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Pumpkin Cake with Butter Pecan Frosting

Easy to make pumpkin sheet cake made in a 9×13 inch pan with homemade butter pecan frosting!

Ryan and I recently become obsessed with butter pecan ice cream. There is just something about crunchy nuts in ice cream with sweetness that is good. Did I pretty much describe all ice cream? Haha.

Although I have been really looking forward to fall, the colder weather shocked me. It went from upper 80s and wicked humidity – the kind where you put 50 bobby pins in your hair to keep it looking semi nice – to frigid cold (okay, the 60s). Now instead of eating butter pecan ice cream, I’m making soup in the crock pot and craving warm baked goods!

We paired our classic pumpkin cake with homemade butter pecan frosting. Our friends devoured this cake and no one complained about how enormous the pieces were. Cutting a cake to photograph and cutting a cake to serve to people are two very different things :)

This year I’m finding that I’m falling more in love with sheet cakes – cakes made in a 9×13 inch pan. They are easy to make with minimal fuss and they easily serve 12-14 people.

The batter for this pumpkin cake is thick, it will not be pourable like box mix cakes are. You will need to spread it evenly into the pan with a spatula.

I do not recommend cutting this recipe in half because you will not have enough batter to fill a 9×13 inch pan. You could however cut the recipe in half and bake it in an 8×8 inch pan.

The butter pecan frosting is really the icing on the cake. (bad pun, sorry haha!)
You’ll need a few simple ingredients to achieve that iconic butter pecan flavor. Softened butter, brown sugar, powdered sugar, maple syrup, and Diamond of California Chopped Pecans.

The brown sugar and maple syrup add a nice depth of flavor to the frosting and you get good (and REAL!) butter flavor from the butter. Add in the chopped pecans and now you have a true homemade butter pecan flavor without using flavored extracts.

The frosting has a bit of texture to it from the brown sugar – meaning the brown sugar doesn’t dissolve in the butter like powdered sugar does. If the slight “grittiness” of the frosting bothers you, you can add in a little bit of milk or heavy cream to help smooth out the texture.

We had no problems making this cake disappear :)

I created this recipe in partnership with Diamond of California. Thank you for supporting the brands who make it possible for me to share recipes with you!

Pumpkin Cake with Butter Pecan Frosting

Yield: 9x13 inch pan
Additional Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour

Easy to make pumpkin sheet cake made in a 9x13 inch pan with homemade butter pecan frosting!


Pumpkin Cake

  • 1 & 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 sticks butter (1 cup), room temperature
  • 4 eggs
  • 15 oz can pumpkin puree
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 2 & 1/2 cup all purpose flour

Butter Pecan Frosting


Pumpkin Cake

  1. Preheat the oven to 350º F. Spray a 9x13 inch pan with non-stick cooking spray. In a mixing bowl, combine the brown sugar and butter, beat together using an electric mixer until creamy, 1-2 minutes. Add in the eggs, beat again. Add in the pumpkin puree, mixing by hand with a spatula. Add in the baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice, mixing with a spatula. Gradually add in the flour, mixing with a spatula just until combined meaning it’s okay if there are lumps or a few flour streaks. Spread the batter evenly into the 9x13 inch pan. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.

Butter Pecan Frosting

  1. In a mixing bowl, beat the butter, brown sugar, and maple syrup with an electric mixer on medium-high for 2 minutes or until fluffily. Add in the powdered sugar and chopped pecans, mixing at first with a spatula, than beating with an electric mixer for 1-2 minutes. Spread the frosting over the cooled cake. Add additional chopped pecans on top of the cake if desired. Cut into pieces and serve.