Pumpkin Spice Layer Cake Recipe

I’ve been experimenting with pumpkin cake recipes for a while now, and really wanted to create my own, using my vanilla layer cake recipe as a starting point.

After quite a bit of experimenting with different amounts of pumpkin, buttermilk, and egg whites, I finally found the perfect balance.

This recipe is wonderful because it’s moist and so flavorful, but it also has great structure! It can be carved and sculpted if the layers are chilled, and it stacks wonderfully.

One batch of batter can be used to make 4 seven-inch cake layers, or 4 thinner 8-inch cake layers.

trimming pumpkin cake layers

Pumpkin Spice Layer Cake Recipe:

  • 3 1/4 cup all-purpose flour (416 grams)
  • 3 cups granulated sugar (600 grams)
  • 2 1/2 tsp baking powder (13 grams)
  • 1 tsp salt (5 grams)
  • 1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp (pinch) cloves
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature (226 grams) – 2 sticks
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract (9 grams)
  • 1/2 cup egg whites (or about 3 egg whites) (122 grams)
  • 2/3 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk, room temperature (360 grams)
  • 1/8 cup vegetable oil (28 grams)


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line four 7 inch pans (for taller layers) or 8 inch round pans with parchment rounds, and grease with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. Mix together all dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, sugar, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves) in a stand mixer with a paddle until fully combined.
  3. Mix chunks of room-temperature butter slowly into the dry mix, on a low speed. Continue to mix until no large chunks of butter remain, and the mixture becomes crumbly.
  4. Pour in egg whites, and pumpkin puree, and mix on low until just incorporated. Mix in the buttermilk in two installments, on a low speed. Add in vanilla and oil, and mix at a low speed until fully incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula, then beat on medium speed for about 30 seconds.

  5. Divide batter evenly between the prepared cake pans. I like to use a digital kitchen scale to weigh my pans, and ensure they all have the same amount of batter. This guarantees your layers will bake to be the same height.
  6. If you want to color your cake batter, add gel food coloring at the end, and mix on low until the batter is the shade you’re after.

  7. Bake for 35-37 minutes if using 8 inch pans, or 37-38 minutes for 7 inch cake pans (or until a skewer comes out clean). Allow to cool for 10 minutes, then run an offset spatula around perimeter of the pan to separate the cake from the pan. Place cake layers into the freezer for 30 minutes, to accelerate the cooling process.

Recipe Notes

Once the layers have fully cooled, I sometimes like to trim the caramelized bits from the sides of the layers using a serrated knife. While these layers bake pretty flat, sometimes I’ll also trim the top of the layers too if I’m working a super special partnership ?


This cake recipe pairs wonderfully with my cream cheese buttercream.

Yield: 7

Best Cream Cheese Frosting

image of cream cheese frosting being piped onto a cupcake

This cream cheese frosting has that delicious cream cheese tang, but the structure of a classic buttercream! It pipes like a dream, and is great for frosting layer cakes!!

Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes


Cream Cheese Buttercream Frosting

  • 1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, room temperature (339 grams) - 3 sticks
  • 1/2 cup full-fat cream cheese, room temperature (113 grams or 4 oz.)
  • 7 cups powdered sugar (904 grams) or a 2lb bag
  • 1 tsp salt (6 grams)
  • 2 Tbsp heavy cream (or whipping cream) (29 grams)
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste (12 grams)


    Cream Cheese Buttercream Frosting:

    1. Beat the butter and cream cheese on a medium speed for 30 seconds with a stand mixer and paddle attachment or hand mixer, until smooth.
    2. Add in the vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste and salt, and beat on low until the ingredients are fully incorporated.
    3. Slowly mix in the powdered sugar on a very low speed, 1 cup at a time. Alternate with small splashes of cream. 
    4. If the frosting is too thick, add in additional cream (1 tablespoon at a time).
    5. If the frosting is too thin, add in more powdered sugar (1/4 cup at a time).
    6. Cover the cream cheese frosting with a piece of plastic wrap, to prevent a crust from forming until you're ready to use it.


This recipe makes about 7 cups of frosting, which is enough to frost an 8-inch layer cake or frost about 3 dozen cupcakes.

Make your frosting ahead of time, or save any leftover frosting! It can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks, or in the freezer for up to 2 months.

Be sure to give it a good stir once it thaws to get the consistency nice and smooth again.

A frosted cake can last in the fridge for up to a week, or in the freezer for up to a month. The buttercream locks in all the moisture, keeping the cake fresh and delicious!

If you cut into the cake and have leftovers, use any remaining frosting to cover the cut section to keep it moist and store in the fridge for up to a week.

Nutrition Information



Serving Size


Amount Per Serving Calories 427Total Fat 47gSaturated Fat 29gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 15gCholesterol 126mgSodium 391mgCarbohydrates 1gFiber 0gSugar 1gProtein 2g

33 thoughts on “Pumpkin Spice Layer Cake Recipe

  1. “Add in a couple squirts of green gel food coloring. Mix the batter on a low speed, scrapping the sides and bottom of the bowl part way through. Mix until the batter is evenly colored.” Are you SURE about the green gel food coloring?

    1. ugh!! I’ve been trying to switch between recipe cards on some of my posts, and it’s causing issues! just updated the recipe, definitely no green gel food coloring! Thank you for catching that <3

      1. Shouldn’t step to add optional food gel coloring be #5 before dividing the cake batter into the cake pans? Also there weren’t any instructions to stacking and decorating the cake.

  2. This looks great! Should the cake, using your cream cheese frosting, be stored in room temperature or refrigerated? Planning to make this a day ahead for a dinner party.

  3. What do you use to make the leaves? I’ve tried to find tutorials on how to create edible shapes like this that harden but I can’t.

  4. So I made this cake in 2 9-inch pans. I was nervous about how “stiff” the cake seemed, so I tried a small piece when I leveled the layers and I couldn’t believe how moist this cake was while still having such a great structure! This would be the perfect recipe for a pumpkin wedding cake!

    1. Right?! Haha it’s definitely a sturdy cake, but still is totally delicious 🙂 So happy to hear you loved this cake recipe, thank you for sharing!

  5. Do you have the recipe listed for the pumpkin pie filling that you used to fill the cake in the tutorial? I want to make this cake for a bake sale/fundraiser bake goods auction.

    1. Hi Stephanie!

      I know this is going to sound crazy, but I actually don’t have a bundt pan! I’ve never tried it out with any of my cake recipes, so I’m not sure. So sorry I don’t have a better answer for you! If you do try it, please let me know how it turns out. I’ve love to know!

  6. If I wanted to make this using three 6 inch pans, would you recommend cutting the recipe in half or 2/3? Your other small batch recipes are typically 2/3 of the original, so I figure that’s probably the best. Thanks!

    1. I recommend making 2/3 of a batch, just so that your layers are still nice and tall! Hope that helps Claire, happy baking!!

  7. Do you recommend the American buttercream as the video states or the cream cheese buttercream as the recipe states? Do you have the recipe for the pumpkin filling? Thank you!

  8. I want to add orange to the cream cheese frosting,do you recomend this ,or just stick with butter cream icing?Thanks

  9. Hi there! I am looking to make a sturdy but moist spice cake for my wedding cake… if the pumpkin were removed from the recipe, do you think this would still work well? Thank you!

Let me know what you think!