A great fall bake, this cake has a moist crumb thanks to the oil in the batter, and the flavor is spiced and sweet, just plain wonderful. Oh, and the cream cheese frosting! It's the perfect combination. Bundt cake recipes is one of our most popular categories, so it was about time I introduced you to this fabulous pumpkin-flavored version.
This is a recipe I've been making for years, and it's still at the top 3 when it comes to pumpkin recipes and cakes. Maybe it fights for the first position with the pumpkin quick bread when it comes to flavor and texture, but I can't resist a good bundt cake.
Pumpkin baking is all about the spices, and that is very adjustable in this recipe. Any combination of warm spices can be used, or not. Maybe you don't like cloves like me, so you don't add them. A store-bought pumpkin pie spice mix is also a good option.
About this cake
- The texture: it's very moist and rises well, so the crumb is perfectly spongy.
- Easy to make: the fact that this pumpkin cake uses oil instead of butter makes for a much faster beating since there's no creaming involved and no waiting for the butter to be at room temperature.
- Make ahead: it freezes really well and also keeps well at room temperature for 2-3 days, always well wrapped.
- Pumpkin puree: you can use canned or homemade pumpkin puree, which is very easy to make. Don't use pumpkin pie filling which is a different thing.
- Oil: sunflower oil is our first choice for everyday baking because it's neutral and lets the other flavors shine. But you can use canola or other vegetable oil.
- Sugar: both white and brown sugar are used (light or dark, they both work).
- Eggs: always fresh, large.
- Flour and salt: all-purpose flour and kosher salt.
- Baking powder and baking soda: make sure they are still active, not expired.
- Spices: ground cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and allspice are our favorite ones. But feel free to add a pinch of cloves if you want or use pumpkin pie spice mix.
- Vanilla: using pure vanilla extract or paste is our first choice, but you can use a good vanilla essence like Baker's(artificially flavored).
How to make this cake
- Oil mixture: it starts with the sugar and eggs that are beaten together until frothy and then the oil is added in a thin stream until you have a thick batter. This takes about 3 minutes. Image 1
- Adding the pumpkin: next comes the pumpkin puree, which should be well incorporated before adding the dry ingredients. I add the warm pumpkin spices at this point, but you can choose to add them with the flour. Image 2
- Flour mixture: or dry ingredients as they're also called, they're added at the end after all the wet ingredients have been thoroughly beaten. The idea at this point is to beat as little as possible, just until the batter is well combined. Always sift them, either as you're adding them (image 3), or have them sifted beforehand. This will help make the crumb lighter.
- Final batter: I always finish my cake batter with a spatula to make sure there is no flour left unmixed in the bottom of the bowl, and also to scrape the sides well for the last time. Image 4
Preparing the bundt pan
If you love making bundt cakes you probably know the pain of not being able to remove it from the pan in one piece. I know it happened to me many times!
I have three ways of dealing with this:
- Butter and flour: use soft butter (NOT melted) to patiently cover the whole pan, every nook and cranny, every sharp angle, every single bit of space available. I use a brush or my fingers. I then flour the pan and REFRIGERATE IT while putting together the batter. I take it out at the last moment when I need to fill it and it goes like that into the oven. It will unmold like a dream!
- Baking spray: use a spray that is labeled as having flour in it, or being specifically made for baking. It has to have flour in it, otherwise, you have high chances of the cake sticking when removing it. That is my experience at least.
- Recipe: whenever I find a great recipe that can be easily removed from an intricate bundt pan, even though I didn’t follow step 1 above, I cling to it like life itself!
Baking the cake
- Fill the pan to no more than ¾ of its capacity at the most. That is my golden rule when it comes to cake batters in general, and especially relevant with bundt cakes that tend to be dense ones, similar to pound cakes many of them. Image 5
- How do you know when it's done? Most bundt cakes will bake to a golden brown top (image 6) before they're fully baked inside. So always use a cake tester or toothpick to check and make sure it comes out clean (no moist crumbs or wet batter attached) when you insert it in the middle of the cake.
- What if the cake is browning too quickly? This happens often, so use a large piece of aluminum foil to loosely cover the top of the cake after you see that it's browning too much and it's not yet done. Continue baking it; the foil will prevent the top from continuing to brown while the inside of the cake fully bakes.
Cream cheese frosting
I use a simple cream cheese frosting because together with pumpkin it makes the best cake possible. It's easy to make (simply mix powdered sugar with butter and cream cheese), keeps well in the refrigerator for several weeks, and there's usually some leftovers which can be used to fill and frost other cakes like the Red Velvet Bundt Cake, the wonderful Hummingbird Layer Cake, or our decadent Pumpkin Whoopie Pies.
How much frosting? That's up to you! I find that a thick layer is always a good idea. So let your sweet tooth decide.
- Organization: always read the recipe first and make sure you have all the ingredients, at the right temperatures, and also the rest of the equipment and space to make it. This will make the process so much easier!
- Baking time: keep in mind that all ovens and pans are different, even if they look the same or very similar. The baking time in my recipes is as accurate as it can be, but it might take you more or less time. You can use a thermometer that is placed inside the oven (like the OXO oven thermometer) to check that your oven is at the right temperature. I recommend you keep track of how your oven works and what tiny details you might need to adjust.
- Pan size: fill the pan to no more than ¾ of its capacity at the most. That is my golden rule when it comes to cake batters in general, and especially relevant with bundt cakes that tend to be dense ones, similar to a pound cake many of them. I give 2 choices of pan size in the recipe card.
- Flavorings: adapt the amount and type of spices to your personal palate. Use a homemade or store-bought mix that you like, or use fewer spices than those specified in the recipe. Make this flavorful pumpkin bundt cake your own!
- Add-ins: you can add ½ cup of semi sweet chocolate chips or chopped walnuts/pecans to the pumpkin batter.
- Freezing: this moist pumpkin bundt cake freezes very well, always well wrapped. I use plastic wrap first and then aluminum foil. It keeps for a month for sure. Defrost in the refrigerator (it takes a while so I recommend doing it the day before) or at room temperature.
- Frosting: you can use a flavored cream cheese frosting by adding ¼ teaspoon of ground cinnamon or ¼ teaspoon of pure almond extract, or add some grated orange extract or zest to the frosting itself.
Frequently asked questions
The shape of the pan is the main difference of this type of cake when compared with regular ones. It's a patterned (or fluted) tube pan which means it has a hole in the center, so the cake bakes with more sides in contact with metal which makes for more crust.
Yes, you should let it cool down, and the question is for how long. I flip mine after 15 minutes or so. I shake the pan first until I feel the cake has loosened completely, especially the bottom part. Then I use a cooling rack over it, flip it and then flip it again and let it cool completely on the wire rack. Be careful when doing this because a rather hot cake is very tender.
Yes, you can! The simpler the cake mix, the better it usually is to remove from the bundt pan, which is pretty much the nemesis of bundt cake baking in my opinion.
Don't overbake it and keep it covered with a cake dome or plastic wrap. If the cake is in contact with the air it will start to dry out more quickly. Also, a good recipe with oil is bound to be moister than if made with butter.
Related recipes you might like:
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Pumpkin Bundt Cake
Bundt cakes are one of our most popular categories, so it was about time I introduced you to this fabulous pumpkin-flavored cake. The crumb is moist thanks to the oil in the batter, and the flavor is spiced, sweet, and just plain wonderful. Oh, and the cream cheese glaze! The perfect combination.
- Total Time: 2 hours 20 minutes
- Yield: 10 servings
For a 10-cup bundt pan:
- 2 ¼ cups flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- ⅛ teaspoon ground allspice or nutmeg or a mix of both
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 3 eggs, at room temperature
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- ¾ cup light brown sugar, packed
- 12oz (1 ½ cups) pumpkin puree
- ¾ cup vegetable oil
- Optional: ½ teaspoon orange zest
For a 12-cup bundt pan:
- 3 cups flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1 tablespoon baking soda
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 1 ½ teaspoons ground ginger
- ¼ teaspoon ground allspice or nutmeg or a mix of both
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- 4 eggs, at room temperature
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup light brown sugar, packed
- 16oz (2 cups) pumpkin puree
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- Optional: 1 teaspoon orange zest
For the cream cheese frosting:
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 4 tablespoons cream cheese, at room temperature
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 1-2 teaspoons milk
For the cake:
- Preheat oven to 350º.
- Butter and flour, or spray with baking spray a 10-cup or large 12-cup bundt pan, depending on the cake you're going to make.
- In a bowl sift together flour, baking powder, soda, pie spice, and salt.
- Beat eggs for a minute with an electric mixer in a large bowl (or the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment), until frothy.
- Add both sugars and beat for 1 or 2 minutes, until thick and pale-colored.
- Gradually add oil and beat for a minute more, until well incorporated.
- Add pumpkin puree, spices and mix well. If using orange zest add it now.
- Add flour mixture in two additions beating only until well mixed. It's important that you don't overbeat the pumpkin mixture at this point.
- Pour batter into prepared pan and smooth the top.
- Bake for about 50 minutes, or until a cake tester or toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean. If the top is browning too quickly before it's done, loosely cover the cake with a large piece of aluminum foil so the top doesn't continue to brown while the inside bakes fully.
- Let cool for about 15 minutes in the pan on a wire rack. Grab the pan with kitchen towels and starts shaking it a little, until the cake moves and you make sure the bottom and sides are not stuck.
- Invert onto a wire rack, and cool completely before frosting.
- Add the cream cheese frosting and decorate with some orange zest and ground cinnamon.
For the cream cheese frosting:
- Beat soft cream cheese in a bowl with the soft butter until very creamy and no lumps remain.
- Gradually add the powdered sugar and beat until you have a thick, very creamy consistency.
- If needed, thin it with a teaspoon or two of milk until you have a good enough to spread mixture.
- It keeps well in the refrigerator for a few weeks, covered. Beat again before using to attain a creamy consistency.
Organization: always read the recipe first and make sure you have all the ingredients, at the right temperatures, and also the rest of the equipment and space to make it. This will make the process so much easier!
Baking time: keep in mind that all ovens and pans are different, even if they look the same or very similar. The baking time in my recipes is as accurate as it can be, but it might take you more or less time. You can use a thermometer that is placed inside the oven (like the OXO oven thermometer) to check that your oven is at the right temperature. I recommend you keep track of how your oven works and what tiny details you might need to adjust.
Pan size: when you pour the cake batter into a pan, it should not fill it higher than ¾ of its capacity. If you only have a 10-cup bundt pan, the cake will take over an hour to bake and the sides be a little thicker and drier.
Flavorings: adapt the amount and type of spices to your personal palate. Use a homemade or store-bought mix that you like, or use fewer spices than those specified in the recipe. Make this flavorful pumpkin bundt cake your own!
Add-ins: you can add ½ cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips or chopped walnuts/pecans to the pumpkin batter.
Freezing: this moist pumpkin bundt cake freezes very well, always well wrapped. I use plastic wrap first and then aluminum foil. It keeps for a month for sure. Defrost in the refrigerator (it takes a while so I recommend doing it the day before) or at room temperature.
Frosting: you can use a flavored cream cheese frosting by adding ¼ teaspoon of ground cinnamon or ¼ teaspoon of pure almond extract, or add some grated orange extract or zest to the frosting itself.
- Prep Time: 20 minutes
- Cooling time: 60 minutes
- Cook Time: 60 minutes
- Category: Cakes
- Method: Baking
- Cuisine: American
- Serving Size: 1/10
- Calories: 680
- Sugar: 64.9 g
- Sodium: 677.4 mg
- Fat: 30.7 g
- Carbohydrates: 97.8 g
- Protein: 7.5 g
- Cholesterol: 92.4 mg
Keywords: pumpkin bundt cake
Can you substitute applesauce for the oil?
Paula Montenegro says
Hi Karen, I never tried it specifically for this recipe, but substituted it several times in cakes and quick breads, so you shouldn't have issues if you do. Make sure it's unsweetened applesauce. Have a great weekend!
You have the best baked goods here, Paula. This bundt cake looks bakery perfect and I love that frosting!