The Best Pumpkin Cake with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

Pumpkin Cake with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting – Moist pumpkin cake layers with chocolate ganache and maple cream cheese frosting.

The Best Pumpkin Cake with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

Fall is (or was) officially here just a few weeks ago and I was so excited about it. It was hard leaving California nearly five years ago, but knowing I’d get to enjoy the fall season made the move a little easier. Drives through the canyon and even the view from my backyard are so amazing this time of year. And like many of you, I also love fall because it brings with it so many delightful flavors I get to incorporate into my cakes!

I have a lineup of seasonal cakes I’ll be sharing, starting with pumpkin cake, layered with chocolate ganache and maple cream cheese frosting. The cake moist and flavorful and a perfect pairing with chocolate and maple.

Pumpkin Cake

This pumpkin cake recipe is the only pumpkin cake recipe you’ll ever need! It’s that good. You are going to love the flavor, the rise, and the texture. It’s moist and fluffy, and always bakes high.

Ingredients You’ll Need for Pumpkin Cake

  • Pumpkin puree – I like the Libby’s brand
  • All-purpose flour
  • Baking powder
  • Cinnamon
  • Ginger
  • Nutmeg
  • Salt
  • Granulated sugar
  • Brown sugar
  • Eggs
  • Vegetable oil
  • Vanilla

To start, you’ll mix the dry ingredients together and then set aside. In your stand mixer, combine the wet ingredients and mix until well combined. After that, you simple add the dry ingredients while your mixer is on low. Remember, never over mix your batter once you add the dry ingredients. You only want to mix until the dry ingredients are incorporated.

HOW TO MAKE MOIST CAKES FROM SCRATCH

Don’t forget to follow my go-to tips for getting your cakes to rise and bake well:

  • Preheat your oven for 30 minutes prior to baking.
  • Use good quality pans like Fat Daddio.
  • Spray your pans with nonstick spray and line with parchment paper. 
  • Don’t overmix your cake batter once you add the dry ingredients.
  • Use room temperature wet ingredients.
  • Use fresh baking powder.
  • Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out with a few moist crumbs on it.

How to Make Ganache

To make a simple ganache filling for this cake, you’ll start by heating heavy whipping cream in the microwave until it’s almost boiling. Once the cream is heated, pour it over the chocolate chips and begin to stir. The cream will heat the chocolate chips and you’ll be left with a silky, chocolate ganache. Make sure to allow the ganache to cool to nearly room temperature before spreading on your cake layers.

Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

I love the warmth of maple flavoring in fall baked goods. This maple cream cheese frosting pairs so well with the pumpkin spices and bittersweet chocolate ganache filling. I think you’ll also love that it’s not overly sweet thanks to the tangy element the cream cheese offers.

Ingredients You’ll Need for Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

  • Maple syrup
  • Unsalted butter
  • Cream cheese
  • Powdered sugar
  • Cinnamon
  • Vanilla

REMEMBER: any cream cheese frosting is “stickier” than regular frosting, so it can sometimes be hard to get a totally smooth texture when decorating

HOW TO MAKE THE BEST BUTTERCREAM FROSTING

To get a light and fluffy homemade buttercream frosting, I have a detailed post: HOW TO MAKE THE BEST BUTTERCREAM to give you in depth instruction for making your buttercream unreal! Here’s a quick overview of my standard buttercream tips:

  • Sift your powdered sugar
  • Use slightly cold butter and mix on its own for 2 to 3 minutes
  • Use heavy whipping cream
  • Beat for 5 minutes
  • Stir by hand

You’ll want to check out the post linked above for more details on each step to make sure you get the best buttercream frosting. And remember, these steps can be used for any buttercream recipe on my blog.

Other Fall Cakes You’ll Love

Pumpkin Cake with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

5 from 7 votes
Pumpkin cake with chocolate ganache filling and maple cream cheese frosting.

Ingredients
 

FOR THE CAKE

  • 1 1/2 cup (300 g) granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup (165 g) packed brown light brown sugar
  • 5 large eggs room temperature
  • 1 cup (218 g) vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons (6.3 g) vanilla
  • 2 cups (400 g) pumpkin purée 
  • 3 cups (360 g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon (18 g) baking powder
  • 3 teaspoons (7.8 g) ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon (4 g) ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon (3 g) nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon (5.6 g) salt

FOR THE GANACHE

  • 1 cup (150 g) semi sweet or dark chocolate chips
  • ½ cup (115.5 g) heavy whipping cream 

FOR THE BUTTERCREAM

  • 1 cup (226 g) unsalted butter slightly cold
  • 1 cup (225 g) cream cheese room temperature
  • 5 cups (625 g) powdered sugar measured and then sifted
  • 1 teaspoon (4.2 g) vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon (1.3 g) cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup (56.25 g) pure maple syrup
  • *This buttercream recipe makes enough to fill and cover your cake. If you want to add additional piping, you’ll want to make an extra ½ batch.

Instructions
 

FOR THE CAKE

  • Preheat 350 degrees F. Spray three 8-inch or four 6-inch round cake pans with cooking spray and line the bottoms with parchment paper rounds and spray again. Set aside.
  • In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the sugar and eggs together on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the oil and vanilla and beat on medium until combined, about 30 seconds. Add the pumpkin filling and mix until combined, about another 30 seconds. 
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, ground ginger, nutmeg, and salt, and with the mixer on the lowest speed, gradually add to the pumpkin/egg mixture.
  • Evenly distribute batter into the prepared pans, smooth with a small offset palette knife and place in the center of the middle rack of the oven, about 2 inches apart. Bake until a knife or toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 25 minutes. (Mine took 23).
  • Let pans cool on a wire rack 10 minutes, and then invert cakes onto rack and cool them completely.

FOR THE GANACHE

  • Place the chocolate chips and cream in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave for about 30-60 seconds. Stir until glossy.

FOR THE BUTTERCREAM

  • In an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, stir the butter and cream cheese until light and fluffy, about two minutes.
  • Gradually add in powdered sugar, while mixer is on low speed.
  • Add vanilla, cinnamon and maple syrup and whip until light and fluffy, about 4-5 minutes.
  • Before spreading on your cake, spend a couple minutes mixing the buttercream by hand with a wooden spoon to push out the air pockets.

ASSEMBLY

  • Level each of your cake layers, if needed. Place a dollop of frosting on the cake board or cake plate. Place the first cake layer, top-side up, on the cake board or cake stand.
  • Pipe a rim of frosting around the edge of the cake and then spread about ½ cup ganache on the first layer of cake. Repeat with second cake layer.
  • Place the third cake layer, bottom-side up, on top and frost with a crumb coat.
  • Let the cake chill in the freezer for 10 minutes and then add additional frosting.

Courtney Rich

I’m a self-taught baker, obsessed with cake.

I long ago ditched box mixes in pursuit of melt-in-your-mouth, to-die-for flavor combinations, fillings and textures. I believe cake must be decadent, life-changing and worthy of celebration! And I believe anyone should be able to bake that kind of cake – and I’m here to teach you just that!

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Comments

  1. This is the best pumpkin spice cake recipe! I have made it twice in the last week. Layers rise perfectly and are moist & flavorful. Addition of ganache between the layers & the frosting take it to the next level of deliciousness. Will be my “go to” pumpkin spice cake recipe from now on!

  2. Hello! Could you use maple extract in the buttercream instead of maple syrup and change up the quantity? Thanks! Looking forward to making this cake for Thanksgiving!

  3. 5 stars
    I baked this cake for canadian Thanksgiving dessert this past weekend. Oh my gosh- it is the perfect fall cake: moist, so pumpkin spice-ey and delicious. Thanks so much for the great recipe! I tweaked the buttercream: omitted the cinnamon, used less icing sugar (3.5 cups) and instead of the 1/4 cup syrup used 2 tbsp syrup & 2 tsp butter tart whiskey 😋

  4. Would you also recommend this with white chocolate instead? I’d like to decorate with white chocolate skulls for Halloween!

  5. My frosting turned out so yummy but came out really runny. How long should I refrigerate it ? What should I add to the frosting to reach a consistency which can be used to pipe some swirls on cupcakes ?

  6. Would I be able to substitute pumpkin pie spice for the spices in the cake? What would you recommend for amount, or will it change the flavor too much?

    1. I haven’t done that but you can certainly give it a try! The flavor will be a little different than what the recipe is supposed to taste like.