Pumpkin Loaf Cake With Vanilla Butter Frosting

Pumpkin Cake
Pumpkin Cake. @angelaauclair/Moment/Getty Images
  • 80 mins
  • Prep: 20 mins,
  • Cook: 60 mins
  • Yield: Makes 1 Loaf (12 servings)
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This is an easy pumpkin loaf cake recipe with pumpkin and spices. Use the butter frosting or your own favorite cream cheese frosting.

The cake is made with pumpkin puree and pecans or pumpkin seeds. Toast some pumpkin seeds for the top of the cake or use chopped pecans.

For an extra special holiday cake, try this popular pumpkin cake roll or this maple glazed pumpkin pound cake.

What You'll Need

  • 1/2 cup butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 3/4 cup pecans (chopped, or hulled roasted pumpkin seeds (pepitas), plus more for topping)
  • 2 1/2 cups cake flour (10 ounces)
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree (canned or homemade (see below))
  • For the Butter Frosting:
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 2 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
  • 2 tablespoons milk

How to Make It

  1. Heat the oven to 350 F (177 C/Gas 4). Butter and flour a 9x5x3-inch loaf pan; set aside.
  2. In a mixing bowl, cream 1/2 cup of butter and the granulated sugar; add eggs and continue beating until light and fluffy.
  3. Fold in the chopped pecans or pumpkin seeds.
  4. Sift together the flour, nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt.
  5. Add about 1/3 of the sifted dry ingredients to the creamed mixture; mix well. Stir in milk. Add remaining sifted ingredients alternately with the pumpkin purée.
  1. Pour batter into pan; bake for 50 to 60 minutes.
  2. Cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a cake rack.
  3. When cool, frost with Butter Frosting (instructions below) or frost with Cream Cheese Frosting. Top with more nuts or pumpkin seeds (pepitas). See the instructions for spiced toasted pumpkin seeds, below.

Butter Frosting

  1. In a mixing bowl, cream 1/4 cup of butter; blend in half of the confectioners' sugar. Mix in 2 tablespoons of milk and 1/4 teaspoon of vanilla, and then add remaining confectioners' sugar and beat until smooth. Add more milk, as needed for the desired consistency.

Spiced Toasted Pumpkin Seeds

In a bowl, combine 1 cup of pumpkin seeds with 1 tablespoon of melted butter, 1 tablespoon of granulated sugar, 1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon of ground nutmeg, and a dash of allspice. Spread out on a baking sheet and roast in a preheated 325 F oven for about 5 to 10 minutes, or until browned. 

Homemade Pumpkin Puree

To make pumpkin purée, cut pumpkin in half, crosswise. Remove seeds and membranes. Place the pumpkin halves on a greased baking sheet, cut-side down, and bake at 325° for 1 hour, or until tender.

Cool for 10 minutes. Remove pulp and place in blender or processor. Purée or process until smooth. Place in a cheesecloth-lined mesh strainer or sieve and let drain into a bowl for about an hour. When dripping has stopped, put purée into a container, cover, and refrigerate if not using right away.