This Pumpkin Cake has the softest texture that will melt in your mouth. The cake is mildly sweet and pairs wonderfully with the luscious cream cheese frosting. It has an amazing flavor with a velvety plush crumb and is truly outstanding!
This recipe was created in response to a reader's question about using the pumpkin cupcake recipe to make a layer cake. During experimentation, I realized that using the same batter in a loaf pan reduced moisture loss and significant shrinkage upon cooling.
So, I adjusted the recipe by omitting the milk, achieving a delicately tender pumpkin cake that wasn't excessively moist.
If you'd like to use fresh pumpkin for this pumpkin cake instead of canned, then select smaller pumpkins, like the ones commonly used for Jack-O-Lanterns.
To make pumpkin puree from fresh pumpkin, cut the pumpkin in half, remove the seeds and fibers, then roast the halves cut-side down for 45 minutes to 1 hour until the flesh is soft.
Cool completely, scoop out the flesh, blend it until smooth, and store it in the fridge for up to a week or freeze it for longer-term use.
Why you'll love this?
- Flavor - In addition to a generous amount of pumpkin, the taste is enhanced with fall spices such as ground cinnamon, ginger, allspice, and clove.
- Texture - Like the almond flour cake, the crumb is ultra soft and just begins to break apart from the weight of the fork.
- Sweetness - This pumpkin cake is not overly sweet, like the pumpkin mug cake and makes a perfect base for the sweet frosting.
Scroll down to the recipe card below for full information on ingredients and amounts.
- Flour - Classic all purpose flour works best like in pumpkin waffles recipe. Self-rising flour can be used in place of flour and baking powder. However, the cake won’t be quite as soft or rise as well.
- Pumpkin - Use canned 100% pumpkin puree and not pumpkin pie filling. You can use fresh pumpkin in a pinch, but I prefer the flavor and texture of the cupcake when using canned.
- Leavening - Like in orange almond muffins, both baking powder and baking soda allow for better control over the leavening process and help achieve the desired lift and texture.
- Flavoring - Use a combination of cinnamon, ginger, cloves and allspice. You can also use premade pumpkin spice mix instead.
- Eggs - Room temperature eggs will fluff better and faster.
- Butter - Adds a lovely buttery flavor. Leave your butter at room temperature for several hours to ensure proper creaming.
- Oil - Just ¼ cup of oil adds a noticeable hint of extra moistness. Use a flavorless oil such as vegetable or corn oil, like in carrot walnut cake.
- Sugar - These pumpkin cake is sweetened with both brown sugar and granulated sugar and confectioners sugar for the cream cheese frosting. Brown sugar adds moisture and compliments the fall spices, like in apple cinnamon muffins or brown sugar dessert recipes and white sugar adds necessary sweetness.
Tip: It’s easy to warm up fridge cold eggs – leave them in warm water for 5 minutes.
How to make pumpkin cake?
You can find full printable recipe below, but here is a quick overview of the procedure along with step-by-step photos.
1.Add flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, allspice, clove and nutmeg into a medium bowl and whisk to combine.
2. Combine butter and both sugars in the bowl in a large bowl and use an electric mixer, beat until light and fluffy (2 to 3 minutes).
3. Add pumpkin puree and vegetable oil and beat until well combined.
4. Add eggs one at a time, stirring well after each addition. Beat in vanilla extract. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl to ensure the ingredients are evenly combined.
5 & 6. Add the dry ingredients and beat until it just comes together. Don't overmix.
Transfer batter into a loaf pan and bake at 350 degrees for 40 to 50 minutes, until a toothpick inserted comes clean. Cool completely.
How to make cream cheese frosting?
1. Add cream cheese, butter, vanilla extract and salt into a medium bowl.
2. Uisng an electric beater, beat until smooth and creamy.
Tip: Use full-fat cream cheese for a perfectly creamy frosting.
3 & 4. Gradually add confectioners sugar and beat until smooth, and light.
Spread the frosting on top of the cooled pumpkin cake using a rubber spatula and sprinkle chopped pecans on top.
How to store?
Due to the dairy content in cream cheese frosting, it's best to store pumpkin cake in the refrigerator. Place in an airtight container to prevent them from absorbing any odors from the refrigerator and the frosting doesn't dry out.
It is best served at room temperature for the melt-in-your mouth texture. If the pumpkin cake has been refrigerated, you might want to let them sit at room temperature for a few hours before serving
- I like to use Libby’s brand of pumpkin puree as it is thick with rich color and taste. Different brands may be lighter in color or more watery in consistency.
- Use room temperature eggs for fluffier pumpkin cake.
- Use 2 teaspoons of pumpkin pie spice instead of the spices.
- Layer cake - Double the recipe and bake in two 9-inch round baking pans.
More Fall deserts
- 1 ¼ cups all purpose flour
- 1 ¼ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- ¼ teaspoon all spice
- ¼ teaspoon ground clove
- 1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
- ½ cup sugar
- ¼ cup packed light brown sugar
- 1 cup pumpkin puree
- ¼ cup vegetable oil
- 2 eggs, room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups confectioners sugar
- chopped toasted pecans, optional
- Preheat oven to 350F (175C) and spray a standard loaf pan with non-stick cooking spray and line the bottom with parchment paper. Set aside.
- Add flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, all spice and clove into a medium bowl and whisk to combine.
- Combine butter and both sugars in the bowl in a large bowl and use an electric mixer, beat until light and fluffy (2 to 3 minutes).
- Add pumpkin puree and vegetable oil and beat until well combined.
- Add eggs one at a time, stirring well after each addition. Beat in vanilla extract. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl to ensure the ingredients are evenly combined.Tip: Room temperature eggs will fluff better and faster.
- Add the dry ingredients and beat until it just comes together. Don't overmix.
- Transfer batter into the prepared loaf pan, smooth top and bake for 40 to 50 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Place pan on a wire rack to cool completey before frosting.
- Combine cream cheese, butter, vanilla extract and salt in a medium bowl and beat until smooth and creamy.Tip: Use full-fat cream cheese and not the spreadable type from a tub. The full-fat will give the frosting a perfectly creamy consistency.
- Gradually add confectioners sugar and beat until smooth, and light.
- Spread the frosting on top of the cake using a rubber spatula and sprinkle chopped pecans on top.
Nutritional information, based on third-party calculations, should be seen as estimates, not guarantees, as various factors like product types, brands, processing methods, and more can alter the nutritional content in recipes.
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