This Easy Pumpkin Cake recipe is an easy-to-make one bowl pumpkin cake that’s tender, moist & topped with a simple cream cheese frosting!
It’s almost pumpkin season and here at The Busy Baker we’re more than ready! We love a good pumpkin recipe – in fact we have an entire category of recipes here on The Busy Baker dedicated to one of our favourite ingredients: Pumpkin!
This Easy Pumpkin Cake Recipe with Cream Cheese Frosting is SO delicious and perfect for fall. In fact, it’s such an amazing recipe we quadrupled it and turned it into a tiered wedding cake last year when the bride requested a pumpkin wedding cake with cream cheese frosting. It was a huge hit then and we know it’ll be a huge hit in your kitchen too!
Baking cakes, muffins, scones or anything else with pumpkin is always a good idea – not only because of the amazing flavours of anything pumpkin and spice, but also because of the moisture it adds to baked goods.
When baking with pumpkin it’s very important not to confuse pumpkin pie filling with canned pumpkin. Pumpkin pie filling in a can contains pumpkin but it also contains lots of other ingredients like sugar, thickeners, etc. which can drastically affect the outcome of a recipe if you use it by accident. When you’re baking with pumpkin, be sure to choose a can of pumpkin that’s pure pureed pumpkin or roast your own pumpkin!
If you choose to roast your own pumpkin and use that in baking recipes, here’s how we recommend doing it:
- Cut your pumpkin in half or quarters and place it flesh-side up on a baking sheet.
- Roast in the oven on low heat (approximately 300 degrees Fahrenheit) until the flesh is very soft (about 30-45 minutes).
- Don’t season the pumpkin before roasting and when it’s soft, let it cool.
- Once it’s cool, scoop the flesh out of the skin and discard the skin. Let any excess liquid drain off the pumpkin and then puree it in a food processor or with a hand blender. We don’t recommend a high-powered blender for this as it can often become too liquid-y.
- To remove even more water after it’s been pureed, place it inside a strainer lined with paper towels or cheesecloth and let it sit for an hour or two and let the water drain out. You can place it in the fridge for this step.
- Store the pumpkin puree in the fridge for a few days or freeze it in airtight containers. We like to portion it into smaller freezer bags to use in our recipes (usually in 1 or 1.5 cup portions).
- Use it in place of canned pumpkin puree in all your favourite recipes!
Pumpkin cake just isn’t the same without cream cheese frosting and we have the BEST, most fluffy cream cheese frosting recipe. You are going to LOVE slathering it all over this easy pumpkin cake. In our baking adventures we’ve made hundreds of batches of cream cheese frosting and we’ve come across a secret for making the best cream cheese frosting with the perfect texture every single time – no more runny cream cheese frosting!
Mixing the butter and sugar first, then adding in cold cream cheese to the butter and sugar mixture prevents the frosting from becoming runny and it allows you to whip the frosting until it’s light, fluffy, spreadable, and perfect for frosting cakes. You can learn more about this frosting method HERE. Trust us, you’ll never make cream cheese frosting any other way again!
You’ll need these ingredients to make this cake recipe (paid links):
- pumpkin puree
- granulated sugar
- vegetable oil
- all purpose flour
- baking soda
- ground cinnamon
- ground ginger
- ground cloves
- ground nutmeg
- unsalted butter
- powdered sugar
- cream cheese
- vanilla extract
You’ll need these kitchen items to make this pumpkin cake recipe (paid links):
- mixing bowls
- liquid measuring cup
- measuring cups and spoons for dry ingredients
- silicone spatula
- square baking pan
- parchment paper
- a hand mixer (for the frosting)
Time needed: 1 hour and 5 minutes
Follow these steps for the perfect easy pumpkin cake!
- Preheat your oven and prepare the pan.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and prepare an 8-inch by 8-inch pan (a 9-inch by 9-inch pan also works) by greasing it and lining it with parchment paper.
- Mix the wet ingredients together.
Measure the oil into a large liquid measuring cup, add the other wet ingredients to the measuring cup, then whisk them together in there.
- Mix the dry ingredients together.
Add the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and nutmeg to a mixing bowl and whisk them together.
- Mix the batter, but don’t over-mix.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix them together with a silicone spatula just until blended and no streaks of flour remain. Avoid over-mixing as this can cause the cake to become tough and dry.
- Bake to perfection.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth out the top. Bake at 350 for 30-35 mins or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean.
- Let the cake cool and make the frosting.
Cool the cake completely in the pan. Mix the butter together with the powdered sugar until smooth and light in colour. Add the cold cream cheese and vanilla and mix on high speed until thick and creamy.
- Frost the cake.
Spread the cream cheese frosting on top of the cake (be sure it’s completely cooled first). Before your frost it, slice off a little bit of the dome on top of the cake and reserve it to crumble on top of the cream cheese frosting. This optional step creates a beautiful presentation.
What is pumpkin cake made of?
Pumpkin cake is made of pumpkin puree, sugar, eggs, oil, flour, baking soda, salt and spices for flavour.
Which pumpkin is best for cakes?
The best pumpkin to use for cakes is canned pumpkin, because this is what most recipes call for. If you want to make your own pumpkin puree, the variety called Sugar Pumpkins (pie pumpkins or sweet pumpkins) work well.
Why is pumpkin used in baking?
Pumpkin is used in baking because it creates a moist texture in cakes, muffins and other baked goods, and it has a delicious flavour when paired with spices like cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg.
Can I freeze pumpkin cake?
Yes, you can freeze pumpkin cake. Wrap the cake tightly in plastic wrap and then in aluminum foil, or place it in an airtight container before freezing. Thaw the cake in the refrigerator before serving.
How do I prevent my pumpkin cake from collapsing in the centre?
To prevent the cake from collapsing, ensure your baking powder or baking soda is fresh and hasn’t expired. Avoid over-mixing the batter and be sure to follow the recommended baking time and temperature. It’s also a good idea to avoid opening the oven while baking, until the last few minutes of baking time.
How do I store a pumpkin cake with cream cheese frosting?
Store your pumpkin cake in an airtight container in the refrigerator to keep it fresh. Cream cheese frosting tends to soften at room temperature and it won’t be safe to eat if left at room temperature for more than a few hours, so refrigeration is recommended. Allow the cake to come to room temperature before serving.
How long does pumpkin cake with cream cheese frosting last?
Pumpkin cake with cream cheese frosting can last for about 3-4 days when stored properly in the refrigerator. Make sure to cover it well to prevent it from drying out or absorbing other odours.
Can I make the pumpkin cake gluten-free?
Yes, you can make a gluten-free pumpkin cake by using a gluten-free flour blend in place of all-purpose flour.
Can I use fresh pumpkin instead of canned puree?
Yes, you can use fresh pumpkin puree, but make sure it’s well-drained and has a similar consistency to canned puree. Roast, steam, or boil the pumpkin, let it cool, then blend or process it until smooth.
We hope you love this easy cake recipe as much as we do! Let us know in the comments below, what’s your favourite simple dessert recipe for fall? We’d love to know!
Watch the video below to see exactly how we make this recipe. You can find many more deliciously simple recipe videos on our YouTube channel!
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- 8×8 square cake pan a 9×9 works well too
- Hand Mixer (for the frosting)
For the cake:
For the cake:
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and prepare an 8-inch by 8-inch pan (a 9-inch by 9-inch pan also works) by greasing it and lining it with parchment paper.
- Mix the pumpkin, eggs, sugar and oil together in a small bowl with a fork or a whisk. Alternatively, measure the oil into a large liquid measuring cup, add the other wet ingredients to the measuring cup and whisk them together in there.
- Add the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and nutmeg to a mixing bowl and whisk them together.
- Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix them together with a silicone spatula just until blended and no streaks of flour remain.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth out the top.
- Bake at 350 for 30-35 mins or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean.
- Cool the cake completely in the pan before frosting.
For the frosting and assembly:
- Mix the butter together with the powdered sugar until smooth and light in colour.
- Add the cold cream cheese and vanilla and mix on high speed until thick and creamy.
- Spread the cream cheese frosting on top of the cake (be sure it's completely cooled first).
- Optional: slice off a little bit of the dome on top of the cake and reserve it to crumble on top of the cream cheese frosting. This optional step creates a beautiful presentation.
Storage InstructionsThis cake keeps for up to 3 days at in the fridge, covered with plastic wrap or in an airtight container. Don’t store this cake at room temperature for more than a few hours because of the cream cheese in the frosting.
Notice: Nutrition is auto-calculated, using Spoonacular, for your convenience. Where relevant, we recommend using your own nutrition calculations.