I first shared this recipe on Recipe Girl where I am a contributor. Pumpkin Sheet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting is a super delicious and easy fall dessert. The moist cake topped with silky smooth frosting is perfect for sharing with a crowd. Add it to your Thanksgiving feast!
Easy Pumpkin Cake
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It’s our first fall here in Virginia and fall came late… but it’s never too late for Pumpkin Sheet Cake! To be honest I was getting jealous of others who would post pictures of the beautiful leaves and ours were still so green but finally the week of Halloween they started to change and man are they gorgeous!
So I’ve decorated a few cakes here and there and they were decent but I tried to do a cool design on this sheet cake with some cinnamon frosting and rather than looking like pretty swirls it looked like brains. Yep. I had to scrape it all off and refrost this baby. Sometimes simple is better and just easier. So really, this cake requires no decorating skills because I am seriously lacking. If you can’t smooth out your frosting very well it’s hidden by the pretty chopped pecans. So really, if you’re not a baker but want to bring something to your Thanksgiving feast that’s homemade, this is the cake for you to make.
How to Make Pumpkin Cake:
You’ll start out by making the cake batter. Mix all the dry ingredients together. This ensures that all the spices and leavening agents are evenly distributed.
Next you’ll mix the sugar and liquid ingredients together. This cake uses both brown and granulated sugar. The brown sugar adds depth of flavor and moistness. I like using oil in pumpkin goods because it too helps keep the crumb super tender and moist. The pumpkin puree of course also adds moistness.
You only need 1 1/4 cup of pumpkin puree which doesn’t seem like much but it goes a long way and is the perfect amount for keeping the cake nice and fluffy instead of dense like pie.
After mixing all the liquid ingredients together you’ll add it to the dry ingredients and mix until everything is combined. Spread the batter into a half-sheet pan (13×18) and bake it for just 18-22 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean. Be sure to let the cake cook completely before frosting.
How to Make Perfect Cream Cheese Frosting:
To make silky smooth cream cheese frosting you’ll need to have slightly softened butter and cream cheese. I set mine out for just 20 minutes before mixing. You’ll beat the two together in an electric stand mixer for about 2 minutes on medium until smooth and then add in the powdered sugar and vanilla until fully combined. If you notice there are a lot of air bubbles, set the mixer to stir for about 2 minutes. This slow beating helps get the bubbles out that were whipped in.
If your frosting seems too thin, pop the bowl in the freezer for about 15 minutes and then mix for another minute. Spread the frosting evenly over the top of the cooled sheet cake and top with the pecans, if desired. My kids don’t appreciate nuts like I do so I only add nuts to half of my cake but feel free to leave them off entirely if someone is allergic. Cover and store in the fridge until ready to serve.
How to make Cream Cheese Frosting White:
Cream cheese frosting tends to look more cream. I don’t mind the creamy color on this pumpkin cake but if you want it to be white, dip the very tip of a toothpick into some navy or purple food coloring and poke it into the frosting. Mix until it’s evenly dispersed. You’ll see that it balances out the yellow and makes it white. You may need to add a tiny bit more but it’s best to add the smallest amount at a time. You don’t want to top your cake with purple frosting.
HERE ARE A FEW MORE PUMPKIN RECIPES THAT YOU ARE SURE TO ENJOY:
- Mini Caramel Pecan Pumpkin Cheesecake Trifles
- Nutella Swirl Pumpkin Muffins
- Moist Pumpkin Bread with Cream Cheese Frosting
- Disney Pumpkin Muffins
- Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls
TOOLS USED TO MAKE THIS PUMPKIN SHEET CAKE:
Half-Sheet Pan– I LOVE these pans. I’ve had the same 4 pans since I got married (8 years ago) and they are in great condition. I use them all the time for cakes, cookies, roasting vegetables, baking chicken…
Rubber Bottom Mixing Bowls– The rubber handle and bottom of these bowls makes them the perfect mixing bowls. I use them all the time from mixing pancake batter to pie dough to cake batter.
Kitchen Aid Mixer– This is so handy to have in the kitchen. I use it for cookies, cakes, frosting, bread, whipped cream… LOVE IT!
Pumpkin Sheet Cake
For the Cake:
- 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin spice
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 3/4 cup brown sugar
- 3/4 cup canola oil
- 3 eggs
- 1 1/4 cup pumpkin puree
- 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
For the Frosting:
- 12 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 3/4 cup salted butter, softened
- 4 cups powdered sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/2 cup pecans, finely chopped (optional)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a 13x18 inch (half sheet) baking pan. Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, cinnamon, pumpkin spice, baking powder, salt, and soda. Set aside.
- In a medium mixing bowl, mix sugars together with a whisk. Add the oil and mix until smooth. Mix in the eggs, pumpkin puree, and vanilla and mix well. Add the liquid ingredients to the dry and mix until combined.
- Spread batter evenly into the prepared baking pan. Bake for 18-22 minutes, until toothpick comes out clean. Place pan on a cooling rack and let cake cool completely before frosting.
For the Frosting:
- Whip softened butter and cream cheese (set out on counter for about 20 minutes), together in the sand mixer using a paddle attachment for 2 minutes on medium speed. Add the powdered sugar and vanilla and mix until smooth. If you have a lot of air bubbles, mix for 2 minutes on stir to knock them out. If you'd like the forsting thicker, pop the bowl into the freezer for about 20 minutes and then stir again.
- Spread frosting evenly over the cake. Sprinkle chopped pecans on top if desired. Slice and serve. Store covered in fridge.