Pumpkin Spice Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Pumpkin Spice Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting is a homemade, pumpkin dessert recipe. A layered pumpkin spice cake topped with cream cheese frosting and chopped nuts. One of best pumpkin recipes for an irresistible fall dessert.

It’s been awhile since I’ve shared a homemade layer cake with you. It’s not because we haven’t been making them or that they haven’t been filling my daydreams. It’s mostly because my three kids are keeping me on-my-toes busy.

So since cakes have been on my mind and everyone is all about the pumpkin desserts, I couldn’t wait any longer to share with you this from scratch, pumpkin spice layer cake with creamy, sweet, cream cheese frosting.

a pumpkin spice cake on a wooden cake plate

Why you’ll love this pumpkin cake recipe:

  • 100% from scratch pumpkin spice cake
  • Makes a nice size 9″ round cake.
  • Pairs well with a sweet and tangy cream cheese frosting.
  • Makes a gorgeous presentation for Thanksgiving and Christmas gatherings.

Don’t be intimidated by making your own cake. This recipe is simple and I find that baking with pumpkin is very forgiving. Because you can’t really go wrong with pumpkin baked goods.

Do you have to use cake flour?

It is important that you use cake flour when you make cakes from scratch. It gives the cake a tender crumb that you won’t get with all-purpose flour. Thankfully, most grocery stores carry cake flour. If you don’t want to get in the car to run another errand (I totally understand), you can order cake flour off Amazon.

In general, if a recipe calls for cake flour, use it. If it calls for all-purpose, then it’s ok to use regular flour.

What’s the difference between shortening and butter in cake baking?

This recipe also calls for shortening. Most Amish recipes call for shortening instead of butter and many times I switch out the shortening for real butter. This time I decided to stick with shortening.

The two main differences between butter and shortening in cake results is flavor and texture. Some say that shortening makes the cake have a little better structure and a bit more moisture. Shortening gives cakes great texture.

Others love the flavor that the butter gives. Because butter makes everything better, right? Use butter or shortening, whichever you’d like. Or you could even use half and half. How’s that for options?

How to Make Pumpkin Spice Cake

  • In the bowl of a stand mixer (or in a large bowl with a hand mixer), cream the shortening, then gradually add the sugar and continue creaming until it is light and fluffy. Blend in the eggs.
  • In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, soda, salt and spices. Set aside.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together the pumpkin puree and milk.
  • Add the flour mixture alternately with the pumpkin mixture to the egg mixture, beginning and ending with dry ingredients.
  • Grease and flour two 9″ round cake pans. Pour the batter into the prepared pans, dividing equally.
  • Bake the cakes the preheated oven for 20-22 minutes or until the top center of the cake bounces back when you touch it. You can also stick a toothpick in the center and it should come out mostly clean.

Allow the cakes to cool in the pans for about 5 minutes, then cool on a wire rack until completely cooled.

Cream Cheese Frosting

You’ve seen this frosting before. It covers this cheesecake and is the base for the creamy layer of our trifles.  Although I could sit down with a good book and a bowl full of this frosting itself (yes…don’t judge me.), it pairs perfectly with this moist, pumpkin spice cake that comes straight from my Amish cookbook.

One thing I love about our cream cheese frosting is that it is super easy to spread. It’s meant to be fluffy so don’t worry about getting it completely smooth. Keep that texture for a pretty look.

After frosting the cake, you can leave it as is, or you can press some chopped pecans on the outside. It’s a little bit of a messy process, but isn’t it pretty?

closeup of a pumpkin spice cake with pecans
closeup of a pumpkin spice cake with pecans

Pumpkin Spice Cake

5 from 2 votes
A homemade, Amish recipe for layered Pumpkin Spice Cake. This completely from-scratch cake is topped with cream cheese frosting and chopped nuts.
Servings 15
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 22 minutes
Total Time 52 minutes

Ingredients
 

  • 1/2 cup shortening or butter
  • 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs beaten
  • 2 1/4 cups sifted cake flour
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice*
  • 1 cup solid-pack pumpkin
  • 3/4 cup milk

For the frosting:

  • 8 ounces cream cheese room temperature
  • 3/4 cup salted butter room temperature
  • 3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup chopped pecans optional, for topping

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • In a stand mixer, cream the shortening, then gradually add the sugar and continue creaming until it is light and fluffy. Blend in the eggs.
  • In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, soda, salt and spices. Set aside.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together the pumpkin and milk.
  • Add the dry ingredients alternately with the pumpkin mixture to the egg mixture, beginning and ending with dry ingredients.
  • Grease and flour two 9" round cake pans. Pour batter into the prepared pans, dividing equally.
  • Bake the cakes the preheated oven for 20-22 minutes or until the top center of the cake bounces back when you touch it.
  • While the cake is baking, prepare the cream cheese frosting.
  • Using an electric mixer, beat butter and cream cheese, scraping down the sides as needed, until the mixture is light and fluffy. This will take about 2 minutes. With the mixer on low speed, add the powdered sugar, ½ a cup at a time, until it is thoroughly mixed. Add the vanilla and beat the frosting on medium speed for about 3 minutes.
  • Place one cake down on a cake plate. Frost the top of this cake with a thick layer of frosting.
  • Then place the second cake on top of the frosted layer.
  • Frost the top and sides of the cake, getting the frosting as even as possible.
  • If desired, press the chopped pecans around the outside of the cake immediately after frosting.
  • Store the cake in the refrigerator.

Video

Notes

*In place of the pumpkin pie spice, you could use ½ teaspoon each of ginger and nutmeg.
Refer to the article above for more tips and tricks.
The calories shown are based on the cake being cut into 15 pieces, with 1 serving being 1 slice of cake. Since different brands of ingredients have different nutritional information, the calories shown are just an estimate. **We are not dietitians and recommend you seek a nutritionist for exact nutritional information. The information in the nutrition box are calculated through a program and there is room for error. If you need an accurate count, I recommend running the ingredients through your favorite nutrition calculator.**

Nutrition

Calories: 512kcal | Carbohydrates: 63g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 28g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 10g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 67mg | Sodium: 339mg | Potassium: 203mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 46g | Vitamin A: 3090IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 80mg | Iron: 1mg
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Calories 512
Keyword homemade cake recipe, pumpkin cake, thanksgiving dessert

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Pumpkin Recipes

Have canned pumpkin? Try one of these recipes!

About Julie Clark

I'm Julie Clark, CEO and recipe developer of Tastes of Lizzy T. With my B.A. in Education and over 30 years of cooking and baking, I want to teach YOU the best of our family recipes.

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Comments

  1. Can this be made as a bundt cake? I’d love to try it as one. And all of your recipes that I’ve tried have been absolutely amazing, so I expect this one to be no different.

    1. Thank you so much! I *think* it would work? But I haven’t tried it so can’t say for sure!

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