 8:46 am

This sounds delish! And you’re right about the PAM. I recently purchased some and it makes such a huge mess and I spend 20 minutes cleaning up my pans. Grandma used butter and so can I 🙂


The Blue-Eyed Bakers October 13, 2010 at 8:47 am

Of course we’re in love with any and all pumpkin desserts at the moment…and this one is no exception…looks completly delicious…! And with such a catchy name? Love.


Nicole @ Geek Turned Athlete October 13, 2010 at 8:48 am

I WILL be trying my own GF version of this cake. It looks insane. And really, anything with Bohemian in the name deserves to be eaten!


Amanda (Eating Up) October 13, 2010 at 8:48 am



Emily October 13, 2010 at 8:48 am

Oh my gosh, this sounds incredible! I love pumpkin anything, especially in baked goods.

I love that it’s called bohemian too- gives it a little intrigue 😉


c.j. October 13, 2010 at 8:51 am

I just want to stick my finger in the frosting. I’m putting this in my pocket for a rainy day.


Clare @ Fitting It All In October 13, 2010 at 8:55 am

My parents had a spice cake at their wedding, and this could be a great new twist for an Anniversary dessert!


jenna October 13, 2010 at 8:58 am

oh wow what a stunning cake!!! it looks so moist and full of flavor!! adding this to my ‘to make’ list!! 🙂 thanks!


Claire October 13, 2010 at 8:59 am

This really sounds pretty delicious. I made pumpkin muffins yesterday and the ingredients don’t differ too much. Oh, and I love the name of course too!


Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat October 13, 2010 at 9:02 am

Wowww, pumpkin and walnuts? Together in a cake with frosting?? I don’t know if I’d have much left for the cake because the batter sounds like it would taste amazing! (Yes, I’m immature and childish like that!) What a great fall recipe!


Jessica October 13, 2010 at 9:07 am

That cake looks amazing. If I find the time I’m going to turn it into the a bohemian birthday cake this weekend!


eatmovelove October 13, 2010 at 9:10 am

I love Carrot Cake and thought this was that. But this looks awesome! Never thought of putting pumpkin in a cake.

Yes, perfect for an afternoon.


Molly October 13, 2010 at 9:13 am

This looks like a nice, simple cake, perfect for fall. The cookbook looks interesting, too. I love Big Sur… Have you made anything else from it?


Krista (kristastes) October 13, 2010 at 9:13 am

I impulsively bought a can of TJ’s pumpkin last night without any idea what to do with it (like all the other random things I buy there in addition to the usual suspects….). Even though I am a horrible baker, I’m going try this one, thanks!


Lauren October 13, 2010 at 9:22 am

Congrats on this perfect marriage of ingredients to make one of the most wonderful sounding cakes. 😉


Liz @ Tip Top Shape October 13, 2010 at 9:25 am

I love pumpkin so this looks absolutely delicious!!! And your calling it the pumpkin version of carrot cake makes me even more intrigued!


Erinn October 13, 2010 at 9:36 am

I decided this will be my birthday cake. Amazing!


Karen October 13, 2010 at 10:32 am

Ha…I decided the same thing! It contains my favorite flavors and looks totally do-able for a novice baker.


sassy molassy October 13, 2010 at 9:37 am

Yuuuum! I love this easy fall themed recipe. THanks for sharing.


Nicole@TheSaltedKitchen October 13, 2010 at 9:39 am

Love this, looks delicious!!


Sarah-Mae @ Eat, Run, Knit October 13, 2010 at 9:42 am

You are pure evil!


Ashley October 13, 2010 at 9:43 am

That cake looks delicious; I’m so making it this fall! I’m always reading cookbooks like they are actual books. My husbands finds this very weird. 😉


Krystina October 13, 2010 at 9:43 am

The only thing I’d change is using Libby’s in place of the organic pumpkin – it doesn’t compare!


Estela @ Weekly Bite October 13, 2010 at 9:45 am

I love carrot cake & anything w/pumpkin! So this sound deliciously perfect 🙂


Jil October 13, 2010 at 9:46 am

That looks absolutely incredible!! Love molasses – picked up the molasses chew cookies from Trader Joe’s last time I was there…perrrfection.


Laughter-Loving Stacy October 13, 2010 at 9:49 am

Ooooh this is the cake for me! NICE. 😀

Oh, and a while back you asked us to tell you about a recipe (if we ever found it) that actually called for a whole 6oz can of tomato paste. Well, I found it: http://www.designspongeonline.com/2010/09/in-the-kitchen-with-kobekats-sloppy-joe-sliders.html

Ha, ha- my first thought was: tell Jenna! 🙂


Amber K October 13, 2010 at 9:53 am

That looks amazing! I’ll be admiring it from afar. 🙂


chelsey @ clean eating chelsey October 13, 2010 at 9:56 am

I have to bring treats to bible study tonight – can you FedEx that over to me? Thanks.


Susan October 13, 2010 at 10:01 am

This sounds delicious and I have all of the ingredients to make it, including some cream cheese frosting in the freezer!! Which I wouldn’t have if I hadn’t learned from your blog that I can freeze frosting – so thank you thank you!


cathy b. @ brightbakes.com October 13, 2010 at 10:03 am

yeah….I’ve been making that icing too…..if you have leftovers and keep ’em in the fridge it can spell serious trouble….
Cathy B. @ brightbakes


Elizabeth October 13, 2010 at 10:16 am

I’ve been wanting this cookbook for everrrr and am obsessed with Big Sur and the California coast! (Previous LA resident transplanted back to Canada). You live in a gorgeous part of the world, Jenna… and I am in complete agreement about Bohemian! It conjures up such amazing images of a free spirited love for life! Great post!


Lauren at KeepItSweet October 13, 2010 at 10:24 am

i thought i was the only one, but yes, i stay awake at night because i have too many baking ideas running through my head!


Jenny October 13, 2010 at 10:33 am

This looks like a glorious treat! I can’t wait to try it, and I promise you, I will!


Judith October 13, 2010 at 10:35 am

I was in Big Sur over the weekend and now can make something to remind me of it.
When do you add the brown sugar???
Please reply ASAP as I am waiting to make this for dinner tonight!


jenna October 13, 2010 at 10:52 am

You add the brown sugar with the oil (and the wet ingredients!)


Maren October 13, 2010 at 10:44 am

I’m loving this recipe, I’m obsessed with ways to use pumpkin this fall. I’ll have to try it some lonely afternoon 🙂


Brittney October 13, 2010 at 10:47 am

Think I might try this for a dinner party this weekend. Question: Do you think a Cinnamon Frosting would be good or overkill on flavor?


jenna October 13, 2010 at 11:06 am

hmmm no, that might be good! I would overdo it with the cinnamon though…maybe just a light cinnamon buttercream?

Can I come to your party?


Brittney October 13, 2010 at 1:28 pm

sounds perfect – I’ll let you know how it goes.


R Chandra October 13, 2010 at 11:01 am

i just adore the name of this cake!!!!


Rachel @ The Avid Appetite October 13, 2010 at 11:17 am

This looks uh-mazing! I used Pioneer Woman’s best ever icing on my Dexter season premiere cupcakes – white cake, sour cherry jam filling, and this icing. It was to-die-for!


Megan (Braise The Roof) October 13, 2010 at 11:26 am

I have a cup of pumpkin spice coffee sitting next to me right now and with the smell combined with your recipe and photos I can almost taste that cake!


Camille October 13, 2010 at 11:29 am

What a beautiful simple looking cake. It looks like the kind of cake that Grandma would make 🙂


Brittney October 13, 2010 at 11:30 am

Ahhhhhh, that looks amazing! I dig that it has molasses in it! YUM!


Tracey @ I'm Not Superhuman October 13, 2010 at 11:45 am

This sounds amazing, though I’d go out and buy cream cheese since it’s my favorite frosting. I could eat it plain. With a spoon. Or finger.


stacey-healthylife October 13, 2010 at 11:46 am

Your just on a baking mission lately. But they all look so amazing.


Kerry October 13, 2010 at 11:47 am

My wedding is in February, can I hire you? LoL 🙂


jenna October 13, 2010 at 11:55 am

will you feed me wedding cake?

if so, sure!


Kerry October 13, 2010 at 1:38 pm

and wine. DUH.


jenna October 13, 2010 at 1:45 pm

i like the way you think!


Averie (LoveVeggiesAndYoga) October 13, 2010 at 11:53 am

Buttercream anything rocks. As does molasses!

Bohemiam wedding. I got married in Vegas on the $199 package special complete with plastic boquet and minister with spiked hair and a tail. Does that count as Bohemian?


Kt. October 13, 2010 at 12:07 pm

this was my wedding cake, did not want the traditional one. You’re also supposed to save the small, top layer to be eaten on your first anniversary, we froze it and needless to say there was just a tiny sliver left to be eaten on our first anniversary.


Gina October 13, 2010 at 1:56 pm

I was about to make boring old pumpkin bread…then I saw this. My Bohemian Wedding Cake just went into the oven =D


sara October 13, 2010 at 2:54 pm

I wondered how legitimate the quality of a jar of molasses labeled Brer Rabbit was when I bought it to make molasses cookies a while ago. I suppose it’s legit now that I see I’m not the only one who bought it!


AnneW October 13, 2010 at 3:43 pm

Cafe Nepenthe… one of the best meals of my life, and definitely the best sweet potato fries!

Have you been yet??


jenna October 13, 2010 at 4:00 pm

I haven’t been—it’s on my bucket list!


Dee October 13, 2010 at 4:23 pm

oh my YUM!


Michele October 13, 2010 at 6:22 pm

You are definitely trying to make us fat! 🙂


Leah October 13, 2010 at 6:38 pm

I agree with you about non-stick sprays (plus I hate the waste). However, a nice alternative is to buy a pump spray bottle from a kitchen store (I guess like a Misto?) which you can then fill with the oil of your choice. I have one that I love and use with olive oil. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with buttering and flouring your dish also!


jenna October 13, 2010 at 6:52 pm

that’s a great idea and something i forgot to mention–thanks, Leah!


Heather (Heather's Dish) October 13, 2010 at 8:37 pm

what a classic name for a cake…just makes me want to devour it immediately! don’t even care what the flavor is 😉


Deliciously Suite October 13, 2010 at 9:17 pm

I’m currently on a pumpkin kick and this looks amazing. Plus I’m a huge fan of carrot cake so I’m convinced this cake can do no wrong.


Chelsea @ One Healthy Munchkin October 14, 2010 at 6:15 am

I would be all over this as a wedding cake!


CharMarATL October 14, 2010 at 7:05 am

I made this last night for a friend’s birthday tonight – so excited to try it! Thanks for the recipe!


Ravenous Rowie October 15, 2010 at 4:55 pm

Beautiful cake! I so want to eat it RIGHT NOW! I love pumpkin, and new types of cake, so this was the perfect post for me! YUM!


Anonymous October 16, 2010 at 12:15 pm

This cake is so delicious, thanks Jenna! I was looking for a Fall recipe and this came out perfectly, my kitchen is filled with the smell of delicious spices and it is so moist (ew I hate that word, but it did!)… just as I had hoped from your pictures. I used a cream cheese frosting which I thought also complimented it nicely. Will definitely be making this one again!


Kara October 17, 2010 at 7:58 am

I made this last night and ohhhhhhhhhh man. It. is. SO. good. I just did a quick powdered sugar, vanilla, and half & half icing. I meant to put cinnamon in the icing but I forgot but… STILL! Might be making another one later today…


Julia October 17, 2010 at 5:08 pm

I had more carrots than I knew what to do with in my fridge so I subbed carrots for the pumpkin + a couple of other substitutions, served with cream cheese frosting and it was amazing!! Thanks so much for sharing this. I think it’ll be great at Thanksgiving! Or, you know, for breakfast tomorrow…


Hilmar October 20, 2010 at 2:04 am

I just made this cake, and it is simply delicious. I just posted it in my blog if you want to take a look 😉


olga riofrio October 22, 2010 at 6:12 am

Sounds Great.
I am going to copy this recipe probably for thanks giving.




Jamie Lee November 3, 2010 at 1:31 pm


I was hoping to make this recipe into cupcakes! Does the temperature or time vary if I wanted to do cupcakes instead of a cake?

Love your blog by the way! This is the first time I’ve commented but I read your blog everyday for ideas!


jenna November 3, 2010 at 1:33 pm

nope–same temperature!


Samantha Ullrich November 7, 2010 at 6:53 am

I’ve been on a total pumpkin-kick lately and this cake looks absolutely amazing! and you’re right, the name of it drew me right in… wedding + cake + Bohemian… in my kitchen??! I can’t wait to make it for Sunday night football!

PS: I adore your blog. It’s my “go-to” for recipes, and of course beautiful photos… What kind of camera do you use??



Jamie Lee November 9, 2010 at 10:53 am

I made the cupcakes and they went over so well! Except I didn’t use walnuts, and instead I put almond slivers on top of the frosting! Thanks so much, I think the boy really liked them 🙂


Sarah Davies December 22, 2010 at 8:38 am

I just made this last night after printing from your blog a couple months ago. Absolutely delicious!!! So moist and great spice. I was out of pumpkin pie spice so just mixed up some cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and allspice and it tasted great. Frosted with cream cheese/powdered sugar/lemon juice/vanilla icing – simple and complimented the cake well. This will definitely become one of my “go to” desserts.


Michelle January 5, 2011 at 10:54 am

I think you’re causing a stir in the food blogger world with your use of this recipe. See here: http://diannej.com/blog/2011/01/should-bloggers-be-praised-for-recipes-they-dont-write/comment-page-1/#comment-15783

There’s a 1/05 comment from Joe that points to you + this post.


Emilee November 19, 2011 at 9:24 am

Hey Jenna-

I made this recipe last year for Thanksgiving and it is honestly my FAVORITE cake ever- i have to make it again this year. Just wondering- can I make it ahead of time and freeze it? THanks for your help! long time reader I just don’t comment often. Love everything about your blog ! 🙂


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