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.
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.
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!!
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
- Pumpkin Pie Spice
- Baking soda
- Vanilla extract
- All-purpose flour
- Granulated sugar
And the cream cheese frosting comes together with just cream cheese, powder sugar, butter, salt, and a splash of heavy cream!
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:
- 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.
- In a glass measuring cup, combine the buttermilk, eggs, baking soda and vanilla and whisk until well combined and set it aside as well.
- 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.
- 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!
- Beat the cream cheese, butter, sifted powdered sugar and salt until it is smooth.
- Then add the heavy cream until it reaches your desired consistency.
- 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!
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).
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.
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.
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:
- Gingersnap Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars
- Pumpkin Cake with Maple Frosting
- Pumpkin Cheesecake Dip
- The BEST Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Pumpkin Banana Bread
- Pumpkin Pie Cake
- Marshmallow No Bake Pumpkin Pie
- Pumpkin Cinnabon Cinnamon Roll Sheet Cake
- Pumpkin Cinnamon Chip Scones
- No-Bake Pumpkin Pie with Gingersnap Crust
- Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread
- Pumpkin Cinnamon Crunch Twists
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Pumpkin Sheet 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
- 8 oz Cream Cheese , softened
- 1 stick Butter , softened
- 1 lb. Powdered Sugar , sifted
- 1 dash Salt
- 1 tablespoon Heavy Cream
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.
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