Pumpkin Cake


If cooler fall weather has you craving pumpkin desserts, try this old-fashioned cake recipe. This homey pumpkin cake is made with brown sugar, cinnamon, and buttermilk for a fragrant, not-too-sweet treat. Feel free to use canned mashed pumpkin for an easy way to speed up this recipe. The cake is delicious eaten on its own, or you can whip up a quick Spiced Whipped Cream to spread over and between the layers. The Whipped Cream keeps this cake light and fresh for the season.

Pumpkin Cake
Photo: Photographer: Jennifer Causey Food Stylist: Ana Kelly Prop Stylist: Kay Clarke
Active Time:
15 mins
Total Time:
1 hrs 10 mins
1 (8-in., 2-layer) cake



  • Baking spray with flour

  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar

  • 1/2 cup (4 oz.) unsalted butter, softened

  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar

  • 1 large egg

  • 3/4 cup mashed cooked pumpkin

  • 1/3 cup whole buttermilk

  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda

  • 1 tablespoon baking powder

  • 1 teaspoon table salt

  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • 2 cups (about 8 1/2 oz.) all-purpose flour, divided

  • 2/3 cup chopped pecans

  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg (optional)

Spiced Whipped Cream

  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream

  • 3 tablespoons sifted powdered sugar

  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger


  1. Make the Cake: Preheat oven to 350°F. Generously coat 2 (8-inch) round cake pans with baking spray. Beat brown sugar, butter, and granulated sugar with a hand mixer on high speed until creamy, about 2 minutes. Add egg and pumpkin; beat well.

  2. Stir together buttermilk and baking soda in a small bowl until dissolved. Stir together baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and 1 3/4 cups of the flour in a separate bowl until combined; add to sugar-butter mixture alternately with buttermilk mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture, beating on low speed until incorporated after each addition. Toss together pecans and remaining 1/4 cup flour in a separate small bowl; fold into batter.

  3. Pour batter evenly into prepared cake pans. Bake in preheated oven until a wooden pick inserted in centers comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Cool in pans 10 minutes. Remove from pans, and cool completely on a wire rack, about 30 minutes.

  4. Make the Spiced Whipped Cream: Beat cream with an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment on high speed cream until foamy, about 1 minute. Gradually add powdered sugar, cinnamon, and ginger, beating on high speed until stiff peaks form, about 1 1/2 minutes. Store in refrigerator up to 30 minutes.

  5. Spread Spiced Whipped Cream between layers and on top of cake. If desired, sprinkle cake with nutmeg.

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