This simple pumpkin cake for a crowd is sure to become your new favorite pumpkin cake recipe! Moist, loaded with pumpkin flavor thanks to pumpkin puree and pumpkin pie spice, and topped with cream cheese icing, it’s simply divine!
Pumpkin Cake Recipe
It wouldn’t be October without pumpkin cake! In the past I’ve shared pumpkin carrot cake, pumpkin cupcakes, pumpkin coffee cake, and even pumpkin cheesecake! But strangely… no classic pumpkin cake. Like, how is that even possible?!
Obviously this was an issue I needed to remedy immediately! Which is where this classic pumpkin cake recipe comes in. It’s pure pumpkin yumminess, and it’s perfect for Thanksgiving, Halloween parties, or even Christmas!
One of the things I love most about it? It’s so easy!
You don’t even need a stand mixer for the cake batter! It all comes together in one large bowl. It’s as simple as combining the dry ingredients with the wet ingredients, and scraping the batter into the prepared pan. Yes, I said pan. Because this cake is baked in one large pan…can I get an amen to not needing to prep multiple cake pans?. Baking times vary here, depending on your oven and the pan you use, but it’s usually done around 30 minutes. Or when a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
I have more tips and tricks for you below, but if you’re dying to get baking, I totally understand if you skip my writing and run to preheat your oven to 350. No hard feelings *wink.
Pumpkin Cake Ingredients
- All-Purpose Flour: I do not recommend subbing any other flour!
- Spices: cinnamon, ground ginger, all-spice, ground nutmeg, cloves, salt, and black pepper (just a pinch) give this cake tons of cozy flavor.
- Rising agents: The combination of flour, baking powder, and baking soda creates a perfectly textured cake that’s light, airy, and delicious.
- Eggs: Be sure to use large eggs, and bring them to room temperature before use. At the eggs one at a time so they can properly incorporate into the batter.
- Oil: Vegetable oil, canola oil, or refined melted coconut oil will all work here. Technically, I think even a mild olive oil would be ok. Although it would certainly alter the overall taste of the cake a bit.
- Sour Cream: Be sure to use full-fat sour cream, and bring it to room temperature before use! If you cannot find sour cream, the best substitute is going to be plain full-fat Greek yogurt.
- Molasses: Use the regular variety; I do not recommend using the blackstrap variety.
- Vanilla Extract: As always, I suggest pure real vanilla. Imitation vanilla is not recommend.
- Brown Sugar: If you’re not weighing your brown sugar, be sure to really pack it into the measuring cup.
- Pumpkin: Be sure to use a pure pumpkin puree and not pumpkin pie mix!
You’ll also need milk, confectioners sugar, cream cheese, and butter to make the frosting. I like to add a dash of cinnamon in there, which is why you’ll notice my cakes frosting is just ever so slightly orange. But that’s totally options! If you’re a purist, feel free to omit the cinnamon completely.
No matter how you make the frosting, be sure to let the cake cool completely before frosting it! This usually takes about 1 hour, but can take more. So plan ahead time wise.
More Pumpkin Recipes:
- Best Darn Pumpkin Mac and Cheese
- Bakery-Style Pumpkin Muffins with Pecans and Chocolate Chunks
- 16 Delicious Pumpkin Recipes to Celebrate Fall
- Bourbon Pumpkin Pie
- Glazed Pumpkin Donuts
- Pumpkin Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies
Pumpkin Cake for a Crowd
For the Pumpkin Cake:
- 2 and 1/2 cups (300g) all-purpose flour
- 3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 4 large eggs room temperature
- 1 cup (227ml) oil vegetable, canola, or refined melted coconut all work fine
- 2/3 cup (151g) full-fat sour cream room temperature
- 2 Tablespoons (28ml) orange juice
- 2 Tablespoons (40ml) molasses
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 and 1/2 cups (319g) light brown sugar packed
- 1 15 ounce can pumpkin puree
For the Cream Cheese Frosting:
- 1 cup (227g) full-fat cream cheese room temperature
- 1/2 cup (113g) unsalted butter room temperature
- 3 cups (342g) confectioners' sugar sifted, more if needed
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 and 1/2 Tablespoons (21ml) whole milk room temperature
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon optional
For the Pumpkin Cake:
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees (F). Line a 9x13-inch metal baking pan with parchment paper, allowing two of the sides to overlap.
- Spray the parchment paper, and any exposed pan, with nonstick baking spray. Set aside. (Note: if you use a glass or ceramic baking pan/dish, you may need to increase the bake time).
- In a large bowl, whisk the flour, all of the spices, the baking powder, and baking soda together until well combined. Set aside.
- In a separate large bowl, whisk the eggs for about 30 seconds, or until well combined. Add in the oil, sour cream, orange juice, molasses, vanilla, brown sugar, and pumpkin and beat until very smooth.
- Using a rubber spatula, fold in half of the flour mixture, stirring just until smooth and completely combined. Fold in the remaining flour mixture, again mixing just until combined. Do not over mix.
- Scrape the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.
- Place the pan on a cooling rack and cool completely before removing the cake from the pan.
- Once cool, spread cream cheese frosting on top, slice, and serve!
For the Cream Cheese Frosting:
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or in a large bowl using a handheld electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and butter on medium-speed until completely smooth.
- Reduce the speed to low and gradually add in the confectioners' sugar, beating until all of the sugar is completely combined.
- Add in the vanilla, salt milk, and cinnamon (if using) and beat smooth. Once all of the ingredients have been incorporated, increase the speed to medium-high and beat for a minute, or until very fluffy.
- Spread the frosting on top of the cake. Slice and serve!