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Pumpkin Sheet Cake [+Video]

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This Pumpkin Sheet Cake is a soft and fluffy pumpkin cake that comes together in just a matter of minutes and is topped off with a luscious cream cheese frosting. 

A photo of a piece of pumpkin sheet cake with cream cheese frosting sitting on a white plate.

When it all comes down to it, no one cares if it’s a 6 layer cake with perfect fondant or a big ol’ lunch lady sheet cake.

People just want CAKE.

Am I right?

Pumpkin sheet cake reminds me of moving to Utah. When we got here, summer was just ending and within two months time we were experiencing a few Halloween and holiday parties and every single one had a perfectly made Pumpkin Sheet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

I had never heard of a sheet cake being anything other than a chocolate sheet cake. It’s what I’d grown up on and what I had grown to love all my life. 

But pumpkin?

HECK. YES. 
People in Utah love to gather around food….

And a sheet cake is great way to feed dessert to a crowd! Have you tried our Pumpkin Cinnabon Cinnamon Roll Sheet Cake? Holy moly, that is a good one too!!

A photo of a piece of pumpkin sheet cake with cream cheese frosting sitting on a white plate.

What’s Needed for Pumpkin Sheet Cake? 

This pumpkin spice cake recipe requires mostly pantry staples! Here’s what all goes into this pumpkin cake with cream cheese frosting: 

  • Pumpkin puree 
  • Butter
  • Oil 
  • Pumpkin Pie Spice
  • Buttermilk 
  • Eggs
  • Baking soda
  • Vanilla extract
  • All-purpose flour
  • Granulated sugar
  • Salt

And the cream cheese frosting comes together with just cream cheese, powder sugar, butter, salt, and a splash of heavy cream!  

A photo of someone removing a bite of pumpkin sheet cake with a fork.

How to Make Pumpkin Sheet Cake

One of the best things about a sheet cake is how quick and easy they are to make! You can have dessert for 20+ people in less than 40 minutes!

Start by preheating the oven to 350 and spraying a 13×18 baking sheet with cooking spray. Then the cake batter is going to come together in 3 different steps:

  1. Whisk the pumpkin puree and pumpkin pie spice until it is blended together then combine it with the oil and softened butter. Whisk in the boiling water until everything is smooth and well combined and set aside.
  2. In a glass measuring cup, combine the buttermilk, eggs, baking soda and vanilla and whisk until well combined and set it aside as well.
  3. The rest of the dry ingredients come next. In a large bowl, add the flour, sugar, and salt. Once combined, add in the pumpkin mixture and stir until it partially combined and then add in the buttermilk mixture. Stir everything together until it is combined.
  4. Pour the batter into the prepared baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes.

While the cake is baking, you can get the luscious cream cheese frosting ready.

How to Make Cream Cheese Frosting

It is important to start making the frosting with softened butter and softened cream cheese. If they aren’t soft, your frosting will be lumpy, and there isn’t anything appealing about lumpy frosting!

  1. Beat the cream cheese, butter, sifted powdered sugar and salt until it is smooth.
  2. Then add the heavy cream until it reaches your desired consistency.
  3. Wait until your cake is completely cooled and then frost that baby!

Some people prefer a thick frosting and others like a thin, almost glaze like, frosting. So make it just the way you want it!

A photo of a whole pumpkin sheet cake that is frosted with cream cheese frosting and lined around the edges with fall sprinkles.

Does Pumpkin Cake Need to Be Refrigerated?

Yes! Especially once it has been frosted, it should be covered and stored in the refrigerator to keep it safe for eating.

What Does Pumpkin Do in Baking?

Pumpkin is a phenomenal ingredient, especially in baked desserts! Pumpkin acts as a great sweetener, moisturizer and fat substitute. It can be a substitute for oil in most recipes (1 cup of oil = 1 cup of pumpkin puree). It can also be a substitute for butter most of the time (3/4 cup of oil = 1 cup of pumpkin puree). 

A photo of a piece of pumpkin sheet cake with cream cheese frosting sitting on a white plate.

Can You Use Fresh Pumpkin Instead of Canned?

No, it is not recommended to use fresh pumpkin instead of canned for this recipe. Fresh pumpkin has a different flavor and texture that won’t work for cake recipes.

Does Canned Pumpkin Have Iron?

Yes! Generally speaking, fresh food has much higher nutritional value than cooked or canned food, but for pumpkin, both are loaded with nutrients like iron, vitamin A and potassium.

A photo of a piece of pumpkin sheet cake with cream cheese frosting sitting on a white plate.

What Can You Substitute for Buttermilk?

Buttermilk is a key ingredient for this cake. Try to use real buttermilk if at all possible! If you absolutely need a substitute, you can use milk plus either white vinegar or lemon juice. For this recipe, add 1/2 tablespoon of either white vinegar or lemon juice to a class measuring cup and then add enough milk to equal 1/2 cup. Let it sit for at least 5 minutes before adding to the batter.

What Spices Can You Use for Pumpkin Pie Spice?

Pumpkin pie spice is a blend of warm spices commonly used for baking pumpkin treats. It is usually made of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and allspice (and sometimes cloves). If you can’t find the actual blend at the store or don’t have it on hand, you can totally make your own. This is a great pumpkin pie spice recipe.

What Can You Substitute for Cream Cheese?

I’ve heard a rumor that some people don’t like sweetened cream cheese desserts. What the WHAT?! My brain can’t understand this, but if you aren’t a sweetened cream cheese fan, try making a different frosting altogether (like our maple frosting or a buttercream frosting) rather than trying to substitute cream cheese with something else.

A photo of someone removing a bite of pumpkin sheet cake with a fork.

Tips for Making Pumpkin Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting 

  • Pumpkin puree: This recipe calls for pumpkin puree, NOT pumpkin pie filling. Pumpkin puree is 100% pure pumpkin. Read the ingredients list to make sure you’ve bought the right thing. 
  • Eggs: Your eggs should be room temperature before adding them to the batter. This will ensure that the cake bakes evenly throughout. 
  • Flour: To measure flour, spoon it out from the container and into your measuring cup. Don’t scoop up the flour with the measuring cup, as this compacts the flour. You might measure out too much flour this way, resulting in a dry, dense cake! 

Whether you live in Utah or not, you are going to want to gather with a crowd around this pumpkin sheet cake and devour it! It is soft and moist and the frosting is luscious and perfect! And be sure you have a crowd or you might end up eating the whole thing yourself. It’s that good!

More Pumpkin Dessert Recipes: 

Raised in the Kitchen - Carrian Cheney
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A photo of a piece of pumpkin sheet cake with cream cheese frosting sitting on a white plate.

Pumpkin Sheet Cake

5 from 1 vote
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Servings: 20
This Pumpkin Sheet Cake is a soft and fluffy pumpkin cake that comes together in just a matter of minutes and is topped off with a luscious cream cheese frosting. 

Ingredients

Cake

  • 15 oz. Pure Pumpkin Puree
  • 2 teaspoon Pumpkin Pie Spice
  • 1/2 Cup Oil
  • 1/2 Cup Butter , softened
  • 1/4 Cup Boiling Water
  • 1/2 Cup Buttermilk
  • 3 Eggs
  • 2 teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • 2 Cups All-Purpose Flour
  • 2 Cups Granulated Sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon Salt

Frosting

  • 8 oz Cream Cheese , softened
  • 1 stick Butter , softened
  • 1 lb. Powdered Sugar , sifted
  • 1 dash Salt
  • 1 tablespoon Heavy Cream

Instructions

For The Cake:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a sheet pan with baking spray and set aside.
  • Whisk together pumpkin and pumpkin pie spice until it's totally combined. Beat together with oil and softened butter. Whisk in boiling water until mixture is smooth and combined. Set aside.
  • In a measuring cup combine buttermilk, eggs, baking soda, and vanilla. Whisk and set aside.
  • In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, and salt. Pour in the pumpkin mixture and stir until halfway combined. Pour in the buttermilk mixture and stir until combined.
  • Pour into the pan and bake the cake for 20 minutes. Remove and allow to cool completely.

For the Frosting:

  • Mix together the cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar, and salt until smooth. Add cream until desired consistency.
  • Spread the frosting all over the surface of the cake. Cut into squares and serve. Keep leftovers in the fridge, as frosting will get soft.

Notes

To freeze: You can freeze pumpkin sheet cake frosted or unfrosted for 2 months.
Nutrition Facts
Pumpkin Sheet Cake
Amount Per Serving (1 g)
Calories 403 Calories from Fat 180
% Daily Value*
Fat 20g31%
Saturated Fat 9g56%
Cholesterol 63mg21%
Sodium 275mg12%
Potassium 119mg3%
Carbohydrates 55g18%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 44g49%
Protein 3g6%
Vitamin A 2302IU46%
Vitamin C 2mg2%
Calcium 32mg3%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
A photo of a piece of pumpkin sheet cake with cream cheese frosting sitting on a white plate.

This pumpkin sheet cake is a soft and fluffy pumpkin cake that comes together in just a matter of minutes and is topped off with a luscious cream cheese frosting. #pumpkinsheetcake #pumpkincake #falldesserts

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About the authors

carrian feik cheney oh sweet basil

Cade and Carrian have three children and love to spend time together whether it’s vacationing or snuggled up on the couch for a good movie.

And this family especially loves to eat.

They love everything from the keep you fit and healthy to the get out your sweat pants indulgent and everything in between.

But most of all, they love the memories made, shared and treasured and it’s all thanks to a meal shared together with loved ones.

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6 comments

  • Not a huge fan of cream cheese, can I just leave it out of the frosting recipe?

    • Reply
  • What size sheet pan?

    • Reply
    • This recipe is for a half sheet pan, so 18x13in.

      • Reply
  • This looks delicious! I tried to watch the video, but it loads chicken pot pie! Is there a video for Pumpkin Sheet Cake? Thanks for a great blog!

    • Reply
    • Thank you so much Lynn! I will get that fixed asap!

      • Reply

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