Celebrate fall with this from-scratch pumpkin spice cake. Serve with a simple dollop of whipped cream or cover with rich cream cheese frosting and chopped nuts.
This homemade pumpkin spice cake recipe is like tasting Thanksgiving in a cake! We’ve shared pumpkin bundt cakes and dump cakes, but sometimes you just need a beautiful layer cake to make an impression on your guests.
From Scratch Pumpkin Cake
If you’re intimidated with from-scratch cake recipes, this pumpkin spice cake is a great place to start. I find that pumpkin is very forgiving to work with. And pumpkin baked goods always end up moist!
Tips to Making This Cake
- The original, old-fashioned amish pumpkin cake recipe calls for shortening, but you can substitute butter if you’d like. Shortening tends to give cakes a lighter crumb texture, but butter gives cakes an amazing flavor. It’s your choice!
- Be sure to use cake flour for the best texture. It will work with all-purpose flour, but will not be as light and tender.
Cream Cheese Frosting
Pumpkin and cream cheese just go together. Top this cake with the best cream cheese frosting or just a simple dollop of whipped cream. If you make the frosting, be sure that the butter and cream cheese are at room temperature. You want them soft, but not at all melted. I like to set them both out several hours before making the frosting so they are perfect temperature.
Pumpkin Spice Cake
- 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 (softened)
- 3/4 cup salted butter (softened)
- 3 1/2 cups powdered sugar confectioner’s sugar
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup chopped pecans optional for topping
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- 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 the batter into the prepared pans, dividing equally.
- Bake the cakes in a 350 degree 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, mix the 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, 1/2 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.
Other Pumpkin Cake Recipes
- Easy Pumpkin Dump Cake
- Cinnamon Sugar Pumpkin Roll
- Pumpkin Angel Food Cake
- Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Poke Cake
Tools to Make This Cake
- Round Cake Pans: I have these exact pans and they have served me well for years.
- Cake Release: You don’t want your cakes sticking to your pans! 🙂
- KitchenAid Stand Mixer or Hand Mixer: I have both. And I don’t know what I’d do without both of them. They make life so much easier!
- Ninja Express Chop: For chopping pecans and whatever else needs it. I just got a new one for my birthday and am loving it!
- Straight Spatulas: Makes frosting cakes So. Much. Easier.