Pumpkin Spice Cake is moist, fluffy, delicious and feeds a crowd! Perfect for Halloween, Thanksgiving, or any fall gathering. Oh, and did I mention that there’s Cream Cheese Frosting?
Pumpkin. Spice. Cake. This is happening. All my childhood memories of Halloween are centered around this recipe. Every Halloween, my mom would bake a batch of these and make a pot full of her amazing vegetable beef soup (recipe here).
After eating plenty of cake + soup, my brother and I would come home from trick-or-treating, dump our candy out on the floor, and start to organize it into extremely detailed piles.
We’re talking regular Reese’s in one pile and Pumpkin-shaped Reese’s in ANOTHER pile.
After the sorting, we would engage in some intense candy-trading deals. I’m sure my parents were a little concerned about our candy-tactics, but we sure had fun.
It’s kind of sad to be too old for trick-or-treating. I have no adorable nieces/nephews/cousins living nearby that I can borrow to take trick-or-treating in the hopes of earning some candy for myself. Not that I would try that or anything.
This pumpkin cake and It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown are all I need for the most perfect Halloween night. And, it makes not being able to trick-or-treat a little less sad.
This cake is light, fluffy, and super moist, which is everything you want in a pumpkin spice cake. Trust me. I’ve done my research. (In other words, I made this and fed it to myself and friends and we approved.) Also, cream cheese frosting. Let’s talk about this creamy dreamy situation.
CREAM. CHEESE. FROSTING. This stuff is magic. Use brown butter if you want to kick it up a notch! (Instructions in recipe notes).
If you have a bit of frosting left over and you just want to go ahead and eat that straight from the bowl, I won’t tell.
Happy Baking friends! And, Happy Halloween, if you’re celebrating.
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For the Cake
- 4 eggs
- 1 and 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- 1 15 oz. can pumpkin NOT pumpkin pie filling
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 and 3/4 tsp cinnamon
- 3/4 tsp nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp cloves
- 1/8 tsp ginger
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp real maple syrup
For the Frosting
- 6 ounces cream cheese
- 1 stick (1/2 cup) salted butter
- 2 tsp vanilla
- 3 cups powdered sugar
- 3 tbsp real maple syrup
- Prep: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9x13 or 10 x 15 pan with parchment paper or spray with nonstick spray.
- Make the cake: In a large mixing bowl, mix eggs, sugar, oil, and pumpkin with electric mixer until just combined. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, spices and salt. Add dry mixture to the wet ingredients in 2 additions, mixing well after each. Add the TBSP of maple syrup and mix. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. (It may have some moist crumbs on it - but shouldn't have wet batter). Let the cake cool completely before frosting.
- Make the frosting: While the cake bakes, make the frosting. Soften cream cheese and butter together in the microwave for 20-30 seconds. (See note if browning the butter). Cream well with mixer. Add vanilla, powdered sugar, and maple syrup and mix until combined.
- Serve + Store: Frost the cake when cool. Use the back of a dinner spoon to make swirls in the frosting, if desired. Store leftovers, covered tightly, in the fridge for up to 4 days.
- Make ahead tips: The cake can be made a day in advance. Bake as directed, and let it cool completely. Cover well with plastic wrap/foil and leave at room temp. Frosting can be made a day ahead too - cover well and store in the fridge. Let frosting sit out for 10 minutes before frosting so it's pliable. If the top of the cake tears a little when you try frosting it, cover it and chill in fridge for 15 minutes.
- In a nonstick pot or pan over medium heat, melt the butter. Turn the heat to medium-low and continue cooking the butter - stirring constantly. The butter will get foamy, then turn golden, then start to turn brown and develop a nutty/caramely sort of aroma. Once it reaches a deep golden color, remove from the heat and let cool in the freezer for 15 minutes.
- Beat the cooled (it won't be totally cold - if it's a little warm that's fine) melted brown butter with the softened cream cheese. It will be lumpy at first, but just keep mixing and it will smooth out after 1-3 minutes. Continue with frosting steps as directed in recipe above.
This post was originally published in October of 2017, but I updated it this fall to make it even better
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