Pumpkin Spice Cake with Maple Frosting

Pumpkin Spice Cake with Maple Frosting

Confession: I am a pumpkin addict… and nothing can satisfy the craving like Pumpkin Spice Cake with Maple Frosting.

It’s unfortunate that pumpkin is strictly seasonal.  If you dare bake a big pumpkin pie in the summer, people will look at you like you’re wearing undies on your head. Pumpkin cookies on Easter? Not on your life!

So that means, right now, while we have the chance, we MUST stuff ourselves with as many pumpkin dishes as possible. No really… that’s an official component of fall.

This Pumpkin Spice Cake with Maple Frosting is my absolute favorite pumpkin recipe for feeding the pumpkin fetish. Granted, I do love these Creamy Chocolate Pumpkin Bars and a good Pumpkin Milk Shake. Yet this cake, folks, is off the charts.

Best Pumpkin Cake

Let me start by telling you it’s a BIG cake–three 9 inch layers with a thick layer of maple frosting for each; perfect for sharing with a large group… or not.

The cake itself is incomparably moist with a good amount of spice. I offer three options for spicing it up. The play-it-safe option: Pumpkin Pie Spice, a standard blend of your favorite fall spices. For the adventurous cook, I suggest adding either Garam Masala or Chinese 5 Spice Powder. Both include the comfort of cinnamon, but also provide an extra kick of various exotic spices (potentially) including:  nutmeg, fennel, cardamom, coriander, cumin, star anise, ginger and clove. Some of these are thought to be “savory” spices, but you’d be amazed at what they can do for a cake.

Pumpkin Spice Cake

The Maple Frosting is the perfect complement to the Pumpkin Spice Cake, with an earthy sweetness and creamy texture. It takes this pumpkin masterpiece to the next level.

L.O.V.E. this cake.


Yield: 16+

Prep Time: 25 minutes

Cook Time: 35 minutes

Pumpkin Spice Cake with Maple Frosting


For the Pumpkin Spice Cake:
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 ½ tsp. baking powder
1 ½ tsp. baking soda
1 ½ tsp. salt
1 ½ Tb. Garam Masala (sub. Pumpkin Pie Spice or Chinese 5 Spice)
1 ½ cups brown sugar
1 ½ cups granulated sugar
3 sticks melted unsalted butter (1 1/2 cups)
6 large eggs
28 oz. can pure pumpkin puree (3 cups)

For the Maple Frosting:
2- 8 oz. packages cream cheese
3 sticks unsalted butter
2 Tb. pure maple syrup
2 tsp. vanilla extract
5-6 cups powdered sugar


For the Pumpkin Spice Cake: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour THREE 9-inch cake pans and set aside.

Mix all the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Pour in the melted butter, pumpkin and eggs and beat (or whisk) until smooth.

Divide the batter evenly among the three pans. Bake for 30-35 minutes until the top bounces back when pressed on.

Cool for 10 minutes then flip out of the pans and cool completely.

Use a serrated knife to trim the top of each cake to make a level surface.

For the Maple Frosting: Place the cream cheese, butter, maple syrup and vanilla in a bowl. Beat until light and creamy. Slowly add the powdered sugar and beat until the desired consistency is reached. Refrigerate until ready to use.

To Assemble. Place one cake on a cake plate. Spread 1/3 of the frosting in a thick layer over the top. Add the second cake on top spread another 1/3 of the frosting. Top with the third cake. Place the remaining frosting in a piping bag with a decorative tip. Pipe stars over the top of the cake. Garnish with chopped nuts if desired.

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109 Responses to “Pumpkin Spice Cake with Maple Frosting”

  1. #
    Jessica @ How Sweet — October 13, 2011 @ 5:37 am

    this cake is absolutely gorgeous! i am in love with it.


  2. #
    Alison @ Ingredients, Inc. — October 13, 2011 @ 6:03 am



  3. #
    Amy — October 13, 2011 @ 6:12 am

    I want that cake!!! What a beauty.


  4. #
    Nelly Rodriguez — October 13, 2011 @ 6:27 am

    Gorgeous cake, wish I had a slice for breakfast!


  5. #
    Katarina — October 13, 2011 @ 6:35 am

    What a beautiful cake!


  6. #
    spiceblogger — October 13, 2011 @ 6:35 am

    That. looks. DELICIOUS!
    I have a pumpkin obsession :)


  7. #
    Samantha — October 13, 2011 @ 6:39 am

    I wish I had a reason to make that cake, it is way too big to eat alone (although I might be able to do that…)


    • Sweet Woman — October 14th, 2011 @ 3:56 am

      Oh Im gonna make it and share it! :)) Beautiful thank you! :))


  8. #
    Rosa — October 13, 2011 @ 6:44 am

    Your cake is incredibly beautiful and tempting! Wow, stunning. *drool*




  9. #
    Deb @ knitstamatic — October 13, 2011 @ 6:47 am

    Oooh, I love this cake! I am a bit of a pumpkin freak. Garam masala sounds like a wonderful twist and something I will definitely tru. I’ve yet to find a Chinese 5-spice blend that I really like but when I do I’ll give that a try too.


  10. #
    Curt — October 13, 2011 @ 6:57 am

    All that frosting and nuts! Mmmm, mmmm!


  11. #
    Brandie (@ Home Cooking Memories) — October 13, 2011 @ 7:02 am

    Oh my….this is a thing of beauty!


  12. #
    Jeanette — October 13, 2011 @ 7:10 am

    Now that is some cake – so interesting with the garam masala spice too!


  13. #
    Betsy — October 13, 2011 @ 7:17 am

    We love pumpkin too! I’d love it if you’d link this recipe (an any others you have up your sleeve) to our Seasonal Potluck http://bit.ly/eLlgG2 Its pumpkin month! ps. Great photos!


  14. #

    You mean you don’t wear undies on your head?

    I do love pumpkin and the standard pumpkin pie with whipped cream is my all-time favorite. I enjoy it in other desserts, like that incredible pumpkin spice cake up there, though. In fact, I’d take a few slices of that with my morning coffee right now! It’s beautiful, Sommer.


    • Sommer — October 13th, 2011 @ 7:29 am

      Only when I’m feeling frisky! ;)


  15. #
    Carolyn — October 13, 2011 @ 7:27 am

    This is so gorgeous, Sommer! What a cake. And I am definitely going to link up my pumpkin cardamom bread!


  16. #
    Maria — October 13, 2011 @ 7:33 am

    WOW! That is a cake!


  17. #
    RavieNomNoms — October 13, 2011 @ 7:41 am

    WOWZA!! Look at that thing…that just just fantastic. I am so impressed and I bet that maple and pumpkin combination is just amazing


  18. #
    Liz — October 13, 2011 @ 7:49 am

    Oh, my gosh! This is the best pumpkin dessert ever…the 3 layers are just stunning! My, I’d love a slice :)


  19. #
    Heather Davis — October 13, 2011 @ 7:50 am

    It’s so true some foods just have a season and there is no way you can eat them otherwise. Pumpkin spells autumn to me and I try to get the most out of the little window as I can. I have linked my pumpkin spice latte. Again could imagine drinking that in June? Just wrong!


  20. #
    Angie @ Bigbearswife — October 13, 2011 @ 7:50 am

    yum! I can’t believe how good that cake looks!! I love the frosting just being inbetween the layers!!


  21. #
    Squash Blossom Babies — October 13, 2011 @ 8:09 am

    WOW!!! That look fantastic! I am loving all the pumpkin recipes this year! Come on over and check out my pumpkin granola. http://squashblossombabies.com/2011/10/13/a-fresh-start/


  22. #
    Rachel @ Not Rachael Ray — October 13, 2011 @ 8:27 am

    What a gorgeous cake! Thanks for letting me know about your round-up, I added my pumpkin seeds :)


  23. #
    Mari @ Mari's Cakes — October 13, 2011 @ 8:29 am

    It is lovely, and I am sure it’s very delicious!


  24. #
    Bev Weidner — October 13, 2011 @ 8:50 am


    I’m sure there’s room in one of those layers for me to climb in and nap, right? RIGHT?


  25. #
    Tiff @ Love Sweat and Beers — October 13, 2011 @ 8:51 am

    That maple frosting sounds amazing. I’d put it on everything!


  26. #
    Stephanie — October 13, 2011 @ 8:52 am

    I can see why you love this cake! It looks incredible!! Bring on the pumpkin!


  27. #
    Kate@Diethood.com — October 13, 2011 @ 9:07 am

    Wow. That is all I have to say. And that frosting!?! You are a rockstar!


  28. #
    Lana @ Never Enough Thyme — October 13, 2011 @ 9:25 am

    All I needed to hear were those three words: pumpkin, spice, maple and I knew this would be a winner! My goodness what a spectacular cake. And the option of Chinese 5-spice…brilliant.


  29. #
    Heather | Farmgirl Gourmet — October 13, 2011 @ 9:26 am

    You’re killing me Sommer. Seriously, I would dive into that cake right now! Gorgeous. Now to schedule some event so I can make it. Oh I know…how about an “It’s Thursday” party. Party of 1 + 3 layers of pumpkinee goodness = Happy Heather. :) Great post. Bookmarking!!!



  30. #
    Amanda @ Kevin & Amanda — October 13, 2011 @ 9:33 am



  31. #
    Delishhh — October 13, 2011 @ 9:36 am

    I never was a pumpkin adictive but am now and this is just an awesome recipce – would not last long in our house.


  32. #
    Heidi / foodiecrush — October 13, 2011 @ 9:42 am

    This is a towering feat of maple and pumpkin love that I may have to attempt. Gorgeously tempting!


  33. #
    Jamie — October 13, 2011 @ 9:46 am

    Looks amazing! I too have a pumpkin fetish and I must say I just go for and make pumpkin pie to my little hearts desire.I will defienatly have to try this, but until I can a Pumpkin Spice Latte from Starbucks just may have to happen today!


  34. #
    Cécy — October 13, 2011 @ 9:50 am

    You sold me just with the title. I might only do a third of the cake but it is very tempting. So far my favorite way to use pumpkins in sweet dish is a chocolate chip pumpkin cookie recipe. Those cookies are like tiny individual cakes, however because they hold a lot of moisture they have to be eaten quick. Mind you we rarely have that problem.


  35. #
    DessertForTwo — October 13, 2011 @ 9:59 am

    Pumpkin + maple = winner winner chicken dinner!

    This cake looks gorgeous!


  36. #
    Diane {Created by Diane} — October 13, 2011 @ 11:09 am

    That is sure a beauty! Sounds delicious, could you send me a slice….please :)


  37. #
    Krista {Budget Gourmet Mom} — October 13, 2011 @ 11:20 am

    Gorgeous cake, Sommer! I could definitely go for a slice of that right now!


  38. #
    Chris @ TheKeenanCookBook — October 13, 2011 @ 11:32 am

    Wowzers… This looks great!


  39. #
    MIss @ Miss in the Kitchen — October 13, 2011 @ 12:14 pm

    Oh that is the best looking pumpkin cake I’ve ever seen!


  40. #
    Britne @ Shabbott's Habits — October 13, 2011 @ 12:51 pm

    What a beautiful fall cake. I am obsessed with pumpkin. I seriously can NOT get enough and the maple frosting? Outstanding! My family actually makes their own maple syrup, so I have GALLONS of the stuff and am always looking for ways to incorporate it into what I’m making. Bookmarked this!


  41. #
    Sylvie @ Gourmande in the Kitchen — October 13, 2011 @ 1:07 pm

    That is one amazing cake! I love that last shot.


  42. #
    Hotly Spiced — October 13, 2011 @ 6:25 pm

    You have layered that cake so well. It looks incredible. Love the combination of pumpkin and maple.


  43. #
    Aldy @ Al Dente Gourmet — October 13, 2011 @ 8:42 pm

    This gorgeous cake look absolutely scrumptious!

    Hugs <3


  44. #
    chinmayie @ love food eat — October 13, 2011 @ 9:18 pm

    Such a beautiful cake! Very interesting use of spices :)


  45. #
    Dee at Deelicious Sweets — October 13, 2011 @ 10:20 pm

    Wow, that is an amazing cake! I love making huge cakes like that. Very interesting spices too. Just lovely :)


  46. #
    Sanjeeta kk — October 13, 2011 @ 10:36 pm

    Hmm…can imagine the wonderful aroma of garam masala in the cake! What a lovely frosting.


  47. #
    Ann — October 13, 2011 @ 10:53 pm

    What a great cake recipe….absolutely stunning, decadent and drool-worthy! Thank you for sharing this one – it’s amazing!


  48. #
    Lauren — October 14, 2011 @ 8:24 am

    This is a stunning and jaw dropping cake! LOVING this! And, I’m pretty much addicted to pumpkin, so I’m right with ya!


  49. #
    Linda — October 14, 2011 @ 8:50 am

    Wow.. that cake is over the top gorgeous!! Without a doubt I have to make this, totally impressive!!! Count me in to the pumpkin lovers club! I do believe that the short season is what makes everyone so crazed about pumpkin! I wouldn’t want it any longer; its the excitement and anticipation and fabulous fal taste that I love!


  50. #
    Tricia @ Saving room for dessert — October 14, 2011 @ 8:54 am

    Beautiful cake! The pecans look perfect :) Enjoy and have a lovely weekend. Drove through Asheville last weekend and waved to you as we went by! Beautiful colors already.


  51. #
    a spoonful of yumm — October 14, 2011 @ 11:11 am

    wow ! this pumpkin spice cake looks fabulous


  52. #
    brandi — October 14, 2011 @ 11:50 am

    SO gorgeous! love that you used garam masala in this. spicy!


  53. #
    Grubarazzi (@Grubarazzi) — October 14, 2011 @ 12:16 pm

    Words cannot describe my love for this darn cake…seriously.


  54. #
    Angie's Recipes — October 14, 2011 @ 12:30 pm

    The cake looks stunning!


  55. #
    Christin — October 14, 2011 @ 3:05 pm

    What a gorgeous cake! Now I know what I’m making for Thanksgiving dessert! I love pumpkin, but I’m not crazy about the traditional pumpkin pie. This will be perfect!


  56. #
    marla — October 14, 2011 @ 6:44 pm

    I cannot get enough pumpkin in my world. Ever. I am with you on the Garam Masala or Chinese 5 Spice Powder. Love that. Will link up some recipes :)


  57. #
    Kita — October 15, 2011 @ 6:49 am

    That is one rocking cake! It looks stunning. I haven’t started with pumpkin yet because I am afraid once I go pumpkin this season – I wont come back! Craziness, I know. But this cake may just push me over the edge.


  58. #
    Brandon @ Kitchen Konfidence — October 15, 2011 @ 2:12 pm

    Wow, that is a grip of icing. And cake. Looks soooo good. I love the use of garam masala as well. I’ve been trying to integrate that spice more into my cooking recently. So complex and delicious.

    Just posted my recipe for Pumpkin Ricotta Crostata. You need to try this recipe.

    PS. Love the use of Linky. I am definitely going to explore that option for my own blog.


  59. #
    Katie @ BloomEveryday — October 15, 2011 @ 3:51 pm

    Great cake! This looks so amazing!


  60. #
    Amilia @justeverydayme — October 15, 2011 @ 7:07 pm

    Wow! This cake looks amazing. I’m going to have to come up with an excuse to make this sometime soon..before pumpkin starts being frowned upon ;) Thanks for sharing this recipe!


  61. #
    Maria — October 16, 2011 @ 2:28 am

    I love pumpkin too!!! Doesn’t everyone xD the pumpkin milkshake looks like a really good idea.


  62. #
    Jennifer @ Peanut Butter and Peppers — October 16, 2011 @ 5:25 am

    When I opened your page and saw that cake I swear I was going to lick my computer screen! It looks so good!!! OMG! I soooooo need to make this!!


  63. #
    Tessa — October 16, 2011 @ 3:44 pm

    Love how you frosted it. Looks rustic and delicious :)


  64. #
    Tessa — October 16, 2011 @ 3:44 pm

    Love how you frosted this. Rustic and gorgeous!


  65. #
    Jenny (VintageSugarcube) — October 16, 2011 @ 5:01 pm

    The heck with diamonds and roses and chocolates. Just gimme some of that triple threat pumpkin cake with all those scrumptious pecans and I’ll be a happy gal!


  66. #
    Katrina — October 16, 2011 @ 8:44 pm

    What a great, delicious looking cake!


  67. #
    naomi — October 16, 2011 @ 11:30 pm

    Absolutely gorgeous cake! I love it And I love the maple frosting.


  68. #
    Amy @ Gastronome Tart — October 17, 2011 @ 6:12 am

    I am a pumpkin addict as well. Although I haven’t been able to indulge in it much this year as we are getting ready to move this weekend :( Anyhow, great dessert! Looks and sounds delicious!


  69. #
    Cookin' Cowgirl — October 17, 2011 @ 8:40 am

    Beautiful! I want at LEAST one layer of this to my self….right now! ;)


  70. #
    Shabs — October 17, 2011 @ 12:33 pm

    Wowowowo , this cake looks absolutely gorgeous and scrumptuous .


  71. #
    foodies at home — October 17, 2011 @ 11:29 pm

    Hi…my name is Charisse and I’m a pumpkin addict too! We should seriously start a club! LOL…this is sending me over the edge!


  72. #
    Aggie — October 18, 2011 @ 12:04 pm

    Oh my goodness! This made me stop in my tracks. What a GORGEOUS cake Sommer!!


  73. #
    megan @ whatmegansmaking — October 23, 2011 @ 5:15 pm

    oh man, this looks so good!! What an amazing cake. :)


  74. #
    Brenda @ a farmgirl's dabbles — October 24, 2011 @ 7:19 pm

    Beautiful cake!! Love all the flavors.


  75. #
    Dmarie — October 30, 2011 @ 10:28 am

    major WOW factor!!


  76. #
    Sarah @ pão e queijo — November 10, 2011 @ 7:10 pm

    What a gorgeous cake, decoration, and photograph! It’s so refreshing to see a cake and frosting not made from a box… love it.


  77. #
    Ashley — November 26, 2011 @ 5:48 pm

    I saw your recipe and HAD to make it for Thanksgiving. It was AMAZING!!! I wound up doubling the recipe and making one 3 tier 8″ cake and three 2 tier 6″ cakes. I used the Garam Masala and the only change I made was I added more maple to the frosting – almost triple. For whatever reason, I just wasn’t getting as much maple as I wanted. My grandfather, who is a die hard pumpkin pie guy, informed me that he will never have another bite of pumpkin pie if it meant he could have this cake :) Thank you so much for posting an awesome, easy recipe that is so unique and is now a staple in my home.


    • Sommer — November 26th, 2011 @ 5:53 pm

      Ashley, thanks for your sweet comment–I’m so happy it was a hit. You just made my day! :)


  78. #
    Jennifer — April 2, 2012 @ 9:36 pm

    Having just stumbled upon this recipe today and having no problem with pumpkin dishes year round combined with the excitement of seeing my pumpkin seeds/sprouts popping out of the soil this morning – I just may have to make this sometime this week.


  79. #
    Megan Pence @ Wanna be a Country Cleaver — September 18, 2012 @ 7:05 am

    I can’t say enough how much I am fawning over this cake. This is the stuff dreams are made of.


  80. #
    Living The Sweet Life — September 18, 2012 @ 7:29 am

    This is one GORGEOUS cake! And I agree… from september to the end of november we should all make a mandate to consume as much pumpkin as possible …
    Adding garam masala to this cake is BRILLIANT … such a great idea and I can only imagine how perfectly it matched with the sweet maple frosting – – this is on the top of my fall baking list!


  81. #
    The 36th AVENUE — September 29, 2012 @ 8:37 pm

    Oh my it looks so good. Thank you so much for the recipe. I am sharing it on my FB page!


  82. #
    Russell van Kraayenburg — October 10, 2012 @ 8:21 am

    Holy moly! I thought I had a doozy of a cake this week. I think you win. Now can I have a consolation slice please? : )


  83. #
    Sara — October 28, 2012 @ 9:28 pm

    Make cupcakes for a Halloween party at work and found some cute ones at the Food Network site. I did the pumpkin/haystack ones, and the suggested cupcake was a pumpkin spice cake with maple icing. I used your recipe, and they are delicious! The recipe made 2 dozen cupcakes with enough batter left for two 9-inch rounds (a bit thinner than yours but still pretty decent sized). Here’s the link the Food Network site – http://www.foodnetwork.com/holidays-and-parties/food-network-magazines-halloween-cupcakes/pictures/page-3.html.

    Thanks for the great recipe!


    • Sara — October 28th, 2012 @ 9:31 pm

      P.S. I officially moved the recipe from my “Looks Yummy” to “Is Yummy” board on Pintrest!


  84. #
    Damara — November 25, 2012 @ 6:19 pm

    I made this cake for Thanksgiving and everyone was so impressed. The icing is decadent. I added more maple syrup than suggested. The cake is moist. The only possible downside is that the cake is huge. It makes an excellent presentation though. Thank you so much for the recipe this might become a Wychor family tradition.


  85. #
    Piping Bags — January 9, 2013 @ 3:01 am

    I’ve never heard of canned pumpkin puree…is there an alternative I can use if I can’t find it? Can I use fresh pumkin?


  86. #
    Rachel — November 3, 2013 @ 3:58 pm

    Tried this recipe and wasn’t all that pleased. I followed it for the most part, except that I added half as much garam masala. I’m so glad I did that, because 2 T would have been WAY too much. Perhaps the issue was that I was using some that I bought in India–it may be different than the kind you can get in the States. Anyway, the cake was too mushy due to the large amount of pumpkin puree and I could barely taste the maple in the frosting. I ended up doctoring the cake mix quite a bit to make it palatable and it ended up okay, but I was definitely disappointed.


    • Sommer — November 3rd, 2013 @ 6:00 pm

      I’m so sorry to here that Rachel! I’ve made this cake many times and it’s always a crowd pleaser. I wonder what happened…


  87. #
    Kera — November 12, 2013 @ 10:32 am

    Maple syrup, or flavoring?


  88. #
    Hanna — September 24, 2014 @ 2:51 pm

    I’ve made this recipe a bunch of times always as cupcakes and they are always amazing. And it make a lot of cupcakes!! If it doesn’t turn out, you’re doing something wrong! Try again because you will love it! This is the only pumpkin thing I have ever enjoyed.


  89. #
    Chichi — November 5, 2014 @ 10:49 am

    Delicious looking cake. Love naked cakes


  90. #
    Mary Ann — December 4, 2014 @ 10:59 am

    This was crazy good. I mean, crazy good. I took it to work and one gal told me that she knows she is only 28 but feels pretty certain it is the best cake she has or will ever eat! Thank you for this keeper!



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