Pumpkin Spice Sheet Cake

Can we talk about sheet cakes for a minute?  I love a good sheet cake.  They’re easy, casual-yet-classy, and best of all, feed a crowd.  Most sheet cakes you can serve in big squares and eat with a knife and fork, or cut in small bars and serve as finger food.

This spiced pumpkin version is one of those recipes that everyone should have in their repertoire.  And I bet lots of you do have it in your repertoire.  It’s been around forever in old recipe binders in kitchens across the country.  My copy is handwritten on an old piece of paper and I genuinely have no idea where it came from. But it’s one of those go-to, everyone-loves-it, can’t-go-wrong recipes.  If I have to take something to a family dinner, potluck or party during the months of October or November, this is what I make 90% of the time. So quick, so easy and so, so, so good.  

Pumpkin Sheet Cake

There’s no fuss here.  Everything just gets dumped in a bowl and mixed on up.

Pumpkin Sheet Cake

You can really customize the spices in this cake to your liking.  I’ve included the easiest method in the instructions, which is just to use pumpkin pie spice.  

Pumpkin Sheet Cake

Even when I use pumpkin pie spice, I usually add in a little extra nutmeg and cloves.  I just eyeball it, but I feel like sometimes the pre-mixed spice jar lacks a little oomph.   

Pumpkin Sheet Cake

 

 

Spread the batter out onto a sheet pan and bake it until just done.  Since sheet cakes are thin, they can go from perfect to overcooked in just a minute, so make sure you check it and take it out just when moist crumbs are attached.  

Pumpkin Sheet Cake

Now remember that Brown Sugar Caramel Frosting from last week?  These were meant for each other.  Although if you prefer, you could go for a Cream Cheese Frosting or Brown Butter Frosting.  All of those would be amazing here.

Pumpkin Sheet Cake

Notice I just have a thin layer on this cake.  Since sheet cakes are thinner than a traditional cake, you don’t really need to pile it on high or it’s overwhelming.  This sweet layer is absolute perfection with the mellow spice cake.  

Pumpkin Sheet Cake

I like to sprinkle a little cinnamon and a teeeeny bit of nutmeg on top.  You can serve this with a knife and fork, or also, after it all sets up, these work great as finger food if you cut them smaller.

Pumpkin Sheet Cake from Our Best Bites

 

Pumpkin Sheet Cake
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Ingredients
  1. 1 15 ounce can pumpkin puree (not pie filling)
  2. 2 cups white sugar
  3. 1 cup vegetable oil
  4. 4 large eggs
  5. 2 teaspoons vanilla
  6. 2 cups flour
  7. 2 teaspoons baking soda
  8. 1 1/2 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
  9. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  10. optional: a few dashes nutmeg and cloves
Frosting
  1. 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
  2. 3/4 cup brown sugar
  3. 4 tablespoons cream (or milk)
  4. 1/4 teaspoon table salt
  5. 1 teaspoon vanilla
  6. 2 cups powdered sugar
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray a rimmed baking sheet with nonstick spray. My original recipe specifies a 15 x 10-inch pan, but my pan is about 13 x 17, so anything in that arena shoud be good. Set pan aside.
  2. In a mixing bowl, beat pumpkin, sugar, oil, eggs, and vanilla.
  3. In another bowl, combine flour, baking soda, pumpkin pie spice and salt. Add dry ingredients to the pumpkin mixture, and beat until mixed.
  4. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 20-30 minutes, until tested with toothpick and just moist crumbs attach.
  5. Right when cake comes out of oven, begin frosting.
  6. Heat butter, brown sugar, cream, and salt in a pot until melted and combined. Bring to a boil and then turn down to a simmer for about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and pour into a mixing bowl. Let cool to luke warm (about 10 minutes) and then beat in powdered sugar and vanilla. Adjust consistency by adding more powdered sugar to thicken, or more cream or milk (little by little) to thin. Use immediately as frosting will thicken upon standing.
  7. Frost when just barely warm and sprinkle lightly with cinnamon to garnish.
Notes
  1. This cake is also fantastic with a classic Cream Cheese Frosting or our Brown Butter Frosting.
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27 comments

  1. I’ve been making this recipe for years. It truly is the best sheet cake. I get rave reviews every time i bring to a dinner or something.

    1. You could google a homemade pumpkin pie spice. Honestly I’d just eyeball it and probably add about 2 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 tsp nutmeg and cloves and 1/2 teaspoon ginger.

  2. I know this just posted, but it looked so good I made this tonight for a family night refreshments!! This is to DIE FOR!!! Sooo good!! I made the brown sugar frosting. I can’t tell you how awesome this turned out! I haven’t baked in a really long time, and this made me want to get back in the kitchen. This is going to be one to take to any fall event!! Thanks for posting. Love it!

  3. I’m so glad you added this recipe. I figured I was the only person left in the world who doesn’t have it and it is in the top ten of my favorite desserts! Thank you!

  4. Would this recipe work for cupcakes? And this is a silly question but I have never made sheet cake before–is there a certain sheet cake pan sold for recipes like this? Thanks. Can’t wait to try it.

    1. I’ve never made it into cupcakes but it would definitely work. It’s a good all around cake so it should be yummy. And you just need a regular rimmed baking sheet, like you would use for cookies. We have them linked in our favorites section, here!

      1. So I just checked your link out because I am worried that my half sheet is too big (it’s like 13 x 18, or something), but your link says the pan is a half sheet size. Is that correct? Your recipe says 11 x 15. I want to make this for the fall festival on Saturday at my kids school. Your help is greatly appreciated! You ladies are awesome!

  5. Funny you posted this because we have made pumpkin sheet cake like four times in the last couple of weeks at our house. We love it! I actually had the idea this year to pair it with this maple buttercream from a pumpkin cookie recipe I had on file and it is divine! You need to try it Sarah!

  6. Made this using homemade pumpkin puree following the instructions on how to make it from your website! Made it with the brown sugar caramel frosting as recommended. So so SO good! Fall is officially here. It’s funny because when the batter was in the bowl I was thinking there’s no way all this liquid will fit in a 15 x 10 tray, but it did!

  7. Thanks for this recipe! I made it last night for a work BBQ, and it was a huge hit. I was concerned at first because my sheet pan is larger than 10×15 but it still baked within your recommended time. I am not great at making frosting but this one was easy (and delicious!)

  8. Just finished frosting the cake and sprinkling it with cinnamon! That frosting is amazing. The party I’m taking it to isn’t until this evening. Do I need to refrigerate the cake until then, or is it okay sitting on the counter?

  9. Do you think it would work as a layered cake? I want to do a pumpkin cake for my daughter’s birthday. I have a recipe that I usually use, but I want to try this one. I’m thinking two layers with the frosting in the middle and on top. Thoughts?
    Thanks!

      1. Test run- that would imply that I was planning her party more in advance than the day before. Oops! 🙂
        I appreciate the feedback. Now I’ll debate if I should risk it or do it in a 9×13. That’s still festive 🙂
        Thank you! Love your blog, love your honest take on life. Ya’ll rock!

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