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Easy Pumpkin Snack Cake with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

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Feeling festive for fall and craving something sweet? This easy recipe for pumpkin cake with decadent maple cream cheese frosting is calling your name. Find the nearest pile of fallen leaves and lean in close—do you hear it?

You won’t just love this pumpkin snack cake for the warming spices and irresistible frosting. Because you can sub out canned pumpkin for roasted squash or sweet potato, this is the versatile, anything-goes recipe you didn’t know you needed. Pop an extra squash or can of pumpkin in your next Imperfect order and you’re on your way to a Hollywood handshake.

Makes 1 8×8 cake

Ingredients

Pumpkin Cake:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice (or use a mix of cardamom, nutmeg, or allspice)
  • ½ tsp ground ginger
  • ½ cup oil
  • 2 eggs
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin (or just shy of 2 cups roasted and puréed fresh squash or sweet potato—scroll to the bottom for details) 
  • 1 tsp vanilla 

Maple Cream Cheese Frosting:

  • 4 oz cream cheese, softened 
  • ¼ cup butter, softened
  • 1-2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • ½ tsp salt

Directions

Pumpkin cake:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350° F. Line a 8×8” pan with parchment paper, leaving an extra inch of parchment sticking up on both long sides of the pan. This will help you lift it out later. 
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, and spices. 
  3. In another bowl, mix eggs, both sugars, oil, pumpkin, and vanilla until smooth. Give the wet mixture a few extra whips—it’ll add more air and make the cake ultra fluffy. 
  4. Add your dry ingredients to the egg mixture and mix until just combined.
  5. Spread batter evenly in your prepared pan.
  6. Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Careful not to overbake or your cake will dry out. 
  7. Rest cake on a wire cooling rack until cool. Meanwhile, make your frosting.

Maple cream cheese frosting:

  1. Using an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat cream cheese and butter in a medium bowl until combined. 
  2. Reduce speed to low and gradually add 1 cup powdered sugar, maple syrup, and salt. Increase speed to medium-high and beat until smooth, about 3-4 minutes. If the frosting is looking a little runny, add more powdered sugar, ¼ cup at a time, until you reach your desired consistency.

To assemble your cake:

  1. Once your cake is fully cooled, gently lift the parchment paper to remove it from the pan. 
  2. Frost with maple cream cheese frosting. Don’t forget to lick the spatula when you’re done.
  3. Cut into squares, curl up under a cozy blanket, and enjoy.

Recipe Tips and Tricks

To roast your own pumpkin, sweet potato, or squash:

If you’d prefer fresh pumpkin, squash or sweet potato to canned, here’s how to prep it for your cake. 

(You might even be able to use leftover roasted squash camping out in your fridge. Just be sure the seasonings aren’t too strong and won’t conflict with the flavors of your cake.)

  1. Preheat your oven to 400° F. 
  2. If using sweet potato, wash and cut it into cubes. Spread on a foil-lined or lightly greased baking sheet. Use a neutral-tasting oil such as sunflower or canola. 
  3. If using pumpkin or any other kind of squash, pop in the microwave for a minute or two to soften it enough to cut. (Careful taking it out! It’ll be hot.) Slice in half or into chunks so the inner flesh is exposed. Scoop out any seeds and lay it on a foil-lined or lightly oiled baking sheet. Use a neutral-tasting oil such as sunflower or canola.
  4. Bake until tender enough to mash with a fork, 20 minutes to an hour depending on the kind of squash and how small you’ve cut it. See our Cheat Sheet to Squash for specifics.
  5. If you’re using pumpkin or squash with an inedible skin, scoop out the inner flesh. 
  6. Once it’s done baking, toss it in a blender and puree until smooth. You’ll need just under 2 cups for this recipe. Refrigerate or freeze the rest once it’s cool for other delicious treats!

More Tips:

  • Cake can store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week. 
  • If you have extra cake (which we don’t see happening), freeze in an airtight container. Thaw overnight in the fridge before serving. 
  • If you have extra frosting (which we also don’t see happening), you can freeze it in an airtight container or use it as a dip for fruit or graham crackers. Strawberries, apples, and pears would all love to take a swim in that creamy maple goodness. 
  • Use any extra pumpkin or squash puree in our healthy-ish Grain-Free Almond Butter Pumpkin Bars or this Mexican Spiced Chocolate Pumpkin Pie. Or feed to your pup for a tummy-friendly treat! (Disclaimer: We might be experts on wonky carrots, but we don’t claim to know what’s best for your doggo’s digestion.) 

Did you make it? Tag us on social and let us know! We’re always egg-cited to see what comes out of your kitchen.

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