Pumpkin Layer Cake with Whipped Cream Cheese Frosting

This dreamy Pumpkin Layer Cake is soft, moist and delicious! It’s covered with a light whipped cinnamon cream cheese frosting to top it off. This classic cake is the perfect way to kick off pumpkin season!

Want a healthier version of this delicious dessert? My Perfect Pumpkin Bread Recipe is calling your name!

Pumpkin Layer Cake - soft and moist cake with whipped cream cheese frosting!

Pumpkin Layer Cake - soft and moist cake with whipped cream cheese frosting!

Pumpkin Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

So perhaps you’ve already seen plenty of pumpkin recipes making the rounds everywhere. I certainly know pumpkin spice everything has been on the shelves in our local stores for a little while now. Personally it all seems a tad early to me. Pumpkin is one of my favorite things about fall, but why I wear it out before it’s actually even fall yet? ????

However the weather is finally cooling down here and it’s starting to feel more like fall. Plus I hope to share plenty of pumpkin with you so I suppose I better get started. 🙂 Even though I have several pumpkin recipes on the blog, including this delicious Pumpkin Tiramisu Layer Cake, I realized I don’t really have a classic pumpkin cake on here and that needed to change. So this cake is simpler than some, but sometimes simple is just what you need. A classic that’s perfect for the holidays!

Pumpkin Layer Cake - soft and moist cake with whipped cream cheese frosting!Pumpkin Layer Cake - soft and moist cake with whipped cream cheese frosting!

How to Make The Perfect Pumpkin Layer Cake

To start off, there’s the pumpkin layer cake. It is light, fluffy and moist for days. It’s relatively straightforward, starting with the traditional creaming method. You want to be sure to fully cream the butter and sugar, since that’s what gives the cake a lot of hits rise. If you find your cake doesn’t rise as much as you think it should, lack of creaming is the likely culprit.

There’s also almost two full cups of pumpkin in the cake, so it’s not lacking at all in the pumpkin flavor department.

For the frosting, I was torn between using a more traditional cream cheese frosting and a light whipped one. If you prefer a more traditional cream cheese frosting, feel free to use the one in this Red Velvet Layer Cake recipe. I ended up going with the light whipped frosting, which is a lot like ones that I’ve used on several other cakes. You start off by making whipped cream and then add the cream cheese to it. It makes an extremely light whipped cream cheese frosting, which I also added some cinnamon too.

The final cake is light and full of pumpkin flavor and the spices of the season! It’s the perfect classic pumpkin cake to kick things off!

Pumpkin Layer Cake - soft and moist cake with whipped cream cheese frosting!Pumpkin Layer Cake - soft and moist cake with whipped cream cheese frosting!

Read transcript

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Recipe

Pumpkin Layer Cake with Whipped Cream Cheese Frosting

  • Author: Lindsay
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 12-14 Slices 1x
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: American

Description

This dreamy Pumpkin Layer Cake is soft, moist and delicious! It’s covered with a light whipped cinnamon cream cheese frosting to top it off. This classic cake is the perfect way to kick off pumpkin season!


Scale

Ingredients

PUMPKIN CAKE

  • 3/4 cup (168g) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups (310g) sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 tbsp (45ml) vegetable oil
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 large egg white, room temperature
  • 2 1/2 cups (325g) all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 3/4 cup (406g) pumpkin puree

WHIPPED CREAM CHEESE FROSTING

  • 2 1/2 cups (720ml) heavy whipping cream, cold
  • 1 1/2 cups (173g) powdered sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 16 oz (452g) cream cheese, room temperature

Instructions

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (176°C). Line the bottom of three 8-inch (20cm) cake pans with parchment paper and grease the sides.
2. In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar on medium speed until light in color and fluffy, 3-4 minutes.
3. Add the vanilla extract and vegetable oil and mix until combined.
4. Add eggs and egg white in two batches, mixing until incorporated after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed to make sure everything is combined.
5. Add the dry ingredients to a medium sized bowl and whisk to combine.
6. Add half of the flour mixture to the batter and mix until combined. Add the pumpkin puree to the batter and mix until combined. Add the remaining flour mixture and mix until well combined and smooth. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed to ensure everything is well combined. The batter will be thick.
7. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared cake pans.
8. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out with a few crumbs.
9. Remove cakes from the oven and allow to cool for 3-4 minutes, then remove from pans to a cooling rack to finish cooling.
10. To make the whipped cream cheese frosting, add the heavy whipping cream, powdered sugar, vanilla extract and cinnamon to a large mixer bowl and whip on high speed until soft peaks form.
11. Add the cream cheese to the whipped cream and whip until stiff peaks form. It will happen fairly quickly.
12. To put the cake together, remove the domes from the tops of the cakes with a large serrated knife.
13. Place the first cake layer on a serving plate or cardboard cake circle.
Spread about a cup of frosting into an even layer on top of the cake.
14. Top the frosting with the second layer of cake, then repeat another layer of frosting.
15. Top the cake with the final layer of cake, then frost the outside of the cake. For guidance on frosting a smooth cake, check out my tutorial.
16. Pipe a border around the top edge of the cake with the remaining frosting.
17. Finish off the cake with candy pumpkins and a sprinkle of cinnamon The cake should be refrigerated until ready to be served. Cake is best for 3-4 days.

For a more traditional cream cheese frosting, try the one in this Red Velvet Layer Cake recipe.

Keywords: pumpkin cake, pumpkin cake recipe, layer cake recipe, layer cake, whipped cream cheese frosting, cream cheese frosting recipe, easy cream cheese frosting, pumpkin dessert

Enjoy!

 

Pumpkin Layer Cake - soft and moist cake with whipped cream cheese frosting!

Pumpkin Layer Cake - soft and moist cake with whipped cream cheese frosting!

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Recipe rating

41 Comments
  1. Sandy

    I made this cake yesterday. I measured the spices per the recipe, but I thought the batter tasted bland, so I added an extra tsp of pumpkin pie spice mix. 
    I baked in 2 9” pans, so took a little longer to bake. 
    Then I frosted with a traditional cream cheese frosting, with a dollop of maple syrup added for flavor. 
    I think the flavor of the cake is great. But I’m not a fan  of the texture. It is very moist and dense, almost like a pumpkin bread consistency. I did whip the heck out of the butter and sugar at the start, but the cake still didn’t rise that much. I just prefer a cake with a lighter, texture.  As long as you want a very dense moist cake, you will be happy with this recipe. 

    1. Lindsay

      I’m not sure where the issue was, but it shouldn’t have been that dense. A few things to try – check your baking soda and powder and make sure you used the right amount of each and be sure not to over mix at the end.

  2. Channin Ford

    Was excited to make the Pumpkin Layer Cake for Thanksgiving and take it to my brother’s. EVERYONE LOVED IT! I left what remained of the cake at my bother’s, he has 3 boys that I knew would take care of it. The following day my dad stopped by with strict instructions from my mom to “bring home the cake.” Once home my parents got a call from the boys and my sister-in-law wanting to know if grandpa took the cake because everyone was accusing each other of eating it. Needless to say this one is a keeper!!

  3. Michelle Brizendine

    Hi Lindsay. I’m allergic to cinnamon. I thought u could use Allspice instead in this recipe. What do you think? Or do you have any other suggestions?

    1. Lindsay

      You could certainly try the allspice instead of the cinnamon in the cake. In the frosting, I might use nutmeg.

  4. Aidan

    My whipped Cream frosting kind of fell and I cake seem to get it to whip back up. I used whipping cream and that might be the Issue, but my frosting has no structure basically haha. just enough get it on the cake

    1. Lindsay

      Could be the whipping cream. Also, did you add the full amount of powdered sugar? That’s used here to stabilize the whipped cream.

  5. Bakeguy

    Easy, delish and surprsingly light….! My batter seemed super thick so I added about 3/4 cup of milk to avoid a pound cake. One of the best cakes I’ve made!l

  6. Tina Thompson

    I am going to make this recipe and wanted to do cupcakes instead. Do you know how much to add to each? Every recipe is different and wasn’t sure if you knew for this one. Also to those that had lumps of cream cheese, whip the cream cheese first and mix slowly to the other batter. I haven’t made this frosting recipe but I make my own Italian buttercream and add cream cheese and it does the same thing if I don’t whip first. 🙂 Thanks in advance!

    1. Lindsay

      I haven’t done this particular recipe as cupcakes, but I’m thinking you’d fill them about 3/4 full. I hope you enjoy them!

  7. Jamie

    I love your blog! It’s so refreshing to find recipes that work out and taste good 🙂 I made a vanilla cake with pineapple filling and then added this Frosting! It’s so different and yummy. I did have a similar problem of little chunks of cream cheese but no one seemed to noticed. My husband loved it so much he has asked me to remake the frosting for weeks now! It’s now his second favorite (right after peanut butter frosting ????)

    1. Lindsay

      So glad to hear you enjoyed the frosting. Not sure about the chunks – could be something about the temperature or consistency (like maybe a different brand) of the cream cheese, or perhaps different mixers.

  8. Carlos

    Hi Lindsay! I baked this cake today and LOVED it!!! I have one question regarding the frosting. I let the cream cheese get to room temperature before I made the frosting. Once I added the cream cheese to the whipped cream,  it turned out with little chunks of cream cheese. Did I miss a step or is that the way the frosting should be? Thank you! – Carlos 

    1. Lindsay

      Hmm, I haven’t had issues with the cream cheese leaving chunks behind. You could beat the cream cheese separately until smooth before adding it and see if that helps.

      1. Lauren

        Mine clumped too. I’ll try whipping it before I add it next time. It is still delicious. I used it on your pumpkin cheesecake cake. ???????????? It was my trial run before thanksgiving. Turned out great. Thank you!!

  9. Brittany

    This was absolutely amazing!! Everyone just loved it!

    The frosting was super good but I’m pretty slow at frosting cakes and it started to melt while applying it to the outside ha! So I was wondering if you had a recipe for a frosting that was like a cream cheese buttercream? I haven’t been baking for very long and buttercream is much easier for me to apply and be able to smooth 🙂 

    Thanks so much!! I hope your pregnancy is going well! You have been in my thoughts and prayers!! 

    1. Lindsay

      I’m glad you enjoyed it! You can definitely use a more traditional cream cheese frosting, found here.

      Thank you for the prayers! Things are going well so far. 🙂

      1. Brittany

        Thanks so much!! So I saw you had that link twice in your blog and recipe and even clicked on it, but some how it did not register that it was exactly what I was looking for hahaha! Wow so sorry!! 

        Do you think that would taste good if I added a little cinnamon? 

        So happy to hear things are going well!

  10. Melissa

    I am so excited to make this. I have 7 birthdays in October in my family so I am going to make a special layer cake using this and your chocolate cake recipe. We can’t wait!!!

  11. Cristen

    I just made this and brought it into the office for fall! OMG yum, it was a big hit, the cake was super moist and the frosting was just perfect. Just a quick note, if using the candy pumpkins, something about them reacts and melts them slightly so there are orange streaks down the side of the cake. I’m not sure if it is also because I sprinkled gold sugar crystals over the top of the cake too? Didn’t matter though because the cake was still delicious! I love your site and regularly use recipes from here to wow my friends! <3

    1. Lindsay

      I’m so glad you enjoyed it! I’ve definitely had the streaks happen with sprinkles before, but not the pumpkins. It could also be that the moisture from the sprinkles affected the pumpkins. Either way – glad it was a hit! 🙂

  12. Linda Thorn

    I stumbled upon this recipe and it sounded SO good that I made it right then. It turned out wonderful! My mother dropped by and had had a slice and loved it so much that she’s requested it for Thanksgiving!

  13. Tori

    This cake looks sooo good!!! I love that pumpkin candy that you put on the top!! So cute and festive!! Great job! ❤️

  14. Suzy-q

    Oh, Lindsay, you did it again! I am definitely making this cake. I love the fall and the wonderful
    flavors of apple, pumpkin, and warm spices. Your cakes are amazing and you are my go-to girl when it comes to
    making spectacular desserts. You ROCK! P.S. I hope you are feeling well.

  15. Marcellina

    This cake looks so light and fluffy! I akways find it interesting that while pumpkins are your go to in autumn, here in North Queensland it is spring and it’s our pumpkin time as well!

Lindsay
About Lindsay

I'm a wife and mom to twin boys, a baby girl and a sweet black lab with a serious sweets addiction! Bring on the sugar!

Scripture I’m Loving

“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” Romans 12:12