Pumpkin Spice Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
Packed with pumpkin and plenty of Autumn spices, this Pumpkin Spice Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting is a tasty way to celebrate the season!
Brace yourself, folks.
Pumpkin spice season is coming. Eh, check that. If you follow Starbucks’ calendar, then pumpkin spice season has been here since the end of August. I don’t know about you, but I can’t deal with pumpkin spice lattes in August. I’m still in grilling, backyard fun and chasing Robbie around the park mode! But fast forward a month, and I’m ok with the arrival of pumpkin spice season. (Ask me again in a couple of weeks…my answer might be different by then!)
The arrival of chilly evenings means pumpkin season is almost here. And pumpkins mean the Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze is back! Have you heard of this? The Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze is one of the most popular Halloween attractions in upstate New York. Imagine 7,000 carved pumpkins all lit up in intricate displays set up alongside the banks of the Hudson River. Oh, and did I mention that the festival is only ~20 minutes north of Sleepy Hollow? Yup, that Sleepy Hollow. Home of the Headless Horseman. Well, if the horseman is tired of his current head, he has ~7,000 different options to pick from each year at the Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze.
All of the pumpkins are carved on site by local artists and then assembled into giant displays. Everything from brontosauruses to spider webs to a moving carousel…all made out of pumpkins! Can you imagine the time and effort that it takes to pull this off? I’m always impressed by our ability to carve 1 pumpkin…much less 7,000!
Pumpkin Spice Cake with Brown Sugar Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting
Speaking of pumpkins, let’s talk about pumpkin cake. More specifically, Pumpkin Spice Cake with a Brown Sugar Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting. Whew, that’s a mouthful. But I promise it’s a delicious mouthful! This cake (and frosting) are packed with Autumn flavors in the best way possible. Laura says this cake reminds her of a pumpkin roll…which I guess makes sense. I mean a pumpkin roll is just cake in a slightly different form. I say this Pumpkin Spice Cake reminds me of light jacket weather, leaves turning colors and roasting pumpkin seeds in the oven.
This frosting recipe was shared with me years ago by a classmate who made a frosted pumpkin bread that was legendary around the department. I mixed things up (just slightly) by using that Brown Sugar Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting on a cake instead of loaves of pumpkin bread. Oh, and I added some toasted pecans, too. For some reason, I feel like pumpkin spice flavors pair so well with toasted pecans. Is that just me? If you’re not a nut fan, then you can certainly just omit the pecans as I only used them as a garnish…but I highly recommend ’em!
I hope you enjoy this Pumpkin Spice Cake as much as we do! It’s time to start scouting out the perfect pumpkin and (if you’re anywhere close to NYC) getting tickets to the Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze. Happy Fall, y’all!
Did you make this Pumpkin Spice Cake at home? Leave a comment. Or snap a photo and tag me on Instagram (@Spicedblog)!
Looking for more tasty pumpkin spice recipes? Check out these other favorites, too:
Pumpkin Spice Mocha Hot Chocolate
Pumpkin Spice Cannoli
Pumpkin Spice Pound Cake Bites
Pumpkin Spice Biscotti
Baked Pumpkin Spice Donut Holes
Pumpkin Spice Cake
For the Cake
- 2¾ cups all-purpose flour
- 2½ tsp baking powder
- 1½ tsp baking soda
- 1½ Tbsp pumpkin pie spice see note
- ½ tsp salt
- ¾ cup unsalted butter room temperature
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 4 large eggs
- ¼ cup vegetable oil
- 1 15-oz. can pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
- ½ cup milk
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
For the Frosting
- 16 oz. cream cheese room temperature
- 1 cup unsalted butter room temperature
- ½ cup brown sugar
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- ½ Tbsp cinnamon
- 5 cups powdered sugar
- 1 cup pecan halves lightly toasted
For the Cake
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Lightly grease (3) 8” round cake pans. Line bottom of pans with parchment paper; set pans aside.
- Using a medium mixing bowl, add flour, baking powder, baking soda, pumpkin pie spice and salt; stir until well combined. Set bowl aside.
- Using a countertop mixer, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy (3-4 minutes on medium speed).
- Add eggs in 2 additions, mixing fully after each addition.
- Add half of the dry ingredients; stir until just combined.
- Add vegetable oil, pumpkin puree, milk and vanilla extract; stir until just combined.
- Add remaining flour; stir until just combined. (Tip: Don’t forget to scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl.)
- Divide batter evenly between 3 prepared cake pans.
- Bake 30-32 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cake comes out clean.
- Let cakes cool completely in pans.
For the Frosting
- Using an electric mixer, add the cream cheese and butter; mix on medium speed until well combined.
- Add brown sugar, vanilla extract and cinnamon; mix until well combined.
- Add the powdered sugar 1 cup at a time; mixing well after each addition. (Note: If frosting is too thin, add an additional ½ cup of powdered sugar. If too thick, add ½ Tbsp of milk.)
- Place one layer of cake on large platter. Spread ~1 cup of frosting on top.
- Repeat with 2nd and 3rd layers of cake.
- Use remaining frosting on top and sides of cake.
- Top cake with lightly toasted pecans.
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I do love pumpkin spice, but everything in moderation! This spice cake is one I don’t want to skip! I’m loving that cream cheese frosting too! Those pumpkins are absolutely amazing!
I’m with ya on everything in moderation! Right now I’m all in on the pumpkin spice, but I know I will reach my limit at some point in the next few weeks. However, I think I’ll always be able to find a spot for a slice of this cake. It’s seriously a new favorite, Kathy! 🙂
I do love pumpkin season! And this cake is no exception! Those lights are crazy cool! I’m not a big Halloween person, mostly because it freaks Riley out when the door bell rings. Other than that, it’s great! You’ve just reminded me I have to have PSL this weekend. Now, wouldn’t a piece of this cake be awesome with it?? Think you could get a piece to me by tmw morning 😉 ?? Happy weekend, my friend!
Ah, I totally know what you mean about dogs and doorbells. When our older dog, Max, was still around he used to go bonkers over the doorbell…so Halloween was always a bit of a “show.”
Also, I’m thinking a slice of this cake alongside a PSL would be pretty darned awesome. Of course, you’d also have to be wearing a sweater while watching the beautiful Fall leaves drift to the ground. Haha! Thanks, Dawn!
Hi David! WOW those pumpkin displays are amazing! I cannot imagine how much time and work when into that! And how cool is it that sleepy hollow is close! Now as for this cake YES! I will definitely be making this and sending the recipe to my son! I am all about pumpkin and apples now that fall is coming. Pecans are my favorite nut and they are so good when toasted! Enjoy your weekend with Laura and Robbie!
You’re telling me, Dorothy! Those pumpkin displays are insane! That must take hours and hours and hours of work.
I’m with ya on roasted pecans, too. I can seriously eat those by the handful! In fact, I might’ve nibbled on more than a couple while I was decorating this cake. 🙂 Happy Fall, my friend!
Yup, all those stores and coffee shops always rush things. Some splaces in Halifax were decorated (or started to focus on themed-products) for Halloween…by the end of August!
I haven’t dealt with pumpkin recipes yet myself, but you did a great job. This pumpkin spice cake with all other delicious elements looks and sounds fantastic!
Oh, we have several stores that already have Christmas stuff out. But I guess it sells or else the stores wouldn’t waste the floor space. Crazy! Either way, bring on pumpkin spice season…in the form of this cake! It’s seriously a good one, Ben! 🙂
Yes, PSL’s just don’t fit in in August. Now, however, it just right! Such an amazing pumpkin display, so cool! Also, this looks like a delicious cake, perfect to enjoy with a good cup of coffee on a cool afternoon!
I’m all about a good PSL…in October. I just can’t do it in August. I mean I know it’s wildly popular and all, but still. Too much of a good thing is still too much! Unless we’re talking about this cake. I could handle having too much of this cake I think. Haha! Thanks, Matt!
I just LOVE how all of a sudden, the pumpkin spice recipes appear! I wish there was food in Australia that trended at certain times of the year 🙂
This cake looks oh so delicious. Anything with the words “cream cheese frosting” and I am SO in!
Oh, pumpkin spice just blows up the internet this time of the year, Alexandra! And our stores, too. In fact, I saw pumpkin spice dog bones the other day. Crazy! This cake is definitely not crazy, though. In fact, it’s delicious…definitely a new favorite! 🙂
Officially, I’m right there with you about the calendar, David. I also didn’t want to acknowledge pumpkin spice season in late August. So you know what I did? I broke down and bought one. I can’t help it. I love them. And now they’ve introduced the pumpkin cold brew. Damn them! I guess there’s not much I can do, except go in full-hog, bake this amazing cake you’re created, and wash it down with a pumpkin spice latte.
Haha! So here’s the thing, Jeff. It’s folks like you who break the rules and order the PSL in August that get us all in trouble. Starbucks wouldn’t put it out if you didn’t buy it! But I get it. Pumpkin spice is a magical combination of flavors. And I’m thinking you nailed it with having a slice of this cake while sipping on a PSL. Of course, you need a sweater on, and you need to be sitting on the back porch watching the leaves drift lazily to the ground. That’s how Autumn works I think!
I’m pretty sure I saw this whilst looking through some of my Tribes groups in Pinterest the other day? I love that cream cheese frosting and having those pecan nuts on too. What a lovely crunch on a delicious looking cake.
Yup, you probably did see this cake on your Pinterest Tribes, Neil! I hope you pinned it. 🙂 (Hint hint…haha!) Seriously, though, this cake is everything I love about Fall all rolled up in one!
How did I not know Sleepy Hollow is a real place? I think I might have to make a trip there to look for the Headless Horseman–and to check out the Great Jack-o-Lantern Blaze. That sounds so cool! I’ll stop by your place for some cake afterward, OK? Have a great week!
Yes!! Come on over, Kelsie…it’s not a far trip at all. Or something like that. 🙂 I’ve been to Sleepy Hollow (and seen the cemetery), but I’ve yet to make it down there during Halloween. It’s on the list! And I second your idea of eating a slice or two of cake afterwards. Sounds like the perfect way to celebrate Halloween to me!
You make pumpkin spice look good, David! I like this as a non-traditional, but oh so festive Thanksgiving dessert.
I’d love to go to The Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze – 7,000 carved pumpkins!?!
This cake would indeed be tasty for Thanksgiving, Marissa! Heck, it’s good for the whole season. It’s definitely one of my favorites!
And, yes, 7,000 carved pumpkins…those displays are insane!
Oh my gosh, all those pumpkins! I too am happy if I get one carved.
I’m totally into pumpkin season. Love it. (I’m with you about August, though!)
And that cake! I’ll take a bowl of the frosting and a spoon. For real. 🙂 ~Valentina
Haha! I get it, Valentina. I’m trying to figure out how we’ll get one pumpkin carved…much less 7,000. (To be fair, they have a lot of volunteers!) Also, this cake. So good. I might have to fight you for the bowl of frosting and the spoon though! 🙂