This Pumpkin Cake is super moist, tender and delicious. Topped with the most amazing salted caramel cream cheese frosting, this is the best pumpkin cake!
The fall season has officially arrived and with it all the pumpkin recipes! This simple and easy to make pumpkin cake has a tender crumb and just the right amount of spices. The luscious cream cheese frosting pairs beautifully with the fluffy cake and the candied pecans. Although the pecans are an optional topping, they add the perfect sweet crunch and elegance to this simple fall treat!
Pumpkin Cake Ingredients
- All-Purpose Flour
- Brown Sugar – I use light brown sugar.
- Granulated Sugar
- Vegetable Oil
- Baking Soda, Baking Powder and Salt
- Pumpkin Puree – I only use canned pumpkin puree.
- Eggs – I use large eggs.
- Ground Cinnamon and Pumpkin Spice
- Vanilla Extract
Cream Cheese Frosting Ingredients
- Cream Cheese – I use full-fat cream cheese.
- Powdered Sugar
- Salted Caramel – You can make homemade salted caramel or purchase caramel sauce and add salt to the frosting (see recipe below).
- Unsalted Butter – If using caramel (no salt), you can use salted butter.
- Vanilla Extract
For the Topping: Candied Pecans (optional)
How To Make Pumpkin Cake
- First, decide if you want to make a 2 layer round cake or a simple one layer cake. For the round cake like the one in the photos, you will need two (9-inch) cake pans. For a single layer cake, you will need a 9 x 13 inch baking pan.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and lightly grease the baking pan(s). I use cooking spray but a bit of vegetable oil works as well.
- Sift the dry ingredients into the bowl of an electric mixer.
In another bowl, combine the the oil, eggs, brown sugar, granulated sugar, pumpkin puree and vanilla and whisk until the mixture is smooth.
With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry until well combined.
Spread the batter into the prepared pan(s).
- Bake the cake(s) – specific times for both sizes can be found in the recipe below. Use a cake tester or toothpick to check for doneness.
Remove the cake(s) from the oven and allow to cool completely before frosting.
How To Make Salted Caramel Cream Cheese Frosting
Using a mixer, beat the butter until smooth. Add the cream cheese and beat until fully incorporated and smooth.
Reduce the speed to low and add the powdered sugar one cup at a time. Mix until fully incorporated.
Beat in the vanilla and half of the caramel sauce. Mix until well combined. Add the rest of the caramel sauce and salt (omit salt if using salted caramel).
Use an offset or rubber spatula to spread the frosting evenly on the cake. Top with candied pecans (optional).
Do You Refrigerate Pumpkin Cake?
Pumpkin cake with cream cheese frosting can be left on a counter at room temperature for up to 2 days. Keep in mind that the frosted cake will only keep if you maintain your house somewhat cool.
You can also keep this cake in the refrigerator for 5 to 6 days. It is best to keep the cake in an airtight container or to carefully cover it to keep it from drying.
Can You Freeze Pumpkin Cake?
Yes, you can freeze pumpkin cake for up to 2 months. You can freeze the cake with or without the cream cheese frosting. Place the cake unwrapped in the freezer for about 4-6 hours. When the cake is completely frozen, remove from the freezer and wrap it with plastic and aluminum foil. Freeze.
To defrost, thaw out in the refrigerator overnight.
What is Pumpkin Spice Made of?
Pumpkin spice also called pumpkin pie spice, is a blend of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves and sometimes all spice. Take a look at this homemade pumpkin pie spice recipe.
Pumpkin Cake Tips and Notes
- I always use canned pumpkin puree. I must admit, the only time I have made homemade pumpkin puree I used it to make soup but never a dessert.
- The salted caramel cream cheese frosting recipe makes enough frosting to cover a 2 layer cake completely. If you have any leftover frosting, you can freeze it for up to 2 months.
- You can top the cake with candy corn, edible fall leaves, gold sugar pearls, sweet pumpkins or sprinkles.
- Look at these other pumpkin recipes:
Pumpkin Cheesecake with Pecan Graham Cracker Crust
Pumpkin Spice Snack Mix
- Look at these other pumpkin recipes:
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Recipe adapted from Sally’s Baking Addiction
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Pumpkin Cake with Salted Caramel Cream Cheese Frosting topped with Candied Pecans
For the Pumpkin Cake
For the Salted Caramel Cream Cheese Frosting
For the Topping:
- 1/2 cup candied pecans
Make the Cake
- Preheat the oven to 350º Fahrenheit. Lightly grease the bottom and sides of a 9 x 13 inch baking pan.
- Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and pumpkin spice into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or in a large mixing bowl (if using a hand mixer). Mix on low speed until combined.
- In another bowl, combine the the oil, eggs, brown sugar, granulated sugar, pumpkin puree and vanilla and whisk until the mixture is smooth.
- With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry. The batter will be thick.
- Spread the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until a cake tester or toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.
- Remove the cake from the oven and allow it to cool completely.
Make the Salted Caramel Cheesecake Frosting
- Using a standing mixer fitted with a paddle attachment or in a bowl (if using a hand mixer), add the butter and beat until smooth, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the cream cheese and beat until fully incorporated and smooth.
- Reduce the speed to low and add the powdered sugar a cup at a time. Mix until fully incorporated.
- Beat in the vanilla and half of the caramel sauce. Mix until well combined. Add the rest of the caramel sauce and salt (omit the salt if using the homemade Salted Caramel Sauce recipe from the link above).
- Use an offset or rubber spatula to spread the frosting evenly over the top of the cake. Top with candied pecans and serve.
- To Make A Two Layer Cake: Pour batter evenly into two 9-inch round cake pans. Same oven temperature, bake for 25 minutes or until baked through.
To Frost the cake, place one layer of the cake on a serving plate. Spoon a dollop of the frosting on top and spread to cover. Place the second layer on top. Spread another layer of frosting. You will have enough frosting to cover the entire cake.
- To make cupcakes bake for about 18 to 22 minutes. You should get about 2 dozen cupcakes.
- CARAMEL: Use store-bought or this homemade Salted Caramel Sauce recipe. You will need 1 full recipe to make the frosting
- I prefer using canned pumpkin puree.
- Nutrition facts are only an estimate and will vary depending on the brand of products used.
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