Pumpkin Sheet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

pumpkin sheet cake with cream cheese frosting 1

Thanks to everyone for voting this week on which recipe you wanted to see posted next.  As you can see from the comments, this pumpkin cake won hands down.  I’m totally not surprised because it’s fall and everyone has pumpkin and cake on their minds. It really wasn’t a fair competition, was it?  I mean salad vs cake?  I knew who the winner was before I finished the post, but I just wanted to double-check and make sure that’s what you all wanted.  So thanks 🙂

My friend Amanda, or as we like to call her, Baker mama, sent me this recipe.  Amanda and I love food, all types of food, from healthy to not so healthy (like dessert).  We both love to cook and try new recipes, so we’re always texting each other photos of recipes we’re making and enjoying, and even recipes we’re not enjoying so much.  So one night Amanda texted me a picture of this cake and raved about how her kids “LOVED IT.”  I texted her back asking where our piece was. Well, the next thing I knew there was knock at the door and a plate full of cake slices (Amanda lives a few blocks away). How cool is that?  Mind you we already had dessert, but we just couldn’t resist tearing into the 4 pieces she brought over. The kids said that I had to make this cake (like now) and blog the recipe because it was amazing.  Eli even wants me to make it up for his actual birthday party and I’m totally going to because it feeds a crowd.  I can feed 15 boys and then some with this cake.

pumpkin sheet cake with cream cheese frosting2

This cake is so super easy to whip up, (you just need a bowl and a whisk) it’s fluffy and moist (I’m not a fan of that word, but the cake is really moist) and it feeds a crowd.  Yippee! I made a few tweaks to the original recipe, as I didn’t want to use a whole cup of oil, so I used a mixture of coconut oil and applesauce, and I added a bit more spice. I also slathered my favorite cream cheese frosting on the top, just to add an extra touch of yumminess!

If you have a class party coming up for your child, then make this cake.  If you have a work function, birthday party or Halloween celebration, then make this cake.  Kid’s and adults dig this cake, and it’s the perfect fall party cake!

pumpkin sheet cake with cream cheese frosting3

Pumpkin sheet cake with cream cheese frosting:

recipe adapted from Paul’s Pumpkin Bars
makes one 10×15-inch sheet cake – You will need a 10×15 inch jelly roll pan 
for the pumpkin cake:

  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 2/3 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/2 cup virgin coconut oil in liquid form (I show you how to melt the coconut oil below)
  • 1 (15-ounce) can of pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie mix) – I love Farmers Market Organic Pumpkin and the cans are BPA free.
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt

for the cream cheese frosting:

  • approximately 2 cups unsifted confectioners sugar – this is to taste – You will then sift the confectioners sugar so there are no lumps in the frosting.
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) of butter, at room temperature
  • 1 8-ounce package of cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

ingredients for pumpkin sheet cake

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Measure out a heaping 1/2 cup of coconut oil using a dry measuring cup.  Add the solid coconut oil to a small pan and turn the heat to simmer.  Simmer the oil, using a spatula to stir it occasionally, until it melts. Pour the melted oil into a liquid measuring cup to make sure that you have 1/2 cup.  Set it aside to cool a bit.  It won’t have to cool too much as it won’t be that hot.

melting coconut oil1

In a large bowl whisk together the 4 eggs, 1 2/3 cups sugar, 1/2 cup applesauce, 1/2 cup coconut oil and the pumpkin puree until well combined.  You can use a hand mixer, standing mixer or just a plain old whisk. I used a whisk and some arm strength and it was easy!

wet ingredients mixed together for pumpkin sheet cake

In a smaller bowl mix together the 2 cups flour, 2 teaspoons baking powder, 1 teaspoon baking soda, 2 teaspoons cinnamon, 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice, 1/4 teaspoon allspice and 1 teaspoon salt.

dry ingredients mixed together for pumpkin cake

Add the flour mixture to the pumpkin mixture and whisk or stir well to combine. The batter will be thick.

pumpkin cake batter

Pour the batter into an ungreased USA Pans 10 x 15 x 1 Inch Aluminized Steel Jellyroll Pan with Americoatir?t=marmamcoo 20&l=as2&o=1&a=B0029JQE3M10×15 inch jelly roll pan (I know it sounds strange, but you don’t need to grease the pan).  You can get these jelly pans at Amazon, Bed Bath and Beyond or your local kitchen store.  The jelly roll pan looks like a rimmed baking sheet, except that it has this ribbed bottom.  I know it seems weird to bake a cake in something so shallow, but believe me it works great, and the cake rises up without spilling over  and the cake is moist, not dense and tough.

Spread out the batter evenly using a spatula, and then pound the pan a few times onto the counter to even it out and get out any air bubbles.  You can also use a 9×13 pan for the cake, but you will have to bake the cake a bit longer.

pumpkin cake batter in the pan

Bake the cake for 25-30 minutes, or until a cake tester or toothpick comes out clean.  My cake took exactly 27 minutes to bake in my oven.  If you’re using a 9×13 pan then the cake will take a bit longer to bake, about 30-35 minutes.

Baking tip: It’s hard to give an exact cooking time when it comes to baking because every oven, pan and even geographic locations, can command a slightly different cooking time. A great way to know when a cake is done, is to do the finger test as well as the standard toothpick test. To do the finger test, press your finger down gently in the middle of the cake, if it’s done, it should puff back up automatically on it own. If it stays dented, then the cake is not ready to come out yet. Also, a cake tester or toothpick inserted in the center should come out clean as well.

Let the cake cool in the pan, do not take it out of the pan.

cooked pumpkin cake

Once the cake has cooled, it’s time to make the frosting.

ingredeints for cream cheese frosting

Pour 2 cups unsifted confectioners sugar into a sifter or fine mesh sieve, and sift the sugar into a large bowl, set aside.  Sifting the sugar helps to ensure you don’t have lumpy frosting.

sifting powdered sugar

Put your softened butter, cream cheese and vanilla into a bowl and get your handy dandy mixer out.

I prefer to use my hand-held mixer with small frosting batches such as this because it’s just easier to manipulate, but you can use your standing mixer with the whisk attachment.

Beat the butter, cream cheese and vanilla together on medium speed until well blended.

cream cheese and butter whipped together

Slowly add the sifted confectioners sugar to taste. At first, pour in 1/2 of the sifted amount, mix it and give it taste, and keep adding small amounts till you get it to the taste you like. You want it to be sweet but not too sweet.

NOTE: If you add too much confectioner’s sugar, the frosting will be really sweet and you won’t really get that cream cheese flavor. Just keep adding the sugar and tasting the frosting until it reaches a flavor you like. How do I know when it’s right? You want taste a bit of the cream cheese, but you also want it to be sweet at the same time, almost like a perfect balance of the two.

Honestly my frosting comes out best when the kids are around because they are the BEST testers and always get it right! Below is what your finished product will look like. It should be smooth and creamy looking. The color will vary from white to creamy white.

cream cheese frosting

Spread the frosting over the cake.

frosted pumpkin cake

Cut the cake into squares and serve it up!

pumpkin sheet cake with cream cheese frosting4

With love Jackie

Pumpkin Sheet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

0 from 0 votes
Recipe by Jackie
Servings

1

10x15-inch sheet cake
Prep time

10

minutes
Cook time

27

minutes
Total time

37

minutes

    Makes one 10x15-inch sheet cake. You will need a 10x15 inch jelly roll pan

    Ingredients

    • For the Cake:
    • 4 large eggs, at room temperature

    • 1⅔ cups sugar

    • ½ cup unsweetened applesauce

    • ½ cup virgin coconut oil in liquid form (I'll show you how to melt the coconut oil below in the post).

    • 1 (15-ounce) can of pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie mix) - I love Farmers Market Organic Pumpkin and the cans are BPA free.

    • 2 cups all-purpose flour

    • 2 teaspoons baking powder

    • 1 teaspoon baking soda

    • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

    • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

    • ¼ teaspoon allspice

    • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt

    • For the Cream Cheese Frosting:
    • Approximately 2 cups unsifted confectioners sugar - this is to taste - You will then sift the confectioners sugar so there are no lumps in the frosting

    • 1 stick (1/2 cup) of butter, at room temperature

    • 1 8-ounce package of cream cheese, at room temperature

    • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

    Directions

    • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

    • Measure out a heaping ½ cup of coconut oil using a dry measuring cup. Add the solid coconut oil to a small pan and turn the heat to simmer. Simmer the oil, using a spatula to stir it occasionally, until it melts. Pour the melted oil into a liquid measuring cup to make sure that you have ½ cup. Set it aside to cool a bit. It won’t have to cool too much as it won’t be that hot.

    • In a large bowl whisk together the 4 eggs, 1⅔ cups sugar, ½ cup applesauce, ½ cup coconut oil and the pumpkin puree until well combined. You can use a hand mixer, standing mixer or just a plain old whisk. I used a whisk and some arm strength and it was easy!

    • In a smaller bowl mix together the 2 cups flour, 2 teaspoons baking powder, 1 teaspoon baking soda, 2 teaspoons cinnamon, 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice, ¼ teaspoon allspice and 1 teaspoon salt.

    • Add the flour mixture to the pumpkin mixture and whisk or stir well to combine. The batter will be thick.

    • Pour the batter into an ungreased 10x15 inch jelly roll pan (I know it sounds strange, but you don't need to grease the pan). You can get these jelly pans at Amazon, Bed Bath and Beyond or your local kitchen store. The jelly roll pan looks like a rimmed baking sheet, except that it has this ribbed bottom. I know it seems weird to bake a cake in something so shallow, but believe me it works great, and the cake rises up without spilling over and the cake is moist, not dense and tough.

    • Spread out the batter evenly using a spatula, and then pound the pan a few times onto the counter to even it out and get out any air bubbles. You can also use a 9x13 pan for the cake, but you will have to bake the cake a bit longer.

    • Bake the cake for 25-30 minutes, or until a cake tester or toothpick comes out clean. My cake took exactly 27 minutes to bake in my oven. If you're using a 9x13 pan then the cake will take a bit longer to bake, about 30-35 minutes. Baking tip: It’s hard to give an exact cooking time when it comes to baking because every oven, pan and even geographic locations, can command a slightly different cooking time. A great way to know when a cake is done, is to do the finger test as well as the standard toothpick test. To do the finger test, press your finger down gently in the middle of the cake, if it’s done, it should puff back up automatically on it own. If it stays dented, then the cake is not ready to come out yet. Also, a cake tester or toothpick inserted in the center should come out clean as well.

    • Let the cake cool in the pan, do not take it out of the pan.

    • Once the cake has cooled, it's time to make the frosting.

    • Pour 2 cups unsifted confectioners sugar into a sifter or fine mesh sieve, and sift the sugar into a large bowl, set aside. Sifting the sugar helps to ensure you don't have lumpy frosting.

    • Put your softened butter, cream cheese and vanilla into a bowl and get your handy dandy mixer out.

    • I prefer to use my hand-held mixer with small frosting batches such as this because it's just easier to manipulate, but you can use your standing mixer with the whisk attachment.

    • Beat the butter, cream cheese and vanilla together on medium speed until well blended.

    • Slowly add the sifted confectioners sugar to taste. At first, pour in ½ of the sifted amount, mix it and give it taste, and keep adding small amounts till you get it to the taste you like. You want it to be sweet but not too sweet. NOTE: If you add too much confectioner's sugar, the frosting will be really sweet and you won't really get that cream cheese flavor. Just keep adding the sugar and tasting the frosting until it reaches a flavor you like. How do I know when it's right? You want taste a bit of the cream cheese, but you also want it to be sweet at the same time, almost like a perfect balance of the two. Honestly my frosting comes out best when the kids are around because they are the BEST testers and always get it right!

    • The frosting should be smooth and creamy looking. The color will vary from white to creamy white.

    • Spread the frosting over the cake.

    • Cut the cake into squares and serve it up!

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      22 thoughts on “Pumpkin Sheet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting”

        1. Hi Pamela! I can’t wait to hear what you think of the cake when you make it! I know you will LOVE it 🙂 xoxo, Jackie

      1. I knew the cake would win! I have a very similar recipe but it calls for 1 full cup of oil, yikes! I haven’t made it in a years, and I like how this one uses less oil and adds in applesauce. Great idea and you have inspired me to resurrect the pumpkin sheet cake and try it again. Jake is coming home this weekend, I think I’ll make it for dessert. Thanks for sharing, can’t wait to try!

        1. Hey girl! The original recipe called for 1 cup of oil as well. I felt weird using a whole cup of oil, so I tried (for the first time) using unsweetened applesauce and it didn’t change a thing to the texture of the cake. It actually made it better, believe it or not. I’m going to try coconut oil next time and see if that changes the flavor at all.
          You should totally make up your cake for Jake and try the applesauce in place of 1/2 of oil. SO fun that he’s coming home for the weekend 🙂 xoxo, Jackie

        1. Yes, try the applesauce girl. This was my first time using it in a cake and I was happily surprised at how moist the cake was. 🙂

      2. Back before I was the one in charge of bringing my husband lunch during harvest, his Grandma would often bring him food and include a piece of pumpkin sheet cake with his meal! I have an insane craving for it now after seeing your pictures. Cream cheese frosting is my absolute favorite…I’m going to make this recipe to surprise those hard working men with!

      3. Gorgeous and pinned to my pumpkin board. I love how soft, springy and moist it looks. I have SEEN that recipe for Paul’s bars on allrecipes and always wondered. Guess you answered my question that I should make them!

        And your baking tip about doneness – very good one. I want to say to people, bake until done. Only they know when that is for all the variables you outlined. Like ill write bake for about 30 mins, or until… And then I will get panicked emails saying, I had to bake for 34 minutes..is this right??!!! And I’m like…yeah, it’s fine. Bake.until.done. Not rocket science but people get really uneasy about baking times I have found!

        1. You should totally make them girl and I’m sure you will spice them up a bit as well because you’re so good at that!
          Yes, baking times are confusing and baking in general can be scary because no one wants something to be over or underdone. My sister who graduated from the CIA taught me the finger test trick and It has really made a difference for me when baking cakes. Some recipes take longer or shorter depending on all different variables like oven temps, to the overall temp of the baking ingredients to the temp in the air, so there really isn’t an exact baking time. The hardest baking times for me to get perfect are for cookies. The times always vary by the size and shape of the cookie. 🙂 xoxo, Jackie

      4. Hi Jackie,

        Seeing your pumpkin cake reminds me that the Thanksgiving season is near… Your cake looks great and will be delish dessert after all Thanksgiving dinners!

        Zoe

      5. seriously a friend delivering cake this is so sweet 🙂 I am going to make this cake next week as a treat for my sunday school class kiddos…they have been asking me to bring something in with frosting so this is going to be perfect. also I still want to see that salad recipe 😉 need that to coincide with the sugary sweets….hahahaha maybe a lot of salad with the amount of treats we’ve been eating lately.

      6. I liked your recipe, I learned when my 3 yr. old daughter had high cholesterol, that you can substitute, applesauce, or bananas, in any recipe for the oil. (It works, but the banana taste can be strong for most recipes.) For this cake, I substituted all the oil with applesauce, and I omitted the butter in the frosting.

        1. Hi Alice! Thanks so much for letting me know about the substitutions you use in lieu of vegetable oil. It’s really helpful for me as well as my readers. I also love that you used a whole cup of applesauce, I may have to try that sometime! 🙂 xoxo, Jackie

      7. I haven’t disliked ANY of your recipes and it being fall, and knowing I love pumpkin, I had to try this one. I used the coconut oil and it turned out PERFECT!
        I’m now making the cake for my son’s birthday (he’s one and my daughter is 3 – both ate this cake up!) However, I want to do round layers, like your chocolate cake. Will baking temperature be the same?

        I adore your blog!! Thanks so much for all the fantastic recipes.

      8. Hi! I’m going to make this for Thanksgiving….can I make this tomorrow (1 day early)? Or would you suggest making the day of? Thanks!

        1. Hi Johanna! You can totally make this the day before and I always do! You can either make just the cake (frost it the next day) and then tightly wrap it in saran wrap and put it in the fridge overnight, or you can make the cake and frost it the day before and just cover it and keep it out at room temp. When bake and frost the cake the day before, I take 2 larger rimmed baking sheets and put the cake pan on one and then top it with the other rimmed baking sheet so that it’s covered make sense?. You might loose the frosting if you cover it with plastic wrap or parchment, so that’s why I use the 2 large baking sheets. It’s best to keep the cake in the pan as well, it just stays fresher and is super easy to cut and get out of the pan for serving. Let me know if you have any other questions! I hope everyone loves it! 🙂 xoxo, Jacquelyn

      9. Pingback: Saffy’s (Mostly) Real Food 5th Birthday Party – Sarah Makes Lunch

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