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Pumpkin Cake with Cinnamon Honey Mascarpone Frosting

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This Pumpkin Cake with Cinnamon Honey Mascarpone Frosting is made with layers of moist, fluffy, perfectly spiced pumpkin cake slathered with light and sweet mascarpone frosting. It’s the perfect balance of sweetness and spice!

a slice of pumpkin spice cake on its side on a white plate

Easy Pumpkin Spice Cake

You will never hear me say that I’m tired of pumpkin recipes. Seriously. It is one of my favorite flavors! So, since everyone has decided that there’s only three months out of the year fit for pumpkin, then you know I’m going to make as many pumpkin desserts as I can.

Ever since I nailed my Pumpkin Cupcakes, I’ve been wanting to try out another pumpkin cake recipe. And I’m starting with this Pumpkin Cake with Cinnamon Honey Mascarpone Frosting…a mouthful in more ways than one!

This pumpkin spice cake is made with oil so you don’t have to wait for butter to soften and it’s infused with so much pumpkin spice. The frosting is my classic mascarpone frosting which has a subtle sweetness that allows the flavor of the cake to really shine through, but then it’s all tied together with a little cinnamon and honey. It’s rich, sweet, well-balanced, and perfect for fall!

a whole pumpkin cake on a platter with a slice taken out

Key Ingredients

  • Oil – a neutral flavored oil like vegetable oil is best.
  • Pumpkin Puree – make sure you use pumpkin puree; NOT pumpkin pie filling. They are not the same!
  • Pumpkin Spice – you can use homemade pumpkin spice or store-bought.
  • Baking Powder and Baking Soda – using both leavening agents helps keep the cake light and fluffy.
  • Milk – I use nonfat milk, but any will work.
  • Mascarpone Cheese – if you can’t find mascarpone cheese, plain cream cheese should work too.

How to Make a Pumpkin Cake

This pumpkin spice cake recipe is quick to throw together. Just bake, cool, frost, and it’s ready to go!

  1. Combine the wet ingredients: In a bowl, combine the sugar, oil, eggs, maple syrup, and vanilla until well incorporated, then mix in the pumpkin and beat until combined.
  2. Add the dry ingredients: In a separate bowl, combine all the dry ingredients. Add half the dry to the batter with half the milk, beat until it starts to combine, then add the rest of the dry ingredients and milk. Mix until well combined.
  3. Bake and cool: Divide the batter evenly between three lined and greased cake pans, then bake until a toothpick comes out clean. Remove from the oven and cool completely.
  4. Make the frosting: Beat the mascarpone cheese until smooth, then add brown sugar, honey, vanilla, and cinnamon. While beating at medium speed, slowly pour in the heavy whipping cream until the mixture becomes a liquid. Continue adding heavy cream and beating until soft peaks form, then add powdered sugar until stiff peaks form.
  5. Assemble the cake: Use a cake leveler to cut the domes off the cakes. Place a dollop of frosting onto a cake board, then add on the bottom layer. Use a piping bag to pipe a layer of frosting, then spread evenly. Add the next layer of cake, repeat, then add the final layer. Fill any gaps, then use an offset spatula to smooth everything out. Decorate as desired, then slice and serve.

Why is My Pumpkin Cake Dense?

This pumpkin cake is naturally a little denser than other varieties. However, there are a couple of things you can do to make sure that it’s not way too heavy.

  1. Use fresh leavening agents. Expired baking soda or baking powder won’t serve their intended purpose. If you’re digging yours out of the back of your pantry, I recommend just grabbing some at the store.
  2. Don’t over-mix the batter. Overworked gluten (aka flour) can become dry and dense. Mix the batter only until just combined.
  3. Properly measure the flour. Whenever possible, I recommend using a scale, otherwise, you can use the spoon and level method.
a slice of pumpkin cake standing up on a white plate next to a fork

My Best Baking Tips

  • Check your pumpkin. Pumpkin puree is just pumpkin whereas a pumpkin pie filling has added sweeteners and other ingredients. Make sure you get just thepuree!
  • Use bake-even strips. While this isn’t necessary, it does prevent the cakes from doming as they bake. The less cake we waste the better!
  • Properly beat the frosting. The most common question I get when people make a mascarpone frosting is how to get it to be stiff. The frosting is still whipped cream, but the key to getting the proper consistency is beating until stiff peaks form.
  • Use a piping bag to frost the cake. Whipped cream frosting does not like to be over handled. If you can use a piping bag (or multiple ones) to help frost the cake, that is the easiest way to frost it.
a slice of pumpkin cake with mascarpone frosting on a white plate

How to Store

A fully assembled pumpkin cake will last covered in the fridge for 3-4 days. If you have an airtight container, that’s the best way to keep it fresh.

Cake layers can be prepared up to 2 days in advance and stored at room temperature in an airtight container.

Can I Freeze it?

The cake layers can be frozen for for up to 3 months. Once cooled, wrap the layers twice with plastic wrap. I recommend using a piece of parchment paper on the top and bottom layers of the cake. When you’re ready to serve, thaw the cake layers to room temperature, add the frosting, then slice and serve.

More Pumpkin Desserts

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closeup of a slice of pumpkin cake on a plate

Pumpkin Cake with Mascarpone Frosting

  • Author: Julianne Dell
  • Prep Time: 45 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
  • Yield: 12 slices

Description

This Pumpkin Layer Cake with Cinnamon Honey Mascarpone Frosting is layers of a light and fluffy homemade pumpkin cake that is full of spiced pumpkin flavor. It’s finished off with a cinnamon honey mascarpone frosting which is a delicate balance of sweetness and spice.

Ingredients

For the Cake

  • 1 ½ cups light brown sugar
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ¾ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • ¾ cup milk (I use nonfat)

For the Frosting

  • 16 ounces mascarpone cheese, cold
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 ½ teaspoons cinnamon
  • 2 ¼ cups heavy whipping cream
  • ½ cup powdered sugar

Instructions

For the Cake: 

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Prepare three 8-inch round baking pans, line the bottom with parchment paper, and grease the sides. Prepare your bake even stripes if desired.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the sugar, vegetable oil, eggs, maple syrup and vanilla extract. Beat on medium speed until the eggs and oil are well incorporated and the batter is lighter in color, about 2 minutes. Scrape down the bowl as needed. Next mix in the pumpkin and beat until well combined.
  3. Combine the remaining dry ingredients. Add half the dry ingredients followed by half of the milk to the batter, then mix just until the flour starts to incorporate. Add the remaining dry ingredients and milk. Beat until well combined. Use a spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl to ensure it’s well-mixed. 
  4. Divide the batter evenly between the three pans, about 1 2/3 cups of batter per pan. Bake at 350°F for 20-24 minutes. Test the cake for doneness by inserting a toothpick into the center of the cake. If the toothpick comes out clean, your cake is done. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely.

For the Frosting: 

  1. Beat the mascarpone cheese until it’s free of lumps, scraping down the bowl occasionally. Add the brown sugar, honey, vanilla extract and cinnamon. Beat until all ingredients are well combined.
  2. While beating at medium speed, slowly add the heavy whipping cream until the mascarpone cheese resembles a liquid consistency. Scraping the bowl as needed. Continue adding the remaining heavy whipping cream and beat until soft peaks form. Next, add the powdered sugar and continue whipping until stiff peaks form.

To Assemble the Cake:

  1. Use a cake leveler to cut the domes off the top of the cake as needed. Place a dollop of frosting on your cake board and place the bottom layer of cake on top of that.
  2. Place half of the whipped cream in a large piping bag fitted with a large open round tip, or simply cut off the end of the piping bag. Pipe a layer of frosting and spread evenly. Add the next two layers of cake and repeat the above steps.
  3. Use your piping bag to fill in any gaps between your layers and to create a rustic crumb coat. Using an offset spatula or icing smoother, to add the remaining frosting then wipe away any excess.
  4. Use remaining frosting to pipe the florets on the top of the cake using an Ateco 809 tip (large open round) and dust with cinnamon. 

Notes

  • Storing: This cake must be refrigerated once the frosting has been added. If you have an airtight container, that’s best. 
  • Freezing: The cake layers can be frozen for for up to 3 months. A frosted cake can be frozen for up to 1 month. 
  • Cake layers can be prepared up to 2 days in advance and stored at room temperature in an airtight container.
Nutrition Information:
1
651
39.3 g
292.4 mg
44 g
58.7 g
1.6 g
8.5 g
145.2 mg
  • Category: Cake
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: Pumpkin Cake, Pumpkin Layer Cake, Pumpkin Dessert

Leave a Comment

Recipe rating

18 Responses
  1. Joy

    “Beyond” delicious! The cake – the frosting – both spot on. I followed the recipe exactly as written and would not change anything.

  2. Kelly Williams

    I made this and it was amazing! I added a vanilla simple syrup to each cake layer and it was SPECTACULAR! I love your recipes!

  3. LaLa

    HI! I made this cake for this weeks Thanksgiving it’s just me & my fiancé (damn corona) the pumpkin 🎃 cake layer are delicious & moist & the best cake I’ve made yet. The frosting is a little disappointing. Before I added the cream, it was delicious but the cream overpowered all that yummy-ness. This is definitely a cake I’ll make all year when I want pumpkin 🎃
    LaLa

    1. Julianne - Beyond Frosting
      Beyond Frosting

      Thanks for sharing LaLa! I am so glad you enjoyed it. About the frosting- are you referring to the mascarpone cream? Are you saying that over powered the other ingredients?

  4. Lita Flood Werling

    Hi Julianne!
    I can’t wait to make your cupcakes for my family as a Halloween treat tomorrow.
    If I wimp out or my back gives (limited mobility) I see you’ve made this as a cake.
    Have you made it as a bundt cake? And what what be the oven temps on the various size cakes?

    Thanks So Much!

  5. shelby

    my frosting curdled as it was my first time working with marscapone cheese.. i’m afraid my ingredients tempts were off thus causing the curdling. I’m a bit disappointed as i wasn’t sure if this was the consistency so i went ahead and frosted my cake anyway(stupid mistake #2) whoever is making this cake just a pointer.. be sure to keep all your ingredients at room temp or similar temps to avoid this and also keep in the fridge to set once you make the frosting for at least 30min.

    1. Julianne - Beyond Frosting
      Beyond Frosting

      Hi Shelby, that might have been your problem here. The heavy whipping cream and mascarpone cheese need to be cold, straight out of the fridge. Sound like you have over whipped your frosting if it started to curdle as well.

      1. Yvette

        We loved the cake! So moist and delicious. We used cream cheese instead of mascarpone. Wonderful!

  6. Sam

    Hi there,
    Quick question: how thick is this icing? I’m wanting to make a cake for my European friends (so not the overpowering sweetness that is traditional American buttercream), but I’m wanting to decorate it with Russian piping tips. This sounds like it’s more whipped and might not hold shape super well? Can you comment on the stiffness?

    1. Julianne - Beyond Frosting
      Beyond Frosting

      Hi Sam, it’s more of a whipped cream. It thicker but I am not sure about Russian piping tips with this frosting. I use plenty of regular piping tips with it, open stars, 2D and 1M were all fine.

      1. Sam

        Hi there,
        Just an update – first, it’s a great icing. I added more honey because I couldn’t quite taste it, but otherwise the recipe is great and my friends approved. I left it in a really cold fridge overnight, quickly added color, and piped through some Russian tips. The more open flowers worked ok, but the others we just giant blobs hahaha, but that’s not surprising! Thanks again for the feedback and for a great recipe!

      2. Julianne - Beyond Frosting
        Beyond Frosting

        That’s great Sam! Thanks for following up, it will be helpful to others who might be interested in the Russian tips!

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