Pumpkin Sheet Cake

This pumpkin sheet cake is light, fluffy, and generously spread with cinnamon-cream cheese frosting for ultra decadence. It tastes just like fall. Chopped pecans and pumpkin candies make it extra cute and crunchy.

Slice of pumpkin sheet cake on a spatula.

Easy Pumpkin Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Spread with lots of cream cheese frosting, this easy pumpkin sheet cake is the perfect fall dessert. It’s so moist, tender, and cute, you won’t believe how good it is.

Light and airy cake is spiced with cinnamon, nutmeg, and ground cloves for a bit of earthiness. This helps the pumpkin puree’s natural sweetness shine right through! After all, it needs to be the star of this dessert.

Being a sheet cake, you won’t have to worry about complicated layering or decorating. Leave the cake in the pan and decorate it right there!

A luscious cinnamon-cream cheese frosting adds tanginess and richness. It also helps balance out all the pumpkin-goodness. For extra crunch, it’s topped with chopped pecans. Candied pecans are another easy topping that adds a deep caramel-like flavor without making your life harder. Finally, pumpkin candies are literally the pumpkin on the cake.

Pumpkin sheet cake in a tray. Two slices are missing.

What You’ll Need

This pumpkin sheet cake isn’t made with anything you wouldn’t add to a pumpkin-based dessert. Scroll to the bottom of this post for exact ingredient amounts in the recipe card.

For the Pumpkin Sheet Cake

  • All-purpose flour – Cake flour is fine too. Don’t use bread or plant-based flours because they won’t provide the structure we need.
  • Baking powder
  • Baking soda
  • Ground cinnamon
  • Ground Nutmeg
  • Ground cloves
  • Salt – Leave it out if you’re using salted butter in the recipe.
  • Butter – I prefer unsalted butter, but salted works too.
  • Light brown sugar – Feel free to swap it out for dark brown sugar. If you’ve got light and dark brown sugar leftovers, use them.
  • Vegetable oil – Any neutral oil with a high smoke point like canola or corn oil will also work.
  • Eggs
  • Vanilla extract
  • Pumpkin puree – Be sure to use canned pumpkin, not pumpkin pie filling.

For the Cream Cheese Frosting

  • Cream cheese – High-quality full-fat cream cheese is best. Low fat cream cheese will give you a thinner frosting.
  • Unsalted butter
  • Powdered sugar – Also called confectioners’ sugar.
  • Salt
  • Vanilla extract
  • Ground cinnamon
  • Milk or Cream – Heavy cream is my favorite for an extra creamy frosting, but milk is fine for this recipe.
  • Chopped pecans – Candied pecans or chopped walnuts add a similar crunch and nuttiness.
  • Pumpkin candies – Any fall-themed candies or sprinkles will do.
Slice of pumpkin sheet cake with cream cheese frosting on a plate.

How to Make Pumpkin Sheet Cake

Decorating the cake is as easy as making it! Here’s how to do it:

  1. Preheat the oven. Grease the baking sheet with nonstick spray or line it with parchment paper. Set it aside. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
  2. Whisk the dry ingredients. Mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, ground cloves, and salt in a medium-sized bowl. Set it aside.
  3. Cream the butter. Add the butter, sugar, and oil to the bowl of a stand mixer. Beat on medium speed for 3-4 minutes or until light and fluffy. You can also use a hand mixer for this.
  4. Incorporate the eggs. Adding two eggs at a time, mix until just combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl to make sure nothing is sticking to the bowl. Do this for all the eggs.
  5. Add the dry ingredients. Add half of the dry ingredients to the butter-egg mixture and incorporate until almost fully combined. You can do this with the stand mixer or using a silicone spatula.
  6. Add the pumpkin. Add the vanilla extract and pumpkin puree into the batter. Mix until well combined and then add the remaining dry ingredients. Don’t over-mix the batter.
  7. Bake. Evenly spread the batter in the baking sheet and let it bake for 12-15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  8. Let it cool. Remove it from the oven and let it come down to room temperature before frosting. If you’re in a hurry, pop the cake into the freezer for 30 minutes.
  9. Make the frosting. Sift the powdered sugar to remove any clumps. Add the butter and cream cheese to the bowl of a stand mixer. Beat over medium speed for 3-4 minutes or until light and fluffy. Add half of the powdered sugar and continue mixing. Add the salt, vanilla extract, cinnamon, and milk. Stir on low for 30 seconds to combine. Bring the speed back up to medium and add the remaining sugar. Once the frosting is nice and smooth, it’s ready.
  10. Assemble and serve. Spread cream cheese frosting over the cake to taste. Sprinkle with pecans and decorate with pumpkin candies. Enjoy!
Pumpkin sheet cake in a baking tray, some slices are missing.

Tips for Success

Follow these simple tips for an effortless fall-baking project:

  • Let it cool. Make sure the cake is fully cooled before adding frosting. If it’s still even just a little bit warm, the frosting will melt and soak into the cake.
  • Smooth the batter. Use an offset spatula to smooth out the batter on the baking sheet. This is incredibly important for achieving a flat, evenly baked cake.
  • Use parchment paper. It’s hard to salvage a one-layer cake once it crumbles to its doom. To avoid it from sticking to the tray, make sure to line the pan with parchment paper.
  • Don’t bake in glass pans. Glass doesn’t conduct heat well, so it takes much longer to heat. This usually results in a badly burned exterior with a raw interior. Use stainless steel baking sheets instead.
Slice of pumpkin sheet cake in a plate.

Can Cream Cheese Frosting Be Made in Advance?

Yes! You can make the frosting in advance and refrigerate it in an airtight container for up to 3 days. It will harden slightly, so leave it on the counter for 10-15 minutes before stirring and using it. You may also have to mix it for 1-2 minutes to get it to the right consistency again.

Serving Suggestions

On its own, it’s great with a drizzle of my salted caramel sauce and a scoop of ice cream. My favorite drinks to enjoy it with are homemade apple cider, caramel blended coffee, and homemade eggnog.

It’s also an exciting way to end a meal after a fall-themed dinner filled with turkey, creamy mashed potatoes, and honey roasted brussels sprouts.

Close-up of pumpkin sheet cake slices.

How to Store Leftovers

Place it in an airtight container or cover well and refrigerate it for up to 4-5 days.

Unfortunately, this cake can’t be kept at room temperature because of the frosting. If it’s unfrosted, you can store it in an airtight container on the counter for up to 4 days.

Can This Cake Be Frozen?

Of course! Place the cooled cake on a parchment-lined baking tray and pop it into the freezer for 4 hours or until completely frozen. Then wrap it in plastic wrap and place it in a freezer-friendly bag or container. Freeze for up to 3 months.

To thaw, remove the plastic wrap while the cake is still frozen and let it rest in the fridge until it thaws.

More Pumpkin Dessert Recipes

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Slice of pumpkin sheet cake on a spatula.

Pumpkin Sheet Cake

  • Author: Lindsay
  • Prep Time: 45 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour plus cooling time
  • Yield: 25-30 servings
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: American


Generously spread with cream cheese frosting, this pumpkin sheet cake tastes just like fall! Topped with chopped pecans and pumpkin candies, it’s absolutely beautiful.


Pumpkin Sheet Cake

  • 2 1/2 cups (325g) all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup (168g) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups (337g) packed light brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups (320g) pumpkin puree (canned pumpkin)

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 8 oz (226g) cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (112g) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 5 cups (575g) powdered sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup milk or cream
  • Chopped pecans
  • Pumpkin candies


  1. Prepare a 12×18 inch sheet pan/jelly roll pan with non-stick baking spray. Preheat oven to 350°F (176°C).
  2. Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, spices and salt in a medium sized bowl and set aside.
  3. Add the butter, sugar, and oil to and large mixer bowl and beat together until light in color and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes. Do not skimp on the creaming time.
  4. Add the eggs two at a time, mixing until mostly combined after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed to be sure all ingredients are well incorporated.
  5. Add half of the dry ingredients to the batter and mix until mostly combined.
  6. Add the vanilla extract and pumpkin puree and mix until well combined.
  7. Add the remaining dry ingredients and mix until well combined and smooth. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed to be sure all ingredients are well incorporated. Do not over mix the batter.
  8. Spread the batter evenly into the prepared pan and bake for 12-15 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  9. Remove the cake from the oven and allow to cool.
  10. To make the frosting, beat the butter and cream cheese together until smooth.
  11. Slowly add half of the powdered sugar and the salt and mix until smooth.
  12. Add the vanilla extract, cinnamon and milk/cream and mix until smooth.
  13. Slowly add the remaining powdered sugar and mix until smooth. Add additional milk, if needed to get the right consistency of frosting.
  14. Spread the frosting evenly onto the cooled cake and then top with chopped pecans and pumpkin candies. Cover the cake and refrigerate until ready to serve. Let cake sit out for at least 20-30 minutes to warm up a bit before serving. Cake is best when eaten within 3-4 days.


  • Serving Size: 1 Slice
  • Calories: 255
  • Sugar: 24.4 g
  • Sodium: 200.4 mg
  • Fat: 12.4 g
  • Carbohydrates: 34.1 g
  • Protein: 3.1 g
  • Cholesterol: 49.5 mg

Keywords: pumpkin cake, pumpkin dessert recipes, pumpkin cake with cream cheese frosting


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Recipe rating

  1. Meghan

    Thank you so much for another great recipe that was very well written and resulted in a moist and delicious cake. This was a huge hit for a gathering in addition to another layer cake I made that used two layers if your vanilla sheet cake (also so moist). 

  2. Lin

    After revisiting this recipe, I realized the pan size is 12×18 (not 12×16) and horrors, my “old” wall oven will not accommodate this size. I do know that Wilton makes an 11×15 pan but, aside from having a little left over batter, will I need to adjust the baking time? Most of the sheet cakes I’ve made previously were 9×13 (a more significant difference), but I would really like to transition to the “thinner” depth.

    1. Lindsay

      If you use all the batter in the smaller pan, you would probably need to bake it a little longer. I’m glad you’re enjoying the sheet cakes! 🙂

  3. Lin

    I love to make sheet cakes and am so glad you are adding more recipes. Not only is assembly easier and faster, but decorating is also less stressful. Additionally, it always feels safer transporting something flat! I particularly love the cake to icing ratio in this Pumpkin Sheet Cake (by using a 12×16 pan), allowing us diabetics the opportunity to eat “just a piece” of cake instead of an entire slice of layer cake!

  4. Patricia

    Hi Lindsay….I want to make this recipe but I have some questioins. You list in the cake ingredients a teaspoon of vanilla but I don’t see where it is in the instructions.

    Also # 6 of your instructions just says “Pumpkin puree and mix until well combined”….I think something is missing here.

    I have one more thing to ask in the frosting section. #11 says “Slowly add half of the powdered sugar and the salt and mix until smooth”. I don’t see salt listed in the ingredients so I don’t know how much salt or shouldn’t salt be listed?

    Please reply. Thank you. This looks so delicious!

About Lindsay

I'm a wife and a mom to twin boys and a baby girl! And I've got a serious sweets addiction! Bring on the treats!

Scripture I’m Loving

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” Matthew 11:28-29