Pumpkin Spice Cake With Cream Cheese Frosting

This pumpkin spice cake is my favorite “welcome to fall” treat. A super moist butter cake that uses real pumpkin puree, pumpkin spices, buttermilk, and oil which helps it stay moist, even after a week in the fridge. Frosted with cream cheese frosting and adorable marzipan candy pumpkins! Its really the perfect centerpiece for the Holidays.
closeup of pumpkin spice cake on a white plate

This is the best pumpkin spice cake with cream cheese frosting recipe and adorable marzipan candy pumpkins. It’s so incredibly moist and versatile! closeup of pumpkin spice cake on a white plate

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

 

pumpkin spice 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 2In a large bowl, add your flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, nutmeg, and salt and whisk together to combine. Set aside. 

pumpkin spice cake ingredients in a clear bowl

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. 

pumpkin spice liquid ingredients

pumpkin spice cake liquid ingredients in a white mixing bowl

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.

closeup of pumpkin spice cake batter

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 6Pour 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.

closeup of baked pumpkin cake

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.

cream cheese frosting ingredients

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. 

cream cheese frosting recipe

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. 

close up of homemade marzipan recipe

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.

colored marzipan

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. 

orange marzipan candy ball with pink gloved hand holding modeling tool marzipan candy pumpkin held by pink gloved hand and black modeling tool above

Step 5 – Add a stem and dust the lines with some edible food coloring dust. I used dark reddish-orange and green for mine. 

close up of marzipan candy pumpkins on a white plate

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.

pumpkin cake layers with cream cheese frosting

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. 

pumpkin spice cake with a crumbcoat

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. 

Final layer of frosting

Step 4 – Using the round piping tip, pipe your wood grain pattern around the sides. See the video below for a visual.

piping a wood grain texture onto the side of a cake

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.

piping dollops of cream cheese frosting on top of the cake

Step 6 – Add your pumpkins to the frosting. 

adding marzipan candy pumpkins to the top of the cake

Step 7 – Fill in the blank spaces with your leaf tip.

piping frosting leaves around the marzipan pumpkins

I love how festive this cake looks! Wouldn’t it be the perfect centerpiece for the Holidays?

pumpkin spice cake with marzipan pumpkins on top

pumpkin spice cake with slice being take out

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.

pumpkin chocolate chip muffins

RELATED RECIPES

Brown Butter Cream Cheese Frosting

Applesauce Spice Cake

Pumpkin Puree

German Chocolate Cake

Marzipan Candy Pumpkins

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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.

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closeup of pumpkin spice cake on a white plate

Pumpkin Spice Cake With Cream Cheese Frosting

This pumpkin spice cake is my favorite “welcome to fall” treat. A super moist butter cake that uses real pumpkin puree, pumpkin spices, buttermilk, and oil which helps it stay moist, even after a week in the fridge. Frosted with cream cheese frosting and adorable marzipan candy pumpkins! Its really the perfect centerpiece for the Holidays.
4.95 from 20 votes
Print Rate Never Miss A Cake
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 40 mins
Serves: 10 cups
Calories: 1909kcal

Ingredients

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

Equipment

  • 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

Instructions

Cake Instructions

  • 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.

Frosting Instructions

  • 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. 

Marzipan Pumpkins

  • 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.

Notes

Important Things To Note Before You Start
1. Bring all your ingredients to room temperature or even a little warm (eggs, buttermilk, butter, etc) to ensure your cake batter does not break or curdle. 
2. Use a scale to weigh your ingredients (including liquids) unless otherwise instructed (Tablespoons, teaspoons, pinch etc). Scaled ingredients are much more accurate than using cups and help ensure the success of your recipe. 
3. Practice Mise en Place (everything in it's place). Measure out your ingredients ahead of time and have them ready before you start mixing to reduce the chances of accidentally leaving something out.
4. Chill your cakes before frosting and filling. You can cover a frosted and chilled cake in fondant if you wish. This cake is also great for stacking. I always keep my cakes chilled in the refrigerator before delivery for easy transporting. 
5. I'm using my Bosch Universal Plus mixer for this recipe, check out my review for comparisons, pros and cons, and more information.
6. 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 turn table, an 8" cake board, and adorable little marzipan pumpkins. 
7. I also used a #10 round wilton piping 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! 
8. If you don't have buttermilk, you can make your own with yogurt, sour cream, or even vinegar and milk. Check out my buttermilk blog post for recipes. 

Nutrition

Serving: 0.25cups | Calories: 1909kcal (95%) | Carbohydrates: 268g (89%) | Protein: 15g (30%) | Fat: 89g (137%) | Saturated Fat: 54g (270%) | Cholesterol: 417mg (139%) | Sodium: 1292mg (54%) | Potassium: 385mg (11%) | Fiber: 3g (12%) | Sugar: 223g (248%) | Vitamin A: 9610IU (192%) | Vitamin C: 1.8mg (2%) | Calcium: 171mg (17%) | Iron: 4.2mg (23%)
 

53 comments on “Pumpkin Spice Cake

  1. This looks so good! I definitely want to try it! Do you think for a 6” round 2” tall layers it would take the same amount of time to bake?
    These moments with your daughter are so sweet ?

  2. Liz, I have watched a lot of your tutorials over the past few years. And this one is, hands down, my favorite. Got me over here missing the snot out of my daughter, who is only at school. I do have an urge to go sign her out early and bring her home to bake something. Avalon is so adorable, and she did an outstanding job. This cake is now on my list of things to do this week. Thank you.

    1. Awww thank you so much! I think we will do this again together, it’s a lot more fun with her than the typical just film the bowl style lol. I’ll be sure to prepare myself and my kitchen a little bit better lol

  3. I’d like to do this cake in a bundt pan with a glaze. How would you adjust baking temp and time for a bundt pan?

  4. 5 stars
    Loved the video!?Avalon was great!! Made this cake more interesting!! Thanks for the recipe!!!

  5. This is absolutely precious! Well done, mama! You will never regret taking time with your littles as all TOO FAST they grow up!

  6. 5 stars
    Lizzo,
    You my sweet friend are amazing, I know I have told you that many times before but I just feel the need to say it again. I totally understand being tired and busy and sometimes not wanting to make a mess and have to clean up after but I also get being a mom and making memories with my children, you are a real superwoman!!! I love how you are a boss/owner/ wife/mom/ friend/ cake designer/ cake decorator and much much more. I have always loved and admired and appreciated you and your tutorials on sugar geek show and I’m very proud to be a sugar geek elite but I have to tell you it brought pure joy and love to my heart watching you teach and bake with Avalon. My mom passed away when I was 10 , she had cancer all over her body and when i was 7-9 she would show me how to cook and bake as she sat in her wheelchair she showed me what to do next and that is my greatest memory of all. I had told you before about her recipe for a chocolate mayonnaise cake with mint icing. Anyway I just wanted to say thank you. Not only thank you for always sharing your ideas, knowledge and best recipes but also showing us the beautiful bond between a mother and daughter and how special and important these times are together for you both, they grow up so fast and it’s nice to have those moments to look back on. You are a wonderful lady and sweet friend. Thank you again for all you do. I cant wait to try this recipe. Tell Avalon she did an awesome job!!!!!

    1. Thank you for sharing Brenda <3 I am so glad you have those wonderful memories of your mother to cherish. I do have one memory of my mother baking a blackberry sponge cake that was always so good and a favorite in our family but she rarely baked anything else that I can remember. I cherish that one recipe and wish we would have had more time together before she passed when I was 19. Unfortunately she was ill for most of my childhood so I don't have many memories of her. Baking really does bring families together <3

  7. This looks amazing. Could the flour be swapped for Bob’s Red Mill 1:1 GF flour successfully you think?

  8. Saved and printed! Did you use unsalted butter? Thanks!

  9. Liz,
    Let me give you some mommy advice (if I may)! Avalon is only going to be four, for a short time, the best I can say as a mother of three boys, is enjoy every single moment that she wants to spend with you, you are her greatest teacher, when my boys were little they loved to help me cook and bake so much so that today they are men (30, 28, &26) who not only love to cook (my middle son is a chef), but love to bake as well. Our family Sunday dinners are about whose cooking who’s preparing but most importantly the boys tell stories about when they were little and mommy taught them how to make all sorts of things. We will never get back those times so make them worth every minute I promise you that someday in the future your daughter will think of you as her hero, especially that you own and run your business take care of your family. I give you a lot of credit for doing what you do so never give up and enjoy each and every memory making minute that’ll be you most precious masterpiece.
    A fan forever,
    Terryann

  10. 5 stars
    OMG
    I just watched the video, Avalon you are Beautiful!!! And keep baking with mommy so we can watch more of you as you grow up. Mommy is pretty terrific too! ???❤️?

  11. How well does this recipe hold up for cupcakes?

  12. I don’t see any room temp ingredients noted on the cake recipe. Only the frosting. But the but the Super Important note about room temp ingredients is in cake directions, so I just wanted to verify!

  13. I’m looking for more of a spice cake recipe, I don’t want a lot of pumpkin flavor. Can I leave out the pumpkin or substitute it for something?

    1. I dont know for sure since I haven’t tried that. I don’t think it would be the same. What I usually do is just add spices to my vanilla cake recipe 🙂

  14. Liz,

    What did I do wrong??? My cake came out too oily. I had a little bit of extra batter (like in your video) and made 4 cupcakes – even those were an oily mess. I followed the recipe to a T, used room temperature ingredients, weighed all the ingredients, baked at 335 for 45 minutes…By the way, the toothpick came out oily, but clean. However, I think the cakes are a little bit undone. What could have happened? Anyone else had this problem?

    1. The cake is a bit oily when it first bakes up but after a day in the fridge that oil is important to making the cake taste moist. I hope you didn’t throw it out! It’s so yummy!

  15. 5 stars
    I can’t wait to try this recipe it’s looks delicious and Avalon did a fantastic job, she’s so stinkin’ Adorable, my 5 year old son Ben has been my bakin’ baby since he was one, I love including him in the videos.

  16. 5 stars
    I love this recipe! But I have one concern, it does come out oily and when I make it into cupcakes the liners are very greasy. What type of liner should I use to help in this or should I cut back on butter or oil.

  17. Hello

    I am really excited to make this cake, what icing nozzles did you use for the “roses”?

    Thanks,

    Pip

  18. Will this cake hold up under fondant? Plan on using easy buttercream because the cake will be sitting out for a few hours.

  19. I’m looking for a sturdy cream cheese frosting so I will try this. I would also like it to be a little tart. Do you think I can get away with adding a little extra cream cheese to it, or would it become too soft?

    Thanks,
    Bonnie

    1. The reason it’s so sturdy is because of the extra powdered sugar. You can definitely add more cream cheese but it will affect the stability

  20. 5 stars
    I’m planning on doing this the evening before thanksgiving. How does it taste if left in the fridge over night? Do I have to cover it?

    Thank you!

  21. 5 stars
    I made this for my family this Thanksgiving, and it’s a KEEPER! I brushed each layer with a little pumpkin spice coffee creamer for extra flavor. Super moist and delicious!

  22. Would it work if a I want to make it as loaf ?? Can I do 1/2 cake flour and 1/2 AP flour

    Thank you ?

  23. 5 stars
    My God there is heaven in a pan! My house smells like fall. My taste buds are dancing. This is soooo good! Moist. Perfect amount of flavors.

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