Name a better duo than pumpkin cake and cream cheese frosting, I’ll wait! You can easily make this fresh pumpkin cake recipe from scratch by roasting the pumpkin and baking the cakes the day before, then making the frosting and assembling it on the day you want to serve it.
This cake is the perfect way to celebrate a fall birthday or take something impressive to a Harvest or Halloween party.
How to make this fresh pumpkin cake recipe from scratch
First, use these instructions for how to roast a pumpkin, and then mix two cups of pumpkin with the oil, sugar, and eggs.
While those are mixing (or before if you don’t use a stand mixer), prepare two 8-inch cake pans with parchment paper circles in the bottom. Coat the inside of each tin with a thin layer of butter and flour. The most common issue I’ve had when trying to make layer cakes is that the cake so often sticks to the bottom of the pan. It’s the worst feeling to watch half of the cake stay in the pan, so I take extra time, in the beginning, to make sure that doesn’t happen!
Then, add the rest of your dry ingredients to the pumpkin mixture and stir just until it comes together. Bake at 350º for 40-45 minutes. Let the cakes cool for at least 20 minutes before turning them out onto a cutting board. Cool for as long as possible before wrapping them and putting them in the fridge overnight.
Assembly & decoration
The next day, make the frosting and assemble the cake! From start to finish, making this fresh pumpkin cake recipe from scratch takes about six hours. I prefer to break it up between two days. This way, you won’t feel rushed in the decorating process!
Spread a small layer of frosting on your cake plate, then place the first layer. Frosting is a lot easier to work with if you pipe it onto the cake first. Pipe the frosting in the general area you want it, then use knives or cake decorating utensils to spread the icing around. Decorate however you’d like, but if you want the look I have here, just use a butter knife or palette knife!
Double this recipe if you want four layers!
Fresh Pumpkin Cake Recipe From Scratch
- Prep Time: 1 hour
- Cook Time: 1 hour
- Total Time: 6 hours
- Yield: 8-16 servings 1x
2 cups of fresh roasted pumpkin
3/4 cup oil (I use avocado oil in all my cooking)
2 1/4 cups sugar
2 1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon nutmeg
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
Optional: 1/2 cup yellow raisins and/or 1/2 cup chopped walnuts, plus 1/4 cup chopped walnuts for topping
This makes just enough to cover the cake in a thin layer – double if you’re doubling the cake layers, you want to have a lot of frosting to decorate with, or if you’re a cream cheese frosting addict.
4 oz cream cheese
1/4 cup butter
4 cups powdered sugar
3 teaspoons vanilla extract (I used vanilla bean paste)
Food coloring (you can use beet powder and turmeric for natural red and yellow coloring)
First, prepare your roasted pumpkin with these instructions.
Prepare 2 8-inch cake tins with a piece of parchment paper on the bottom of the pan, then nonstick spray or a thin layer of butter followed by a thin layer of flour throughout the pan. This recipe will only make 2 cake layers: for the cake in the photo, I used four cake tins and doubled the recipe. Preheat the oven to 350º.
Mix flour, baking soda, salt, and spices together in a medium bowl. In a separate bowl, beat pumpkin, oil, eggs and sugar together. Then add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir just until combined (don’t over-mix!) and add walnuts or raisins if you’d like.
Bake for 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
Let the cakes cool completely before frosting. This is usually my downfall with frosted cakes, I’m just not patient enough! My advice is to bake the cake the night before, let the cakes cool for an hour then wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate. They’ll be very easy to work with the next day.
Use a serrated knife to trim off the rounded top of each cake layer. Spread a small amount of frosting on a cake plate and then place your first layer of cake down. Use a plastic bag or piping bag to put a 1/8 inch layer of frosting on top, and spread it evenly with a knife or spatula to create a level surface for the next layer. Stack on the second layer, frost the top, and repeat with the remaining layers of cake. Pipe the rest of the frosting around the sides of the cake, filling in crevices and distributing the frosting as evenly as possible. For the “naked” cake look, use the back of a dinner knife or a bench scraper to remove most of the frosting from the sides of the cake.
Decorate by mixing a few different colors of icing together and use a butter spreader or butter knife (anything similar to a palette knife) to create leaf shapes around the cake. Use a toothpick to create leaf stems. Sprinkle top with nuts if using, and enjoy!