Pumpkin Cake Recipe
I’m thrilled to be sharing this MOIST pumpkin cake recipe with you! This pumpkin cake is loaded with all the delicious fall spices and it’s topped with a silky smooth cream cheese frosting. This cake recipe will make all of your pumpkin dreams come true!
The best time of year is when we can officially start baking all the pumpkin things! I’m obsessed with pumpkin season and I have a lot of pumpkin recipes to prove it. My pumpkin scones are a huge favorite around here as are my pumpkin bars.
But I know you might be reading this thinking, “I don’t need to try this pumpkin cake, I already have a really good recipe.” THINK AGAIN!
This pumpkin cake has everything you could possibly want: it’s moist! Yes, I said moist.. that’s the only way to describe it. 😉 It has the perfect crumb and texture to it. I mean, it’s so so tender. And guess what, this pumpkin cake is made from scratch!
Pumpkin Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
So obviously I paired pumpkin with a cream cheese frosting. I contemplated using a chocolate frosting because I love a good pumpkin and chocolate combo (see my pumpkin chocolate chip cookies).
But I went the more traditional route this time and I’m so glad I did.
How to make a Pumpkin Layer Cake
In a medium size bowl whisk the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, cloves, and pumpkin pie spice.
In the bowl of a stand mixer combine the wet ingredients, this includes: eggs, oil, vanilla, pumpkin puree, and sugars. Mix until well combined.
Pro tip: If you’d rather make your own pumpkin puree, Ree Drummond has a great guide for how to make homemade pumpkin puree.
With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients.
Tip: I add my dry ingredients slowly, however, adding the dry ingredients all at once won’t hurt either. The key is to not over mix the cake batter. As long as you don’t over mix the batter, you’ll be good.
The batter will look similar to the image below.
Grease and flour three 6 inch cake pans. I love the look of the 6 inch cake pans, so that’s what I use.
Pro Tip: you should be able to make this in 6 x 2 inch cake pans or 6 x 3 inch cake pans. I use these ones and love them (affiliate link).
You can make this pumpkin cake recipe in two 9 inch sized cake pans, just know the baking times will differ so keep an eye on the oven.
Filling the Cake Pans
I always use a kitchen scale when making cakes. I place the greased and floured cake pan on the kitchen scale then tare the scale (which sets the weight back to zero). Next, I’ll add some batter to the cake pan, I’m basically eyeballing the batter and dividing it into thirds.
I set the filled cake pan aside, place an empty cake pan on the scale (it should go back to zero by itself because we tared the empty cake pan prior to adding batter) and add another third of the batter to the cake pan. Repeat with the third and final cake pan.
You can place the pans on the scale to ensure they each have the same amount of batter in them.
Bake the cakes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove the cakes from the oven and allow them to cool for 5-10 minutes in the cake pan and then turn them out to finish cooling on a wire rack.
Once the cakes are cool, you’ll need to level them with a knife.
You can frost the cake at room temperature if you’d like.
Pro tip: to make frosting the cake easier, chill the cake layers. Once the cakes are level I like to double wrap each cake layer in plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour or overnight.
Make Cream Cheese Frosting
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and cream cheese on medium speed for 3 minutes or until light and fluffy.
Add the powdered sugar, a pinch of vanilla, and a splash of milk.
Semi-Naked Pumpkin Layer Cake
To frost the cake, place the frosting in a pastry bag and cut off the tip of the bag. Place a cake layer on a cake stand and top the cake with frosting, spread the frosting around to make an even layer. Add another cake layer on top of the frosting and repeat until all cake layers have been used.
Spread a thin layer of frosting around the outside edge of the cake and use a bench scraper to smooth out the frosting.
Tip: if you don’t have a pastry bag, use a zip top bag instead!
Serve the cake immediately, or leave at room temperature for 2 days, or in the refrigerator for 5 days.
Tools used to make this pumpkin cake recipe:
- Cake pans
- Stand mixer – if you don’t have one, get one! It’s the best.
- Off-set spatula
- bench scraper
- Cake stand
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Pumpkin Cake Recipe
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
- pinch ground cloves
- 4 large eggs - at room temperature
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 15 ounce pumpkin puree - (1 - 15 oz can pumpkin puree)
- 1 cup light brown sugar - packed
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
Cream Cheese Frosting
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter - at room temperature
- 4 ounces cream cheese - softened
- 2 1/2 -3 cups powdered sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 325°F. Grease and flour 3 – 6 inch round cake pans. Set aside.
- In a medium size bowl whisk the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, and cloves. Set aside.
- In bowl of your electric mixer, add the eggs, oil, vanilla, pumpkin puree, and sugars. Mix until combined.
- With mixer on low speed, slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Mix until just combined. Don’t overmix.
- Pour the batter amongst the 3 cake pans. Smooth out the top with a spatula. Bake for 35-38 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Remove cakes from the oven and allow them to cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes. Turn the cakes out and let them cool completely. Frost the cakes, or you can cover the cakes with plastic wrap and place them in the fridge overnight. Remove them the next day and frost them.
Cream Cheese Frosting
- In bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and cream cheese until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Add the powdered sugar and vanilla extract. Mix until smooth and creamy. Add a splash of milk until you reach your desired frosting consistency. Frost the cake.