Pumpkin Vanilla Spice Cake with Pumpkin Spice Cream Cheese Frosting

Whew, the title of this recipe is a mouthful. To be fair, the original recipe, from The Bake Feed’s new Fall Baking Issue calls these “Vanilla Pumpkin Bars”, but to be honest, the shape is the only bar thing about them. Unlike a bar, this cake is as light and soft as can be with spices, pumpkin and vanilla. Name aside, this recipe is absolutely delicious. I promise that just saying this recipe is harder than actually making it. It’s a great beginner recipe and fun to make with all the spices. (Side note about spices: buy them in the bulk section of your grocery store if they are ones you don’t use often. I just spent $.07 for a tablespoon of coriander today — I would have had to pay $8 for the small spice container)! Okay, back to the recipe.

For all the late October and early November birthdays that roll around this time of year, this is the type of recipe that I LOVE to make. It’s indulgent with the cream cheese frosting, it’s seasonal with the pumpkin and spices, and it’s incredibly comforting, contrary to the weather outside. The act of sprinkling spices together and whipping frosting until fluffy are so therapeutic — it’s definitely a fun cake to make. And just wait for the aroma!

Being married to a French native, it’s always so much fun to bake real American recipes. Fabien absolutely LOVES Cinnamon Rolls, Banana Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting, Texas Chocolate Sheet Cake and Magnolia Table Chocolate Chip Cookies. The food discovery component of another culture is always really fun. I learned very early on that Europeans are impressed with the American’s incorporation of cream cheese and love to see that in our desserts. So whenever I sneak cream cheese into a muffin (like these Pumpkin Coffee Cake Muffins ) or if I spread cream cheese frosting over anything, he’s a fan. I’d say our (American) cream cheese is sort of like the (European) Nutella equivalent. It always finds its way into everything!

Today’s recipe incorporates a cream cheese frosting thats next level: pumpkin spice gets sprinkled in! Honestly, this is the beauty of baking. The possibilities are endless! You can add a dash of spice to something as basic as cream cheese frosting and you have an entirely different dessert.

Start thinking about upcoming birthdays, socially distanced dinner party dessert ideas, or someone in your life who could use a little extra kindness, this dessert is perfect. Enjoy!

This pumpkin vanilla spice cake is incredibly aromatic, soft, and moist. It’s pure comfort food. And the best part? A pumpkin spiced cream cheese frosting gets spread on top. While this recipe is packed with complex flavors, it’s a “piece of cake” to make. This is the perfect dessert to welcome Autumn into your home!

Pumpkin Vanilla Spice Cake with Pumpkin Spice Cream Cheese Frosting

This pumpkin vanilla spice cake is incredibly aromatic, soft, and moist. It's pure comfort food. And the best part? A pumpkin spiced cream cheese frosting gets spread on top. While this recipe is packed with complex flavors, it's a "piece of cake" to make. This is the perfect dessert to welcome Autumn into your home!

Pumpkin Vanilla Spice Cake

  • 1 cup Brown sugar (220 grams)
  • 3/4 cup Butter, melted (170 grams)
  • 1/3 cup Sugar (67 grams)
  • 1 1/2 cups Pumpkin (canned), pureed (not pumpkin pie filling) (366 grams)
  • 3 Eggs, room temperature (150 grams)
  • 1 1/2 tsp. Vanilla (6 grams)
  • 1 1/2 cups Flour (188 grams)
  • 1 tsp. Baking powder (5 grams)
  • 3/4 tsp. Baking soda (3.75 grams)
  • 3/4 tsp. Salt (2.25 grams)
  • 3/4 tsp. Ground cinnamon (1.5 grams)
  • 1/2 tsp. Ground nutmeg (1 gram)
  • 1/2 tsp. Ground ginger (1 gram)
  • 1/4 tsp. Ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp. Ground allspice (or pumpkin pie spice)
  • To finish Sprinkled cinnamon & finely chopped pecans (optional)

Pumpkin Spice Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 8 oz. Cream cheese, softened (226 grams)
  • 1/2 cup Butter, softened (113 grams)
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla (4 grams)
  • 1/4 tsp. Salt
  • 3 1/2 cups Powdered sugar (1 lb.) (454 grams)

Pumpkin Vanilla Spice Cake

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F (180C). Grease a 9×13-inch baking pan.

  2. In a large bowl, whisk the brown sugar, melted butter, and sugar together until combined. Whisk in the pumpkin, eggs and vanilla.

  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves and allspice (or pumpkin pie spice).

  4. Gradually whisk the dry ingredients into the wet, whisking until smooth. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Tap on the counter a few times to release any air bubbles.

  5. Bake 25-30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool completely before frosting.

Pumpkin Spice Cream Cheese Frosting

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer or using a large bowl and a hand mixer, beat the cream cheese and butter together on medium speed until smooth and creamy, about 1 minute. Add vanilla and salt and beat to combine.

  2. On low speed, slowly add the powdered sugar, until combined and smooth. Increase speed and beat until fluffy, about 1 minute.

  3. Once cake has cooled, frost the cake. Finish with pecans and cinnamon if desired.

Recipe adapted from Bake From Scratch magazine.

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