The pumpkin sheet cake is as easy to make as it is to devour. The tang of the cream cheese plays off the warmth of pumpkin pie spice and gives the cake a cozy vibe. The pumpkin purée not only adds an earthy flavor but also makes for a rather tender and moist crumb.
Presuming you’re able to resist the temptation to steal a sliver of the cake before it cools, don’t skip the orange-zest hinted, cinnamon sugar sprinkled cream cheese frosting. It does wonders for texture and savors.
What is a sheet cake?
Sheet cakes were born from the soil of Texas, where people made cakes in a shallow but huge pan. The cake has a single layer topped with frosting, is ridiculously easy to make, and can feed a lot of people. The name itself comes from the pan it is baked in – sheet pan.
It’s a one-bowl cake recipe. Simple but with plenty of room to play with garnishing. So, in my book, pumpkin sheet cake is the dessert for a last-minute gathering and the perfect #TAFEverdayCake for fall.
- Unlike most cake recipes, this one begins with wet ingredients.
- Whisk well coconut milk with vinegar.
- To this, add coconut oil, raw sugar, and pumpkin purée.
- Now sift the dry ingredients into the wet mixture: all-purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and the spice that brings all the magic, pumpkin pie spice.
- Using your spatula, combine everything nicely and then pour the batter into a 9-inch cake tin lined with parchment.
- Bake for 25 minutes.
While the cake cools, make the pumpkin-spiced cream cheese frosting because the cake goes from delicious to divine with a thick layer of icing crunchy with nuts. Trust me on this.
- Combine cream cheese with milk and icing sugar.
- Sprinkle some orange zest and pumpkin pie spice.
- Whisk, whisk, whisk till you have a thick, creamy frosting.
- Once the sheet cake is cool enough, slather a blanket of frosting on it.
Garnishing idea for the sheet cake
I had some cinnamon sugar at hand. So, I decorated the cake with that along with some more fresh orange zest and walnuts.
- Instead of walnuts, try pecans or even toasted almonds.
- Or leave the nuts out altogether.
- You can also change the frosting to chocolate ganache because the flavors of pumpkin and chocolate pair exceptionally well. Use my chocolate sheet cake recipe to make the ganache.
Pumpkin sheet cake tips
- Here’s the recipe to make pumpkin pie spice at home.
- You can also make homemade pumpkin purée. It packs a punch of flavors. Just peel, seed, and dice your favorite pumpkin. Then steam and mash it into a smooth paste. For the full recipe, skip to my easy pumpkin bread blog post.
- Make sure the milk and cream cheese for the frosting are at room temperature.
- Orange zest is optional for both the frosting and garnish. But I say, don’t pass over it. It lends a freshness and brightness to the flavor profile that tastes wonderful. As an afterthought, I would add the zest to the cake batter too.
Oil: You can easily replace coconut oil with any vegetable oil you have in your kitchen.
Sugar: I’m a big fan of baking with raw sugar, but cane or regular white sugar both will work in the recipe.
Milk: When I can, I stick to plant-based milk alternatives because my stomach is never happy with lactose. Instead of coconut, use any vegan milk or even regular milk.
Pumpkin purée: I stuck to the local variety of pumpkins to make the purée at home. If canned pumpkin purée is available where you live, go ahead and include it. I’d be the first to admit that it really is very convenient.
Can I make this cake in a different pan?
Absolutely. If you don’t have a 9-inch square pan, try an 8-inch one. It will give you a thicker sheet cake, but that just means there’s more to enjoy in each slice.
How to know when your cake is done?
The color will turn light blonde. The center of the cake will be springy to touch, and when you insert a skewer, it will come out clean.
Do keep this in mind though – the color of the cake will vary based on the type of pumpkin you use for the purée.
How to make vegan pumpkin sheet cake?
Barring the frosting, the recipe is already vegan. So, all you have to do is look for vegan cream cheese, and you’re good to go.
All the reasons I love pumpkin sheet cake:
One bowl recipe
It’s a comforting dessert with all the cozy spices
Out-and-out soft, moist cake.
Has a lovely orange-scented cream cheese frosting.
It’s eggless and so, so, so quick to make because who here has time for more!
Pumpkin Sheet Cake
- 3/4 cup Pumpkin puree
- 3/4 cup Raw sugar
- 1/2 cup Coconut milk
- 1 tbsp Apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 cup Coconut oil
- 1 tsp Vanilla extract
- 2 cup All-purpose flour
- 1 3/4 tsp Baking powder
- 1/2 tsp Baking soda
- 1/4 tsp Salt
- 2 tsp Pumpkin pie spice
Cream Cheese Frosting
- 1/2 cup Cream cheese, room temperature
- 1/3 cup Icing sugar
- 2-3 tbsp Fresh orange juice
- 1/2 tsp Pumpkin pie spice
- 1-2 tbsp Orange zest
- Preheat your oven to 180C. Butter a 9" square pan. You could also line it with parchment paper.
- In a large bowl, combine the pumpkin puree, coconut oil, raw sugar, coconut milk, vinegar, and vanilla extract.
- Sift in the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and pumpkin pie spice.
- Whisk well, until no white streaks remain.
- Pour into the prepared pan and bake for 25-30 minutes, until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Turn the cake out on a cooling rack. Once its cooled completely, spread the frosting over the cake.
- Decorate with walnuts. Sprinkle some cinnamon sugar and more orange zest.
- Slice and enjoy!
Cream Cheese Frosting
- Whisk together the cream cheese and icing sugar until smooth. Taste and adjust for sweetness. Thin with fresh orange juice, 1 Tbsp at a time until it has the consistency of soft whipped cream.Fold in the pumpkin pie spice and orange zest.