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Pumpkin Cake with Dreamy Brown Sugar Frosting



For the Cake:

  • 1/2c canola oil
  • 1/2c butter, melted
  • 1 1/2c brown sugar
  • 1 1/2c sugar
  • 1 (15oz) can pumpkin puree (NOT pie filling)
  • 2/3c sour cream (I used light)
  • 1tsp vanilla
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 1/4tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4tsp cardamom (optional)
  • 1 1/2tsp salt
  • 3 1/2c flour
  • 1tsp baking soda

For Dreamy Brown Sugar Frosting:

  • 1 (8oz) pkg. cream cheese
  • 3/4c brown sugar
  • 2tsp vanilla
  • 2c heavy whipping cream


For the cake:

  1. In a large bowl, whisk together oil, butter, and sugars (this should be like thick, wet sand). Stir in pumpkin puree, sour cream, and vanilla. Add eggs, one at a time, until well incorporated.
  2. In a medium bowl, sift cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cardamom, salt, flour, and baking soda. Add dry ingredients to wet/pumpkin mixture and stir until well combined.
  3. Prepare a standard cookie sheet (13″x18″) with nonstick spray. Cover with parchment paper (VERY important if making into a layer cake).
  4. Pour batter into cookie sheet and spread to make a smooth, even surface.
  5. Bake at 350 degrees 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool completely before cutting or frosting.

To convert into a layer cake:

  1. Cut a 1 1/2″ strip off of the entire border of the cake and remove (this will eliminate the rounded edges). Cut the remaining cake into three equal-sized pieces. Stack cake layers and frost as desired. Snack on any remaining edge pieces.

For frosting:

  1. While cream cheese is still in it’s package, use your hands to soften it until it is just pliable (you want it to stay cold). Unwrap and place in a large bowl with brown sugar and vanilla (you can also use a stand mixer). Use a hand mixer and beat cream cheese, brown sugar, and vanilla on medium speed until mixture has lightened in color somewhat and the sugar has dissolved. (When you rub a small amount between your fingers, you should not feel any sugar grains).
  2. When brown sugar/cream cheese mixture is smooth, add in about 1/2c cream and mix on medium speed until well incorporated. Add in a little more cream and repeat until all cream is incorporated. The texture should be light and feel like thick whipped cream.
  3. Use to frost pumpkin bars or layer cake.


*If you’d rather not make it into a layer-cake, are pressed for time, or need to feed a crowd, you can actually just frost the cake in the cookie sheet as pumpkin bars and serve it that way.

*If you make it into a layer cake, as I did, be sure to cut thin slices when serving. Three layers makes for a lot of cake per slice, and thin slices give you just the right amount per person.

*Be sure to store leftovers in the refrigerator, if possible.