An edible pumpkin garnish rests atop the cream cheese frosting on a piece of cake dusted with cinnamon.

If you’re a fan of all things autumn, you’re in for a treat! Today, we’re diving headfirst into the cozy season with a delightful pumpkin cake topped with luscious cream cheese frosting. The warm, earthy flavors of pumpkin, cinnamon, and nutmeg will transport you to a crisp, sunny day surrounded by colorful foliage. It’s like a hug in cake form. Whether you’re a seasoned baker or just looking for a fall treat, this pumpkin cake is a must-try. 

Close view of a tall slice of pumpkin cake with cream cheese frosting.

Can I use fresh pumpkin puree?

We love a homemade pumpkin puree for most cooking applications. But in this case, we might recommend only using the canned stuff. Homemade pumpkin puree contains much more moisture than canned pumpkin, which could affect how the cake bakes.

If you want to use homemade pumpkin puree in this cake, we recommend first straining it through a piece of cheesecloth. 

What do I need to make this pumpkin cake?

If your pantry is already stocked for baking, chances are you already have most of the ingredients you’ll need:

  • Unsalted butter
  • Cream cheese
  • Eggs
  • Vanilla extract
  • 15-ounce can of pumpkin puree
  • Brown sugar
  • All-purpose flour
  • Ground cinnamon
  • Ground nutmeg
  • Ground ginger
  • Baking powder
  • Baking soda
  • Salt

You’ll need additional cream cheese, butter, vanilla, and salt for the frosting, as well as powdered sugar.

Protip: Spice it up!

Missing one of the spices? Try replacing the cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger with two teaspoons of pumpkin pie spice.

How do I make pumpkin cake?

Collage of six simple steps to make a pumpkin cake with cream cheese frosting. A text overlay reads, "How to Make Pumpkin Cake."
  1. Preheat the oven and prepare an 8″x8″ square baking pan. Cream the butter, cream cheese, and brown sugar in a large bowl.
  2. Add the remaining wet ingredients (eggs, vanilla, pumpkin puree).
  3. Stir in a portion of the flour and the other dry ingredients. Add the remaining flour and mix until smooth.
  4. Pour into the prepared baking dish and bake for 50-55 minutes. Set aside to cool.
  5. Whip the frosting ingredients until fluffy.
  6. Spread the frosting over the cooled cake and serve!

Protip: Edible pumpkin decorations!

Want the cute edible pumpkins we used on our cake? You can find them on Etsy or try making your own!

Do I need the cream cheese frosting?

While the pumpkin cake is a star on its own, the cream cheese frosting takes it to a new level of deliciousness. The tanginess of the cream cheese frosting perfectly complements the sweetness of the pumpkin cake. It’s a harmonious blend of flavors that can’t be beat.

Close view of the cream cheese frosting atop a piece of pumpkin dessert.

Do I need to refrigerate leftover pumpkin cake? 

It’s best to refrigerate any leftover pumpkin cake with cream cheese frosting. The cream cheese frosting contains dairy, and the cake’s moisture makes it susceptible to spoiling at room temperature. Simply cover it with plastic wrap or place it in an airtight container and store it in the fridge. It will stay fresh for several days.

Want more pumpkin recipes like this one?

An edible pumpkin garnish rests atop the cream cheese frosting on a piece of cake dusted with cinnamon.

Pumpkin Cake Recipe with Cream Cheese Frosting

Yield: 9-12 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour

Here’s an easy pumpkin cake that’s perfect for fall gatherings. It’s spiced with cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger and topped with a cream cheese frosting.

Ingredients

For the Cake:

  • 1 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 ounces cream cheese 
  • 2 large eggs
  • 15-ounce can pumpkin puree
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

For the Frosting:

  • 6 ounces cream cheese, softened at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 1/4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F and line an 8"x8" pan with parchment paper.
  2. Cream together the brown sugar, butter, and cream cheese until light and fluffy.
  3. Add the eggs, pumpkin, and vanilla and stir until well combined.
  4. Add 1 cup of flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, salt, ginger, and nutmeg. Mix until combined. Add the remaining flour and mix until smooth.
  5. Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan and bake in the preheated oven for 50-55 minutes until done in the middle.
  6. Meanwhile, make the frosting. Beat the cream cheese and butter on high using an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add the powdered sugar, vanilla, and salt and beat on low for about a minute, then increase the speed to medium-high and beat until smooth and fluffy (about 1-2 minutes).
  7. Allow the cake to cool completely, then frost, sprinkle with cinnamon if desired, slice, and serve!

Notes

  • Unfrosted cake can be stored at room temperature. Frosted cake should be refrigerated for up to 5-6 days.
  • We used these little edible pumpkins for garnish.
  • This recipe yields 9 generous servings. You can also cut it into 12 slices for smaller portions.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 376Total Fat: 15gSaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 70mgSodium: 271mgCarbohydrates: 56gFiber: 2gSugar: 37gProtein: 5g

At Wholefully, we believe that good nutrition is about much more than just the numbers on the nutrition facts panel. Please use the above information as only a small part of what helps you decide what foods are nourishing for you.

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One Comment

  1. This pumpkin cake with cream cheese frosting looks so delicious. However, after reading the nutrition information I have to pass. Too many carbs, sugar and sodium, due to blood sugar and sodium issues I’m having to change the way I eat. I hate it because I LOVE sweets!!! If possible, I think I need to find recipes more diabetic friendly!