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A maple pumpkin cake with swirls of maple cream cheese frosting and marzipan pumpkins on top.
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5 from 3 votes

Best Pumpkin Cake Recipe

A simple, moist pumpkin cake with swoops of tangy yet sweet maple cream cheese frosting.
Prep Time30 mins
Total Time1 hr 30 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: cream cheese frosting, pumpkin cake
Servings: 10

Ingredients

For the Pumpkin Cake

  • 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teas baking powder
  • 1 teas baking soda
  • 2 ½ teas ground cinnamon
  • 1 teas ground cardamom
  • ½ tea ground ginger
  • ¾ cup (12 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • ¼ cup grapeseed or canola oil
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 ¾ cups pumpkin puree

For the Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

  • ½ cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 2 ½ to 3 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 3 to 4 tablespoon pure maple syrup, or to taste
  • 1 tea vanilla extract
  • ½ tea ground cinnamon

Instructions

To Make the Pumpkin Cake

  • Pre-heat the oven to 350°F. Grease and flour two 8-inch baking pans and set aside.
  • Sift together the all-purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, cardamom and ginger in a mixing bowl.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer (or in a large mixing bowl with a hand mixer), mix the butter on medium speed for a minute, or until smooth. Add the granulated and brown sugar and continue to mix for 2 minutes, or until light and fluffy.
  • Add the oil and mix until combined. With the mixer on medium-low, add in the eggs, one at a time. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl.
  • Working in two batches, add the dry ingredients and mix until combined. Add the pumpkin pureé and mix until just combined.
  • Evenly divide the batter between the two pans. Bake in the pre-heated oven for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cakes comes out clean. Cool the cakes on a wire rack for 15 to 20 minutes before removing the cakes from their pans.

To Make the Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or in a mixing bowl using a hand mixer), beat the butter and cream cheese together on medium speed for 1 minute, or until smooth. Add in 2 ½ cups of confectioners’ sugar and mix on low until combined.
  • Once incorporated, turn the mixer up to medium and mix until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 more minutes. Stop the mixer and scrape down the bowl.
  • Add 3 tablespoons of maple syrup, vanilla, and cinnamon. Mix until smooth and combined. Add in the remaining maple syrup and confectioners’ sugar until desired taste and consistency is achieved
  • Once completely cool, place on layer of cake on a serving dish or cake board. Spread on half of the Maple Cream Cheese Frosting with an offset spatula (or the back of a spoon) until smooth.
  • Place the second layer of cake on top and frost swoops and swirls on the top of the cake with the remaining frosting.

Notes

Frosting made with confectioners’ sugar gets very sweet very quickly. I prefer to add the full 4 tablespoons of maple syrup with as little confectioners’ sugar as possible. The frosting should be soft, but still spreadable without squishing out between the layers or running off of the cake. If the frosting is too thin, try refrigerating it for about 10 minutes, or until it stiffens enough to spread.