Pumpkin Spice Cake Recipe

A frosted layered pumpkin cake with caramel dripping down its sides and coated on top with a layer of pecans. The cake sits on a white cake platter with a jar of caramel sauce beside it.

5 from 5 reviews

Delectable layers of pumpkin cake frosted with salted caramel cream cheese icing and covered with a glaze of caramel sauce. Top it off with glazed pecans and you have a gorgeous layered cake ready to be displayed on your holiday table.



Pumpkin Cake

  • 4 cups All-Purpose Flour
  • 3 teaspoons Baking Powder
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • 3 1/2 teaspoons Cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon Ground Ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon Ground Cloves
  • 1 teaspoon Fresh Grated Nutmeg or 1/2 teaspoon Ground Nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon Ground Cardamon
  • 2 - 15 oz Cans of Pumpkin Puree
  • 4 cups Sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups Canola Oil
  • 8 Eggs
  • 4 teaspoons Pure Vanilla Extract

Salted Caramel Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 2 - 8 oz Cream Cheese (room temperature)
  • 8 tablespoons Butter (room temperature)
  • 8 cups Powdered Sugar
  • 1/2 cup Homemade Salted Caramel Sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon Vanilla Extract (1 teaspoon if not using caramel extract)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Caramel Extract optional)
  • Glazed Pecans for topping


For the Pumpkin Cake

  • Preheat oven to 350° F.
  • Cut pieces of round parchment paper to fit the bottom of 2 - 8-inch round cake pans. Grease the pans and lay the parchment paper in the bottom.
  • Add 4 cups all-purpose flour, 3 teaspoons baking powder, 1 teaspoon baking soda, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, 3 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon, 1 teaspoon ground ginger, 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves, 1 teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg (or 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg), and 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamon to a large mixing bowl and whisk together.
  • In another large mixing bowl add 2-15 ounce cans of pumpkin puree, 4 cups sugar, 1 1/2 cups canola oil, 8 eggs, and 4 teaspoons pure vanilla extract. Beat well with a hand mixer until the ingredients are combined.
  • Add the pumpkin mixture to the dry ingredients and stir until the flour is no longer seen and all the ingredients are combined.
  • Pour the batter (3/4 full)  into two greased round cake pans. There is enough leftover batter to make extra mini bundt cakes or cupcakes.
  • Bake for 50-55 minutes until the middle of the cake springs back when touched. (Bake the mini bundt pans for around 25 minutes or cupcakes for 15-20 minutes.)
  • Remove and let cool for 5 minutes. Run a knife around the edge of the pans. Invert the pans onto a cooling rack and remove the parchment paper. Let the cakes cool completely before frosting.

For the Salted Caramel Cream Cheese Frosting

  • Combine 2-8 ounces packages of cream cheese and 8 tablespoons of butter in a large mixing bowl. Beat until well combined and smooth.
  • Add powdered sugar in 2 cup increments until all 8 cups are incorporated. Beat until smooth.
  • Add 1/2 cup cooled caramel sauce, 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract, and 1/2 teaspoon caramel extract. Beat until completely combined. Set Aside

Frosting the Layered Pumpkin Cake

  • Using a lazy susan or a cake turntable works perfectly when cutting the cakes. Cut off the domed part of the top of both cakes with a long serrated bread knife and discard or freeze for a trifle later.
  • Measure halfway up of each round cake and cut horizontally through the middle while turning the lazy susan and continue cutting until completely separated.
  • Layer the bottom cake section onto a cake plate and frost with about a cup of cream cheese frosting. Continue with each section but do not add the frosting to the top layer yet.
  • When you get to the last layer, create a crumb barrier by frosting the entire cake with a thin layer of icing.
  • Set the cake in the freezer for 20 minutes.
  • Remove the cake from the freezer and frost the top and the sides with an offset spatula as you turn the lazy susan to get a perfectly smooth surface.
  • Press glazed pecans around the bottom of the cake - about 2 inches up from the bottom.
  • Return to the freezer for 20 minutes because you want the cake cold when you apply the caramel sauce. The sauce should be slightly warm in order to drizzle well but not too warm that it is runny.
  • Work your way around the top edge of the entire cake to make drips down the sides. Then drizzle the rest of the caramel on the top and spread to cover the top of the cake.
  • Sprinkle the glazed pecans around the top edge of the cake - about 2 inches in.
  • Return the cake to the freezer for 10 minutes until the caramel is well set.


  • Parchment paper prevents your batter from sticking to the bottom of the pan and allows the baked cake to fall out easily when turned upside down. Tear off a large sheet of parchment paper and place the bottom of the cake pan on top of it. Take a marker and mark around its parameter. Cut it with scissors and you have a perfectly fitted sheet to go in the bottom.
  • You want to make sure all the spices, sugar, salt, and leavening agent are well incorporated into the flour. Using a whisk or a sifter to combine everything works great.
  • Normally you should fill cake pans about 2/3 full and give the batter room to expand. But because I am cutting each of these round cakes to produce a four-layered finished product, I wanted them extra tall. I ended up filling the pans a little over 3/4 full.
  • This recipe makes plenty of extra batter. Therefore, you are able to make several mini bundt cakes or cupcakes as well.
  • There are two ways to tell when the cakes are done. First, use a toothpick and insert it into the middle of the cake. If it comes out clean with no batter marks, then you are good to go. A few crumbs are fine. Secondly, if you gently press in the middle of the cake and it springs back (a pillowy effect), then you know the cake is fully baked.
  • Let the baked cakes sit for about five minutes before removing them from the pans. Run a knife around the edge of the pan before inverting them onto a baking rack. Let them completely cool before icing and assembling the layers.
  • When mixing the icing, start with room temperature butter and cream cheese and beat them until they are really smooth. This way you'll not end up with lumps in your icing.
  • Make sure the salted caramel sauce is completely cooled before adding it to the icing, otherwise the butter and cream cheese will soften too much making it more challenging to frost the cake.
  • Make sure the round baked cakes are completely cooled before cutting the layers. If they are still warm, they're more flimsy and fragile to work with.
  • Slice off the domed top with a long serrated knife. Using a "lazy susan" or cake turntable helps tremendously when cutting the different layers. Once the domed top is off, eyeball about halfway down the cake and insert your serrated knife horizontally and turn the lazy susan as you saw back and forth.
  • If you want to keep the cake stand nice and clean while icing, you can cut three pieces of parchment paper and lay them down in a triangle on the cake stand before placing the cake on top. This way, it will catch all the drippings. When you are finished, carefully pull out each piece of parchment and it will leave you with a spotless stand.
  • While icing the first three layers, it doesn't matter if you place the cut side up or down. But when you get to the top layer, use the layer that was the bottom part of the cake. I place the cut side down, giving me a smooth, consistent, even top for my cake.
  • A crumb barrier is a thin layer of icing on the top and sides of the layered cake causing all the little crumbs to get caught in this initial icing. Then put the whole cake in the freezer for about 20 minutes until it is nice and firm. This step makes for a clean and crumb-free finished cake.


Keywords: pumpkin spice cake, pumpkin coffee cake, pumpkin cake with cream cheese frosting, pumpkin spice cake recipe

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