Pumpkin Gingerbread with Cream Cheese Frosting

Pumpkin Gingerbread with Cream Cheese FrostingYou know me, but do you really know me?  The weird quirks, the oddball eating habits?  

Do you know I’m the type of person who pours herself a bowl of raisin bran then picks through the next 6 inches of cereal, foraging for bonus raisins?

Do you know I like my leftover pizza heated just to the point of cheese un-coagulation and not a degree more?

And do you know that I ate the cream cheese frosting off of every batch of pumpkin bars my mom made during my childhood, leaving behind a sad pan of naked treats?  And blamed my brothers?  Yeah…

But I’m getting older and I’m trying harder to keep my weirdo-ness under wraps.  I’m getting better about keeping my dirty mitts out of the cereal box, I promise I won’t fly off the handle if the cheese on my day-old pizza starts to bubble.  And if I make a pumpkin dessert that requires cream cheese frosting, I’ll use an almost obscene amount to make up for my years of misdoings.

So here’s a fall pumpkin gingerbread cake, layered with decadent cream cheese frosting.  The cake is dark from molasses, rich with pumpkin, and deeply flavored with ginger and a handful of other warm spices.  I made it to share with my parents because, well, they’ve got some catching up to do when it comes to fully frosted pumpkin desserts.

Time to bake a cake!  Let’s talk spices first.  Raid the spice drawer and don’t be shy–we’re not going for delicacy here, we’re shooting for an intensely fragrant spiced pumpkin cake.  Grab the ground ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, allspice, clove, nutmeg, and white pepper. 

Spices for Pumpkin GingerbreadCombine flour, baking soda, salt, and spices in 1 bowl; pumpkin puree, molasses, brown sugar, buttermilk, and an egg in another.

Pumpkin Gingerbread IngredientsWhisk together the contents of each bowl,

Prepping the Gingerbread Batter

then fold the 2 together.  Mmm…cake batter.  One of my many weaknesses. 

Combining Wet and Dry Ingredients for Pumpkin GingerbreadDivide the cake batter between 2 round cake pans and pop ’em in the oven.  Your house will smell like you died and went to heaven and heaven is built entirely out of gingerbread.

Spreading Batter into Cake Pans

Cool.  Maybe it’s best you left the kitchen for a little while.  

Cooling the Pumpkin Gingerbread

And frost.  Whip cream cheese with butter, powdered sugar, and lemon and use it to sculpt billowy frosting clouds.

Frosting the Pumpkin Gingerbread

There we go, a lovely pumpkin gingerbread cake, layered with cream cheese frosting.  Now if we can just keep our fingers out of the frosting until company arrives… 

Pumpkin Gingerbread Layer Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

5.0 from 1 reviews
Pumpkin Gingerbread with Cream Cheese Frosting
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
The pumpkin gingerbread intensifies in flavor as it sits, so it's best to make the cake a day or 2 before you plan to serve it.
Recipe type: Dessert, Cake, Quick Bread
Cuisine: American, Fall, Winter
Serves: 12-16
  • 1¾ c. All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 tsp. Baking Powder
  • ½ tsp. Salt
  • 2 tsp. Ground Ginger
  • 1 tsp. Cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. Cardamom
  • ½ tsp. Clove
  • ½ tsp. Allspice
  • ¼ tsp. Nutmeg
  • ⅛ tsp. White Pepper
  • ¾ c. (1/2 can) Pumpkin Puree
  • ¾ c. Molasses
  • ½ c. Dark Brown Sugar
  • ½ c. (1 stick) Unsalted Butter, melted and cooled
  • ½ c. Buttermilk
  • 1 Egg
  • For the Cream Cheese Frosting:
  • 8 oz. (1 package) Cream Cheese, softened
  • ½ c. (1 stick) Unsalted Butter, softened
  • 2 c. Powdered Sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. Lemon Juice
  • pinch of Salt
  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Spray or butter 2 8 in. round cake pans.
  2. Whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, and spices in a large bowl. In a medium bowl, whisk together pumpkin, molasses, brown sugar, melted butter, buttermilk, and egg. Pour the pumpkin mixture into the flour mixture and quickly fold together with a rubber spatula until just combined. Divide the cake batter between the 2 prepared pans and bake until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Allow the cakes to cool in the pan for 5-10 minutes, then turn them out and cool completely on a wire rack before frosting.
  3. After the cakes have cooled completely, make the cream cheese frosting. Combine cream cheese and butter and, using an electric mixer, beat until light. Sift in the powdered sugar, salt, and lemon juice and continue to beat until light and fluffy. Adjust the consistency, if needed, adding more lemon juice to thin or more powdered sugar to thicken.
  4. Place 1 cake on a plate or cake stand, spread with half of the frosting, and top with the remaining cake. Dollop the rest of the frosting on top and use a spatula to swirl into pretty clouds. Refrigerate if you are not serving immediately.



  1. pam says

    That’s what I was waiting for!!! SOOOO good – the perfect fall dessert! (and thanks for confessing about the missing frosting!)

    Love, Mom

  2. Lauryn says

    This is EXACTLY the concoction I had in mind! Any idea if this freezes well? I’m thinking at least the 2 layers of cake, but what do you think about freezing it iced?
    Regardless, I’m making it, and it looks incredible!

  3. Diki says

    This sounds delicious and I’ve been searching for a recipe that uses cardamom! I’m not into layers though. Could I make this in a 9 by 13 or a Bundt pan? How would I adjust the baking times? Thanks so much!


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