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.

slice of pumpkin cake with maple frosting on white plate

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.

two slices of pumpkin cake on white plates

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
  • Salt
  • Spices
  • Vegetable oil
  • Brown sugar
  • Granulated sugar
  • Vanilla extract 
  • Eggs
  • Pumpkin puree 

And for the maple frosting, you’ll need: 

  • Unsalted butter
  • Powdered sugar
  • Maple syrup
  • Maple extract
  • Vanilla extract 
  • Salt
  • Whipping cream

maple frosting in glass bowl with spatula resting on top

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: 

  1. Whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and ground cloves. 
  2. In a separate bowl, beat together the oil, sugars, eggs, vanilla extract, and pumpkin puree.
  3. Mix the dry ingredients into the wet, then pour the batter into a greased 9×13-inch baking pan. 
  4. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. 
  5. 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.

slice of pumpkin cake with maple frosting on white plate

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 Cake with Maple Frosting

5 from 2 votes
Servings: 15 -18 Pieces
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Additional Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes


This pumpkin cake with maple frosting is the perfect fall recipe. The cake is moist and filled with warm fall spices, and you'll love the sweet maple buttercream.


For the Pumpkin Cake

  • 2 Cups All Purpose Flour
  • 2 teaspoon Baking Powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon Salt
  • 2 teaspoon Cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon Ground Nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon Ground Cloves
  • 1 Cup Vegetable Oil
  • 1 Cup Packed Brown Sugar
  • 3/4 Cup Granulated Sugar
  • 2 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • 4 Large Eggs
  • 15 Ounces 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 teaspoon Maple Extract
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon 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.
    2 Cups All Purpose Flour, 2 teaspoon Baking Powder, 1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda, 1/4 teaspoon Salt, 2 teaspoon Cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon Ground Nutmeg, 1/8 teaspoon Ground Cloves
  • In a large bowl beat together the oil, sugars, vanilla extract, eggs, and pumpkin puree.
    1 Cup Vegetable Oil, 1 Cup Packed Brown Sugar, 3/4 Cup Granulated Sugar, 2 teaspoon Vanilla Extract, 4 Large Eggs, 15 Ounces 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.
    2/3 Cup Unsalted Butter
  • Then beat in 2 cups powdered sugar.
    3-4 Cups Powdered Sugar
  • Once combined, beat in the maple syrup, maple extract, vanilla extract and salt.
    1/2 Cup Real Maple Syrup*, 1/2 teaspoon Maple Extract, 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract, 1/4 teaspoon 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.
    3-4 Cups Powdered Sugar, 1-2 Tablespoons Whipping Cream
  • Frost the cooled cake and optionally top with chopped walnuts.
    Chopped Walnuts


* You need to use real maple syrup in this pumpkin cake and not pancake syrup. Pancake syrup is essentially flavored corn syrup.
Pumpkin cake can be frozen for up to 3 months.


Serving: 1sliceCalories: 584kcalCarbohydrates: 103gProtein: 3gFat: 19gSaturated Fat: 5gPolyunsaturated Fat: 13gCholesterol: 55mgSodium: 188mgFiber: 2gSugar: 87g
Author: Fiona
Course: Easy Cake Recipes For Beginners
Cuisine: American

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