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+ servings

Pumpkin Loaf Cake

A richly spiced loaf cake with a moist and light texture that holds together beautifully. The fragrant spices are warm and sweet, and the easy to make recipe yields consistent, delicious results.
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time55 mins
Total Time1 hr 25 mins
Course: Cake, Dessert
Servings: 1 loaf cake
Author: Tricia


  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup lightly packed light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • ½ cup vegetable or canola oil
  • ¾ cup canned pumpkin puree (not pie filling)
  • cup buttermilk, well shaken
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ¾ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice (see NOTES for a DIY recipe)
  • 1 tablespoon turbinado or coarse sugar, optional

For the buttermilk icing:

  • ½ cup powdered sugar, more or less as needed for desired consistency
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla bean paste, or vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon buttermilk, plus more if needed
  • Chopped pecans for garnish


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease the sides and bottom of an 8 ½ by 4 inch loaf pan. Set aside.
  • In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the sugars, eggs and vegetable oil until smooth.
  • Add the pumpkin puree, buttermilk and vanilla to the egg mixture and whisk until combined.
  • Place a fine mesh sieve / sifter over the bowl with the egg and buttermilk mixture. Add the flour, baking soda, salt and spice to the sieve and sift over the bowl with the egg mixture. Use a rubber spatula to gently fold the dry ingredients into the egg and buttermilk mixture. Blend until smooth.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared pan and sprinkle with turbinado sugar, if using.
  • Bake at 350 degrees F for 50 to 55 minutes or until the center is set and firm to the touch, and the cake is lightly browned and cracked down the middle.
  • Remove and allow the cake to rest for 10 to 15 minutes, then remove to a wire rack to cool. Drizzle with icing if desired.

To make the buttermilk icing:

  • Whisk together the powdered sugar, vanilla bean paste and buttermilk until smooth. Add a little more sugar or buttermilk as needed for desired consistency. Drizzle over the top of the cooled cake, sprinkle with chopped pecans, slice and serve.


  • Store leftovers in the refrigerator if using the buttermilk icing. Otherwise store in an airtight container at room temperature (or freeze until needed). Do not ice cake before freezing.
  • DIY Pumpkin Pie Spice: 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, ½ teaspoon ground ginger, ¼ teaspoon ground allspice and ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg. Blend or shake together in a small jar. Makes 2 teaspoons.