Desserts / Snacks

Cinnamon Swirled Pumpkin Cake

We’re back with another pumpkin recipe, one that’s really easy to make but so delicious. The base is a cinnamon-swirled butter cake, frosted with a pumpkin cream cheese frosting that’s lightly spiced with cinnamon and nutmeg.

The butter cake is from another one of my Grandma Linda’s recipes. It’s a great white cake on its own, buttery and moist all the way through. I swirled the cake with a cinnamon-sugar mixture, which almost gives the cake the texture and taste of a coffee cake. Be careful with getting the cake out of the pan, the cinnamon sugar tends to sink to the bottom and get quite sticky (but it’s so good, I have to forgive it).

Another note: I made this cake in a standard baking sheet, so that I could cut out the layers. You can use regular cake pans (I don’t have any small ones) or even a 9×13″ pan. It rises quite a bit in the oven, and so it tended to overflow in the baking sheet. Just keep an eye on it or put a larger baking sheet underneath to catch any scraps.

I had some leftover cream cheese frosting from the Bloody Chocolate Cream Cheese Cupcakes I made for Halloween. I’ve included instructions on how to make it from scratch, but I simply added pumpkin puree, nutmeg, and cinnamon to the frosting, adding more powdered sugar where needed. You can also add more cream cheese if you find the frosting too thin.

You can decorate this cake however you like. Since the frosting color turned out so orange, I decided to color the leftover frosting green and pipe on vines to make it look like a pumpkin!

Place in an airtight container and store in the fridge for up to 1 week. Enjoy!

Cinnamon-Swirled Pumpkin Cake

This perfect fall cake has a base made of butter cake, swirled with cinnamon sugar, and frosted with a spiced pumpkin cream cheese frosting.
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 35 minutes
Course Dessert, Snack
Servings 2 6″ cakes


For the butter cake:

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3 cups cake flour
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 6 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup whole milk

For the cinnamon swirl:

  • 1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup cake flour
  • 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted

For the pumpkin cream cheese frosting:

  • 8 oz cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 8-10 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • 15 oz pumpkin puree
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg


Make the cake:

  • Preheat the oven to 325°F. Generously grease a baking sheet.
  • In a medium bowl, sift flour with baking powder and salt. In a separate bowl, mix vanilla extract and milk.
  • In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar using an electric hand mixer or stand mixer.
  • Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  • Alternatively, add flour and milk mixtures to the butter, sugar, and eggs. Mix well between each addition. Set aside.

Make the cinnamon swirl:

  • In a small bowl, mix the brown sugar, cake flour, and cinnamon, breaking up the pieces with a fork. Pour the melted butter over the mixture and mix until just combined.
  • Pour the cake batter into the prepared baking sheet. Evenly swirl the cinnamon mixture over the top of the cake, using a knife to swirl throughout.
  • Bake cake for 35 minutes, or until baked all the way through. Insert a toothpick into the center and it should come out clean. The cake will rise quite a bit in the oven, so keep an eye that it doesn't overflow. Place a larger baking sheet on the bottom rack to catch any cake that may happen to overflow (so that it doesn't just burn on the bottom of the oven).
  • Allow the cake to cool completely.

Make the pumpkin cream cheese frosting:

  • Place the pumpkin puree into a strainer lined with paper towels to try to drain any excess liquid.
  • In a large mixing bowl, place the cream cheese and butter. Mix with an electric mixer until smooth and creamy.
  • Add the vanilla extract and mix to combine. Add the pumpkin puree, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Mix well.
  • Add the powdered sugar, one cup at a time, and mix well between each addition. If the frosting is still too thin, add more powdered sugar. Add the pinch of salt and give it one more good mix. Refrigerate until needed.

Assemble the cake:

  • Cut layers out of the cake using a bowl of your choice. I used a 6" bowl but you can also cut out the layers using whatever is easiest. I managed to get 5 layers, so I made one 3-layer cake and one 2-layer cake.
  • Place the first layer onto your plate or cake stand. Spread a generous layer of the pumpkin frosting. Repeat until you reach the last layer. Spread a thin layer of pumpkin frosting across the entire cake. This is your crumb coat. Refrigerate for 20-30 minutes.
  • Use an offset spatula to spread the second coat of frosting around the whole cake and smooth.
  • Decorate however you like. I colored the remaining frosting to pipe on green vines. Refrigerate cake 20-30 minutes before slicing and serving. Enjoy!
Keyword butter cake, cake, cinnamon, cream cheese, fall, frosting, pumpkin

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