If you are looking for an easy recipe for pumpkin cake that is guaranteed to impress, look no further! This easy Pumpkin Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting is the ultimate fall dessert!
Inspired by my recipe for Banana Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting, this Pumpkin Cake is made with pumpkin puree, pumpkin pie spice, and luscious cream cheese frosting. It is light, tender, and one of our all-time favorite pumpkin dessert recipes.
Why You Will Love Pumpkin Cake
- Perfectly Flavored. Made with warming spices and earthy pumpkin, this light and airy pumpkin cake is delightfully delicious, but when you top it with the sweet and tangy cream cheese frosting, it becomes absolutely irresistible.
- Easy Recipe. From the tender pumpkin cake to the creamy frosting, this dessert gives you the flavor of a Pumpkin Cake Roll, with much less effort.
- Crowd-Pleasing Dessert. No one can resist the combination of pumpkin spice cake contrasted with fluffy cream cheese frosting. It is always quick to disappear and this pumpkin cake can feed a crowd.
Notes On Ingredients & Substitutions
- Pumpkin Puree: This recipe calls for one can of pure pumpkin puree, NOT pumpkin pie filling.
- Oil: I use canola oil for this recipe, but you can substitute melted and cooled butter in its place.
- Spices: I use my own blend of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and allspice or Homemade Pumpkin Pie Spice which I find has a better ratio of spices than store-bought blends.
- Leavening Agents: To keep this pumpkin cake super fluffy and light, use both baking powder and baking soda in the cake batter.
- Sugar: Granulated sugar works best for the cake batter, and powdered sugar is best for the frosting.
- Cream Cheese Frosting: The frosting is made with a combination of cream cheese, unsalted butter, powdered sugar, vanilla extract, and milk to thin. Use any fat percentage of milk you have on hand, but it is best to use full-fat or reduced-fat cream cheese, as fat-free cream cheese won't yield a creamy frosting.
∗ important to remember ∗
If you would like to use homemade pumpkin puree, it is crucial to drain off some of the liquid, to match the consistency of canned pumpkin puree. Place the pumpkin puree in a fine-mesh strainer lined with cheesecloth over a large bowl. Refrigerate for a couple of hours. Measure out 1 & ⅞ cups of the strained pumpkin puree to use in place of the 15 ounces of canned pumpkin puree.
Tips for the Best Pumpkin Cake
The following tips are provided to help you achieve perfect results. You will find the detailed instructions in the recipe card at the bottom of this post.
Tip #1: Sift the dry ingredients together. I find it is best to sift the flour, spices, salt, baking soda, and baking powder. This will help to keep the cake light and fluffy and prevent lumps of baking powder or baking soda in the cake itself.
Tip #2: Don't overwork the cake batter. In order to ensure that your pumpkin cake is light and airy, not dense, you want to be cautious to not overmix the cake batter itself. I find the best way to prevent this from happening is to first, whisk the sugar, eggs, pumpkin puree, oil, and vanilla together until well combined then gently fold the flour into that mixture using a spatula until the flour is just fully moistened.
Tip #3: Don't overbake or undertake. Pumpkin cake is naturally dark, so it can be hard to tell if your cake is fully baked or underbaked just by glancing at it. For best results, position a rack in the middle of the oven and fully preheat the oven. Check the cake after baking for 28 minutes if the cake jiggles in the center set the timer for an additional 5 minutes. If the cake looks set, test it with a toothpick. If the toothpick is dry remove the cake, if it is wet bake for an additional 2 minutes and recheck until fully set.
Tip #4: Let the cake cool fully before icing. After baking the cake, you want to allow the cake to fully cool before icing, or your icing will melt and slide off the pumpkin cake.
Tip #5: Use room-temperature cream cheese and butter. For the best cream cheese frosting, be sure to use room-temperature butter and cream cheese which will ensure your icing does not have any lumps.
Tip #6: Chill the pumpkin cake before serving. While you can serve the cake immediately after cooking and frosting, I have found that it tastes better after being refrigerated for 12 hours before serving.
Storing Pumpkin Cake
Because of the cream cheese frosting, it is best to refrigerate this pumpkin cake after preparation. You want to tightly cover the cooled, iced cake and store it in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
More Pumpkin Recipes
- Homemade Pumpkin Pie
- Healthy Pumpkin Muffins
- Pumpkin Roll
- Pumpkin Banana Muffins
- Pumpkin Baked Oatmeal
- Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Pumpkin Cream Cheese Bread
If you tried this recipe for Pumpkin Cake, I would love for you to leave a comment and review below telling us how you enjoyed it!
For the Cake
Cream Cheese Frosting
- ½ cup butter softened
- 8 ounces cream cheese softened
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2½ - 3 cups powdered sugar sifted
- 1-2 tablespoons milk
For the Cake
- Preheat the oven to 350℉ and grease a glass 9x13 baking dish with butter or cooking spray.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the sugar, eggs, pumpkin puree, oil, and vanilla together until well combined.
- Over a separate mixing bowl, sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and pumpkin pie spice. Give the dry ingredients a quick whisk to combine.
- Slowly fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, stirring gently with a spatula to just combine, or until no flour pockets remain. Be careful to not overmix or your cake will be tough.
- Pour the pumpkin cake mixture into the greased baking pan and spread the cake batter out evenly in the pan.
- Bake for 28-35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
- Place the pan on a cooling rack and let cool completely before icing the cake.
For the Icing
- In a large bowl, beat butter and cream cheese together until creamy and smooth. Add in vanilla extract and 1 tablespoon of milk and quickly beat again.
- Add 2 ½ cups of powdered sugar and beat until smooth. If needed, add up to 1 tablespoon of additional milk and ½ cup of powdered sugar, a little at a time until you reach the desired consistency. You are looking for a thick frosting that is easily spreadable.
- Spread the frosting over the cooled cake.
- You can serve the pumpkin cake immediately once frosted OR refrigerate it for 12 hours prior to serving, which I find gives you a more flavorful result.