October 19, 2011

Pumpkin Week: Julie’s Pumpkin Spice Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting {Tales from the Trenches}

Pumpkin Spice Cake

This is the latest installment of my Tales from the Trenches Series. An ongoing series where friends and readers share their stories and recipes about the great food they fit into family life. We all have tips and tricks to share with each other: when we cook, what we cook and how we cook the delicious food we love to eat. If you are interested in contributing a story and recipe please feel free to contact me. Today my friend Julie from Dinner with Julie is sharing a delicious Pumpkin Cake recipe with us in honor of the Naptime Chef Pumpkin Challenge Week.

Naptime Chef Pumpkin Week!: Don’t forget this week’s challenge to cook or bake at least one awesome dish with pumpkin this week. See official Pumpkin Challenge rules below and enter to win the awesome King Arthur Flour Halloween baking kit giveaway!

Julie, tell us a little bit about yourself:

1) How would you describe your approach to food in three sentences or less: I like food that is approachable, delicious, brings people together. It shouldn’t be stressful or put the cook under pressure or induce performance anxiety! Food should be a comfort and pleasurable experience.

2) What is your favorite winter dinner party menu? It always changes – I don’t have one favourite menu! Although I do love roasting a ham for large groups – it’s easy, delicious as it cools down, and makes both kids and grown-ups happy!

3) Sweet or salty? Both! But if I had to choose, sweet.
4) Favorite Cookbook? There are so many! Right now I’m pretty smitten with the Martha Stewart pie book – I also love Richard Sax’s Classic Home Desserts
5) Guilty Pleasure? Ice cream, although I’m fundamentally against the connection between food and guilt!
Thanks for sharing Julie (I love the Martha Stewart Pie Book, too!)
6) What is your favorite family recipe for making during your down time? My 13 year old niece loves to come over and bake chocolate chip cookies together. Sometimes we roll the dough into balls, freeze it and then dip in melted chocolate to make chocolate chip cookie dough “truffles”

As a kid, I wasn’t a fan of pumpkin. It too closely resembled its winter squash family members, which I despised. I’ve since grown into both – rich and nutrient-dense, pure pumpkin puree is one of my favourite additions to muffins, loaves and cakes. A pumpkin spice cake baking is the best possible potpourri, especially in the fall, when the days turn cold and the house needs warming. (I could still take or leave pumpkin pie – most often it’s left.)

But cake. I recently picked up a slice of divinely moist pumpkin cake from a gourmet take-out place nearby, and fell in love with it. So when my six year old asked if we could bake a cake, we did our best to recreate it. Who needs a birthday to bake a cake? We measured and stirred and licked the beaters, then went outside to play in the leaves as it baked.

The next morning, a wedge was divine with coffee. I may have had another sliver with afternoon tea. And the boys had slices wrapped and tucked into their lunch boxes.

Rules for Pumpkin Challenge Week Giveaway:

1. Leave a comment sharing what you plan cook or bake with pumpkin this week.

2. Subscribe to The Naptime Chef newsletter (upper right hand corner) – I’ll check!

3. Become a fan of The Naptime Chef on Facebook

4. Extra Entry: Share the link to this post with your friends on Facebook and link to @TheNaptimeChef Facebook fanpage

5. Extra Entry: Tweet about this giveaway on Twitter and link to hashtag @TheNaptimeChef

6. Extra Entry: Follow me on Stumbleupon and stumble this entry by clicking the green thumbs up.

7. 6 Extra Entries: Write a blog post between now and next Saturday October 22nd at 7:00am about what delicious pumpkin dish you’ve cooked up and tell your readers about this post with a link back to it. You will be listed in The Naptime Chef newsletter as an official sponsor.

8. Contest will run from October 17th at 7:00am through Sunday, October 23rd at 7:00pm ET. Winner will be announced on Monday October 24th at 7:00am. If the winner does not respond within 48 hours a new winner will be drawn. Winner be selected by random.org.

9. Giveaway items can only be mailed within the continental US.

*Giveaway items generously donated by King Arthur Flour


Pumpkin Spice Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

adapted from Bon Appétit, October 2007


3 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp. cinnamon
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. ground ginger
½ tsp. ground allspice and/or nutmeg
½ tsp. salt
1 14 oz. (398 mL) can pure pumpkin
1 cup sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup canola oil (or half oil, half applesauce)
4 large eggs
1 Tbsp. vanilla

Cream Cheese Frosting:

1 8 oz. (250 g) pkg cream cheese
½ cup butter, at room temperature
4-5 cups confectioners’ sugar
1 tsp. vanilla


Preheat the oven to 350˚F.

In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, ginger, allspice and salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the pumpkin, sugars, oil, eggs and vanilla; add the dry ingredients and stir just until blended. Pour into two 9″ pans that have been buttered or sprayed with nonstick spray.

Bake for 25-30 minutes, until the cakes are golden and springy to the touch. Cool completely on a wire rack before frosting with frosting.

To make the frosting, beat the cream cheese and butter in a large bowl until smooth and lump-free. Gradually add the powdered sugar, beating on low speed until it’s incorporated. Beat in the vanilla, too. Add more sugar or a bit of water if needed to achieve a spreadable frosting.

Naptime Notes

Naptime Recipe Serving ideas

Note*  To make cupcakes, bake the batter in lined muffin tins at 350˚F for 20-30 minutes, until golden and springy to the touch.

Naptime Stopwatch

10 minutes prep time, 60 minutes bake time!

Naptime Reviews

If they are taking it for lunch they must love it!

10 Responses to “Pumpkin Week: Julie’s Pumpkin Spice Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting {Tales from the Trenches}”

  1. What a lovely cake! I totally agree that the aromas of pumpkin cake are divine 🙂 

    I recently purchased a fall-inspired whoopie pie pan (it makes leaf- and pumpkin-shaped whoopie pies!), so I will be making pumpkin spice whoopie pies with brown butter cream cheese frosting as filling. I love fall!

  2. Girl, this is such a dreamy layer cake 🙂

  3. Tickled Red says:

    This looks sinful! 🙂

  4. […] Julie’s Spice Cake with Cream Cheese Frostingthenaptimechef.com […]

  5. blondebomber says:

    This is such a decadent photo staring at me!!  I am obsessed with pumpkin and, like you, did not grow a fondness until my adulthood.  I just had one of the best
    cupcakes ever
    and it mimicked these very flavors.  I would love to make this cake for the holidays!  thank you!

  6. […] – Julie’s Pumpkin Spice Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting […]

  7. Paula says:

     Oh I cannot be able to resist this cake. It looks delicious. I will make this one of these days.

  8. Amy Stapleton says:

    Are you sure about the time? I baked mine for 50 minutes and it came out like a rock with hard brown edges. had to throw it away… Will try again and start checking at 25 minutes. It seems that 50 minutes would be good for a loaf pan but not 9 inch layers.

    • KelseyTheNaptimeChef says:

      Hi Amy,

      I see this now and I think you are right. I’ll change the baking time! Did the second time work? Best, Kelsey