Pumpkin Layer Cake with Cinnamon and Spice Cream Cheese Frosting

By Meghan McGarry
Celebrate fall with this light and flavorful classic pumpkin layer cake. Enhanced with a cinnamon and spice cream cheese frosting, this beautiful cake is sure to become a holiday tradition.
  • Yield: one two-layer 9-inch round cake
  • Course: Dessert


  • All Purpose Flour
  • Baking powder
  • Baking soda
  • brown sugar
  • Cinnamon
  • Cloves
  • Cream cheese
  • eggs
  • For the cream cheese frosting:
  • Ginger
  • granulated sugar
  • Light brown sugar
  • light pinch of salt
  • milk
  • nutmeg
  • Pecans
  • Powdered sugar
  • pumpkin puree
  • Salt
  • unsalted butter
  • vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract
  • Vanilla Extract


  1. Heat a skillet over medium heat until hot and add pecans. Toast pecans for about 3-4 minutes, stirring continuously, until fragrant. Remove from heat and allow to cool. When pecans have completely cooled, rough chop them and set aside until frosting the cake.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease cake pans and line the bottoms with parchment paper. Set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and cloves.
  4. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat butter and both sugars until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.
  5. Add eggs one at a time followed by the vanilla extract, scraping down the bowl as needed.
  6. Add the pumpkin puree and mix until combined.
  7. Alternate adding the dry ingredients with the milk in three additions, starting and ending with the dries.
  8. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared cake pans and bake for approximately 26-30 minutes, until cakes start to pull away from the edges and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  9. Transfer cakes to a cooling rack for about 10-15 minutes, and then remove cakes and allow to cool completely. Using a serrated knife, trim rounded tops off the cakes to level.
  10. For the cream cheese frosting, cream butter, cream cheese and light brown sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer on medium speed until smooth.
  11. Start adding powdered sugar, adding 1/2 cup at a time, just until frosting is smooth.
  12. Add salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla, and mix just until combined. Do not over beat the frosting or it will become too soft.
  13. To assemble the cake, place one cake layer on either a plate, cake stand, or cake board. Spread 1 cup of frosting on top and spread evenly. Place second cake layer on top and frost cake. Press chopped pecans onto the sides of the cake, gently pressing in to make sure they adhere.
  14. Refrigerate cake so frosting can set up. Take cake out of the fridge about 45 minutes before serving