Spiced Pumpkin Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

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This is a classic tea time cake and a must-have recipe. The cake batter is made with oil and flavored with pumpkin purée, warm spices and orange.


Makes 12 servings

Pumpkin spice cake:

  • 2 teaspoons unsalted butter, room temperature, for greasing pans

  • 3 cups (15-ounces) all-purpose flour, plus 2 tablespoons for dusting pans

  • 2 teaspoons baking powder

  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger

  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice

  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg

  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 1 cup (7-ounces) granulated sugar

  • 1 cup (8-ounces) light brown sugar, tightly packed

  • 1 cup canola oil

  • 4 large eggs, room temperature

  • 1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin purée

  • 1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste

  • Zest of 1 medium orange, about 1 tablespoon

Cream cheese frosting:

  • 6 ounces cream cheese, room temperature

  • 6 ounces unsalted butter, room temperature

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean extract

  • 1½ cups (5 ¾-ounces) confectioners’ sugar


  1. Preheat an oven to 350°F and position an oven rack in the center. Butter the base and sides of two 8-inch cake pans with 2-inch sides. Dust with flour. Line the bottom with parchment paper.

To prepare the pumpkin spice cake:

  1. In a small bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, allspice, nutmeg and salt.

  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with a paddle attachment, combine the granulated and brown sugars and oil until just combined. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating until well combined after each addition. Add the pumpkin, vanilla and orange zest until just combined. Add the flour mixture, stirring until just incorporated.

  3. Using a silicone spatula, divide the batter between the 2 prepared pans, smoothing the top and making a slight dip in the center. Place pans on a baking sheet and transfer to the oven to bake, until a cake tester or toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean, about 35 to 40 minutes.

  4. Transfer the cakes to a cooling rack and cool completely. Run a knife around the cakes to loosen. Invert the cakes onto the racks, remove the parchment paper and turn the cakes, rounded sides up. Using a serrated knife, trim any rounded tops off the cakes.

To prepare cream cheese frosting:

  1. While the cake is baking, prepare the cream cheese frosting.

  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with a paddle attachment, add the cream cheese, butter and vanilla and beat on high speed until well combined, about 3 minutes.

  3. Lower the speed, add the sugar and beat until frosting is light and fluffy, about 3 minutes more.

To assemble:

  1. Place one pumpkin cake, trimmed surface up, onto a plate. Using an offset spatula spread half of the cream cheese frosting over the top of the cake to the edges.

  2. Top with second cake trimmed surface down.

  3. Spread the remaining frosting over the top and serve.