This Pumpkin Spice Cake is incredibly moist, packed with flavor from the delicious pumpkin pie spice, and with the perfect crunch from pecans in each bite. It’s a classic combination that will never go out of style and will make an ideal addition to your Thanksgiving menu or any fall gathering!
Pumpkin spice cake is a quintessential fall dessert that you can easily make at home. It’s a fantastic alternative to the traditional pumpkin pie, offering a unique twist on familiar flavors. This dense cake (similar to a pound cake in texture) is perfect for family gatherings, potlucks, or simply as a treat to enjoy with a warm cup of coffee on a crisp autumn day.
Found in an old farm journal magazine from 1987, this recipe makes a cake that’s delicious any time of year but is especially perfect during the fall and as a Thanksgiving day dessert.
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Why I Love This Recipe
Delicious: This isn’t just any ordinary cake. The pumpkin puree and pumpkin pie spice work together to create a dessert that’s incredibly moist and bursting with flavor.
Family-Favorite: This pumpkin spice cake recipe has been a hit in our household for years. The combination of sweet and spicy flavors makes it a dessert that both kids and adults love.
Perfect for any occasion: Whether it’s for a holiday dinner, a fall gathering, or just because, this pumpkin spice cake is a crowd-pleaser. It’s sure to impress your guests and leave them asking for the recipe!
For the Cake:
All Purpose Flour: This is the foundation of your pumpkin spice cake. It gives the cake its structure and texture.
Baking Powder and Baking Soda: These are leavening agents that help the cake rise and become fluffy.
Salt: Enhances the flavor of the other ingredients.
Pumpkin Spice: This is what gives your cake that classic autumn flavor. It’s a blend of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and allspice.
Butter: The fat in this recipe gives the cake a beautiful buttery flavor and moist texture.
Granulated Sugar and Brown Sugar: These sweeteners enhance the flavor of the cake and help to create a tender crumb.
Eggs: They bind the ingredients together and add moisture to the cake. Make sure they are at room temperature so they incorporate more easily into the batter.
Canned Pumpkin: This is the star of the show! It adds a lovely flavor and moistness to the cake.
Milk: It adds moisture to the batter, making the cake tender and delicious.
Pecans: These give your cake a delightful crunch and pair perfectly with the pumpkin flavor.
For the Glaze:
Powdered Sugar: This is used for the glaze. It gives a sweet, creamy topping to your pumpkin spice cake.
Canned Pumpkin: It’ll add a delicious pumpkin flavor to the glaze that perfectly complements the cake.
Vanilla: Enhances the flavor of the other ingredients in the glaze for the most delicious flavor.
Milk: This is used in the glaze to give it a smooth, pourable consistency. For a thicker glaze, use less milk.
Large Mixing Bowl – You’ll need this for combining your ingredients. The size is important because it allows you enough space to mix everything thoroughly without making a mess.
Electric Mixer or Stand Mixer – This is essential for beating the butter and sugars until they’re light and fluffy, as well as mixing in the eggs one at a time. It’s also useful for incorporating the dry ingredients with the pumpkin and milk.
Fluted Pan or Bundt Cake Pan – This is what gives our pumpkin spice cake its distinctive shape. Make sure it’s well-greased and floured before pouring in the batter to ensure your cake comes out easily.
How to Make Pumpkin Spice Cake
Before you start, preheat your oven to a temperature of 325˚ F. Also, ensure you have a well-greased and floured fluted bundt cake pan. I tested this recipe with a 10″ pan and it turned out perfect.
Step 1 – Preparing the Dry Ingredients
In a large mixing bowl, sift together your flour, baking powder, salt, baking soda, and pumpkin pie spice. Once you have everything mixed, set aside for later use.
Step 2 – Creaming the Butter and Sugars
Grab another large bowl, and using a stand mixer, beat your butter and sugars on medium speed. The aim is to make this mixture light and fluffy.
Step 3 – Adding the Eggs
You can now start adding your eggs to the butter and sugar mixture. Do this one at a time, ensuring that you beat the mixture for about two minutes after each egg.
Step 4 – Adding the Pumpkin and Dry Ingredients
Stir in your pumpkin puree. Now it’s time to add the dry ingredients you set aside earlier. Do this alternately with the milk, using a low-speed mixer. Make sure to beat the mixture well after each addition.
Step 5 – Stirring in the Pecans
Now, stir in your chopped pecans. This will add a delightful crunch to your pumpkin spice cake.
Step 6 – Pouring the Batter
Pour your batter into the well-greased and floured bundt cake pan.
Step 7 – Baking the Cake
Place your baking dish in your preheated oven and let it bake for about 50-60 minutes. You’ll know it’s ready when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Step 8 – Cooling the Cake
Once your pumpkin cake is baked, let it cool in the pan for about 10 minutes. After this, remove it from the pan and let it fully cool on a wire rack.
How to Make the Glaze
Step 1 – Preparing the Glaze
In a small bowl, stir together the sifted powdered sugar, pumpkin puree, vanilla, and milk until smooth. Pour this delightful glaze over your cooled pumpkin spice cake. Enjoy!
Properly prepare your baking dish: Before you start mixing your pumpkin spice cake batter, make sure to well grease and flour your fluted or plain tube pan. This ensures the cake won’t stick and comes out clean when it’s done baking.
Take your time with the eggs: When adding eggs to your butter and sugar mixture, beat them in one at a time and set a timer for approximately two minutes each. This will ensure they’re well incorporated and will give your cake a light and fluffy texture.
Adjust Glaze Consistency: For a thicker glaze, simply use less milk in the recipe. This will give you a denser, creamier topping for your pumpkin spice cake.
Let the Cake Cool: Allow the pumpkin spice cake to fully cool, about three to four hours, before adding the glaze. This prevents the glaze from melting and running off the cake.
Try it nut-free: If you’re not a fan of nuts or have a nut allergy, this variation is for you. Simply leave out the pecans in the cake recipe. This won’t affect the overall taste and texture of the pumpkin spice cake, but it will make it friendly for those with nut sensitivities.
Add a fruity twist: For a unique flavor twist, try adding raisins to the pumpkin cake mix. The sweetness of the raisins will complement the pumpkin puree and spices, adding a delightful burst of flavor to every bite.
Try it with walnuts: For a different nutty flavor, replace the pecans with walnuts. The earthy taste of walnuts pairs well with the pumpkin puree and spices, creating a delicious twist to the traditional pumpkin spice cake.
Switch up the spice: If you don’t have pumpkin pie spice, don’t worry! Instead of it, you can use 1 ½ teaspoons cinnamon, ½ teaspoon ginger, ½ teaspoon nutmeg, and ¼ teaspoon ground cloves.
What to Serve With
- This pumpkin spice cake recipe is perfect for a cozy fall brunch. Pair a slice with a steaming cup of coffee or hot cider for a comforting start to your day.
- For a truly decadent dessert, serve the pumpkin bundt cake with a dollop of whipped cream or vanilla ice cream on the side. The creaminess of the ice cream or whipped cream complements the rich pumpkin flavor of the cake.
- If you’re hosting a festive fall dinner, this pumpkin spice cake can be the star of your dessert table. Garnish with a sprinkle of cinnamon or nutmeg for an extra touch of autumn flavor.
To grease and flour a fluted pan, first, spread a thin layer of butter or shortening all over the inside of the pan, making sure to cover all the nooks and crannies. Then, add a little flour to the pan and tilt it around until the whole surface is covered, shaking out any excess.
Yes, you can make adjustments to suit your taste. For example, you can leave out the nuts if you have allergies or add raisins for additional flavor. If you don’t have pumpkin pie spice, you can use a mix of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and ground cloves instead.
It’s important to let the cake fully cool before adding the glaze, which usually takes about three to four hours. This ensures the glaze doesn’t melt and run off the cake.
Storing and Reheating
Refrigerate: Once the cake has fully cooled on a wire rack, which usually takes about three to four hours, you can refrigerate leftovers by storing it in an airtight container or covering it with plastic wrap. Make sure to use it within three days to enjoy the best taste and texture.
Freeze: Before adding the glaze, you can store the cake in an airtight container and freeze it for up to three months. Allow it to thaw, then add the glaze. You can also freeze individual slices with the glaze in airtight containers.
Reheat: This pumpkin spice cake can be served at room temperature, but if you prefer it warm, you can reheat it. Simply remove the required slices from the refrigerator and let them come to room temperature.
Thawing Instructions: If you’ve frozen your cake, let it thaw in the refrigerator. Once it’s fully thawed, you can add the glaze or serve it as is.
What to Expect: The pumpkin spice cake serves 12-16 slices per cake.
How to Scale: If you want to make more than one pumpkin spice cake, simply double the recipe. Make sure to use a large enough mixing bowl and two fluted pans.
Pumpkin Spice Cake
- 1 10" fluted pan
- 1 electric mixer
- 3 Cup All Purpose Flour
- 4 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- 2 ¾ teaspoons pumpkin spice
- 1 cup butter softened
- 1 Cup granulated sugar
- 1 Cup brown sugar
- 3 eggs
- 1 ⅓ Cup canned pumpkin
- ½ Cup milk
- ⅔ Cup chopped pecans
- 1 ½ Cup powdered sugar sifted
- 1 Tablespoon canned pumpkin
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
- 4-5 teaspoons milk
- Prep: Preheat oven to 325˚ F. Butter and flour a fluted cake pan.
- In a bowl sift together flour, baking powder, salt, baking soda, and pumpkin spice. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugars on medium speed with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating for two minutes each.
- Stir in the pumpkin. Add the dry ingredients alternating with the milk with a low-speed mixer. Beat well after each addition. Stir in the pecans.
- Pour batter into a well-greased and floured 10” fluted pan.
- Bake in preheated 325˚ F for 50-60 minutes or until a toothpick entered in the center comes out clean.
- Cool in pan for 10 minutes. Remove from pan and let fully cool.
- In a small bowl, stir together the confectionary sugar, pumpkin, vanilla, and milk until smooth. Pour over the cooled cake.