Vermont Spice Pumpkin Cake

October  9, 2015
7 Ratings
Photo by Posie Harwood
  • Makes two 9-inch layers
Author Notes

Adapted from an old Land O'Lakes recipe, this tender and moist cake is exactly what I want to eat in fall weather. Pumpkin and evaporated milk give it a delicate crumb, and lots of warm spices add layers of flavor. —Posie (Harwood) Brien

What You'll Need
  • For the cake:
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 3/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 cup butter, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups canned pumpkin
  • 1/2 cup evaporated milk
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • For the frosting:
  • 3 1/2 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
  • 1/3 cup butter, softened
  • 11 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 2 teaspoons maple syrup
  1. Preheat the oven to 325° F. Butter and flour two round 9-inch cake pans (I used a sheet cake pan and punched out my layers using a ring mold, hence the many layers in the photo).
  2. Whisk together the flour, salt, spices, baking powder, and baking soda in a large bowl and set aside.
  3. In a separate bowl or in a stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing after each addition.
  4. Add the pumpkin, evaporated milk, water, and vanilla, mixing after each addition.
  5. Add the dry ingredients and beat until just combined.
  6. Pour the batter into the prepared pans and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the cake springs back to the touch and pulls away from the sides of the pan. Let cool in the pans for 10 minutes, then turn the cakes out onto a cooling rack to cool fully. It's best to chill the cakes in the refrigerators before frosting them.
  7. For the frosting: Beat together all the ingredients in a large bowl until smooth and fluffy.
  8. If you want a cake with more layers, slice your two layers in half horizontally. Frost between each layer and top with more frosting. Leave the sides unfrosted if you like, or cover them with a thin layer of frosting.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

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  • marina
  • Thassia Koster
    Thassia Koster
  • AustinAgrodolce

19 Reviews

Winter December 25, 2019
I made this for as a birthday cake for two of my family members and they loved it! I only made two layers, icing covered it all. I did grind fresh cloves, which added a beautiful warmth to the cake. I did add a little extra maple syrup to the frosting to make that flavor a little stronger, but that's all the changes I made.

Will definitely make again! Highly recommend!
Anne November 16, 2017
This is getting added to my personal recipe book! I went a bit heavy on the spices and substituted 140g of a gluten-free flour mix for each cup of flour. I tried to divide my layers after baking with the dental floss method, which I had never tried on a gluten-free cake before. The results were laughable and unlovely, but entirely delicious. I hid my mistakes with frosting and the cake was devoured merrily.
Lindsay B. October 31, 2016
I made this for a dinner party this weekend and it was a hit. The cake and icing as written in the recipe turned out beautifully. Plenty of icing to do the four layers (but not the sides). Great flavor and texture!
Tina C. October 23, 2016
Could I use coconut milk instead of evaporated milk?
Irene November 25, 2015
Should I use salted or unsalted butter for the cake and frosting? Usually expect unsalted for baking, but maybe this should be salted because it's not specified. Don't want to get it wrong!
Posie (. November 26, 2015
Irene November 26, 2015
Thanks so much and Happy Thanksgiving!!
Nancy M. November 22, 2015
Sounds so good! That's how we do it in the 802.
Hannah November 17, 2015
I have Celiac disease, but would love to make this! Do you think it would work well with GF flour?
Mimi October 11, 2020
I have made this, and many other cakes, with Bob's Red Mill 1-to-1 GF flour mix and it all comes out perfectly with no other substations or additions.
Frankie November 3, 2015
The birthday party is on a Thursday night.......can I make this cake on Wednesday in the morning.....maybe later in the day. Would i keep it in the frig or on cool counter....maybe make cake on Wednesday and frost on Thursday, day of the party. Help!
marina November 3, 2015
I made my cake last night, and frosted it (see note below) had it in a cake holder overnight in fridge. I cut a few slices this morning to bring to co-workers. They tasted perfect this morning/afternoon. Not sure about how it will taste tonight.
marina November 3, 2015
Just made this last night. It is absolutely fantastic. I changed the frosting to raw local honey instead of Maple syrup and I think I like it much much better. (2 table spoons) I guess I would need to change the name since the Raw honey is not from Vermont. ;) I was testing this recipe for Thanks giving and I think I will make 2 more! So delicious.
Thassia K. November 1, 2015
I live in Holland and we don't have any canned pumpkin here, could I just use fresh pumpkin instead?
Posie (. November 1, 2015
Absolutely! Just roast and puree it.
Thassia K. November 4, 2015
Thanx! Made it monday and loved it!!!
AustinAgrodolce October 27, 2015
I made this recipe and used the batter for cupcakes (baked for around 22 minutes). They are delightful, and only get better after sitting a bit (as many pumpkin laden recipes will). The icing recipe made plenty for cupcakes (2 layers worth of batter so 24 cupcakes) and the ratio of cake to icing is perfection. This is a new family favorite!
Katya October 14, 2015
Maybe mom can make this for my.
Lucy S. October 13, 2015
I made this cake for my mom's birthday last weekend, and it was fantastic! I opted for the two 9 inch layers. Big hit with the family, and was finished up as breakfast leftovers the next morning