How To Make Pumpkin Cake

The best pumpkin cake recipe ever! So easy to make and so moist, with a hint of warm fall spice and a thick blanket of tangy cream cheese frosting.

This recipe utilizes the reverse creaming method.

I use this method a ton on so many of my favorite cake recipes. It’s practically a foolproof technique, and it allows everything to happen in just one bowl! Hooray for less dirty dishes!

Start by placing all the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Flour, sugar, brown sugar, leavening, salt, and spices can all get whisked together until combined.

Next, add the softened butter.Mix the butter in to the dry ingredients until the mixture resembles damp sand. This usually takes about a minute or so.

Next, add the eggs in, one at a time. It’s important to allow each egg to fully incorporate before adding the next. This will prevent lumps in the batter.

Now the rest of the wet ingredients can go in.
Pumpkin puree, sour cream, and vanilla extract get mixed in until well-blended. Then, turn the mixer up to medium speed and beat the batter for about a minute to a minute and a half. This will aerate it, and help to build the cake’s structure.

Transfer the batter to a greased and lined 9×13-inch pan, and smooth it into an even layer.
Bake it until a toothpick inserted in the thickest part of the cake comes out clean, then allow it to cool completely, and slather it with fluffy cream cheese frosting. So YUM!

For garnish, I like to dust the top of the cake with a sprinkling of cinnamon. It really brings out all the warm fall flavors!


This pumpkin cake recipe makes enough batter for one 9×13-inch rectangular cake.

But you could also make it in three 6-inch diameter round pans, or two 8- or 9-inch diameter round pans.

Or, you could make 24 cupcakes.

If you are using anything other than a 9×13-inch pan, you will most likely need to adjust the baking time. You’ll know your cakes/cupcakes are done baking when a toothpick inserted in the thickest part comes out clean.


In my opinion, nothing goes better with pumpkin cake than cream cheese frosting.

And if you’ve ever struggled with cream cheese frosting, I’ve got all the best tips for you here: Cream Cheese Frosting. Sometimes it’s not easy to get cream cheese frosting really fluffy and stiff enough to pipe or hold luscious swirls, but that post has tons of great tips and a really effective technique!


This cake will keep at room temperature for a day or so, or in the fridge for around a week. Just be sure to keep it covered so it doesn’t dry out or become stale.


This pumpkin cake freezes very well.

Wrap it tightly in plastic wrap so it doesn’t pick up any funky freezer odors, and it will last in the freezer for a couple of months.

Thaw it in the fridge or at room temperature before frosting and serving.


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar (packed)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon (plus extra for garnish)
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks), softened
  • 2 eggs (large)
  • 2/3 cup pure pumpkin puree
  • 2/3 cup sour cream*
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 batch cream cheese frosting