Pumpkin Cake with Maple Frosting is the perfect fall dessert; light and fluffy with a soft and creamy maple cream cheese frosting!

Pumpkin Cake with Maple Frosting on a plate

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Hello, Friends! I’d love to know if any of my readers are planning to host a Fall Dinner Party? Today I’m sharing a delicious fall menu, plus a Fall Dinner Party Pumpkin Cake with Maple Frosting dessert. Yes, please!

Pumpkin Cake with Maple Frosting

This pumpkin cake recipe will win over any dinner guest, thanks to a maple cream cheese frosting that tastes like fall (or a maple bar – yum!). The frosting adds a tangy sweetnes, and if you’re not a maple lover, you can leave it out (and add vanilla).

bite of pumpkin cake

Fall is officially here, or at least it felt like it this weekend. The leaves are turning orange, the mornings are chilly, and we’ve gotten tons of rain. So  naturally I’m gravitating towards everything cozy.

I love fall baking, and so it makes sense to share another pumpkin recipe here on Reluctant Entertainer. 

chopping pecans

Ingredients for pumpkin cake

  • Pecans, toasted and chopped
  • Sugar and brown sugar
  • Butter
  • Eggs + vanilla
  • Flour + baking powder
  • Salt
  • Pumpkin, we buy Trader Joe’s organic
  • Cream cheese
  • Powdered sugar
  • Maple syrup
  • Maple extract

pumpkin cake batter

Simplicity is the key when it comes to this pumpkin cake. This recipe is super easy! You can make it ahead, too.

pecans on pumpkin cake batter

The Best Pumpkin Cake with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

We are still entertaining outdoors, which I really love this time of year (when it’s not raining, which we really need). The colors are not quite there yet, but they are coming.

Fall is the perfect season to host an outdoor party, with crisp air, but not so uncomfortable that your guests are sweating or freezing. My tip: Start your dinner early (like 4 pm) to enjoy the warm end-of-summer sunshine.

Fall Dinner Party and Pumpkin Cake with Maple Frosting

Make your own flower arrangement

Here’s an older backyard dinner party from our old house where I challenged myself to not buy any fresh flowers for the table. Instead I would take some blooms from the yard, with an autumn tint–so pretty.

It was easy to snip the branches and place in Mason jars, and then line the center of the table.

Fall Dinner Party and Pumpkin Cake with Maple Frosting | ReluctantEntertainer.com

Set the table

I used a white linen tablecloth.

Next I pulled my MacKenzie-Childs Courtly Check dinner plates from the cupboard and Auroroa pattern salad dishes.

Fall Dinner Party and Pumpkin Cake with Maple Frosting

Of course, there’s always an element of “Dollar Store bargains” on my table, which were indeed the black plates.

And then we layed down black cloth napkins.

square piece pumpkin cake

This Is the Perfect Pumpkin Cake with Maple Frosting!

There is something to be said for a cake recipe that is as easy as it is delicious.This pumpkin cake recipe is made from scratch, plus the frosting is a dream come true. I mean, who doesn’t love cream cheese frosting?

If you’re looking for an alternative to pumpkin pie, then this pumpkin cake is for you.

Pumpkin Cake with Maple Frosting

How to serve a pumpkin cake recipe

We ended our dinner party with a slice of cake!

Another option for this recipe is to make normal cream cheese frosting without the maple (add vanilla).

Or, right before serving, add  a drizzle of extra maple syrup over the frosting. OH, BOY!

You can serve it with vanilla gelato or vanilla ice cream or even pumpkin gelato or ice cream. So good!

slice of Pumpkin Cake with Maple Frosting

Fall Dinner Party Menu

Appetizer: Fig Grape Crostini Appetizer

OR these carrots with hummus: Roasted Carrots Easy Appetizer Recipe

Soup: Minestrone Soup


Salad: Waldorf Brussels Sprout Salad

Main dish: One Pot Asian Braised Beef

Side dish: Cilantro Lime Coconut Water Rice

Side dish: Healthy Roasted Cauliflower and Broccoli

Easy dinner rolls


square piece pumpkin cake
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Get the Recipe:

Pumpkin Cake with Maple Frosting

You can mix all of the nuts in the cake or leave 1/4 cup out for garnishing.
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
resting time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Yield: 8
Print Recipe Pin Recipe


  • 1 cup pecans, toasted and chopped
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • 1 stick, 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 1 15 oz can pumpkin, I buy Trader Joe’s organic


  • 1 8 oz pkg cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. maple syrup
  • 1 tsp. maple extract, optional


  • Heat the oven to 350. Coat an 8×8 baking pan with cooking spray.
  • Place nuts on a baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes, or in the microwave (on paper towel) for about 2 minutes, turning occasionally. Cook the nuts; chop and set aside.
  • In a large bowl, mix the sugars, butter, eggs and vanilla. Add in the flour, baking powder, and salt. Mix well.
  • Mix in the pumpkin, stirring well until combined. Add the chopped nuts.
  • Bake for about 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool for about 30 minutes and frost.
  • For the frosting, use a mixer to beat the cream cheese until smooth, adding in the powdered sugar, maple syrup, and extract. Beat until completely smooth.
  • Frost the cake and top with extra nuts if you prefer; serve with vanilla ice cream or gelato or pumpkin ice cream or gelato.


Reposted from OCT 2014.
Cuisine: American
Course: Dessert
Did you make this recipe?Tag @reluctantentertainer on Instagram and hashtag it #reluctantentertainer!

piece of pumpkin cake with maple frosting