Easy Homemade Pumpkin Spice Cake Recipe

Mary and Brenda Maher

By Brenda & Mary

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Out of all the pumpkin cake recipes I’ve tried, this pumpkin cake with cream cheese frosting is the easiest.

pumpkin spice cake

Even my newbie kitchen students have nailed this one without fail! So, if you’re itching to boost your confidence and feel like a pro, I can’t think of a better place to start.

Why These Best Pumpkin Recipes Baking Win Us Over

pumpkin spice cake recipe
  • That pumpkin spice blend is the true star of the show! Cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves team up to create a cozy flavor that screams fall vibes. And let’s not forget about the pureed pumpkin and its natural sweetness that makes every mouthful so darn satisfying. Unlike other airy, fluffy cakes, this one’s got a dense, moist texture that’s like a warm hug all year round!
  • This cake rules fall gatherings, hands down. Whether you’re whipping it up for a Thanksgiving potluck or a chill Halloween night at home, it’s bound to add its festive flair to any autumn shindig. And sure, you can definitely enjoy it solo, but why stop there? Try pairing it with some whipped cream, a drizzle of caramel sauce, or a generous scoop of vanilla ice cream for extra pizzazz! 
  • Cream cheese frosting is the classic go-to (and for a good reason – its tanginess pairs perfectly with the spices and the sweet cake), but feel free to get wild! Whipped cream, feel cream, or any other frosting you fancy can work wonders, depending on your whims.

How To Make Pumpkin Spice Cake

Ingredients List

So, what do you need to whip up this delightful cake? Let’s see!

  • Flour: We’re opting for all-purpose flour here because it helps create that perfect thick and moist batter. Cake flour? Not so much – it works better for buttery cakes like white or vanilla cakes! 
  • Pumpkin: Now, onto the star of the show! Grab yourself a standard can, about 2 cups worth. The coolest part: you will use the whole can for this recipe, so no pumpkin is wasted. This tip works for my other pumpkin cake recipes, too! 

Fresh pumpkin is fine, but let’s stick with the canned stuff for consistent texture and flavor.

  • Cinnamon & Pumpkin Pie Spice: Of course. How can I forget? Pumpkin pie spice and cinnamon are the secret weapons of any pumpkin dessert. If you’re out of pumpkin pie spice, no sweat. Mix your own blend using ground nutmeg, allspice, ginger, and cloves! 
  • Oil & Eggs: They’re the powerful duo behind the structure and moisture of our baking party. We’re using both in this recipe, but you should dial back on the eggs a bit to keep things from getting too… cakey.
  • Sugar: Let’s sweeten things up with a combo of granulated and brown sugar (though, let’s be real, it’s mostly brown sugar because here’s where all our flavor magic happens!).



Step 1.

Alright. First things first, preheat your baking temperature to 350°F (or 177°C) and grab yourself a trusty 9×13 baking pan.

Step 2.

Now, let’s get mixing! In a big ol’ bowl, stir flour, baking powder, baking soda, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon and salt. Set that aside for a second.

Step 3.

In another bowl, mix oil, eggs, granulated sugar, brown sugar, vanilla, and pumpkin until they’re all buddy-buddy. Then, pour your wet ingredients (from Step 2) into dry ones and mix them well. The batter’s going to be thick, just so you know.

pumpkin spice cake batter

Step 4.

Once nicely mixed, spread that batter into your prepared pan and pop it into the oven. It’ll need about 30 to 36 minutes to bake, but keep a close eye on it; no two ovens are exactly similar. 

Stick a toothpick in the middle, and when it comes out mostly clean, you know it’s ready. If it’s getting too brown on top or around the edges, drape some aluminum foil over it to keep it in check!

How To Make pumpkin spice cake

Step 5.

Is your cake done baking in the oven? Great! Take it out and let it cool in the pan on a wire rack. Give it about 45 minutes to cool down – or if you’re in a hurry like me, stick it in the fridge to speed up the cooling.

Tangy Cream Cheese Frosting

Step 6.

Cream Cheese Frosting step 1 2

Grab a big ol’ bowl and your trusty stand or handheld mixer (I’m not picky!) Toss in your butter and cream cheese, and crank the mixer speed up to high until you have a smooth, creamy mixture. 

Add 3 cups of confectioners’ sugar, salt, and vanilla. Whirl at low speed (about 30 seconds), then kick it up to high for another 2 minutes. Do you like your frosting on the thicker side (like me)? No problem; toss in extra confectioners’ sugar, about ¼ cup! 

Step 7.

pumpkin spice cake batter preparation

Once your frosting is nice and fluffy, spread it over your cooled cake. Then, pop that bad boy in the fridge for about half an hour before you dig in. Trust me, this little chill session helps set your icing and makes slicing much easier. Enjoy!

pumpkin spice cake final


1. I wouldn’t suggest swapping out applesauce for vegetable oil here. Both pumpkin and applesauce bring loads of moisture to the table, and mixing them might turn your pumpkin spice cake into a sloppy mess!

2. When making the frosting, make sure the cream cheese is at room temperature. Too-cold cream cheese will not whip up nicely and DEFINITELY will not blend smoothly with other ingredients!

easy pumpkin spice cake

3. This cake stays fresh at room temperature for about 4 days. Or you can pop it in the refrigerator, where it’ll keep for about a week! Personally, I’m fine with leaving my leftover frostings at room temperature, but whatever floats your boat, I guess? Just keep in mind that the finished cake might dry out a bit when refrigerated.


Can I Use This Recipe To Make Cupcakes?

Frankly, I have not tried cupcakes with this recipe, but I think they should turn out alright! Keep a close eye on them after 20 minutes to check if they’re done. 

Is It Alright To Double The Ingredients Of This Recipe? 

Duh! Doubling up and baking it in two 9×13 pans should do the trick. It’ll likely need about the same bake time, though I can’t guarantee this since I have only whipped it up in one small pan.

Is There A Gluten-Free Version Of This Recipe?

Here’s my confession: I’m not an expert in gluten-free bakes. But I dare say it’s worth a shot! 

Go for a gluten-free substitute of all-purpose flour, not something like almond flour (which is a whole different ball game). Since this pumpkin spice cake is super moist and a tad denser than a traditional cake, I think its batter should handle the gluten-free swap just fine.

Happy cake baking!

Discover More Unique Cake Recipes:

pumpkin spice cake

Pumpkin Spice Cake

Pumpkin spice cake has always been a total hit. We are talking about a moist, flavorful treat packed with warm spices and topped off with creamy frosting; it's practically autumn in cake form!
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Course: Cake
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Cooling Time: 3 hours 20 minutes
Total Time: 4 hours 15 minutes
Servings: 12
Calories: 413kcal
Author: Brenda Maher



  • 2 cups spooned and leveled all-purpose flour
  • 2 ⅓ tsp baking powder
  • 1 ⅓ tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 ⅓ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice (homemade or store-bought)
  • 1 cup vegetable or canola oil
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup packed dark or light brown sugar
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 can of pumpkin puree
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract

Simple Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 8 oz softened, full-fat brick cream cheese, room temperature
  • ½ cup softened, unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3 cups confectioners’ sugar (+ ¼ cup – optional)
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • a pinch of salt


  • Preheat your oven to 350°F (177°C) and prepare a 13×9 baking pan.


  • Mix flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, and salt in a bowl.
  • In another bowl, mix oil, eggs, granulated sugar, brown sugar, vanilla, and pumpkin. Combine this mixture with wet ingredients (from Step 2) until well-blended.
  • Spread the batter into your prepared pan and bake for about 36 minutes, or until a toothpick poked in the middle comes out mostly clean.
  • Let the cake cool in the pan on a rack for 45 minutes, then put it in the fridge.


  • Mix butter and cream cheese until smooth, then add confectioners’ sugar, salt, and vanilla and keep beating (low mixer speed for ~30 secs, then high speed for 2 minutes). If desired, adjust the thickness with extra confectioners’ sugar (about ¼ cup)
  • Spread this stable frosting over your cooled cake and let the cake chill in the fridge for half an hour before digging in. Enjoy!


  • Don’t replace oil with applesauce. Both applesauce and pumpkin contribute significant moisture, potentially resulting in a messy texture.
  • Ensure your cream cheese (for the frosting) is at room temperature; otherwise, it will not blend smoothly with other ingredients.
  • The warm cake remains fresh at room temperature for 4 days or can be refrigerated for a week. The latter may cause your frosted cake to dry out slightly.


Calories: 413kcal | Carbohydrates: 55g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 20g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 61mg | Sodium: 439mg | Potassium: 246mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 42g | Calcium: 92mg | Iron: 2mg
Did you make this recipe?Mention @cakegirls or tag #cakegirls!

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Mary and Brenda Maher

Mary & Brenda Maher

Mary & Brenda Maher, are the founders of Cake Girls, a Chicago-based online baking shop specializing in cake supplies, party decor, and DIY cake tutorials. They are known for their elaborate and artistic cake creations, which have been featured on the Food Network Challenge and in a reality show, Amazing Wedding Cakes.

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