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The perfect cake for Thanksgiving, Christmas and Halloween. Photo courtesy The Sugar Mommas.


The Sugar Mommas, Kimberly and Jennifer, live in California, an entire country away from us. So if we want a piece of their Thanksgiving Pumpkin Spice Cake, we’ll have to make it ourselves. Fortunately, it’s not difficult to make a cake batter, and the pumpkin cream cheese icing is worth the extra step.

Switch out chocolate pumpkin and turkey decorations for chocolate pine cones and a reindeer, and you’ve got Christmas Pumpkin Spice Cake.



  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar, packed
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 can (15 ounces) pumpkin purée
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts
  • 1 batch pumpkin cream cheese icing (recipe
  • Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 325°F. Butter and flour two 9-inch round cake pans and set aside.

    2. WHISK the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and spices together in a medium bowl. Set aside.

    3. MIX the sugars and oil in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Use medium speed until combined. Add the eggs, one at a time, blending on low speed until each is incorporated. Add the vanilla and the pumpkin purée. Mix until combined and no lumps are present.

    4. ADD half of the dry ingredients and mix on low speed until fully incorporated. Add the second half of the dry ingredients, mixing on low speed until incorporated. Use a spatula to fold in the 1/2 cup of nuts; mix until just combined.

    5. POUR the batter into the prepared pans and spread it evenly. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from the oven and cool completely.

    6. ICE the first cooled cake layer on a serving platter, rounded side down (upside down). Use a knife or angled spatula to spread icing over the top and sides, being generous on top as it will be the filling layer. (A rotating cake stand is a godsend for icing cakes: well worth the modest cost and storage space.) Place the next layer right side up on top of the first and complete the frosting of the top and sides.

    7. GARNISH as minimally or lavishly as you like. Minimalist: nothing. Typical: crushed amaretti cookies or ginger snaps. Lavish: chocolate medallions (the Sugar Mommas made chocolate pine cones in a mold) with a chocolate turkey, pumpkin, Christmas tree or reindeer at the center.




  • 2 eight-ounce packages pumpkin cream cheese, at room temperature, or regular cream cheese and 1/2 cup pumpkin purée
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, room temperature
  • 2 (16-ounce) boxes confectioners sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • Garnish: 2 tablespoons crushed Amaretti cookies or specialty chocolates including holiday chocolate medallions, a chocolate turkey, pumpkin, tree or reindeer (shown in photo)


    We prefer organic pumpkin purée: It tastes better. Photo courtesy Farmer’s Market.


    1. COMBINE the cream cheese and butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Blend on medium speed until smooth.

    2. TURN the mixer to low speed and add the confectioners’ sugar a little bit at a time, until fully incorporated. Beat until light and fluffy.

    3. STIR in the vanilla. This recipe may be doubled if, like us, you indulge in eating the frosting while decorating the cake.

    4. DECORATE the cake by sprinkling on top of the cake. If you enjoy the crunch, go crazy and add in 1 tablespoon of raw sugar for a pretty visual that tastes unique and delicious.

    Watch this video on how to ice a cake.


    It’s a sugar technicality! Icing is made with confectioners’ sugar, frosting with granulated sugar. The consistencies are different, hence different words to identify them. Most people use the terms interchangeably; but now that you know, you can correct them!


    Related Food Videos: For more food videos, check out The Nibble's Food Video Collection.

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