Even if you’re not a big fan of pumpkin, this lightly spiced pumpkin layer cake is worthy of a taste! Sugar, cinnamon, ginger and vanilla tone down the pumpkin flavor and the cream cheese frosting’s not too sweet.
Lining each pan with parchment paper is absolutely the best way to ensure that the cakes will pop out of the pans easily.
You’ll want to make sure your cakes have completely cooled before icing them or that creamy white icing won’t be picture-perfect.
Pumpkin Layer Cake Recipe
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 2 tsp ground ginger
- 1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
- 15 oz can pumpkin purée
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1 1/4 cups oil
- 5 large eggs, room temperature
- 1/2 cup nuts, chopped, optional
- 12 oz cream cheese, softened
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
- 3 tsp pure vanilla extract
- To make the cakes, preheat oven to 350 degrees and cut parchment paper to fit the bottom of two 9" round cake pans. Spray the bottom and sides of the pans with non-stick spray. Place parchment cutouts in the bottom of each pan then spray the pans again.
- Sift flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and ginger into a medium-sized bowl. In a separate mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment mix brown sugar, pumpkin, vanilla, oil and eggs until completely combined and sugar is dissolved.
- Add dry ingredients in 3 stages, fully incorporating each addition before adding the next—if you want to add nuts, now’s the time! Divide the batter evenly between the two pans and bake 35–40 minutes or until a toothpick comes out with a few moist crumbs attached. (The center should be firm and spring back when you touch it.)
- Cool cakes on a cooling rack approximately 5 minutes then invert onto the rack and remove the pans and parchment paper. Allow the cakes to cool completely.
- To make the frosting, place cream cheese and butter in a bowl and beat until smooth, creamy and completely incorporated.
- Scrape the sides of the bowl and add powdered sugar and vanilla, mixing gently until the sugar has been absorbed. Increase the speed to high then beat until the frosting is light and fluffy.
- Place one of the cooled cakes right side up on a serving dish and add ½–¾ cup of frosting to the center. Spread the icing evenly over the top of the cake then place the other cake upside down on top of the icing to create the top layer. Remove any crumbs from the plate and use the remaining icing to frost the top and sides of the cake. Slice and enjoy!
Placing the top layer of the cake upside down will ensure a flat surface for the top of the cake. If you don’t mind a domed look for the top of your cake…just place it right side up.