When autumn rolls around, pumpkin is in season and that means it’s time to break out the spices and bake something delicious! This easy pumpkin cake recipe produces a moist, flavorful cake that’s perfect for fall. Best of all, it’s made from scratch with simple ingredients you likely have on hand.
Benefits of Baking with Pumpkin
Pumpkin is not just for carving into jack-o-lanterns! This nutritious squash offers many benefits that make it ideal for baking cakes and other sweet treats:
- Pumpkin is packed with vitamin A, providing more than 200% of your daily recommended intake in just one cup. Vitamin A is important for eye health.
- It contains antioxidants like beta-carotene that can help reduce inflammation and oxidative stress in the body.
- Pumpkin is low in calories yet high in fiber, meaning it can help you feel full. A cup of canned pumpkin has only 50 calories.
- It makes baked goods extra moist thanks to its high water content. The texture is perfectly dense and creamy.
- Pumpkin provides natural sweetness, so you don’t need to use as much sugar. It contains no fat or cholesterol.
Easy Homemade Pumpkin Cake Recipe
This simple cake recipe relies on common pantry ingredients along with convenient canned pumpkin.
- 1 2⁄3 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1⁄2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1⁄4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1⁄4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1⁄2 cup vegetable or canola oil
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup canned pure pumpkin purée (not pie filling)
- 1⁄4 cup milk
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 9-inch round cake pan or line with parchment paper.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger until well combined.
- In a large bowl using a hand mixer or stand mixer, beat the sugar, vegetable oil, and eggs on medium speed for 2 minutes until light and fluffy.
- Add in the canned pumpkin and milk. Beat until incorporated.
- Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients while mixing on low just until combined. Do not overmix.
- Pour the batter evenly into the prepared cake pan. Bake for 30-35 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Allow cake to cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before frosting.
This easy, homemade pumpkin cake is deliciously spiced and incredibly moist. Frost it with a tasty cream cheese frosting or cinnamon buttercream for extra flair. Add chocolate chips, raisins, or nuts to the batter if desired too. Now that you know how simple it is to bake with fresh pumpkin, you’ll want to enjoy it all autumn long!
Tips for Making the Best Pumpkin Cake
Follow these tips for pumpkin cake success:
- Use pure pumpkin purée rather than pumpkin pie filling, which contains added sugars and spices that will alter the flavor.
- Allow eggs and butter to come to room temperature before mixing for best volume and texture.
- Mix just until combined and stop as soon as you see no more streaks of dry ingredients. Overmixing develops gluten, making the texture tough.
- Check for doneness by inserting a toothpick into the center. It should come out clean when the cake is done.
- Never open the oven while baking, which can cause the cake to fall. Wait until at least 2/3 of the baking time has passed before checking.
- Cool cake in the pan for 10 minutes before inverting onto a rack. This helps firm it up for easier frosting.
- Use a serrated knife for a clean cut when slicing the finished cake.
Easy Decorating Ideas
Part of the fun of baking this cake is decorating it for autumn! Here are quick and easy ideas:
- Spice it up by dusting the finished cake with cinnamon, nutmeg, and/or ginger for extra fall flavor.
- Get creative with frosting by tinting cream cheese or buttercream orange, or using chocolate, caramel, maple, or pecan flavors.
- Top with candies like candy corn for a festive touch. You can also use sprinkles, chocolate chips, or toffee bits.
- Add autumnal decor by topping the cake with fresh flowers like roses or daisies, fallen leaves, pine cones, acorns, or mini pumpkins.
- Make a sugar plume: Roll fondant into a cylinder, brush with food coloring, then frill the edges with a toothpick. Poke into the cake for a pretty decoration.
- Write on top with edible markers or a piping pen for a personalized message.
With a simple homemade pumpkin cake as your base, the decorating options are endless. Let your creativity run wild to design a cake that’s as tasty as it is seasonal.