Pumpkin Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting recipe

Pumpkin Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

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This moist pumpkin cake makes a great casual dessert when it’s baked in a 9-x-13-inch pan. It’s perfect for family get-togethers, potlucks, or just about any time you want something that tastes really good, but without a lot of work.

For this two-layer version, I used a naked cake finish. Not only does this method require less frosting, but I think it creates a beautiful presentation with almost unlimited possibilities for design. In this instance, I used chopped walnuts for the top and a few violas from a flowerpot on the back porch. If you decide to use flowers, make sure they’re edible as well as being chemical and pesticide free.

This recipe was published in a newspaper more than forty years ago. I have no idea where the original came from, but it’s delicious and definitely worth trying.

Viola Decorated Pumpkin Cake

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Pumpkin Cake

Cake Ingredients

  • 4 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 1/3 cups sugar
  • One 15-ounce can solid-pack pumpkin (not pie filling)
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour (spoon and sweep method of measuring)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon – Explore The Spice House | Shop Now
  • 1/2 teaspoon table salt


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease two 9-inch cake pans, or one 9-x-13-inch pan, and dust with flour.

In a large bowl, beat the eggs, oil, sugar, and pumpkin until light and fluffy. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Add to the pumpkin mixture and mix thoroughly. Pour the batter into the prepared pan(s). Bake for 22 to 28 minutes for the 9-inch round pans, and 28 to 35 minutes for the 9-x-13, or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. The times may vary depending upon your oven. Let the round cakes cool in the pan for 10 minutes and then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely before frosting. Leave the 9-x-13 to cool in the pan and then frost.

Note: When I tried using a reduced-fat cream cheese, the frosting didn’t hold its shape. I recommend using regular cream cheese.

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • Servings: Enough to frost the top of one 9-x-13-inch cake, or a 9-inch, two-layer naked cake
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Frosting Ingredients

  • 6 ounces cream cheese, softened (not reduced-fat)
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 4 cups powdered sugar (spoon and sweep method of measuring)
  • Milk (a teaspoon at a time as needed)


Beat the cream cheese, butter, and vanilla until light and fluffy. Add 2 cups of powdered sugar, beating well. Gradually add in the remaining 2 cups of powdered sugar and beat until smooth and creamy. Add milk a teaspoon at a time until you reach a desired spreading consistency.

Note: If needed, add a small amount of powdered sugar if you’ve added a little too much milk.

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