This Pumpkin Cake with Caramel Cream Cheese Frosting is hands down, the best pumpkin cake recipe I’ve ever tried. It’s moist, flavorful and filled with pumpkin spice. The frosting is sweet, creamy, slightly tangy & filled with caramel for the perfect flavor combo. Make it for Thanksgiving or whenever you’re craving a delicious pumpkin dessert.
I keep thinking I’ve exhausted all the varieties of pumpkin desserts – and then I realize there’s a new pumpkin recipe I need to try. And today’s the day for a delicious new pumpkin creation. Enter pumpkin and caramel. Because what could be better than flavorful, cinnamon filled pumpkin cake and sweet, slightly tangy caramel cream cheese frosting???
Um… Moving on.
Pumpkin Cake Recipe
This pumpkin cake is moist, flavorful and has a deliciously tender crumb. What’s even better is that it’s basically made in 3 steps.
- Whisk together the dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, baking soda, pumpkin pie spice & salt.
- Beat together the oil, sugars, eggs, vanilla extract & pumpkin.
- Then beat the dry ingredients into the pumpkin mixture about ½ at a time.
Then the pumpkin cake batter is ready to bake. Pour it into a greased and floured 9×13 inch pan, and bake for about 30-35 minutes. When it’s done – it shouldn’t wobble in the middle and an inserted toothpick will come out clean.
The cake is soooo moist and tender thanks to the oil, eggs & pumpkin puree. Then it’s packed with delicious pumpkin spice flavor because of the pumpkin, brown sugar, vanilla extract and pumpkin pie spice. I used 2 teaspoons of pumpkin pie spice because I wanted it to be mildly spiced. (We have lots of flavor from the caramel cream cheese frosting) – but feel free to use 1 tablespoon if you prefer the spice flavor to be a little stronger. And if you don’t have pumpkin pie spice on hand – you can make your own. Just check out the recipe notes.
Caramel Cream Cheese Frosting
Ok – this caramel cream cheese icing just might be my new favorite thing. Normally caramel and caramel frosting are very sweet. But in this recipe, the tanginess of the cream cheese balances the sweet caramel perfectly. It’s creamy, slightly tangy, perfectly caramel-y and 100% delicious.
First we make the salted caramel sauce. This recipe makes a salted caramel that’s a little thicker, which is perfect for making the frosting. If you want to save time, you can buy caramel sauce instead. Just make sure it’s a high-quality caramel that’s quite thick in consistency for the best flavor. From there, it’s super easy to make.
- Beat the butter until soft, then mix in the cream cheese.
- Mix in ½ of the powdered sugar, followed by the caramel.
- Then mix in the rest of the powdered sugar about ½ at a time until it’s sweet enough for you.
- If the frosting seems a little too thick or too sweet, mix in a heavy cream/whipping cream 1 tablespoon at a time.
Frost the cake, and then you’re ready to serve.
Sometimes I’ll top each slice with a few pecans or an extra drizzle of caramel sauce. Either way – this pumpkin cake with caramel cream cheese frosting is addictive. Moist, flavorful, packed with pumpkin and topped with the most delicious frosting imaginable. What could be better????
For more pumpkin desserts – try these other favorites:
- Pumpkin Cranberry Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
- Pumpkin Cheesecake
- Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting
- No Bake Pumpkin Cheesecake
Pumpkin Cake with Caramel Cream Cheese Frosting
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup vegetable oil , or canola
- 1 cup brown sugar
- ½ cup white sugar
- 4 large eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 15 oz can pumpkin puree
Caramel Cream Cheese Frosting
- ½ cup unsalted butter , softened
- 6 oz cream cheese , full fat brick style
- ½ cup salted caramel (see below or buy your own)
- 2-3 cups powdered sugar
- 1-2 tablespoons whipping cream , as needed
- 1 cup white sugar
- ⅓ cup unsalted butter , cut into 5 pieces
- ½ cup whipping cream
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon coarse salt
- Preheat the oven to 350F degrees. Grease and flour a 9x13 inch pan.
- In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking powder, baking soda & salt.
- In a large bowl beat together the oil, sugars, eggs, vanilla extract and pumpkin puree until smooth.
- Beat in the flour mixture about ½ at a time, turning off the mixer and scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 35-40 minutes until it feels firm to the touch and inserted toothpick comes out clean.
Caramel Cream Cheese Frosting
- In a large bowl beat the butter until smooth.
- Beat in the cream cheese.
- Mix in 1 ½ cups powdered sugar, followed by the salted caramel.
- Mix in the rest of the powdered sugar about ½ cup at a time until it's the desired sweetness level you desire.
- If the mixture seems too thick or too sweet, beat in 1-2 tablespoons of whipping cream.
Salted Caramel Sauce
- Add the sugar to a large saucepan over medium heat. Whisk constantly as the sugar cooks. It will first form lumps and then turn into a deep colored amber sauce.
- Once it's completely smooth - whisk in the butter until it's fully melted.
- Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the whipping cream
- Then mix in the vanilla extract and salt.
Yummy, this looks so good!
Made this cake for my friends birthday, came out perfect! We only made the cake portion and used buttercream frosting that we had left over from another cake, but the frosting included in this recipe looks incredible. Came out very moist and fluffy, and held its structure (it was a tiered cake). We used 9in circular pans and it took around 55mins to bake 🙂
I hope your friend had a great birthday, and I’m so glad you enjoyed the pumpkin cake recipe. Also – thank you so much for your tips on using circular pans.
My family LOVED this cake! We finished the entire teay of cake in two days! This is the most moist, delicious and flavorful cake that I have ever tasted/made from scratch! Thank you for sharing such a great recipe that my entire family enjoyed. 🙂
Thank you so much Monica! I’m so glad your family enjoyed the recipe – and I definitely approve of finishing the cake in 2 days 😉
What do you do with the salted caramel sauce ? Add it to the bottom or ?
The salted caramel sauce goes into the frosting recipe (not the cake). I’ve included a salted caramel recipe so that you can make your own to use in the frosting if you choose, or you can use store bought instead. If using store bought, I’d opt for something that’s thick and comes in a jar as opposed to something from a squeeze bottle. You can also drizzle a little extra over each piece when you serve it.
Excellent. Best and easiest caramel recipe I have ever used. Will definitely make it again. Like others said, super soft and excellent frosting.
Do you let the caramel sauce cool before adding to the fristing?
Yes, you definitely want it to be cool – otherwise if it’s too hot it can melt the frosting.
The cake is MEGA – very juicy and aromatic 👌🏻😋!!! First of all, I had to translate this to the quantities and sizes that are usual in Germany, prepare some preparatory work with pumpkin puree/pumpkin spice & cook salted caramel – but it was absolutely worth it and will be left for the next cakes! I also used 1 teaspoon of baking powder instead of 2 and much less powdered sugar for the 0.5 cup frosting👌🏻😋 Thank you very much for the recipe, I will definitely bake it more often. Thank you.
Thank you so much Irina. I’m glad the extra work was worth it – it is definitely one of my favourites too
Is this cake best kept in the refrigerator?
It depends on how long you need it for and the temperature of your kitchen. 8 hours or so covered at room temperature would be fine. If it’s been frosted, I’d cover and place in the fridge overnight. Then let it sit on the counter for about 30-60 minutes before serving so it’s no longer cold.