If you're looking for a delicious dessert that perfectly captures the essence of fall, look no further than this Pumpkin Cake with Pumpkin Cream Cheese Frosting. Made with a blend of warm spices and real pumpkin puree, this cake is moist, flavorful, and sure to be a crowd-pleaser. And with a creamy, tangy frosting made with cream cheese and pumpkin puree, it's the perfect finishing touch. So, grab your apron and prepare to bake up a slice of autumnal goodness you will remember!
- What is Pumpkin Cake?
- Pumpkin Cake Ingredients
- Tools you'll need
- How to Make Pumpkin Cake
- How to Make Pumpkin Cream Cheese Frosting
- How to Make Assemble and Decorate
- How to Serve
- How to Store & Re-Heat
- How to Freeze
- Tips for Making The Best Pumpkin Cake
- Related Recipes:
- 📋 Recipe
What is Pumpkin Cake?
Pumpkin cake is a type of cake that is typically made with pumpkin as one of its main ingredients. It is a popular dessert, especially during the fall and holiday seasons when pumpkins are in season, and associated with traditional dishes like pumpkin pie and pumpkin spice-flavored treats.
Pumpkin Cake Ingredients
Note: The full ingredients list is provided in the recipe card below.
For the Pumpkin Cake:
- All-purpose flour: provides structure and texture to the cake.
- Baking powder: a leavening agent that helps the cake rise.
- Baking soda: a leavening agent that helps the cake rise and provides tenderness.
- Kosher salt: enhances the flavor of the cake.
- Ground cloves, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and mace: a blend of warm spices that give the cake its distinctive pumpkin pie flavor.
- Avocado oil or unsalted butter: provides moisture and richness to the cake.
- Light brown sugar: sweetens the cake and contributes to its tender texture.
- Eggs: provide structure and stability to the cake.
- Canned pure pumpkin puree: adds moisture and flavor to the cake.
- Unsulphured molasses: adds depth of flavor to the cake.
For the Pumpkin Cream Cheese Frosting:
- Unsalted butter: provides structure and richness to the frosting.
- Cream cheese: provides tanginess and creaminess to the frosting.
- Vanilla extract: adds flavor to the frosting.
- Confectioners' sugar: sweetens and thickens the frosting.
- The remaining pumpkin puree: adds flavor and color to the frosting.
Tools you'll need
How to Make Pumpkin Cake
Note: The full instructions are provided in the recipe card below.
Preheat the oven to 350 °F and set an oven rack in the middle. Spray two 9-inch cake pans with nonstick cooking spray and line with parchment. Set aside.
In a large bowl of an electric mixer, beat the avocado oil, sugars, molasses, salt, and vanilla extract on medium speed until combined. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the pumpkin puree. Add the dry ingredients and mix on low speed until just combined.
Pour batter into prepared pan(s) and smooth top with a metal spatula. Bake the Pumpkin Cake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Set the cake on a wire rack to cool completely.
How to Make Pumpkin Cream Cheese Frosting
In a large bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter and cream cheese together on high speed until smooth and creamy, about 1 minute. Beat in the vanilla extract and the remaining pumpkin puree. Add the confectioners' sugar and beat on low speed for 30 seconds, then switch to high speed and beat until light and creamy, about 2 minutes.
How to Make Assemble and Decorate
Place 4 strips of parchment paper around the edge of the cake stand or plate. Flip the bottom layer of 1 pumpkin cake so that the domed side is facing down and touching the cake stand.
Evenly spread the top with Pumpkin cream cheese frosting. Top with the second pumpkin cake layer. Spread the remaining frosting all over the top and sides. (We recommend an icing spatula to apply the frosting and a bench scraper to smooth the sides). Cover and store in the refrigerator; allow the cake to come to room temperature before serving. Enjoy!
- All-purpose flour: You can use cake or gluten-free flour instead of all-purpose flour.
- Avocado oil or unsalted butter: You can use vegetable oil or coconut oil instead of avocado oil or margarine instead of unsalted butter.
- Light brown sugar and granulated sugar: You can use coconut sugar, honey, or maple syrup instead of these sugars.
- Eggs: You can use flax eggs, applesauce, or mashed bananas instead of eggs to make the cake vegan or egg-free.
- Canned pure pumpkin puree: You can use homemade pumpkin puree instead of canned puree, or you can use butternut squash puree or sweet potato puree instead of pumpkin puree.
- Unsulphured molasses: You can use honey, maple syrup, or agave nectar instead of unsulphured molasses.
- Cream cheese: You can use vegan cream cheese instead of regular cream cheese to make the frosting vegan.
- Confectioners' sugar: You can use powdered coconut sugar or powdered erythritol instead of confectioners' sugar to lower the frosting in sugar.
- Pecan Streusel Topping: Add a crunchy pecan streusel topping to the cake by combining ½ cup chopped pecans, ¼ cup light brown sugar, ¼ cup all-purpose flour, and ¼ cup unsalted butter (melted). Sprinkle the streusel over the cake batter before baking.
- Chocolate Chips: Mix ½ to 1 cup of chocolate chips into the cake batter for a rich and decadent twist.
- Maple Cream Cheese Frosting: Replace the vanilla extract in the cream cheese frosting with ¼ cup of pure maple syrup for a deliciously sweet and maple-flavored frosting.
- Spiced Cream Cheese Frosting: Add an extra dash of warm spices to the cream cheese frosting, such as ½ teaspoon of ground cinnamon, ¼ teaspoon of ground ginger, and a pinch of ground cloves and nutmeg.
- Layered Cake: Bake two cakes and layer them with the cream cheese frosting in the middle for a festive and impressive dessert. Add some chopped nuts or chocolate chips between the layers for added texture.
How to Serve
When it comes to serving a Pumpkin Cake with Pumpkin Cream Cheese Frosting, there are many ways to enjoy this delicious dessert. You can slice the cake and do it on its own or pair it with a dollop of whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream. For an extra special touch, sprinkle some chopped nuts or a dusting of cinnamon on top of the frosting.
Another way to serve this cake is to cut it into bite-sized pieces and serve them as sweet and festive finger food at parties or gatherings. No matter how you serve it, this Pumpkin Cake with Pumpkin Cream Cheese Frosting will surely delight your taste buds and impress your guests!
How to Store & Re-Heat
- To store: Wrap it tightly in plastic wrap or store it in an airtight container and place it in the refrigerator. The cake will last 3-4 days in the fridge. If you need to store it longer, you can freeze it for 2-3 months.
- To reheat: The cake, remove it from the refrigerator and let it come to room temperature for about 30 minutes. Preheat your oven to 350°F (180°C), place the cake in a baking dish, and cover it with foil.
Bake for 10-15 minutes or until the cake is warmed through. Alternatively, heat individual slices in the microwave for 10-20 seconds each or until warm. Reheating the cake will help to bring out the flavors and restore the moistness of the cake.
If you need to make a Pumpkin Cake with Pumpkin Cream Cheese Frosting ahead of time, you can easily do so by following a few simple steps. First, bake the cake as directed and let it cool completely. Then, wrap the cake tightly in plastic wrap or store it in an airtight container and place it in the refrigerator. You can make the cream cheese frosting and store it in a separate container in the fridge. When you're ready to serve the cake, remove it from the refrigerator and let it come to room temperature for about 30 minutes.
Frost the cake with the cream cheese frosting and serve. This make-ahead method is perfect for preparing dessert for a special occasion or dinner party ahead of time. Just be sure to store the cake and frosting separately to keep the cake fresh and prevent the frosting from becoming too soft or runny.
How to Freeze
Freeze the pumpkin cake without the glaze for up to 3 months. Wrap the cake in clingfilm twice and foil once. To defrost, unwrap and defrost for about 5 to 8 hours at room temperature on a wire rack before serving.
Tips for Making The Best Pumpkin Cake
- Measure Properly: Measure the flour by spooning it into the measuring cup, then level it with a knife or use the weight measurements. ( I use a 240 ml Dry Measuring cup)
- Use room temperature ingredients: Ensure all your ingredients are at room temperature (this helps ensure everything gets incorporated together properly; not doing this can result in poor emulsification).
- Butter and Flour the Pan: Butter a pan and add a few tablespoons of flour into the pan, then shake, turn, and tap the pan so that the flour lightly and evenly coats the bottom and sides. Finally, tap excess flour out of the buttered and floured pans.
- Sift Dry Ingredients: Sift dry ingredients like flour and leavenings but not sugar to combine and aerate, making a fluffier cake. Then, place it in a fine-mesh strainer over a piece of parchment paper, and shake it until everything’s on the paper: When it’s time to add, pick up the paper and let the ingredients slide out into the mixing bowl. However, if you don’t have one, whisk the dry ingredients for 30 seconds to combine.
- Beat in Eggs: One at a time, add the eggs, ensuring that they emulsify or blend completely with the butter mixture. Then, if desired, flavor with vanilla extract or other flavorings. It’s easier to incorporate eggs that are at room temperature. To get the eggs to warm up faster. For a few minutes, place them in a bowl of warm water.
- Alternate the Wet and Dry Ingredients: Often, a recipe calls for adding wet and dry ingredients in alternating batches. This helps prevent the gluten in the flour from developing too much, which causes heavier and not-so-fluffy cake. Also, do not overmix — overworking the flour makes for tough results.
- Pour cake batter into prepared pan: Pour the batter into the pan and smooth the top.
- Bake and Test for Doneness: Insert a wooden skewer or a toothpick into the center of a cake and see if it comes out clean; if it does, the pumpkin cake is made. You may also notice the cake pulling away from the pan’s sides and feel a slight spring back when you lightly press on the top.
- Cool the Cake: Remove the pumpkin cake from the oven and cool it in the pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Then, using a knife, go around the outside of the cake; place a rack upside down over the top of each cake pan, and invert the cake onto the rack.
- Slice and Serve: Spoon the pumpkin glaze over the pumpkin cake and allow to set for 20 minutes before slicing.
How Can I Make Pumpkin Cake More Tender?
One of the secrets to a tender cake is to sift the flour; the more sifted the flour, the more delicate the texture.
Can You Freeze Pumpkin Cake with Pumpkin Glaze?
You can freeze the pumpkin cake for up to 3 months without the pumpkin glaze. Wrap the cake in clingfilm twice and foil once. To defrost, unwrap and defrost for about 5 to 8 hours at room temperature on a wire rack.
Does Pumpkin Cake with Pumpkin Glaze need to be refrigerated?
Yes, this pumpkin cake with pumpkin glaze contains perishable ingredients; it must be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to five days.
What is the secret to making moist pumpkin Cake?
You can do a few things to ensure your pumpkin cake is moist and delicious. First, before mixing the batter, be sure to preheat your oven; this will help the cake cook more evenly and prevent it from drying. Second, don’t overmix the batter – overmixing can result in a tough, dry cake. And finally, use a combination of light or brown sugar and granulated sugar for moisture, depth of flavor, and crisp top.
How do you freeze pumpkin cake after baking?
Double wrap the completely cooled cake with aluminum foil or plastic freezer wrap and place it in a heavy-duty bag—thaw overnight on the countertop.
- Pumpkin Cornbread Muffins
- Apple Pumpkin Spice Muffins
- Pumpkin scones with spiced pumpkin glaze
- Pumpkin Pie with Pecan Crust
- Pumpkin crinkle cookies recipe
- Brazilian Pumpkin Truffles
Easy Pumpkin Cake
For the Pumpkin Cake:
- 285 g (2 cups) all-purpose flour, sifted
- 2 teaspoons Non-Aluminum baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon ground mace
- ¾ cup avocado oil or 1-½ sticks unsalted butter , melted
- 214 g (1 cup) light brown sugar, packed
- 4 large eggs , room temperature
- 300 grams (1¼ cups) canned 100% pure pumpkin puree, such as Libby’s brand (from a 425g / 15-ounce can - save the rest for the Pumpkin Cream Cheese Frosting)
- 1 tablespoon Unsulphured molasses , such as Grandma's
- 104 g (½ cups) granulated sugar
- Preheat the oven to 350 °F and set an oven rack in the middle position. Spray two 9-inch cake pans with nonstick cooking spray and line with parchment. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cloves, ground cinnamon, ginger, allspice, mace, and ground nutmeg; set aside.
- In a large bowl of an electric mixer, beat the avocado oil, sugars, molasses, salt, and vanilla extract on medium speed until just combined. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the pumpkin puree. Add the dry ingredients and mix on low speed until just combined.
- Pour batter into prepared pan(s) and smooth top with a metal spatula. Bake the Pumpkin Cake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Set the cake on a wire rack to cool completely.
How to Make Pumpkin Cream Cheese Frosting
- In a large bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter and cream cheese together on high speed until smooth and creamy, about 1 minute.
- Beat in the vanilla extract and remaining pumpkin puree. Add the confectioners' sugar and beat on low speed for 30 seconds, then switch to high speed and beat until light and creamy, about 2 minutes.
How to Make Assemble and Decorate
- Place 4 strips of parchment paper around the edge of the cake stand or plate. Flip the bottom layer of 1 pumpkin cake so that the domed side is facing down and touching the cake stand.
- Evenly spread the top with Pumpkin cream cheese frosting. Top with the second pumpkin cake layer. Spread the remaining frosting all over the top and sides. (We recommend an icing spatula to apply the frosting and a bench scraper to smooth the sides).
- Cover and store in the refrigerator; allow the cake to come to room temperature before serving. Enjoy!
All nutritional information is based on third-party calculations and is only an estimate. Each recipe and nutritional value will vary depending on the brands you use, measuring methods, and portion sizes per household.