Easy Pumpkin Layer Cake

Easy Pumpkin Layer Cake

Guys, I'm so excited about the recipe I'm sharing today. I've been making this cake for years and it's always a hit year after year. It makes the perfect Thanksgiving dessert because 1. it's pumpkin and so delicious and 2. it will feed a lot of people! And don't let the words "layer cake" freak you out. I promise this cake is so easy!

This is seriously the most delicious and moist pumpkin cake (with a healthy dose of pumpkin spice), topped with vanilla cream cheese frosting. I like to add salted pumpkin seeds around the bottom as a little crunchy and salty addition.

Don't really want a layer cake? Make this into cupcakes instead and just bake for less time. Top with the cream cheese frosting and sprinkle on some pumpkin seeds - viola! I've even made this into mini bundt cakes before! The options really are endless and whatever you choose, this is sure to be a huge hit on Thanksgiving day!




  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tb pumpkin pie spice
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup vegetable or canola oil
  • 1 tb vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup water


  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 2 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Pumpkin seeds (optional for topping)



  1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Grease and line the bottoms of two 8-inch cake pans and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the sugar, flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and pumpkin pie spice. 
  3. In a separate, medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, buttermilk, pumpkin, oil, vanilla, and water. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir to combine.
  4. Pour the batter into the cake pans and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Begin checking for doneness at 26 minutes.
  5. Let cool in the pans for 10 minutes and then turn onto a wire rack to cool completely.


  1. Using an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat together the butter and cream cheese until smooth.
  2. Gradually add the confectioners' sugar and beat to combine. Beat in the extracts and salt. This will make enough to frost your cake with a naked/crumb coat effect. If you'd like it to be fully, um, clothed, make another half batch of frosting.


  1. When the layers are cooled, level the tops and then stack them up with a layer of frosting in between. Frost all over with an offset spatula. 
  2. Add some pumpkin seeds along the bottom if desired! 

*Recipe from Molly Yeh

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