Pumpkin Spice Cake

by Kathy Strahs on October 19, 2009 · 14 comments

Pumpkin Spice Cake

Like a lot of folks, I look forward to making pumpkin dishes this time of year (like this incredibly moist Pumpkin Spice Cake with pumpkin cream cheese frosting, see above)  – but have you heard about the  pumpkin shortage? I’ve had such a ridiculous time finding pumpkin purée in stores! After numerous canned pumpkin hunting trips over the past two weeks, I can offer these four tips for tracking down this elusive product:

  • Check the baking aisle (near the canned pie fillings) – I’d assumed it would be with other canned vegetables, but it was not so at my local Vons. If you find it, stock up!
  • Beware of something called “pumpkin pie mix” – the can looks nearly identical to pumpkin purée but it contains other ingredients besides pumpkin (it’s meant for making quick pies); a store clerk was trying to help me and brought me a can of this by mistake – unfortunately, I didn’t discover it until I was already home.
  • Ask a clerk for help – Despite my mishap in the above bullet, it’ll probably save you a lot of time to have someone who knows the store aisles by heart find the pumpkin for you – or to let you know if they even have it at all.
  • Roast your own – I haven’t tried this myself yet but if I didn’t find the canned stuff it was going to be my next option – Elana from Elana’s Pantry offers 10 easy steps to roasting a pumpkin.

Once you’ve got some pumpkin, you’re going to want to make this amazing cake. The recipe comes from a butter company so you know it’s moist!

I’ve decided that butter companies know what they’re talking about when it comes to recipes for really moist and flavorful baked goods. After the great results with the Chewy Jumbo Chocolate Chip Cookies I was eager to try out another recipe from a butter package – once I got my hands on some pumpkin, Pumpkin Spice Cake was a go. The cake is beyond moist and the pumpkin and spice flavors are just right. You can see in the photos that the cream cheese frosting has a bit of an orangish hue as well – that’s because there’s pumpkin mixed in there as well. That frosting is outstanding, finger-licking good as they say. Don’t omit the crystallized ginger. I’m not a huge ginger fan myself but I sprinkled it on anyway; it really complements all of the other cake flavors well, plus it makes the surface a little sparkly.

Pumpkin Spice Cake

Pumpkin Spice Cake
From inside a package of Challenge Unsalted Butter

Yields 16 (2 1/4″ x 3 1/4″) pieces



1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
4 large eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups puréed pumpkin*
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice **
1/2 cup chopped pecans (optional)


1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
1/4 cup puréed pumpkin
3 tablespoons minced crystallized ginger



Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly butter a 9 x 13-inch baking pan.

Cream butter, sugar and pumpkin pie spice until light and fluffy. Add eggs, beating well after each addition. Combine flour, baking soda and salt; add to the butter alternating with addition of puréed pumpkin and lemon juice. Stir in pecans.

Spread batter evenly into prepared baking pan and bake 30-35 minutes (or until wooden skewer inserted in center comes out clean). Allow the cake to cool. Spread frosting on cake and garnish with candied ginger.


Cream butter with pumpkin pie spice and lemon zest. Blend in cream cheese. Add confectioners sugar and puréed pumpkin and beat until smooth.

* Recipe uses 1 can (15 oz.) of pureed pumpkin. Reserve 1/4 cup for frosting and use the remaining amount for the cake.

** Finely grate the zest of the lemon before juicing it and reserve zest for frosting.

See the Recipe Index for all the recipes on Cooking On the Side.

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{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Maria October 19, 2009 at 9:20 AM

I think pumpkin is back in Utah. I went to three stores this weekend and they all had pumpkin. Yahoo! Love this cake! I posted a pumpkin bundt cake today:) We are on the same page. I need to try yours next!
.-= Maria´s last blog ..Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bundt Cake =-.


Kathy October 19, 2009 at 9:26 AM

That’s good to hear – I didn’t realize how much I’d miss it until I couldn’t find it!


Shelby October 19, 2009 at 10:08 AM

I’ve been lucky to find pumpkin puree on the shelves….I’m thinking people were looking earlier than normal this year which is why the shelves were near bare – before the new stock came out! 🙂

This cake looks awesome. I love the photos!
.-= Shelby´s last blog ..Kristina’s Loaded Potato Soup =-.


Rod Morris October 19, 2009 at 10:28 AM

This looks really good. Where do you find the pumpkin pie spice and the crystallized ginger (store)…and are there brands you would recommend?


Kathy October 19, 2009 at 10:47 AM

Thanks, Rod! I just buy the little McCormick bottle of pumpkin pie spice. I thought crystallized ginger was going to be a little harder to find, so I looked in a health food store and found it with other open stock goods. But I have a feeling I might have been able to find it in a regular store’s produce dept.


Elana October 20, 2009 at 8:34 PM

Thanks for the link to my “how to roast a pumpkin” post.

I am so glad I found you here, your recipes are mouth watering and your photography is stunning. I can learn a lot from you!

.-= Elana´s last blog ..Mustard Marmalade Dressing =-.


Katie @ goodLife {eats} October 21, 2009 at 6:43 AM

That looks delicious!! I love the idea of pumpkin in the frosting. I haven’t had a hard time finding pumpkin here at all, but maybe the shortage is at it’s end? I had several cans left over from last year and finally last week had to buy more. I checked walmart and they had a whole shelf of pumpkin puree on the backing isle. I stocked up just in case it becoomes a problem again.
.-= Katie @ goodLife {eats}´s last blog ..Pumpkin Cobbler =-.


Kathy October 21, 2009 at 12:41 PM

Count yourself lucky! I think the shortage is affecting just some states (CA included). Really hoping it’s about over – I saw another empty pumpkin shelf at the store just yesterday!


Karly October 21, 2009 at 11:41 AM

I had a hard time finding pumpkin too, but when I finally did, I stocked up. I think I’ve got enough to last me through next year as well now!

The cake looks delicious!
.-= Karly´s last blog ..Pumpkin Streusel Muffins =-.


Q. October 21, 2009 at 12:29 PM

I haven’t tried to find pumpkin yet but am dying to bake something pumpkin-y this weekend. Good tips! And that frosting recipe sounds fabulous.


CakeSpy October 21, 2009 at 1:06 PM

Thank youuuuu, Challenge Butter!! This looks amazing. Lucky find on the side of the box! 🙂
.-= CakeSpy´s last blog ..Big Fun: Tricked Out Treats Using Fun Size Sweets =-.


Heather at Sweetart November 6, 2009 at 12:39 AM

Really a perfect match between the lemony fronting and that fluffy cake, very delicious, thanks for sharing it.


Tracy October 28, 2010 at 9:49 AM

This looks fantastic! Our weather is really beginning to feel like autumn and I’m thrilled to find some new seasonal recipes. I hope to make this over the weekend – I have a feeling my two-year old son is going to LOVE this 🙂

Tracy´s last blog post ..Not how I planned things


Valerie October 27, 2012 at 7:14 AM

The best way to make this is with real pumpkin puree home made from a real pumpkin. That stuff on the self just doesnt cut it when you use the real thing !!!


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