A moist pumpkin cake recipe is something everyone should have on hand. This pumpkin cake is called the "best" because it is that good! Pumpkin puree, warm fall spices, and lots of butter make this the most delicious Fall cake. Although this easy cake is definitely a Fall-type dessert, I can eat it all year long.
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After trying many recipes, I really feel this is the best recipe for pumpkin cake! You can technically call this a pumpkin bread since it is made in a loaf pan and because it is a more dense pumpkin recipe with no frosting.
It is nice and buttery and honestly, this pumpkin cake tastes so good you do not need any topping at all. If you want one, go ahead and grab the recipe from my moist chocolate cake. But first, try this recipe without it.
It is easy to make too which I really love! You only need two bowls and a few minutes to make this Fall cake.
This pumpkin cake is so moist and delicious that it almost tastes like you are eating pumpkin pie. That is because this is a pumpkin cake made with butter which makes it nice and rich.
This cake also has a special step that I added which makes all the difference in the richness of the cake which I talk about below and in the recipe. This step makes this cake moist and delicious.
We love making this, our banana coffee cake, my classic Philadelphia cheesecake, for fall-baked treats. We love to add our favorite autumn drinks of non alcoholic eggnog and mulled apple cider and our spiced pear martini to the mix too.
What You'll Need
- canned pumpkin (pumpkin puree): not pumpkin pie filling but plain canned pumpkin. We use canned pumpkin for this pumpkin cake so it is really easy. You can also use fresh pumpkin if that is what you have on hand.
- whole milk
- all-purpose flour
- granulated sugar
- butter. I like to use unsalted butter.
- baking powder
- kosher salt
- vanilla extract
The ingredient list may seem long but it is actually very easy and manageable, I promise! It is also completely worth all the effort because this pumpkin cake is that good.
There is a secret last step (don't worry it is easy) that really makes this pumpkin cake moist which I will talk about later!
How to make this pumpkin cake
The steps are very simple. Here they are (full recipe below)
- In a large bowl add your dry ingredients and mix.
- Grab a separate bowl and add your wet ingredients (except the milk).
- Now combine the wet and dry ingredients with a mixer.
- Now add your warm milk and mix until combined.
- Pour batter into a prepared baking pan (this is a greased and lined pan which I explain below) and bake.
That special step that I mentioned earlier is adding warm milk after you have mixed your wet and dry ingredients. It really makes for the most deliciously moist pumpkin cake.
This easy step makes all the difference in making that cake moist.
Here is how I prepared my cake pan for this pumpkin cake. It is easy, I promise!
- The first thing I do is butter the entire inside of the pan (sides and bottom). This is the glue that will hold your parchment paper in the next step.
- Now I cut two pieces of parchment paper: one that will sit inside the pan lengthwise and the other widthwise. To figure out the size to cut I just place my baking pan on top of the parchment paper and make a cut mark in the paper just to the inside of where the cake pan sits on it. Then cut away!
- After I have my strips of parchment placed inside the cake pan in both directions, I butter or grease the tops of that.
- That is my cake preparation overload!
You can take it or leave it or use just some of it, but doing this whole process works every single time for me 🙂 I also like that my parchment paper makes easy lifting handles so I do not have to invert my pumpkin cake onto a plate after baking.
The difference between these two is the canned pumpkin pie filling is full of its own spices which we do not want. This will also have some sort of sweetener in too.
The plain canned pumpkin is just the pumpkin and nothing else. This is always the one you want to bake with since you can control all of the ingredients.
I love time savers in the kitchen but here is not one of those times to do that with the wrong canned pumpkin.
Pumpkin puree and canned pumpkin are the same. Both are 100 percent pumpkin with no other ingredients added.
You will need about 2 cups of pumpkin puree to equal one 15-ounce can of pumpkin.
Expert Recipe Tips
- Does pumpkin cake need to be refrigerated?
Yes. Anytime you are working with moist cakes like this one, you will want to refrigerate them to keep them fresh. I will leave this out on the counter on the day I baked it but then I place it in the refrigerator after that.
- Can you freeze pumpkin cake?
You bet you can! Pumpkin cake is wonderful for the freezer and here is how I do it:
- Once your cake is cool, wrap it in parchment paper to cover all of the cake.
- Now place the wrapped cake in a freezer-proof plastic freezer bag.
- Freeze for up to 2 months.
To thaw your cake:
- Remove the pumpkin cake from the freezer and place it in the fridge overnight or until thawed. Leave the bag and everything on the cake while it defrosts.
- Once thawed, remove the cake from the bag and discard the parchment paper.
- Serve immediately or refrigerate for up to 1 week.
- Preparing your cake pan for this pumpkin cake
When I make pumpkin cake, I like to use a loaf pan and prepare my pan to the point of overload. I have had one too many times where my cake didn't lift out of a pan. This is no fun and you may think you are saving time by not doing this but it only will come back to haunt you after baking.
I have tried many pumpkin cake recipes and this is by far the easiest and my favorite one. In fact, my family has been using this recipe for years now!
Give this easy pumpkin cake a try and I am sure you will be adding it to your rotation for years to come. Whether you need to use up those pumpkins after Halloween or want a delicious Fall cake, this cake will be a hit.
More Pumpkin Recipes
If you love this pumpkin cake recipe, you may also love these easy pumpkin recipes:
For More Fall Recipes
There are so many great Autumn recipes that we enjoy making. Here are some favorites in our house:
- Our favorite Fall baking is making our Pear Frangipane Tart or our Apple Galette and our Carrot Cake Recipe
- For something easy, we love making our Fall Shortbread Cookies since it is almost foolproof.
- For Fall meal ideas, we enjoy our Carrot and Acorn Squash Soup and our Roasted Acorn Squash
- You May also enjoy these classics, our Pizzelle our Vanilla Dessert Sauce, or our Italian Apple Cake
Pumpkin Cake - Rich and Buttery
Tried the Recipe? We Would Love To Hear From You In The Comments Below!
- loaf pan or round cake pan
- 1 ⅔ cup All Purpose Flour
- 1 ¼ cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup pumpkin puree not pumpkin pie puree but plain pureed pumpkin
- ½ cup softened unsalted butter
- ½ cup warm milk microwave for about 30 seconds
- 2 large eggs room temperature
- 2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt (or ⅛ teaspoon of table salt)
- Pre heat your oven to 350 degrees
- Grease and flour a round cake pan or loaf pan (this is when you grease your pan then add a couple tablespoon of flour and coat the greased pan by turning the flour around your pan until it is all coated or follow my steps above on how to use parchment paper)
- Grab 2 bowls. In the first bowl add your flour, spices, salt, baking powder and baking soda and set aside.1 ⅔ cup All Purpose Flour, 2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, ½ teaspoon baking powder, ½ teaspoon baking soda, ¼ teaspoon nutmeg, ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- In your other bowl add your butter and sugar and cream it with a hand mixer until it is fluffy, about 2 minutes.1 ¼ cup granulated sugar, ½ cup softened unsalted butter
- Next, add your eggs and mix well until it is incorporated.2 large eggs
- Now add your pumpkin, vanilla and mix well.1 cup pumpkin puree, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Next, add your dry ingredients from the other bowl and mix by hand just until it is all incorporated.
- Now add your warm milk and mix well into your batter.½ cup warm milk
- Pour your batter into your prepared pan
- If you are using a cake pan, bake for about 45-50 minutes or just until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. All oven temps vary so it may take more or less time depending on your oven.If you are using a loaf pan, place loaf pan on a sheet tray (to prevent any leaks) and bake for about 50-55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. All oven temps vary so it may take more or less time depending on your oven.Do not over bake the pumpkin cake. A few crumbs on a toothpick when testing is ok. The cake will keep cooking a little while resting.
- When done, remove from the oven and let cool for 15 minutes
- Once cool, take a knife carefully around the edge and loosen the cake from the pan. Then invert it (place a plate on top and flip it over on to the plate) and let cool for another 15 minutes. If you used parchment paper just lift the sides of the parchment paper up and remove the cake from the pan.
Nutrition Values are estimates only.See full nutrition disclaimer here