Pumpkin Cake Recipe

Pumpkin Cake Recipe with Cream Frosting


This recipe is for a deliciously moist pumpkin cake that’s bursting with pure pumpkin and spice flavors. Unlike other recipes that often use canned pumpkin puree, this one calls for freshly grated pumpkin, which really elevates the taste and texture.

Using fresh pumpkin might sound complicated, but it’s actually quite simple. Just like how carrot cake recipes often use freshly grated carrots for the best flavor, using fresh pumpkin in this cake recipe enhances its taste, especially during pumpkin season when fresh pumpkins are abundant.

Instead of relying on canned pumpkin, which can sometimes lack the freshness and depth of flavor, grating your own pumpkin adds a level of authenticity and richness to the cake. Plus, it’s a wonderful way to make the most of the fresh pumpkins available during the season.

So, if you’re looking for a pumpkin cake recipe that truly celebrates the essence of pumpkin, with no distractions or unnecessary additives, this is the perfect recipe for you. By using freshly grated pumpkin, you’ll experience a cake that’s not only delicious but also captures the true spirit of the season.

What is Pumpkin Cake?

Pumpkin cake is a tasty treat with pumpkin puree or pumpkin spice in the batter. It has warm spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and ginger. These spices go well with pumpkin’s sweetness and earthy taste. The cake can be dense and moist or light and fluffy. Recipes and ingredients determine the texture. A cream cheese frosting or dusting of powdered sugar adds extra sweetness on top. Pumpkin cake is popular in fall and for holidays like Thanksgiving and Halloween. But pumpkin lovers enjoy it all year round.

Why You’ll This Pumpkin Cake Recipe?

  • This cake is a breeze to prepare since it’s just one layer, meaning no complicated assembly required. Getting the batter ready is similar to other cakes like spice cake, apple cake, and zucchini cake. You’ll need two mixing bowls and a 9×13 inch pan, which is convenient for both making and serving. Its quarter sheet size also makes it easy to transport and store, perfect for bringing to gatherings. It’s a hassle-free addition to your holiday dessert lineup, complementing those classic Thanksgiving pies perfectly!
  • This cake is bursting with flavor. We amp up the taste with cinnamon and plenty of pumpkin pie spice, just like in our pumpkin scones recipe. You can use store-bought or homemade pumpkin pie spice mix, or even each spice separately, as explained in our recipe note below. Pairing it with tangy cream cheese frosting enhances the pumpkin and spice flavors, creating a delightful balance in every bite.
  • Similar to our chocolate cake recipe, this cake stays incredibly soft and moist, thanks to the addition of oil. It’s so moist that we like to describe it as “stick-to-your-fork moist.” Our pumpkin cupcakes are essentially the same recipe, just scaled down to yield a smaller quantity of batter.

Overview: Pumpkin Cake Recipe

To bake the cake you’ll need a 7 inch pan and a mixer, for the frosting. The ingredients consist of pumpkin, flour, spices, sugar and other items.

Start by preparing your oven and pan before grating the pumpkin. Then combine the ingredients such as flour and spices in one bowl. Mix the wet ingredients like sugar and oil in another. Once everything is mixed thoroughly pour the batter into the pan. Bake it.

After baking and allowing the cake to cool prepare the cream cheese frosting by blending cream cheese, sugar and vanilla. Spread this frosting over the cake once ready. Finally slice the cake into portions to savor! This recipe offers directions, for a treat.

Pumpkin Cake Recipe


This image shows the equipment required to make the pumpkin cake.
  • 1 7-inch (18cm) square cake pan.
  • 1 Handheld mixer or stand mixer.
  • 1 8 × 4-inch (10 × 20cm) loaf pan For the pumpkin bread.
Here are all the ingredients that you need to make Pumpkin Cake:
Pumpkin Cake
  • ½ cup Pumpkin (peeled, grated, and packed).
  • 1 cup All-purpose flour.
  • ¼ tsp salt.
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon.
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract.
  • ¾ tsp baking powder.
  • ¼ tsp baking soda.
  • ½ cup brown sugar (light or dark).
  • 1 large Egg.
  • ½ cup neutral oil (such as canola or vegetable).
  • ½ cup whole milk (at room temperature).
  • ½ tsp white wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar.
Cream Cheese Frosting
  • 150 gm Philadelphia cream cheese (cold).
  • ½ cup Powdered sugar.
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract (optional).
Pumpkin Bread
  • 1 cup Pumpkin (Peeled, grated, and packed).
  • 1¾ cup all-purpose flour.
  • ½  tsp salt.
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon.
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract.
  • 1¼ tsp baking powder.
  • ½  tsp baking soda.
  • 175 gm brown sugar (light or dark).
  • 2 medium Eggs.
  • 175 gm neutral oil (such as canola or vegetable).
  • 210 gm whole milk (at room temperature).
  • 1 tsp white wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar.


This recipe makes one 7-inch square pumpkin snacking cake, about 2 inches (5cm) tall. If you’re using an 8-inch pan, you’ll need to double the recipe to ensure the cake has enough depth.

Making of Pumpkin Cake
Preheat the oven and prepare the pan

Preheat your oven to 320°F (160°C). Grease and flour the cake pan, then line the bottom with parchment paper.

Break down and grate the pumpkin

Use a sharp knife to cut the pumpkin into manageable chunks. Grate the pumpkin using a grater. A microplane grater works well for hand-shredding the pumpkin.

Alternatively, if you prefer not to grate the pumpkin by hand, remove the skin and pulse pieces of pumpkin in a small food processor or food chopper until finely chopped. If using cup measurements, pack the grated pumpkin tightly to ensure the correct amount.

Combine the dry ingredients

In a large bowl, mix together the flour, salt, cinnamon, vanilla, baking powder, and baking soda.

This image shows mixing the dry ingredients (Flour, Salt, Cinnamon Powder, Vanilla, Baking Powder and Baking Soda) for making the pumpkin cake.
Combine the sugar, egg, and oil

In another large bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, egg, and oil until the mixture is uniform.

Make the cake batter

Add the dry ingredients to the sugar, egg, and oil mixture. Then, add the milk, grated pumpkin, and vinegar. Use a rubber spatula to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl, ensuring all ingredients are well combined.

Bake the cake

Transfer the batter to the prepared cake pan. Bake for 22 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

This image shows the pumpkin cake batter in square cake pan.
Cool the cake

Allow the cake to cool in the pan for 5 minutes. Gently turn it over onto a cooling rack, remove the parchment paper, and let it cool completely.

Make the frosting

In a stand mixer with a whisk attachment, or in a medium bowl with a handheld mixer, beat the cream cheese, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract until well combined and the frosting has a smooth, creamy texture.

This image shows the vanilla frosting for pumpkin cake in a bowl.
Frost the cake

Spread the frosting evenly over the top of the cooled cake.


Cut the cake into pieces and serve. Enjoy!

This image shows pumpkin cake slices served in plate.
Making of Pumpkin Bread

Grease and flour the loaf pan and line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper, leaving some overhang to make it easy to lift the cake out of the tin. Grease and flour the parchment paper as well.

Bake the pumpkin bread

Preheat your oven as directed and pour the prepared batter into the loaf pan.

Bake in the preheated oven for between 1 hour and 1 hour and 20 minutes. The exact timing will depend on your oven. Begin testing for doneness after an hour by inserting a toothpick into the center. The bread is ready when the toothpick comes out clean.

In the assistant’s experience, the bread was ready after 1 hour and 10 minutes.

Cool the pumpkin bread

Allow the pumpkin bread to cool in its pan for 10 minutes and transfer the bread to a wire rack to cool completely.


Once cooled, slice the pumpkin bread and serve. Enjoy!


Disclosure: This video isn’t mine – I included it to give you a visual of the whole cake pop-making process. Creating my own tutorial video is something I’d love to do down the road when I have a bigger budget.

Recipe Notes

  • Note 1: My oven has a fan, which speeds up baking. If yours doesn’t, crank up the heat to 347°F so your cake/cupcakes cook just as fast.
  • Note 2: Don’t overmix the frosting once it’s smooth. Mixing too much can make it unstable because the cream cheese liquid breaks down the sugar.
  • Note 3: Use 100% pure canned pumpkin, not the pie filling kind. Fresh pumpkin works too, but make sure it’s not too watery.
  • Note 4: Gently fold in the ingredients to avoid forming too much gluten, keeping the cake soft. Stop mixing once the batter looks uniform.
  • Note 5: Got pumpkin spice seasoning? Use that instead of the individual spices.

Pro Tips for Nailing This Recipe

  1. Both butter and oil are key for flavor and moisture. Don’t swap one for extra of the other – you need the right balance.
  2. Time to fold? Use a spatula. A mixer can make the pumpkin cake too dense or dry.
  3. No frosting? Keep the unfrosted cake airtight at room temp for a few days. Then refrigerate to stay fresh.
  4. With cream cheese frosting, the cake can sit out for a day. After that, refrigerate in an airtight container so it doesn’t dry out.

A Few Tips From Some Home Bakers for Pumpkin Cake:

Consider using different types of pans, like glass, nonstick, or metal. Each type can affect how the crust or outer layers of the cake turn out. Also, try adjusting the baking time slightly, maybe leaving it in the oven for just a bit longer. Even though Samwise7ganjee isn’t a baker but rather a chef who enjoys watching the Great British Baking Show, they hope these tips help you achieve the ideal Pumpkin Cake.

Instead of using cinnamon, use nutmeg, ginger, cloves, or allspice for flavor. You can mix these spices or use a cinnamon-free pumpkin spice blend. Experiment to find your favorite taste.

  • Ames_006‘s advice for making a pumpkin cake with a non-thick bottom:

Don’t overmix the batter. Too much mixing stretches the gluten, making the bottom dense and gummy. Only mix until combined, as per the recipe, for a light texture.

Frequently Asked Questions About Pumpkin Cake

Can I freeze pumpkin bread?

Yes, you can freeze pumpkin bread or pumpkin cake easily. First, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap to keep it fresh. Then, put it inside a Ziploc bag before storing it in the freezer. It can stay frozen for up to 4 weeks. When you want to enjoy it, just take it out of the freezer and let it defrost overnight in the fridge.

How do you know when pumpkin bread is done?

To check if your pumpkin bread is fully baked, use the toothpick test. Stick a toothpick into the cake and then take it out. If the toothpick comes out clean without any batter sticking to it, your pumpkin bread is ready. However, if there are wet batter or crumbs on the toothpick, the cake needs more time in the oven. It’s a good idea to test different parts of the pumpkin bread because it might not bake evenly.

Why is my pumpkin cake too moist and dense on the bottom?

If your pumpkin cake turns out too moist, doesn’t hold its shape well, or feels gummy in certain areas, it’s probably because there’s too much liquid in your recipe. You can fix this by reducing the amount of pumpkin or other liquids used in the recipe.

What if I have an 8 inch square cake pan?

If you only have an 8 inch square cake pan instead of the recommended 7 inch one, don’t worry. You can still use it by simply doubling the recipe. Just keep in mind that the cooking time will be a bit longer compared to using the 7 inch pan. Remember to use the toothpick test to determine when it’s perfectly baked.

Can I use this recipe to make pumpkin cupcakes?

Absolutely! To make pumpkin cupcakes, line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners. Prepare the batter as instructed in the snacking cake recipe. Then, evenly divide the batter among the paper liners. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes and use the toothpick test to check if they’re done. Let them cool completely before decorating with cream cheese frosting. This recipe will yield 10 to 12 cupcakes.

What pairs well with pumpkin cake?

While this recipe uses cinnamon cream cheese buttercream frosting, pumpkin cake also tastes delicious with whipped cream frostings, caramel sauce, vanilla ice cream, and nuts like walnuts and pecans.

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