This pumpkin cake with maple frosting is the perfect fall dessert. The cake is moist and filled with warm fall spices, and you’ll love the sweet maple buttercream.
The Best Pumpkin Cake Recipe
Fall is officially here. The leaves are turning orange, the mornings are chilly, and I’m gravitating towards everything cozy. So I figured it only made sense to share another pumpkin recipe here on Oh Sweet Basil. So today, we’re making this pumpkin cake with maple frosting.
It’s a moist pumpkin sheet cake filled with brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla. I wanted to make this pumpkin cake a little different, so I decided to frost it with maple buttercream. I’ve made spice cake doughnuts with maple glaze before, and loved the combo. So I figured maple frosting would be perfect for this pumpkin cake. It has a delicious maple flavor thanks to using real maple syrup and maple extract. And the maple flavor is so perfect for fall.
If you’re looking for an alternative to pumpkin pie, then this pumpkin cake is for you.
Pumpkin Cake Ingredients
The pumpkin cake is moist, flavorful, and super easy to make (all my favorite things!). To make the cake itself, you’ll need:
- All-purpose flour
- Baking powder
- Baking soda
- Vegetable oil
- Brown sugar
- Granulated sugar
- Vanilla extract
- Pumpkin puree
And for the maple frosting, you’ll need:
- Unsalted butter
- Powdered sugar
- Maple syrup
- Maple extract
- Vanilla extract
- Whipping cream
How to Make Pumpkin Cake
The pumpkin cake is super moist thanks to the oil, eggs, and pumpkin puree. Then the brown sugar, spices, vanilla, and pumpkin add so much flavor. Here’s how to make this flavorful pumpkin cake recipe:
- Whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and ground cloves.
- In a separate bowl, beat together the oil, sugars, eggs, vanilla extract, and pumpkin puree.
- Mix the dry ingredients into the wet, then pour the batter into a greased 9×13-inch baking pan.
- Bake until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
- Let the cake cool completely before spreading maple frosting on top.
Can You Freeze Pumpkin Cake?
Yes, this homemade pumpkin cake can be frozen whole or in slices. And yes, you can freeze it after it’s been frosted! When you’re ready to eat the frozen pumpkin cake, set it in your fridge to thaw.
Can I Make This in Two Smaller Cake Pans?
You likely can, yes. You’d want to use either two 8- or 9-inch round cake pans, noting that pumpkin cake baked in two 8-inch cake pans will likely need a few extra minutes in the oven.
What Type of Maple Syrup Should I Use?
There are two main types of pure maple syrup sold at the grocery store, Grade A and Grade B. Grade A maple syrup is typically lighter in color and flavor than Grade B and is great for drizzling atop pancakes and waffles. Grade B is much richer in flavor and quite dark in color.
For the maple frosting on this pumpkin cake, we prefer using Grade B maple syrup. The intense maple flavor of Grade B maple syrup really shines in the frosting. However, if you only have Grade A maple syrup on hand, that’s of course fine to use in the frosting as well.
Tips for Making Pumpkin Cake
Make sure you’re using pumpkin puree and not pumpkin pie filling for this pumpkin cake recipe. Pumpkin pie filling is sweetened and spiced and will alter the desired flavor and texture of this pumpkin cake.
In a similar vein, you need to use real maple syrup in this pumpkin cake and not pancake syrup. Pancake syrup is essentially flavored corn syrup. Again, that would mess up the flavor of the cake.
Lastly, I highly recommend sprinkling chopped, toasted walnuts or pecans over this pumpkin cake it you have some on hand. The nuts make this pumpkin cake look even more festive while adding a nice crunch to the cake.
More Pumpkin Recipes:
- Pumpkin Cheesecake Dip
- The BEST Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Pumpkin Banana Bread
- Pumpkin Cinnabon Cinnamon Roll Sheet Cake
- Pumpkin Cinnamon Chip Scones
- No-Bake Pumpkin Pie with Gingersnap Crust
- Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread
Pumpkin Cake with Maple Frosting
For the Pumpkin Cake
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1/8 tsp ground cloves
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- 1 cup packed brown sugar
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 4 large eggs
- 15 oz pumpkin puree, (not pumpkin pie filling)
For the Maple Frosting
- 2/3 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 3-4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
- 1/2 cup real maple syrup*
- 1/2 tsp maple extract
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1-2 tablespoons whipping cream, as needed
- chopped walnuts, optional
Make the Pumpkin Cake
- Preheat the oven to 350F degrees.
- Grease and flour a 9x13 inch baking pan.
- In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg & cloves.
- In a large bowl beat together the oil, sugars, vanilla extract, eggs, and pumpkin puree.
- Then slowly beat in the flour mixture.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 35-40 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
Make the Maple Frosting
- In a large bowl, beat the butter until fluffy.
- Then beat in 2 cups powdered sugar.
- Once combined, beat in the maple syrup, maple extract, vanilla extract and salt.
- Then beat in the rest of the powdered sugar 1/2 cup at a time and the whipping cream as needed until the desired sweetness level is reached.
- Frost the cooled cake and optionally top with chopped walnuts.
We just love this recipe and I didn’t change a thing. The maple frosting is wonderful. I had some of the frosting leftover, I didn’t want to go to waste so added to my coffee. YUM
Ooohhh…that sounds yummy! Thank you so much for your feedback!
That pumpkin cake is fabulous – light, well balanced, moist. The icing is wonderful. But a few important notes. 1) Salt is not in the ingredients list. We used 1/2 tsp. 2) In the blog post we’re told to add the cloves, but the directions in the recipe leave them out (even though they’re in the ingredients list). 3) The directions in the actual recipe don’t tell you when to add the eggs. 4) You have a set of brackets that are never closed in the ingredients list. Please, I need closure in my life. —- We made this gluten free using Bob’s Red Mill 1-1 flour. Also, we left out the walnuts, used home made pumpkin purée, and left out the maple extract. The extract wasn’t needed – it’s a wonderfully rich mapley icing. This is a great recipe!
Hi Jim – I’m so glad you loved the recipe! And thank you so much, I think I need an editor sometimes 😉 I’ve never tried this with gluten free flour, so it’s so good to hear that it works perfectly