This pumpkin cake is filled with plenty of pumpkin puree and spices, then baked and topped with a generous amount of cream cheese frosting. The ultimate fall treat that’s perfect for gatherings and makes for a show stopping dessert on Thanksgiving day.

You can never go wrong with a pumpkin dessert during the fall season, whether it’s pumpkin dump cake, pumpkin chocolate chip cookies, or this simple yet totally satisfying pumpkin sheet cake. This treat is even great for the winter holidays along with options such as eggnog cake.

A slice of pumpkin cake topped with cream cheese frosting.

When I’m looking to serve a large group of people, this pumpkin cake is often on the menu.  It’s got the perfect blend of pumpkin and spices, and the cream cheese frosting really takes this treat over the top. Everyone will be coming back for seconds! Pair this cake with a pecan pie cheesecake for the ultimate holiday dessert spread!

If you are making this cake for a party or get-together, try some of my favorite fall party treats like apple fries, pumpkin cupcakes and slow cooker apple cider.

Pumpkin Cake Ingredients

To make this moist and delicious pumpkin cake you will need flour, granulated sugar, brown sugar, pumpkin pie spice, salt, baking soda, baking powder, vanilla extract, eggs, vegetable oil and pumpkin puree. For the frosting you will need butter, cream cheese, powdered sugar and vanilla extract.

Cake batter in a mixing bowl.

How Do You Make Pumpkin Cake?

Start this pumpkin cake by whisking together dry ingredients, the flour, sugar, brown sugar, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda and baking powder in a bowl. Next, stir in the wet ingredients, the vanilla extract, eggs, vegetable oil and pumpkin puree. Pour the batter into a pan, then bake until the cake is golden brown. After the cake has cooled, it’s time to add a generous amount of cream cheese frosting made by mixing butter, cream cheese, powdered sugar and vanilla extract. Add some festive pumpkin candies or sprinkles if you like, and slice into squares and enjoy!

How Do You Make Cream Cheese Frosting?

Make cream cheese frosting by mixing together softened butter and softened cream cheese with powdered sugar and vanilla extract. You can make your frosting as thick or as thin as you’d like. Simply add more powdered sugar to make the frosting thicker, or add milk, one teaspoon at a time, to thin out the frosting. I prefer to keep my frosting fairly thick, yet still easy to spread across the cake.

A baked pumpkin spice cake in a glass dish.

Tips For The Perfect Pumpkin Cake

  • The recipe calls for cutting this cake into 3 inch squares. You can make smaller or larger pieces depending on how many people you’re looking to feed.
  • This cake is decorated with chocolate pumpkins, which were purchased at the local grocery store. You can use any fall candy on top, or even a handful of fall themed sprinkles.
  • Freeze individual slices of this cake for up to 2 months. Another option is to freeze the whole baked cake without the frosting. You can thaw the cake and add the frosting right before serving.
  • Make sure to use pumpkin puree and not pumpkin pie filling. They are different!

Quick Tip

Use an offset spatula to make sure both your pumpkin cake batter and frosting are spread in even layers.

Cream cheese frosting on a fall cake.

Recipe FAQs

Do you refrigerate pumpkin cake?

This cake should be refrigerated. The frosting contains cream cheese which should not sit at room temperature for more than 2 hours for food safety. Cover the cake pan with plastic wrap, or place individual slices of cake in an airtight container. The cake will remain fresh for 3-4 days.

What is pumpkin pie spice made of?

You can find pumpkin pie spice in the spice aisle of all major grocery stores. Pumpkin pie spice is a blend of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, allspice and cloves. If you don’t have pumpkin pie spice and don’t want to buy a jar, you can make your own. Simply combine 1 1/2 teaspoons of cinnamon with 1/8 teaspoon each of nutmeg, ginger, cloves and allspice.

What is pumpkin puree?

Pumpkin puree comes in a can at the grocery store, or you can also make your own. The store bought version also may contain other types of winter squash such as hubbard and butternut.

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A spatula serving up a slice of pumpkin cake.

Pumpkin Cake Variations

This moist and delicious pumpkin cake will be the hit of your party or gathering as-is but you can customize it to your taste.

  • Nuts: You can mix in 1/2 cup of nuts like chopped walnuts or chopped pecans.
  • Chocolate chips: Feel free to add a cup of chocolate chips into the batter. You should first toss the chips with a tablespoon of flour to prevent them from sinking in the batter.
  • Nutella: Swirl two tablespoons of Nutella into the frosting (or more to taste) for a chocolate treat!
  • Pumpkin Banana: Add one mashed banana to the batter and make the cake as directed.
  • Lighter: Watching your calories? You can substitute unsweetened applesauce for half of the oil.

Once you try this cake, you’ll find yourself making it all the time during the cooler weather months. It’s just that good!

More Pumpkin Recipes To Enjoy

Pumpkin Cake Video

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Please leave a 5-star 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 rating in the recipe card below & a review in the comments section further down the page.

5 from 22 votes

Pumpkin Cake

AuthorSara Welch
A slice of pumpkin cake topped with cream cheese frosting.
This pumpkin cake is filled with plenty of pumpkin puree and spices, then baked and topped with a generous amount of cream cheese frosting. The ultimate fall treat that’s perfect for gatherings and makes for a show stopping dessert on Thanksgiving day.
Time
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time30 minutes
Total Time45 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Serves 24

Ingredients 

For the cake

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 15 ounce can pumpkin puree do not use pumpkin pie filling
  • cooking spray

For the frosting

  • 1/2 cup butter softened
  • 8 ounces cream cheese softened
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • sprinkles or candy pumpkins for decoration optional

Instructions 

For the cake

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Coat a 9"x13" pan with cooking spray.
  • Place the flour, sugar, brown sugar, pumpkin pie spice, salt, baking soda and baking powder in a large bowl. Stir to combine.
  • Add the vanilla extract, eggs, vegetable oil and pumpkin puree to the bowl. Stir until just combined.
  • Spread the batter evenly into the pan.
  • Bake for 35-38 minutes or until set and lightly browned. Cool completely in the pan.

For the frosting

  • Place the butter and cream cheese in the bowl of a mixer and mix until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. 
  • Add the powdered sugar, one cup at a time and mix on low speed until combined. Add the vanilla extract and mix for 30 seconds.
  • If the frosting is too thick, add 1 teaspoon of milk at a time until desired consistency is reached.
  • Spread the frosting evenly over the cake. Top with candy pumpkins or sprinkles. Cut into squares and serve, or store in the refrigerator until you’re ready to eat.

Notes

  1. Make sure to use pumpkin puree and not pumpkin pie filling. They are different!
  2. The recipe calls for cutting this cake into 3 inch squares, but you can make smaller or larger pieces depending on how many people you’re looking to feed.
  3. Use an offset spatula to make sure both your pumpkin cake batter and frosting are spread in even layers.

Nutrition

Calories: 287kcal | Carbohydrates: 42g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 47mg | Sodium: 147mg | Potassium: 110mg | Sugar: 33g | Vitamin A: 3040IU | Vitamin C: 0.7mg | Calcium: 40mg | Iron: 1mg

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5 from 22 votes (4 ratings without comment)

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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    What marvelous warm spices and flavors in this light and fluffy cake. I’m looking forward to enjoying a slice of this deliciousness.

      1. 5 stars
        I’ve made this recipe several times now. When I make it gluten free, I use King Arthur’s All Purpose Gluten Free flour. There is no real difference in taste or texture 🙂

  2. Sounds delicious. I’m thinking ab out substituting swerve for the granulated sugar and splenda brown sugar blend in the cake and swerve powdered sugar in the frosting. Do you think it will work>

  3. 5 stars
    I’ll take pumpkin all day every day! This pumpkin cake will hit the spot soon, as I will be making it in the very near future. Thank you for keeping the pumpkin alive even during the summer!

  4. 5 stars
    My wife made this cake and it was so delicious! The whole family loved it! Can’t wait until she makes it again!

  5. 5 stars
    The cream cheese frosting is such a perfect fit for this delicious cake! Never too early in the year to enjoy this cake.

  6. 5 stars
    This has me dreaming of everything fall! So delicious; exactly what I needed to cure my sweet tooth!

  7. 5 stars
    Yum! This cake was such a big hit here at the house! My family loved it! Can’t wait to make this again!

  8. 5 stars
    I’m so ready for fall that I made this cake today. It instantly became mine and my husband’s favorite cake EVER!! I will make this anytime I need a cake from now on!