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    Easy Pumpkin Cake Recipe

    This super moist and easy pumpkin cake recipe is full of spiced pumpkin goodness, with a tender crumb that melts in your mouth. To make it even better, it’s topped with a cinnamon spiked cream cheese frosting that really takes this cake to another level!

    Pumpkin cake

    What is Pumpkin Cake Made of?

    Pumpkin

    First let’s go over the key ingredient in this cake – pumpkin!

    This recipe uses canned pumpkin (I use Libby’s canned pumpkin), but you can use fresh pumpkin too. When choosing canned pumpkin, you want to make sure you get 100% pure pumpkin puree, not pumpkin pie filling.

    If you prefer to use fresh pumpkin puree, then the method you use is important, as you want to reduce the amount of excess liquid in your pumpkin. I would recommend steaming your pumpkin (as opposed to boiling it), and then blending it to make the puree. The BBC has a good article on how to prepare pumpkin puree, and you can check out here.

    Spices

    Apart from the other usual ingredients (flour, baking powder, baking soda etc.), this recipe also uses spices, so you could technically call this a pumpkin spice cake!

    The spices I use are cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, allspice and cloves. You can adjust the spices based on your own taste, but I would recommend giving the cake a try with all the spices first – it really takes it to the next level!

    If you have pumpkin spice seasoning, then you can use that in replacement of the spices in this recipe if you prefer.

    Other Ingredients

    One other notable ingredient in this cake is vinegar. People are usually stumped when they see vinegar on the ingredients list, and I often get a lot of questions asking why vinegar is used in some of my recipes (like my vanilla cake and red velvet cake).

    In short, vinegar is used in baking due to the acetic acid it contains and when added to baking, it enhances flavors, textures, and even contributes to the rise of our baked goods. This recipes uses baking soda to help create it’s fluffy texture, so the vinegar helps ensure there is enough acid in the recipe for the baking soda to react with. For more information on the magic behind vinegar in baked goods, check out my blog post on why vinegar is used in baking. 

    pumpkin cake

    For the frosting, I decided to go with a cream cheese frosting (based on my original cream cheese buttercream recipe), but with the addition of ground cinnamon. It adds a wonderful cosy flavour to the frosting, which goes so well with the pumpkin cake!

    How to Make Pumpkin Cake

    This pumpkin cake comes together really easily in a few quick steps – no mixer required!

    Being by preheating your oven to 160 °C (320°F) with the fan on and grease and/or line two 8 inch cake pans (I use my homemade cake release). If your oven doesn’t have a fan option, then you will need to increase the baking temperature to 175°C (350°F).

    In a bowl, sift together flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ground ginger, nutmeg, allspice and cloves. Using a whisk or fork, mix until well combined. Set aside.

    In a large bowl combine white sugar, eggs, vegetable oil, pumpkin puree, milk, vanilla extract or essence and vinegar. Using a clean whisk, mix untill well combined and the mixture is smooth.

    pumpkin cake

    Pour your dry ingredients into your wet ingredients and gently fold together with a spatula until just combined. Do not overmix the batter.

    pumpkin cake

    Distribute the batter evenly into the two 8 inch cake tins, and bake for 28-30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

    Once baked, allow them to cool in the cake tins for about 15 minutes, and then turn them out onto a wire rack to completely cool before frosting.

    pumpkin cake

    How to Make Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

    Begin by creaming unsalted butter for a few minutes until it’s light and fluffy. Either use a hand mixer or stand mixer on a medium high speed. If using a stand mixer, use the paddle attachment.

    Add in the icing sugar in 3 batches while mixing on low. Ensure that each batch of icing sugar is mixed into the butter well before adding in the next batch.

    cream cheese frosting

    Next add in your cold cream cheese, vanilla and cinnamon. Mix just until the frosting is smooth. Avoid over-mixing.

    cream cheese frosting

    How to Decorate Pumpkin Cake

    Once the cakes are cool, level the tops with a serrated knife so that the cake layers are flat.

    Place one cake layer onto your cake stand/serving platter and place a generous amount of frosting on top. Smooth it out with an offset spatula.

    pumpkin cake

    Place your next cake layer on top and cover the top and sides with more frosting. You can use a cake scraper to smooth out the sides.

    pumpkin cake

    I like to finish off with some piping on the top. I usually use a 1M star piping tip and pipe cupcake swirls around the top edges of the cake. I also place a walnut on the top of each swirl and sprinkle additional crushed walnuts around the top of the cake. Once done, slice and enjoy!

    pumpkin cake

    Commonly Asked Questions:

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

    If you find that your pumpkin cake is too moist, isn’t holding it’s shape and is gummy in certain areas, it’s usually caused by too much liquid in your recipe. To combat this, reduce the amount of pumpkin in the recipe, or other liquids used in the recipe.

    This can particuarly become a problem if using fresh pumkpin puree. Ensure excess liquid is drained out of the pumpkin puree before using it in the cake batter.

    What pairs well with pumpkin cake?

    This recipe uses a cinnamon cream cheese buttercream as the cakes frosting, but pumpkin cake also pairs really well with whipped cream frostings, caramel sauce, vanilla ice cream and nuts like walnuts and pecans.

    How to store pumpkin cake?

    If making the cake without the frosting, it can be stored at room temperature in an airtight container for a few days, after which it should be placed in the refrigerator.

    If making the cake with the cream cheese frosting, then it can stay out at room temperature for the day, but after that should be refrigerated. Be sure to store the cake in an airtight container in the fridge to prevent the cake from drying out.

    Where can I buy canned pumpkin in New Zealand?

    Canned pumpkin isn’t really a thing here in New Zealand, so I can totally understand if you’re finding it hard to source! You can find some brands online, or head to Martha’s Backyard, which is where I got my Libby’s 100% pure pumpkin 🙂

     

    Pumpkin cake

    Easy Pumpkin Cake Recipe

    This super moist and easy pumpkin cake recipe is full of spiced pumpkin goodness, with a tender crumb that melts in your mouth. To make it even better, it’s topped with a cinnamon spiked cream cheese frosting that really takes this cake to another level!
    5 from 24 votes
    Print Pin Rate Watch Video
    Prep Time: 10 minutes
    Cook Time: 30 minutes
    Cooling Time: 1 hour
    Total Time: 1 hour 40 minutes
    Servings: 12 people

    IMPORTANT: For accuracy, I would recommend using the gram measurements provided as those are the exact quantities I use. Cup measurements are given as estimates (based on US cup measurements) to make it easier for those who do not have a scale.

    Ingredients
     

    Pumpkin Cake

    • cups (270 g) flour - plain, all purpose flour
    • ¼ cup (25 g) cornstarch - also known as cornflour in some countries
    • 2 tsp baking powder
    • ½ tsp baking soda
    • ½ tsp salt
    • tsp ground cinnamon
    • 1 tsp ginger powder
    • ½ tsp ground nutmeg
    • ½ tsp allspice
    • ¼ tsp ground cloves
    • cups (300 g) white granulated sugar
    • 3 large eggs - room temperature
    • 1 cup (200 g) unflavoured vegetable oil - I use canola oil
    • cup (300 g) pumpkin puree - I use Libby's 100% canned pumpkin (see note 1 for fresh pumpkin option)
    • ¼ cup (60 g) milk - full fat, room temperature
    • 2 tsp vanilla essence/extract
    • 1 tsp white vinegar

    Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

    • ¾ cup (170 g) unsalted butter - room temperature
    • cups (400 g) icing sugar - also known as powdered/confectioners sugar
    • 1 heaped cup (250 g) cream cheese - cold
    • 1 tsp vanilla
    • ½ tsp ground cinnamon

    For Decorating (OPTIONAL)

    • ½ cup (50 g) walnuts or pecans

    Instructions

    Pumpkin Cake

    • Preheat oven to 160 °C (320°F) with the fan on (see note 2 if you don't have a fan function) and grease and/or line two 8 inch cake tins (I use my homemade cake release).
    • In a bowl, sift together your flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, allspice and cloves. Using a whisk or fork, mix until well combined. Set aside.
    • In another bowl combine sugar, eggs, vegetable oil, pumpkin puree, milk, vanilla and vinegar. Using a clean whisk, mix untill well combined and the mixture is smooth.
    • Pour your dry ingredients into your wet ingredients and gently fold together with a spatula until just combined. Do not overmix the batter (see note 3).
    • Distribute the batter evenly into the two 8 inch cake tins, and bake for 28-30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
    • Once baked, allow them to cool in the cake tins for about 15 minutes, and then turn them out onto a wire rack to completely cool before frosting.

    Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

    • Cream butter for a few minutes until it's light and fluffy. Either use a hand mixer or stand mixer on a medium high speed. If using a stand mixer, use the paddle attachment.
    • Add in the icing sugar in 3 batches while mixing on low. Ensure that each batch of icing sugar is mixed into the butter well before adding in the next batch.
    • Next add in your cold cream cheese, vanilla and cinnamon. Mix just until the frosting is smooth. Avoid over-mixing (see note 4).

    Assembly

    • Once cakes are cooled, level the tops with a serrated knife so that the cake layers are flat.
    • Place one cake layer onto your cake stand/serving platter and place a generous amount of frosting on top. Smooth it out with an offset spatula.
    • Place your next cake layer on top and cover the top and sides with more frosting. You can use a cake scraper to smooth out the sides.
    • I like to finish off with some piping on the top. I usually use a 1M star piping tip and pipe cupcake swirls around the top edges of the cake. I also place a walnut on the top of each swirl and sprinkle additional crushed walnuts around the top of the cake. Once done, slice and enjoy!

    Video

    YouTube video

    Notes

    Note 1. If using canned pumpkin, ensure that it's 100% pumpkin (do not use pumpkin pie filling). Although I would recommend using canned pumpkin, fresh pumpkin will work too. You just want to make sure there isn't too much liquid in your homemade pumpkin puree. Here is a great article for how to make homemade pumpkin puree: https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/pumpkin-puree
    Note 2. In this recipe I use an oven with the fan function turned on. The fan forced function cooks cakes/cupcakes faster, so if your oven doesn't have a fan option, then you will need to increase the baking temperature to 175°C (347°F) so that the cake/cupcake bakes at the same rate as mine 🙂
    Note 3. By gently folding in the ingredients, it prevents too much gluten from forming, thus giving us a softer cake. Only mix until the strands of flour have disappeared and the batter is uniform
    Note 4. Only mix the frosting until it's smooth. Once it's smooth stop mixing as over-mixing can result in a less stable frosting. This is because of the liquid in the cream cheese breaking down the icing sugar. 
    Note 5. If you have pumpkin spice seasoning, you can use that in replacement of the spices in this recipe.

    Nutrition

    Calories: 6439kcal | Carbohydrates: 1062g | Protein: 95g | Fat: 400g | Saturated Fat: 136g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 142g | Monounsaturated Fat: 97g | Trans Fat: 8g | Cholesterol: 981mg | Sodium: 4560mg | Potassium: 2088mg | Fiber: 22g | Sugar: 347g | Vitamin A: 55925IU | Vitamin C: 14mg | Calcium: 1727mg | Iron: 24mg

    Nutritional information are estimates only as they are automatically calculated by a third party application. Actual values may differ based on brands and types of products used.

    Keyword: best pumpkin cake, festive cake recipe, moist pumpkin cake, pumpkin cake, pumpkin cake recipe, pumpkin cakes, pumpkin puree cake, pumpkin spice cake, soft pumpkin cake, spiced pumpkin cake, thanksgiving cake recipe
    Tried this recipe?I love hearing from you! Tag me @cakesbymk.nz on instagram so I can see your amazing creations 🙂

     

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    33 Comments

    • allison

      5 stars
      This was the best pumpkin cake I have ever made! And trust me I tried so many
      I also made it with brown butter frosting and it was the fall cake I needed

      • Cakes by MK

        Thanks so much for the wonderful feedback Allison! Brown butter frosting with this cake sounds INCREDIBLE! I’ll have to try it sometime 🙂

    • Eve

      5 stars
      I tried this recipe once. This recipe is easy and great tasting.
      Now I’m making it for Thanksgiving.

      • Cakes by MK

        Awesome! So happy to hear you enjoyed the recipe Eve 😀

    • Daniel Talbot

      5 stars
      Great Cake!

    • Cecilia

      Cornflour and cornstartch are two very different things. Are you talking about the the white powdery stuff that people use to thinken gravy or are you talking about the yellow coarse stuff that is made from corn???

      • Cakes by MK

        Hi Cecilia! 🙂 Here in New Zealand cornflour is referred to as the white powder used to thicken gravy, but it’s interchangeable with cornstarch. You want to be using that (the white powder) for my cake recipes when I refer to cornstarch/cornflour 🙂 hope that helps!

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    About me

    Welcome to my blog! My name is Maryam and I LOVE baking! :) I hope to provide you with the tools (i.e. simple, from-scratch, quality tested recipes), so that you can confidently bake up delicious treats to share with your family and friends!

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