Easy Pumpkin Spice Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
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Pumpkin Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting — Moist pumpkin cake is topped with a creamy homemade cream cheese frosting. This easy fall dessert is perfect for Thanksgiving, Halloween, and more!
Easy Pumpkin Cake Recipe
Cream cheese frosting is my weakness. I don’t even need cake to put it on. Just pass a spoon. But this pumpkin cake with cream cheese frosting isn’t too shabby. It’s soft, springy, and brimming with spiced pumpkin flavor.
It’s a fast, easy, one-bowl, no mixer pumpkin cake recipe that everyone loves. I used oil rather than butter, which keeps the cake extra moist and since pumpkin naturally makes everything moister, there’s no chance of a dry cake here. The thick layer of tangy cream cheese frosting complements the warming spices in the cake perfectly.
My family said the pumpkin spice cake reminded them of carrot cake, minus the carrots, thanks to the spices and frosting. This pumpkin cake is irresistible, and sinking your teeth into it is pure comfort and bliss.
For a vegan version, check out my Soft Vegan Pumpkin Cake with Pumpkin Spice Buttercream Frosting, and for a chocolate version try my Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bundt Cake with Chocolate Ganache.
What’s in Pumpkin Cake?
For the homemade pumpkin cake, you’ll need:
- Granulated sugar
- Pumpkin puree
- Canola oil
- Pumpkin pie spice
- Vanilla extract
- All-purpose flour
- Baking powder and baking soda
And for the pumpkin spice cake frosting, you’ll need:
- Cream cheese
- Powdered sugar
- Vanilla extract
How to Make Pumpkin Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
This pumpkin cake couldn’t be easier to make! Simply whisk together the wet and dry ingredients in separate bowls, then combine the two. Turn the batter out into an 8×8-inch pan and bake until the center is set and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
Once the pumpkin cake is fully cooled, you can make the cream cheese frosting. Simply add all the pumpkin spice cake frosting ingredients into a bowl and beat until smooth and fluffy. Spread the frosting onto the cake, then dig in!
Can I Make This Recipe as Cupcakes?
I haven’t tried that myself, but I bet it’d work out okay. Check your cupcakes around the 20-minute mark to see if they’re finished.
Can I Double This Recipe?
Yes, I think you could easily double this recipe and bake it in a 9×13-inch pan. It’d probably need to bake for roughly the same amount of time, but I can’t say for sure since I’ve only ever made this cake in a smaller pan.
Tips for Making Pumpkin Cake
It’s so important that you use pure pumpkin puree and not pre-sweetened pumpkin pie filling! Double check the ingredients list on your canned pumpkin — there should only be one ingredient listed (pumpkin).
I don’t recommend substituting applesauce for the oil. Both applesauce and pumpkin are incredibly moist, and I think if you combined the two in this recipe your pumpkin spice cake would wind up being a bit of a mess.
Also note that when you make the homemade cream cheese frosting the cream cheese needs to be at room temperature. If the cream cheese is too cold, it won’t whip up properly and won’t blend in well with the other ingredients.
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup pumpkin puree
- 1/2 cup canola or vegetable oil
- 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
- 6 ounces cream cheese, softened (lite okay)
- 1/4 cup (half of 1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
- 1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
Make the Cake
- Preheat oven to 350F. Line an 8×8-inch pan with aluminum foil and spray with cooking spray; set aside.
- To a large bowl, add the eggs, sugar, pumpkin, oil, pumpkin pie spice, vanilla, and whisk to combine.
- Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and stir until just combined, don’t overmix.
- Turn batter out into prepared pan, smoothing the top lightly with a spatula. Bake for about 35 to 40 minutes (I baked 36 minutes) or until center is set and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs, no batter.
- Set cake aside on a cooling rack to cool completely before frosting it so the frosting doesn’t melt.
Make the Frosting
- To a large bowl (or to the bowl of a stand mixer) add the cream cheese, butter, confectioners’ sugar, vanilla, salt, and whisk until smooth and fluffy or beat with an electric mixer (or use the paddle attachment of a stand mixer).
- Turn frosting out onto cooled cake and spread into a smooth, even, flat layer using a spatula or knife (If you have a small amount leftover, it will keep airtight in the fridge for at least 2 weeks).
- Slice and serve.
Cake will keep airtight at room temp for up to 4 days or in the fridge for up to 1 week. I’m comfortable storing cream cheese frosting at room temp, but if you’re not store in the fridge noting cake will be more prone to drying out in the fridge.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 413Total Fat: 20gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 13gCholesterol: 61mgSodium: 439mgCarbohydrates: 55gFiber: 1gSugar: 42gProtein: 4g
More Pumpkin Desserts:
Fudgy Pumpkin Bars with Vanilla Bean Browned Butter Glaze — Bars so soft they’re like biting into pumpkin fudge! The glaze is ahh-mazing!
Soft and Puffy Pumpkin Spice Honey Cookies – Super soft cookies that just melt in your mouth! You’re going to love these puffy cuties!
Cream Cheese-Filled Pumpkin Bread – Pumpkin bread that’s like having cheesecake baked in! Soft, fluffy, easy and tastes ahhhh-mazing!
Soft Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bars – Super soft and are like biting into a piece of rich pumpkin fudge! Loaded with chocolate and crazy good!
Soft Vegan Pumpkin Bread with Brown Sugar Streusel Crust – You won’t miss the eggs or the butter in this fast and easy bread with a great streusel crust!
Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread — Super soft, moist, rich pumpkin flavor, and loaded with chocolate chips! Easy, no mixer recipe that’s the best!
Buttery Pecan Pumpkin Spice Cookies – Buttery soft dough with big chunky pecans in every bite! Salty-and-sweet and so hard to resist!
Pumpkin Banana Bread — Soft, moist, fluffy and so much better than another loaf of plain banana bread.
Soft and Chewy Pumpkin Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies — The cookies are soft, thick, hearty, perfectly chewy and not cakey!
Originally posted October 2, 2015 and reposted October 9, 2020 with updated text.
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