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.
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)
- 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.
- Mix together all dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, sugar, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves) in a stand mixer with a paddle until fully combined.
- 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.
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.
- 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.
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.
- 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.
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.
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)
- 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.
- Add in the vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste and salt, and beat on low until the ingredients are fully incorporated.
- Slowly mix in the powdered sugar on a very low speed, 1 cup at a time. Alternate with small splashes of cream.
- If the frosting is too thick, add in additional cream (1 tablespoon at a time).
- If the frosting is too thin, add in more powdered sugar (1/4 cup at a time).
- Cover the cream cheese frosting with a piece of plastic wrap, to prevent a crust from forming until you're ready to use it.
Cream Cheese Buttercream Frosting:
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.
Amount Per Serving Calories 427Total Fat 47gSaturated Fat 29gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 15gCholesterol 126mgSodium 391mgCarbohydrates 1gFiber 0gSugar 1gProtein 2g