This is the best pumpkin spice cake with cream cheese frosting recipe and adorable marzipan candy pumpkins. It’s so incredibly moist and versatile!
I’ve used it to make pumpkin cream cheese bread, pumpkin chocolate chip muffins, and even baked donuts. You can use canned pumpkin or make your own homemade pumpkin puree. I love making this pumpkin spice bread ahead of time and having a slice for breakfast with my coffee on chilly mornings.
PUMPKIN CAKE INGREDIENTS
Make sure that you’re using plain pumpkin puree, not pumpkin pie mix which has added sweeteners and spices. If you can’t find any at the store, you can pick up a sugar pumpkin and make your own homemade pumpkin puree.
If you don’t have all the spices listed, pick up a bottle of pumpkin spice, it’s basically the same thing. Use two Tablespoons pumpkin spice instead of the spices listed in the recipe.
If you don’t have buttermilk you can make your own buttermilk substitute or use regular milk.
PUMPKIN SPICE CAKE INSTRUCTIONS
Step 1 – Preheat your oven to 350ºF (177ºC) and prepare three, 8″x2″ cake pans with cake goop or another preferred pan release. You can also use two 8″ pans, just bake for longer. Measure out your ingredients with a scale and bring eggs and buttermilk to room temperature.
Step 2 – In a large bowl, add your flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, nutmeg, and salt and whisk together to combine. Set aside.
Step 3 – In the bowl of your stand mixer, add your room temperature eggs, white sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla. Mix on medium/medium-high with the paddle attachment for 1 minute. You can also do this with a hand mixer, just mix for longer and go by look instead of time. It should look aerated and bubbly.
Pro-Tip – I’m using my Bosch Universal Plus mixer for this recipe, check out my review for comparisons, pros and cons, and more information.
Step 4 – Add in your pumpkin puree, oil, melted butter, and room temperature buttermilk and mix until combined.
Step 5 – Slowly add in your flour mixture and mix on low until all your dry ingredients are just incorporated and your batter is smooth. Do not over-mix.
Step 6 – Pour batter into three, 8″x 2″ prepared cake pans and smooth out. Bake the cakes for 35-40 minutes (40-50 minutes if you’re using two pans) until the center of the cake is set and a toothpick comes out clean.
Cool the cakes for ten minutes in the pan and turn out onto a wire rack to cool fully before frosting. I like to trim off the domes of my cake to make it easier to stack. You can wrap the cakes in plastic wrap and freeze to chill them faster.
CREAM CHEESE FROSTING INSTRUCTIONS
Step 1 – Cream the softened cream cheese with the paddle attachment until smooth. Add in your softened butter and continue creaming on low until fully incorporated and smooth. You can use a stand mixer or hand mixer.
Step 2 – Slowly add in powdered sugar one cup at a time, letting fully incorporate before adding the next cup. Add in vanilla and salt. Mix on low for 5-6 minutes until smooth.
Step 3 – For a whiter frosting, add white food coloring. Store leftover frosting in the fridge for up to a week or freeze up to 6 months.
HOW TO MAKE MARZIPAN CANDY PUMPKINS
Step 1 – Combine your almond flour, powdered sugar corn syrup (or honey) and flavoring the in the bowl of your stand mixer with the paddle attachment until smooth.
Step 2 – Wrap your marzipan in plastic wrap and let it rest for 60 minutes before you use it. This is a great thing to make ahead of time.
Step 3 – Divide your marzipan into 5-7 sections. I colored mine with egg yellow, orange, red, white, dark green, light green and a small amount of brown for the stems.
Step 4 – Shape your pumpkins using your modeling tools. I used the ball tool to add an indent on the top, then my modeling tool to make some lines going down the sides.
Step 5 – Add a stem and dust the lines with some edible food coloring dust. I used dark reddish-orange and green for mine.
HOW TO DECORATE A CAKE
Check out my ‘how to make your first cake’ blog post to learn how to properly trim, fill, stack, crumb coat, frost, and decorate a cake. I decorated this cake using my offset spatula, bench scraper, a turntable, an 8″ cake board, and adorable little marzipan pumpkins.
I also used a #10 round wilton piping tip and leaf tip to make this cool, modern tree texture on the outside of the cake. Check out my video below to see how I did it!
Step 1 – Trim your cake layers so they don’t have a dome. Fill your layers with about 1/4″ of cream cheese frosting using an offset spatula.
Step 2 – Apply a thin layer of cream cheese frosting to the whole cake to seal in the crumbs (crumbcoat) and put your cake into the fridge or freezer for 20 minutes to firm up the frosting.
Step 3 – Apply the final layer of buttercream with your offset spatula. Smooth the top with the offset spatula and the sides with a bench scraper.
Step 4 – Using the round piping tip, pipe your wood grain pattern around the sides. See the video below for a visual.
Step 5 – Use your piping bag with the round piping tip to add some dollops of frosting to the top of the cake in a ring.
Step 6 – Add your pumpkins to the frosting.
Step 7 – Fill in the blank spaces with your leaf tip.
I love how festive this cake looks! Wouldn’t it be the perfect centerpiece for the Holidays?
PUMPKIN SPICE CUPCAKES
This recipe works really well for cupcakes too. I added some mini chocolate chips because why not 😀 Fill your liners up 3/4 of the way full. Bake the cupcakes at 400ºF for about 20 minutes or until the center is set. Let cool and frost with your cream cheese frosting.
Brown Butter Cream Cheese Frosting
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Note: measurements are estimated based off the vanilla cake recipe using standard US cake pans and sizes. Measurements used are for 2" tall cake pans only. Your results may vary. Do not overfill cake pans above manufacturer's recommended guidelines.
Pumpkin Spice Cake With Cream Cheese Frosting
Pumpkin Spice Cake Ingredients
- 18 ounces (510 g) All Purpose Flour
- 2 teaspoons (2 tsp) Baking Soda
- 2 teaspoons (2 teaspoons) Baking Powder
- 1 Tablespoon (1 Tbsp) Cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons (2 tsp) Cloves
- 2 teaspoons (2 tsp) Nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon (1/2 tsp) Ginger
- 1 1/2 teaspoons (1 1/2 tsp) Salt
- 8 large (400 g) Eggs room temperature
- 14 ounces (397 g) Granulated Sugar
- 3 ounces (85 g) Light Brown Sugar
- 15 ounces (425 g) Pumpkin Puree
- 4 ounces (113 g) Vegetable Oil
- 1 Tablespoon (1 Tbsp) Vanilla Extract
- 5 ounces (142 g) Buttermilk room temperature, or combine milk with 1 Tbsp of white vinegar and rest for 5 minutes.
- 6 ounces (170 g) Melted Butter
Cream Cheese Frosting Ingredients
- 16 ounces (453 g) cream cheese room temperature
- 8 ounces (226 g) unsalted butter room temperature
- 32 ounces (907 g) powdered sugar sifted
- 1/2 teaspoon (1/2 tsp) salt
- 1 teaspoon (1 tsp) vanilla extract
- Stand Mixer with paddle attachment, hand mixer or whisk
- three, 8"x2" cake pans (or two pans)
- Piping Bag
- Modeling tools
- #3 Round Piping Tip
- Medium leaf pipnig tip
- Preheat your oven to 350ºF (177ºC) and prepare three, 8"x2" cake pans with cake goop or another preferred pan release. You can also use two 9" pans, just bake for longer. Measure out your ingredients with a scale and bring eggs and buttermilk to room temperature.
- In a large bowl, add your flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, nutmeg and salt and whisk together to combine. Set aside.
- In the bowl of your stand mixer, add your room temperature eggs, white sugar, brown sugar and vanilla. Mix on medium/medium-high with the paddle attachment for 1 minute. You can also do this with a hand mixer, just mix for longer and go by look instead of time. It should look aerated and bubbly.
- Add in your pumpkin puree, oil, melted butter and room temperature buttermilk and mix until combined.Make sure you're using pumpkin puree and not pumpkin pie filling, which has added spices and flavors.
- Slowly add in your flour mixture and mix on low until all your dry ingredients are just incorporated and your batter is smooth. Do not over-mix.
- Pour batter into three, 8"x2" prepared cake pans and smooth out. Bake the cakes for 30-35 minutes or until the center of the cake bounces back when you touch it and a toothpick comes out clean.Cool the cakes for ten minutes in the pan and turn out onto a wire rack to cool fully before frosting. I like to trim off the domes of my cake to make it easier to stack. You can wrap the cakes in plastic wrap and freeze to chill them faster.
- Cream the softened cream cheese with the paddle attachment until smooth. Add in your softened butter and continue creaming on low until fully incorporated and smooth.
- Slowly add in powdered sugar one cup at a time, letting fully incorporate before adding the next cup. Add in vanilla and salt. Mix at low for 5-6 minutes until smooth.
- For a whiter frosting, add white food coloring. Store leftover frosting in the fridge for up to a week or freeze up to 6 months.
- Divide your marzipan into 5-7 sections and color them with food coloring. I used egg yellow, orange, red, green, white, and brown for the pumpkin stems.
- Roll a piece of marzipan into a ball and use a modeling tool to add lines to the side.
- Form a small stem for the top of the pumpkin
- Dust the lines with some edible food coloring dust to add shading. I used a dark reddish orange for the orange pumpkins and dark green for the green pumpkins and the white pumpkins.
Decorating Your Cake
- Trim the domes off your cooled pumpkin layers
- Fit a piping bag with a coupler so that you can easily switch between a round piping tip and a leaf piping tip.
- Add a layer of cream cheese frosting with your offset spatula. Try to keep the layer nice and even, I shoot for about 1/4" thick frosting.
- Add your second layer of cake. Add more frosting and finish with the last layer of cake on top.
- Cover the whole cake in a thin layer of your cream cheese frosting. This is called the crumb coat and seals in the loose crumbs. Place into the fridge or freezer for about 20 minutes to firm up the frosting.
- Add your final layer of buttercream with your offset spatula. Smooth the sides with a bench scraper to make the sides smooth and then smooth the top with your offset spatula. (see the video in the recipe card for more visual instructions)
- Use your piping bag to add some wood grain to the sides of the cake and pipe a border around the top of the cake of some dollops of frosting.
- Add your marzipan pumpkins on top of the frosting dollops
- Fill in the spaces with piped leaves using a leaf piping tip.
- Store your finished cake in the fridge until it's ready to be served but the cake will taste the best if you take it out of the fridge two hours before serving to allow it time to warm up.
53 comments on “Pumpkin Spice Cake”
Just tried this recipe for the first time yesterday and OMG its the bomb! It’s moist and there’s such a nice mix between the pumpkin and spices. I was able to handle it well without it falling apart. My kids (and husband) gobbled it up. Seriously, so good!
Can I use the cream cheese frosting as the crumb coat under fondant? I know many cream cheese recipes won’t work with fondant?
Hi, cream cheese frosting causes fondant to melt. You can use it as a filling and then use easy buttercream or another buttercream on the outside for the crumb coat. https://sugargeekshow.com/recipe/easy-buttercream-frosting/
I made the cake last year for Thanksgiving, and it was such a big hit, that it already has been requested for this Thanksgiving. I outlined the out rim of the bottom layer with the cream cheese frosting and filled it with a cranberry jam, frosted it with a thin layer and then covered the sides with finely chopped pecans, and then decorated the top.
Wanted to try this with sweet potato purée instead of pumpkin. Have you ever tried that? Are there any changes to this recipe you can think of that need to be made?
I haven’t tried that but I think it would work great!
I’ve made this recipe a lot this fall!! So good.
I am getting ready to do this right now. I can’t wait. I have a question. I want to double check about The baking powder and baking soda. Is it 1 or 2 teaspoons on each? Thank you
2 teaspoons each
My house smells amazing! The recipe amounts for cinnamon and baking powder are inconsistent. Wasn’t sure whether to use 1 or 2 tsp of baking powder and 1 tbsp or 2 tsp of cinnamon. I went with the first number even though I weigh my ingredients, and that seemed to work. (Although, I did have some small holes in the cake, which Is more likely from over mixing.) I found the baking time to be too long for three 8” cakes, but this recipe is very forgiving. The cake baked at 35 minutes was not to far off from the one perfectly done at 30 minutes. Your baking times are normally right on the money with my oven. And I have to bake one cake at a time, as I only have one 8” pan. Fingers crossed I got in right because this seems to be a great recipe! Thanks!
Thank you for letting me know, I have updated it to make the metric area consistent
This was amazing!!!!!! I have made several other recipes of yours and they are all good, but any idea why this one baked sooooo much higher (good thing) then all your other 8 cup batter recipes? I would love all the cakes I make from your recipes to be this high. It had double the height opposed to your red velvet, white velvet, and vanilla cakes.
Hey there! Sorry, I think the cups where off, it’s more like 10 cups 😀