Pumpkin Gingerbread Cake
We're so excited to share today's Pumpkin Gingerbread Cake- a fantastically flavorful combination of two of our favorite cakes for fall!
For years, our Pumpkin Spice Cake and Gingerbread Layer Cake have been two of our most popular cakes for fall- and today's recipe is sure to join them at the top of the list!
This ultra moist cake has the perfect balance of pumpkin, gingerbread, and warm spices, making this "cozy" dessert perfect for chilly fall and winter months.
Table of Contents
How to Make Pumpkin Gingerbread Cake
*You can find the full, printable cake recipe below. Here is a quick rundown of our steps!
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour three 8 inch pans, add a circle of parchment paper to the bottom of each pan.
In a separate bowl combine the dry ingredients: flour, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Combine flour mixture for at least 30 seconds using a whisk. Set aside.
In another bowl, combine these wet ingredients: hot water, vegetable oil, molasses, vanilla extract, and canned pumpkin puree. Stir and set this pumpkin mixture aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the unsalted butter until smooth. Add the sugar and mix 4 to 5 minutes on medium speed until fluffy. (If using a handheld mixer it may take a little longer).
Add the room temperature eggs one at a time mixing just until the yolk is blended in.
Next, add the flour mixture to the butter mixture alternately with the wet ingredients. Begin and end with the flour mixture (3 additions of dry ingredients and 2 of wet ingredients). Mix until just blended in, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed.
We've made so many cakes over the years that are tried and true favorites for fall! If you love fall flavors from pumpkin cakes to apple cakes, caramel cakes, and more, you can find our full collection here: The BEST Fall Cakes! Here are just a few of them!Divide the cake batter evenly between the prepared pans. (We used three 8-inch pans)
Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean or with just a few crumbs attached.
(Baking times can vary and so check on the cake layers as you approach the 25 minute mark and adjust time as needed.)
I allow the cakes to cool in their pans for about 10 minutes on a wire rack before turning them out.
Can Pumpkin Gingerbread Cake Layers be Frozen?
Yes, you can freeze this cake! In fact, we freeze almost all of our cakes just after baking as it helps add a little boost of moisture. It is optional, but a step that we like to do whenever time allows. (As an added bonus, this allows you to do your baking well in advance!)
After allowing our freshly baked cake layers to cool for about 10. minutes or so, we flip each cake layer out onto it's own foil-wrapped cake board and then we wrap them individually in plastic wrap and then foil. Then, into the freezer they go! They key is to wrap and freeze while they are still warm.
You can freeze them for as little as a few hours or up to three months! The steam created when the warm, wrapped cakes hit the freezer becomes trapped inside of the cake layers, making them even more moist.
When it's time to thaw the cake layers, I usually just allow them to thaw, still wrapped on the kitchen counter until they are a bit softer and then I unwrap and let them finish thawing on the counter. (Keeping them wrapped for most of the thawing process allows the condensation to form on the foil rather than the cake itself.)
Some cake decorators prefer to assemble their cakes while the layers are still partially frozen as they are less fragile that way!
Pumpkin Spice Cream Cheese Frosting
There are many different options for frosting when it comes to spice cakes like today's recipe. We love cream cheese frosting with spice cakes and so we opted for a simple, delicious Pumpkin Spice Cream Cheese Frosting.
You can find the full recipe further down in this post, but we added a teaspoon of Pumpkin Spice to one of our go-to Cream Cheese Frosting recipes and the result is SO good!
We found that a teaspoon gave us just the right amount of spice that we were looking for, but you can adjust to your liking!
Working with Cream Cheese Frosting
Cream cheese frostings are always going to be a bit softer than other frostings, so just keep in mind that keeping it chilled will give you a consistency that is much easier to work with.
You can always pop the cake in the freezer for 15 minutes to firm things up if frosting the cake becomes too tricky. You can also refrigerate the bowl of frosting or piping bag as needed to reach the desired consistency for piping or frosting the cake.
Refrigerating Cream Cheese Frosting
Cakes frosted with cream cheese frosting will need to be refrigerated until closer to the time of serving. If you'd like to use a less perishable frosting, you can add pumpkin spice to your favorite vanilla buttercream recipes (like our Classic Vanilla Buttercream or Fluffy Vanilla Buttercream) recipes.
Assembling and decorating the Pumpkin Gingerbread Cake
Place the first pumpkin gingerbread cake layer on the cake platter or pedestal. Spread with pumpkin spice cream cheese frosting.
Repeat for the second cake layer and top with the third.
Time to frost the cake! You can decorate however you like. I frosted a thin crumb coat of pumpkin spice cream cheese frosting and popped in the freezer for 15 minutes to firm things up before following up with the second coat of frosting.
I used a small offset spatula to apply the frosting, and then smoothed around the sides with a metal bench scraper while I rotated it on a turntable.
I decided to add a little scrollwork to the cake with a piping tip 3 around the sides, As you can see, I piped a lot of "s" and "c" scrolls with little dots and hearts and teardrop shapes here and there to dress it up!
I also used a medium star tip 21 to pipe rosettes around the top edge of the cake, and I piped shells with the same piping tip around the base of the cake.
There are so many beautiful yet simple options for frosting cakes, you can scroll through our Recipes Section to see examples of all sorts of ideas!
Whether you are celebrating a fall birthday, Thanksgiving, or just need a little something delicious for the weekend, we hope that you enjoy this flavorful variation of pumpkin cake as much as we have!
More Fall Cakes to Share
We've made so many cakes over the years that are tried and true favorites for fall! Another great option with wonderful Pumpkin & Ginger flavor is our delicious Pumpkin Gingersnap Cake!
For the Pumpkin Gingerbread Cake Layers
- 1 ½ cups (300g) sugar
- 1 ½ sticks (170g) unsalted butter, slightly softened
- 3 large eggs
- 3 cups (363g) all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon (4g) baking powder
- 1 teaspoon (5g) baking soda
- ½ teaspoon (3g) salt
- 2 teaspoons (4g) ground ginger
- 3 teaspoons (6g) ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon (1g) nutmeg
- ½ cup (118g) hot water
- ¼ cup ( 54g) vegetable oil
- ½ cup (160g) molasses
- 1 can (15oz/425g) pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
- 1 teaspoon (4g) vanilla extract
Pumpkin Spice Cream Cheese Frosting
- 2 sticks ,1 cup, (226g) unsalted butter, slightly softened
- 2 (8oz) packages cream cheese, slightly softened (total weight 452g) Use full fat cream cheese as low fat will make the frosting very soft.
- 1 teaspoons (4 g) vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon salt (2g) optional - it will cut the sweetness, popcorn salt is best to use because it is fine and dissolves faster
- 6 to 6 ½ cups (690g to 747g) powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon (2g) Pumpkin Pie Spice (adjust to your liking)
For the Cake Layers
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour three 8 inch pans, add a circle of parchment paper to the bottom of each pan.
- In a separate bowl combine the dry ingredients: flour, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Whisk this flour mixture for at least 30 seconds. Set aside.
- In another bowl, combine these wet ingredients: hot water, oil, molasses, vanilla extract, and canned pumpkin. Stir and set aside.
- In the bowl of your mixer, beat the butter until smooth. Add the sugar and mix 4 to 5 minutes on medium speed until lightened in color and fluffy.
- Add the eggs one at a time mixing just until the yolk is blended in.
- Next, add the flour mixture to the butter mixture alternately with the wet ingredients. Begin and end with the flour mixture (3 additions of dry ingredients and 2 of wet ingredients). Mix until just blended
in, scraping the bowl a couple of times. Do not mix above medium
speed or over-mix.
- Divide the cake batter evenly between the three prepared 8-inch pans.
- Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean or with just a few crumbs attached. Baking times may vary slightly so check on your cake layers as you approach the 25 minute mark and adjust baking time as needed.
Pumpkin Spice Cream Cheese Frosting
- Cut the butter into slices and add to the bowl of your mixer. Beat on low to medium speed until the butter is softened and smooth.
- Cut the cold cream cheese into pieces and add to the butter, beating at low to medium speed until incorporated. If you are using a hand mixer you may need to soften the cream cheese a bit more.Add the vanilla.
- Gradually add the powdered sugar beating on low speed until blended. Add the pumpkin pie spice. Cover the bowl with a towel to keep down the cloud of powdered sugar. Increase mixing speed and beat until fluffy.
- Don't over beat or it will become too soft. If the frosting becomes too soft, just refrigerate a short while to firm it up a bit.This frosting will pipe best if used while still chilled. You can make it in advance, refrigerate and when ready to use let it soften slightly (do not microwave) and remix.