The Best Pumpkin Cake Recipe | Easy Thanksgiving Dessert Idea! (2024)

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This easy Pumpkin Cake has three layers of super moist, spiced pumpkin cake, made completely from scratch. The whole thing is finished off with a maple frosting and decorated with mini pumpkin candies.

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Table of Contents

  • Easy Homemade Pumpkin Cake
  • Key Ingredients
  • How to Make This Pumpkin Cake
  • What is a Crumb Coat?
  • Crazy Tips to Keep This Pumpkin Cake Moist
  • Decorating Your Cake
  • Want to Make Pumpkin Cupcakes With This Recipe?
  • Get the Recipe

    Easy Homemade Pumpkin Cake

    This gorgeously stacked cake is the BEST PUMPKIN CAKE YOU WILL EVER EAT. I know, that’s a big claim. But it’s really true – just read all the comments or photo reviews on Pinterest.

    My family has been making this pumpkin cake recipe for years. It has been tried and test and approved every time! This cake is perfectly spiced, extra moist, and coated in a sweet cream cheese frosting.

    If you’re looking for the perfect fall cake to get your baking fix in, give this recipe a try. I promise you won’t be dissapointed.

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    Key Ingredients

    There are a few important ingredients needed for this pumpkin cake recipe to be a success. Here’s a quick overview with my notes. Be sure to scroll down to the recipe card for the full ingredient list with amounts.

    • Pumpkin pie spice – Technically this is optional but I like to use pumpkin pie spice as it’s a great combination of ground cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves, and allspice. You can substitute it with plain cinnamon if that is what you have on hand.
    • Vanilla extract – Make sure you use pure vanilla extract, not imitation.
    • Canned pumpkin – Like most pumpkin baking recipes, you want to use pure canned pumpkin puree. Don’t use pumpkin pie filling as they are not the same thing. This pumpkin cake recipe uses an entire 15 oz can of pumpkin, so no worries about wasting or having any leftovers!!
    • Vegetable oil – You can also use canola oil. If you are against oil in cakes, you can substitute apple sauce in its place. However, know that the cake texture will be fluffier.
    • Milk – Any kind of milk will work.
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    How to Make This Pumpkin Cake

    You’ll be surprised to know that even though this cake looks fancy, it’s super simple to make! Here’s how:

    Make the Cake

    • Prep your tools. Preheat oven to 300°F. Grease 3, 8-inch round cake pans. Set aside.
    • Mix dry ingredients. In a medium bowl, mix flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
    • Combine wet ingredients. In a large bowl/stand mixer, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in vanilla, pumpkin, and vegetable oil.
    • Add dry ingredients and milk. Beat in the flour mixture alternately with the milk.
    • Bake. Divide batter evenly into prepared pans. Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
    • Cool. Remove pans from oven and place in freezer for 45 minutes to cool. (This step is optional, you can let the cake cool on the counter instead if you prefer.)

    Make the Frosting and Decorate

    • Cream butter and cream cheese. In a large bowl, cream butter and cream cheese until smooth.
    • Add flavorings. Beat in maple syrup, vanilla and cinnamon.
    • Add confectioners’ sugar. Beat on low speed until combined, then on high until frosting is smooth.
    • Assemble the 3 layers with a thick layer of frosting in between each layer. Then apply a thin crumb coat* on the top and sides. Pop back in the freezer to harden the crumb coat for about 10 minutes.
    • Apply one final thick and even layer around the outside of the cake. Store in the fridge until ready to serve.

    What is a Crumb Coat?

    A crumb coat is a thin layer of frosting called that seals in stray crumbs before a second frosting layer is applied. Remember to chill the crumb coat before applying the second layer of frosting.

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    Crazy Tips to Keep This Pumpkin Cake Moist

    • Bake this cake at 300°F. Unlike traditional cakes, this pumpkin cake recipe is baked at 300°F. Baking a cake at a lower temperature slows the rapidness of the leavening, which prevents a tall dome from forming on your cake. It also keeps the cake extra moist since it doesn’t rise too much or too quickly.
    • Cool it in the freezer. This helps to stop the cooking process much quicker and keep the cake moist.

    Second, as soon as these cakes come out of the oven, pop them into the freezer.

    Decorating Your Cake

    For the frosting, I added a quick cream cheese icing that is flavored with cinnamon, real maple syrup and vanilla extract. It is the same frosting that I use for my pumpkin sheet cake.

    However, if you prefer, you can use a classic cream cheese frosting. The combo will still be delicious! To create the swirls on the outside of the cake with the frosting, I use the round end of a rubber spatula and swirl it.

    Once your cake is frosted, I like to use pumpkin candies, fresh sprigs of thyme and a few pepitas for decoration. You could also use chocolate shavings or even a sprinkle of cinnamon on top.

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    Want to Make Pumpkin Cupcakes With This Recipe?

    When I originally posted this recipe people would often ask me: Can I make cupcakes with this cake recipe?

    The answer is: YES! You can! In fact, I did it for you! I love this cake so much that I have even made it into cupcakes: Pumpkin Maple Cupcakes!

    However, I will tell you, I personally love the layer dream cake just a little bit more. It stays moist and has the perfect amount of frosting-to-cake.

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    This Pumpkin Cake is one of my most popular pumpkin recipes ever. It is second only to my favorite Pumpkin Cream Cheese Swirl Muffins. Everyone comes back and makes it year after year for their families and that is the greatest compliment I could ever receive. I promise everyone is going to LOVE it and beg for the recipe!

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    4.4 from 108 votes

    Print Pin Recipe

    Yield: 12 servings

    Pumpkin Cake with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

    This is the BEST Pumpkin Cake I have ever made! It’s a three layer cake of super moist pumpkin cake and a crazy delicious cinnamon cream cheese frosting!

    Prep Time15 minutes minutes

    Cook Time40 minutes minutes

    Additional Time45 minutes minutes

    Total Time1 hour hour 40 minutes minutes

    Ingredients

    • 3 cups all-purpose flour
    • 1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
    • ½ teaspoon salt
    • ¾ cup unsalted butter, softened
    • 2 cups granulated sugar
    • 3 large eggs
    • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
    • 1 (15 oz) can pumpkin puree, not pumpkin pie filling
    • ¼ cup vegetable oil
    • 1 cup whole milk
    • 12 oz (1 1/2 packages) cream cheese, softened
    • ¾ cup unsalted butter, softened
    • 3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
    • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
    • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
    • 6 cups powdered sugar

    Instructions

    • Preheat oven to 300°F. Grease 3, 8-inch round cake pans. Set aside.

    • In a medium bowl, mix flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

    • In a large bowl/stand mixer, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in vanilla, pumpkin and vegetable oil. Beat in the flour mixture alternately with the milk.

    • Divide batter evenly into prepared pans. Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Remove pans from oven and immediately place in freezer for 45 minutes. (This keeps the cake moist by immediately stopping the baking so the cake does not continue to bake when you remove it form the oven.)

    • For the frosting: In a large bowl, cream butter and cream cheese until smooth. Beat in maple syrup, vanilla and cinnamon. Add confectioners’ sugar and beat on low speed until combined, then on high until frosting is smooth.

    • Assemble the 3 layers with a thick layer of frosting in between each layer. Then apply a thin crumb coat on the top and sides. Pop back in the freezer to harden the crumb coat for about 10 minutes.

    • Apply one final thick and even layer around the outside of the cake. Store in the fridge until ready to serve.

    Nutrition

    Serving: 1, Calories: 770kcal, Carbohydrates: 122g, Protein: 6g, Fat: 30g, Saturated Fat: 16g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g, Monounsaturated Fat: 8g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 105mg, Sodium: 266mg, Potassium: 105mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 96g, Vitamin A: 829IU, Vitamin C: 0.02mg, Calcium: 54mg, Iron: 2mg

    © Jessica – The Novice Chef

    Cuisine: American

    Category: Cake

    Categories:

    • Cake
    • Desserts
    • Fall
    • Halloween
    • Holidays
    • Pumpkin
    • Recipes
    • Thanksgiving
    • Videos

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    Here is the original photo for the Pumpkin Dream Cake! Just in case you came here from Pinterest, this is the same recipe! I updated the post in August 2018, but the recipe is still the exact same!

    This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy.

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    The Best Pumpkin Cake Recipe | Easy Thanksgiving Dessert Idea! (2024)
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