Spiced 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!
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The BEST Recipe for Pumpkin Cake
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 spice 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.
Pumpkin Cake Ingredients
This is a super easy, no-frills recipe for pumpkin cake that uses basic ingredients.
For the pumpkin cake:
- Granulated sugar
- Pumpkin puree
- Canola oil
- Pumpkin pie spice
- Vanilla extract
- All-purpose flour
- Baking powder and baking soda
For the cream cheese frosting:
- Cream cheese
- Powdered sugar
- Vanilla extract
Note: Scroll down to the recipe card section of the post for the ingredients with amounts included and for more complete directions.
How to Make Pumpkin Cake
This recipe for pumpkin cake with cream cheese frosting couldn’t be easier to make! Here’s how to make both the cake and frosting:
- Whisk together the wet and dry ingredients in separate bowls, then combine the two.
- Turn the batter out into an 8×8-inch pan.
- 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!
Tips for the Best Pumpkin Spice Cake
Pumpkin puree: 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).
Oil: 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.
Frosting: 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.
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.
Otherwise I recommend making this pumpkin spice cupcake recipe that I shared years ago.
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.
I’m sure you could, but I never have personally tried this pumpkin spice cake recipe with homemade puree so I’m not sure if it will work out exactly the same.
I don’t dabble in gluten-free baking, so I can’t say for sure whether a gluten-free 1:1 flour substitute will work.
However, my gut says yes so long as you use a gluten-free all-purpose flour substitute and not something such as almond flour (almond flour is just ground almonds and contains no gluten, therefore it won’t behave remotely like regular flour).
The pumpkin spice cake with cream cheese frosting is incredibly moist and is slightly denser than regular cake, so I think the batter could be made gluten-free.
Recipe Video Tutorial
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- 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 Cake Recipes:
Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cake — This soft and moist pumpkin cake is loaded with chocolate in every bite!! An EASY one-bowl fall dessert that’s perfect for impromptu entertaining or anytime a pumpkin craving strikes!!
Vegan Pumpkin Cake — This is a fast, easy pumpkin cake that you’d never guess is vegan! I topped it with a spiced buttercream frosting for even more pumpkin flavor.
Spiced Pumpkin Crumb Cake — A FAST and EASY no-mixer pumpkin crumb cake with rich pumpkin flavor!! Super soft, tender, and topped with the BEST crumble topping that you’ll fall in love with! Great for brunches and holiday entertaining!!
Pumpkin Poke Cake — Easy and the BEST PUMPKIN CAKE ever!! Two kinds of CARAMEL sauce, TOFFEE bits, CHOCOLATE CHIPS, whipped topping and more!! A total WINNER you must make!!
Pumpkin Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting — A marriage of pumpkin cake and carrot cake into one soft, moist, tender, and amazing cake!! The tangy cream cheese frosting is truly the icing on this easy cake!!
Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bundt Cake — This easy pumpkin cake is loaded with chocolate chips and drizzled in rich and decadent chocolate ganache. It’s one of the best pumpkin cakes I’ve ever had!!
Originally posted October 2, 2015 and reposted October 9, 2020 with updated text.