Cake and Cookies: Pumpkin Sugar Cookie Cake

September 27, 2022

Pumpkin Sugar Cookie Cake – pumpkin cake layers, ermine frosting (boiled milk frosting, pumpkin sugar cookie layers, and pumpkin buttercream.

Pumpkin cake on a cake stand.

New Week, New Recipe

Happy Monday, friends! I’m especially excited for today’s recipe because I skipped last week’s new Monday recipe due to extra recipe testing. It honestly felt strange not having a new recipe for you. I love this tradition of sharing new recipes every Monday. Kinda makes Monday less “Monday,” ya know? 😉


The inspiration for my Pumpkin Sugar Cookie Cake comes from my Santa’s Milk and Cookie Cake. I created the Milk and Cookies Cake for an appearance on Hallmark Home and Family, and it quickly became one of my favorite cakes. I love how well the soft sugar cookie layers paired with the boiled milk frosting, vanilla cake layers and vanilla buttercream. Eating the Santa’s Milk and Cookie Cake was like taking a bite of sugar cookies and milk at Christmastime.

For my new version of this sugar cookie cake, I decided to use pumpkin as the base. Just perfect for this time of year!

Cake Layers

For the cake layers, I used my tried and true pumpkin cake layers you’ve seen here before. Some of my favorite cakes with the pumpkin layers include:

Woman removing a slice of cake from a full cake.

You really can’t go wrong with these pumpkin cake layers. They turn out moist and fluffy every time!

Boiled Milk Frosting (Ermine Frosting)

For the “milk” component of our sugar cookie and milk cake, I’ve used a boiled milk frosting, also known as Ermine frosting. I love this buttercream because it reminds me of a Swiss Meringue Buttercream with its silky-smooth texture and less sweet flavor.

Woman serving a slice of cake.

Tip: for the boiled milk frosting, be sure not to overcook the flour and milk mixture at the beginning (see instructions below). This should get thick but you don’t want to cook it before adding the remaining milk, otherwise you’ll get clumps.

Pumpkin Sugar Cookies

Just like my Santa’s Milk and Cookie Cake, we’ll be making two giant sugar cookies to go in this cake. The recipe is very similar to the one I use in the original recipe, except that I’ve added pumpkin puree and spices.

Slice of pumpkin cake on a plate.

Tip: to ensure an easy cut when you slice the cake, don’t over bake the cookie layers. We want these to be soft and chewy.

Pumpkin Buttercream

The pumpkin buttercream might be my favorite element of this cake. Can you believe I’ve never made a pumpkin buttercream before? I clearly haven’t been living my best life, because this is buttercream required in one’s optimal living 😉

But seriously… it’s dang good!

Close up of a cake.


To assemble this cake, make sure the cake layers and sugar cookie layers are chilled prior to stacking. Working with chilled layers makes it easier to handle as you stack and decorate.

This quick video will also give you a good idea of how to stack this cake.

I obviously knew what all the layers looked like before I stacked this cake, but when I cut into it, I was truly blown away. I love how these colors and textures look together!

Slice of cake on a plate.

Make Ahead Tips

  • All of the elements of this cake can be made ahead of time.
  • For the cake layers and cookie layers, let them cool completely and then wrap with plastic wrap. Freeze the layers until about 30 to 60 minutes before you’re ready to use.
  • For the buttercreams, once you’ve made the buttercream, store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator until you’re ready to use. Bring back to room temperature before using.
  • You can even stack and decorate the entire cake ahead of time. Make sure to check out THIS post for more tips on how to do that.


The acrylic disks, spatulas and scraper can be found over on my shop page:

For the ceramics tool I used for the design, CLICK HERE.

More Cakes to Love

Pumpkin Sugar Cookie Cake - deliciously moist and fluffy pumpkin cake layers, with boiled milk frosting, pumpkin sugar cookies and pumpkin buttercream! #cakebycourtney #pumpkincake #pumpkindessert #desserts #fall #Falldesserts #fallcakeidea #falldessertideas

Pumpkin Sugar Cookie Cake

5 from 12 votes
Pumpkin cake layers, boiled milk frosting, pumpkin sugar cookies and pumpkin buttercream.
Servings 20
Prep Time 1 hr 30 mins
Cook Time 2 hrs
Total Time 3 hrs 30 mins



  • 1 1/2 cups (300 g) granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup (165 g) light brown sugar, packed
  • 5 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 cup (218 g) vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 tsp (6.3 g) vanilla
  • 2 cups (450 g) pumpkin purée
  • 3 cups (360 g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tbsp (15 g) baking powder
  • 3 tsp (7.8 g) ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 tsp (3 g) ground ginger
  • 1 tsp (2.64 g) nutmeg
  • 1 tsp (6 g) salt


  • 1/4 cup (30 g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp (5.6 g) salt
  • 2 cups (480 g) whole milk
  • 2 cups (452 g) unsalted butter
  • 2 cups (400 g) sugar, measure and then pulse in a blender or food processor to make even finer in consistency.
  • 1 tsp (4.2 g) vanilla extract


  • 1/2 cup (113 g) unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup (100 g) granulated sugar
  • 1 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup (31 g) pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 tsp (2 g) vanilla extract
  • 1 ½ cups (180 g) all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp (2 g) baking powder
  • 1 tsp (3.8 g) pumpkin pie spice, or 1 tsp cinnamon, ½ tsp nutmeg, ⅛ tsp cloves, ⅛ tsp ginger
  • ¼ tsp salt


  • 2 cups (452 g) unsalted butter, chilled (I take the butter out of the fridge 30 minutes before I make my frosting)
  • 6 cups (750 g) powdered sugar, measured and then sifted
  • 1 tsp (4.2 g) vanilla extract
  • 5 tbsp pumpkin puree
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice, or 1 tsp cinnamon, ½ tsp nutmeg, ⅛ tsp cloves, ⅛ tsp ginger
  • 3 tbsp (43.3 g) heavy whipping cream
  • *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.



  • 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. Spray again and 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.


  • In a medium saucepan, whisk together the flour and ½ cup of the milk until smooth.
  • Set over medium heat and let cook for 1 to 2 minutes or until slightly hot, stirring frequently.
  • Whisk in remaining milk and salt. Whisk constantly until the mixture has thickened to the consistency of unset pudding (this can take up to 10 minutes).
  • Remove from heat and pour the mixture into a shallow dish. Cover the surface of the mixture with plastic wrap (so it's touching the surface of the mixture. Refrigerate until chilled, at least an hour.
  • When cool, the mixture will be thick like custard. If a film formed on top of the mixture, remove it from the bowl.
  • In a large bowl (or a bowl of a stand mixer) beat the butter and sugar together until fluffy. Add vanilla and mix well. Beat in cooled flour mixture one tablespoon at a time on medium-high speed. When all the flour mixture is added, beat on high speed until light and fluffy, about 6 minutes.
  • Rub a little frosting between your fingers. If the sugar granules remain, beat for 4 more minutes, or until granules cannot be detected with fingers.


  • Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. Pre two 8-inch round baking pans with nonstick spray (or three 6-inch if you're doing 6-inch cake layers), parchment paper and spray again. Set aside.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
  • Add the eggs, pumpkin puree, and vanilla. Beat until blended. Don't worry if it looks curdled. It will come back together once you add the flour.
  • In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt and pumpkin pie spice (or spices to create pumpkin pie spice). Whisk to combine. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and mix until just incorporated.
  • Cover and refrigerate for at least one hour.
  • Measure out 10 ounces of dough for each of the two 8-inch cake pans. Using your hands, push the dough out to the edge of the pan (doesn’t need to be touching, just try to create an even circle).
  • Bake the two large cookies for 7 to 8 minutes. When you take the cookies out, they shouldn’t be light in color, barely golden brown. We want the cookie to come out still light in color so it’s nice and soft in the cake. Cool completely before frosting.


  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter for about 2 minutes. This will soften the butter without it having to be warm.
  • With the mixer on low speed, gradually add the sifted powdered sugar, one cup at a time, mixing a little in between each addition.
  • With mixer on medium speed, add pumpkin puree, pumpkin pie spice, whipping cream, vanilla and salt.
  • Turn the mixer to medium-high speed and beat for an additional 5 to 7 minutes. The frosting will become lighter in color and texture.
  • Before spreading on your cake, spend a couple minutes mixing the buttercream by hand with a wooden spoon to push out the air pockets.


  • Place the first cake layer on your cake board, and spread about ¾ cup of the boiled milk frosting on top, followed by one of the cookie layers.
  • Evenly spread 1 cup of the pumpkin buttercream on the cookie layer. Top with another pumpkin cake layer and repeat with boiled milk frosting, cookie, pumpkin buttercream and then the final cake layer (see video above).
  • Cover the cake with a thin layer of the boiled milk frosting and chill for 10 to 15 minutes in the freezer. This crumb coat will set the crumbs in place.
  • Frost the cake with the remaining pumpkin buttercream.
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Cake
Keyword: Advanced, Desserts, Fall, Fall Cake Flavors, Fall Cake Ideas, Pumpkin Cake, Pumpkin Sugar Cookie Cake

Join the Conversation

  1. Angela Bassett says:

    Two questions:
    Any tips for getting a clean cut with the sugar cookie layer?
    How would you adjust the times for a smaller diameter cake? I have your online cake classes that talk about that, but with the cookie layer, I wasn’t sure.
    Thanks! These are truly beautiful.

    1. A sharp knife helps best. You’ll be baking for longer if the pans are smaller. Start with about 5 minutes.

  2. How much salt should be in the sugar cookie? It’s not listed in the ingredients but included in the instructions.

    1. 1/4 tsp. Thanks for catching! I’ll add that now!

  3. Brittanie Carey says:

    How much salt for the buttercream? Not in the ingredients list, but in the directions.

  4. 5 stars
    Absolutely divine!! If you took all the fall flavors and packed them into a cake, it would be this one. I loved all the textures and the two frosting really added more flavor and dimension to the cake.
    Quick note: I made my ermine frosting a day before and wasn’t patient enough to let it come to room temp before assembling. I started beating it with my mixer and it was super wet and looked curdled. I ended up putting it over a double boiler to just barely melt the butter before whipping it some more. That fixed it and it came together beautifully!

    I will definitely make this cake next year!

    1. Thank you so much!

  5. Do you have a hard time with the boiled milk frosting separating if you make it ahead of time and refrigerate it? Mine turned soupy.

    1. It’s not a great one to make ahead of time. You want to do day of assemble.

  6. kinga champion says:

    That cake slice looks amazing. I love the sugar cookie idea. This cake is definitely a winner!

  7. Hi! Really want to make this for my wedding. How long does it keep for once made (if I don’t plan on freezing it) x

    1. You will want it to be made as recently as possible.

  8. I am excited to make this cake in the next couple of weeks! I appreciate so much all the instructions and tips as I am learning to make cakes! Question, the ceramic tool is out of stock – do you have any other ceramic tool you recommend using?

    1. You can find a similar one at any craft store or amazon!

  9. 5 stars
    I made the cake and it was incredible! Any advice on how to do that leaf decoration on the side. I attempted to do it by taking a little frosting and placing it on the cake and dragging it out but I still can’t seem to get it to look quite right.

    1. It’s with the offset spatula from the ceramic tools I linked in the post!

  10. 5 stars
    This cake tastes AMAZING! The pumpkin cake was so moist and flavorful, I definintely snacked on the trimmed bits. The pumpkin sugar cookie was a fun texture in the cake too. While I liked the combination of the two types of frosting, I was skeptical when I read through the recipe, 2 entire pounds of butter in the frostings seemed like overkill, but I trusted the process. In the end, I had about twice as much boiled milk frosting as I needed. (I don’t know what butter costs where you live but it’s $$$ here!) The amount of pumpkin vanilla buttercream was pretty much perfect though. I am definitely keeping this recipe to make again and again.

    Can I make a suggestion for the website developer? I love the print recipe feature, and the ability to change the serving size is super handy. However, the weight measurements don’t update when you change the serving size. I adore your recipes but never need to feed 20, AND my 5qt KitchenAid mixer tends to overflow when making the 20 serving size cakes. Can you look into making the weight measurements scalable on the print page pretty please?

    1. We are working on that! I’m glad you liked the cake!

  11. I’m excited to try this recipe for a friends birthday! I didn’t have enough sugar cookie dough to make 10oz cookies though, more like 8oz cookies. It looks like the Santas Milk and Cookies cake recipe makes more dough, the quantities are lower in this recipe.

  12. 5 stars
    This recipe was a lot of work and I even split it up over the course of two days. I was skeptical that the outcome would be worth the work and I was BLOWN AWAY. This cake is DIVINE, and incredible. This will be on my list every fall!

    1. thank you so much!

  13. It’s a lot of work but I love how the cake came out. The only problem I had was the buttercream frosting was a bit soupy. Could the pumpkin purée cause this? My pumpkin purée was quite runny. I froze the whole cake, planning on serving it this weekend. I hope the frosting holds up🤞🤞🤞

    1. Add more powdered sugar next time.

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