While I've seen other variations of this recipe, my recipe was given to me by my German grandmother, who taught me the joy of baking. This has become a holiday favorite in our family and is preferred over pumpkin pie. To make a show-stopping presentation, I always tie a holiday ribbon around the center of the cake before serving. - audam —audam
Test Kitchen Notes
This cake is definitely is a looker. When we made the cake we did not add the ribbon, but even without it the cake looked amazing, and most importantly tasted even better. We especially like the crunchy topping that was between the layers. It was a nice treat between the very rich and moist cakes. This recipe will definitely show up on our holiday table. - adamnsvetcooking —The Editors
Combine all ingredients together until well blended; divide evenly between 4 round, ungreased 10" cake pans. Press firmly onto bottom of entire pan to create the crunch topping.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In large mixing bowl, beat sugar and butter at low speed until well blended; increase to medium speed and beat 10 minutes or until light and fluffy. Reduce mixer to low speed and add pumpkin and next 7 ingredients. Beat until well mixed.
Spoon batter over crunch topping in the 4 cake pans; spread evenly. Bake 20 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. (Rotate pans between upper and lower oven racks after 10 minutes.) Cool on wire racks for 10 minutes; remove from pans inverted and cool completely.
When cake has cooled completely, in large mixing bowl beat whippping cream, vanilla and 3 Tbsp. sugar at high speed until stiff peaks form.
Place one of the cakes on your presentation plate (crunch topping side up), spread 1/4 of the whipped cream on the first layer; repeat with next 2 layers of cake. Place final layer of cake on top of the other layers and spoon remaining whipped cream in 5 or 6 dollops on top of the cake. Dust/sprinkle top of the cake with 2 tbsp. finely crumbled vanilla wafers.
Put cake in the refrigerator for several hours or overnight to firm. Prior to serving, take a 3/4" wide piece of holiday ribbon, wrap it around the cake and tie it into a bow.
Cutting the cake: The torte should be cut like a wedding cake. Make a slice down the center of the torte; turn the torte 90 degrees and begin slicing the cake into 1" wide pieces.