Pumpkin Bundt Cake

September 26, 2022
2 Ratings
Photo by Ty Mecham
  • Prep time 2 hours 20 minutes
  • Cook time 55 minutes
  • Serves 10 to 12
Author Notes

This ultra seasonal Pumpkin Bundt Cake is what I imagine a Gilmore Girls marathon tastes like—and it pairs perfectly with any episode, any time of the day or night. It is guaranteed to satisfy your sweet tooth as a post-dinner treat, but don’t be surprised if it manages to sneak its way into your morning coffee or afternoon tea routines. If you close your eyes, you’ll swear it’s just a pumpkin muffin! Wink wink…

The real selling point of this bundt cake is how easily it comes together. That’s the great thing about a bundt cake—it looks like you worked hard in the kitchen all day to create an elegant dessert, but in reality, it is deceivingly simple (far easier than a tiered or frosted cake). You can keep the stand mixer in the cabinet, because all you need to whip up this batter is a whisk and a few bowls. Just mix together your wet and dry ingredients separately, then fold them together and pour the batter into a greased bundt pan. You’ll spend more time letting the butter and cream cheese for the glaze come to room temperature than you will actually mixing the cake batter.

Speaking of the glaze—the cake gets an instant upgrade from a quick homemade icing that is drizzled all over the top. If you want to simplify the glaze even more, you can skip the cream cheese and butter and simply whisk milk, orange juice, or water into confectioners’ sugar until it is thin enough to spoon over the cake.

This recipe uses a neutral oil as the fat, as opposed to butter. Butter, even when baked into cakes, cookies, or muffins, solidifies in the refrigerator—oil does not! So while this cake is great to serve to a large group of friends or family, it can also be stored in the refrigerator for a few days and served over time for smaller groups. Oil-based cakes will remain moist for longer than butter-based cakes. If you do want to use butter in a recipe, use ratio of 3:4 oil to melted butter. For this recipe, that means you would use 1⅓ cups butter (about 2 sticks + 5 tablespoons) in place of the vegetable oil. It is a lot of butter, but it makes a lot of cake!

Flavor-wise, half a cup of sour cream mixed into the cake batter adds a little bit of tang in addition to adding moisture. If you don’t have any sour cream on hand, substitute it with plain yogurt or milk (even plant-based milk works here!) The other flavor big hitters are freshly grated orange zest and a spoonful of pumpkin pie spice. Orange zest brightens up the entire cake, leaving behind subtle floral notes. Pumpkin pie spice brings the warmth that we all expect from pumpkin cake. If you like, make things even more interesting by stirring in things like chocolate chips, dried cherries, walnuts, pecans, or more pepitas (in addition to the ones sprinkled on top).
Riley Wofford

Test Kitchen Notes

My partner, who is not much of a cake person, yelled from the other room after I brought her a slice, "What is this? It's incredible! It's so moist and fluffy!" I have to agree! This cake has a lovely, plush texture (especially for a cake that gets mixed together by hand) and a warm, classic pumpkin flavor that still feels special and bright thanks to the orange zest in the cake, the orange juice in the frosting (which keeps it just the right level of tangy), and the pretty, crunchy pepitas over the top. It also slices beautifully at room temp and cold from the fridge—a major plus in my book. —Caroline Lange

What You'll Need
  • Cake
  • 2/3 cup vegetable oil, plus more for pan
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups pumpkin purée
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated orange zest
  • Cream Cheese Glaze
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons toasted pepitas
  1. Cake
  2. Preheat oven to 350°F with a rack in the center. Brush a 10 to 12-cup bundt pan generously with oil, making sure to coat all the crevices.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda, and salt. In a large bowl, whisk together sugar, pumpkin purée, eggs, sour cream, orange zest, and oil until shiny and well combined. Add dry ingredients and stir with a rubber spatula until just combined. Pour batter into prepared pan and smooth the top.
  4. Bake for 25 minutes, then rotate and bake for another 20 to 25 minutes until a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool 30 minutes, then carefully run a knife around the edges of the pan and turn cake out onto a wire rack. Let cool completely, about 1 hour more.
  1. Cream Cheese Glaze
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together cream cheese, butter, confectioners’ sugar, orange juice, and vanilla until smooth (mixture should be the consistency of thick honey; whisk in water one teaspoon at a time as needed to achieve the right consistency).
  3. Once cake is cool, set the cake on its rack over a large plate or rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle glaze over the top and sprinkle with pepitas. Let stand until glaze sets, at least 30 minutes.

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2 Reviews

lori October 29, 2023
Loved this icing with the toasted pepitas; it will be a keeper that I use for other cakes and that's why I rated 5 stars. Cake came out well texture-wise and the flexibility re: sour cream is much appreciated. Didn't have pumpkin pie spice so looked up what it includes and made my own, was probably more than the recipe called for but flavor was about right. Cake kept well unrefrigerated for almost 3 days
[email protected] December 3, 2022
So good! Especially the icing. Doubled the spices.