Pumpkin Spice Pecan Cake is three layers of pumpkin infused butter cake with walnuts topped with cream cheese buttercream and pecans for a fantastic Fall recipe your whole family will love.
A Church Cookbook Recipe
Do you have any of those old fashioned church cookbooks? They're always full of so many treasures. Today I'm sharing this Pumpkin Spice Pecan Cake from one of my grandmother's favorite church cookbooks (and mine too) called Claybank Cooking, sponsored by The United Methodist Women of The First United Methodist Church of Ozark, Alabama (circa 1980). My grandmother even contributed some of the recipes, but this particular cake recipe comes from Mrs. Bonnie King who I don't know personally but I sure do love her recipe. Stay tuned for more goodies from this gold mine of a recipe collection.
I was excited to discover this recipe because it's a pumpkin layer cake which is a little different than the typical pumpkin bread or pumpkin sheet cake. Mrs. Bonnie King suggests a cream cheese frosting, so that is what I used, but also decided to add the chopped pecans on the side and whole pecans forming a crown on top to give it a fancier look. The cake itself is soft and light in texture with a crunch of chopped walnuts in every bite and that satisfying pumpkin spice flavor everyone craves this time of year. (Note: The original recipe calls for maple extract instead of pumpkin spice which I prefer.)
Remembering Church Refreshments in the 1980s
Eating this cake gives me such a cozy feeling as I imagine Mrs. Bonnie most likely made this delicious cake for a church luncheon or ladies Sunday school class get together. I remember going to church with my grandparents and after the service going downstairs for refreshments in fellowship hall where everyone gathered for a bite to eat and mingle. There was always such a wide assortment of desserts and casseroles. Lots of foods that I normally didn't get to have at home. And all the people were so sweet too!
How to make Pumpkin Spice Pecan Cake
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Line three 8-inch round pans with parchment paper and spray with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside.
- Cream butter and slowly add sugars, eggs and pumpkin.
- Alternate adding dry ingredients and milk.
- Fold in chopped walnuts, pour into prepared pans and bake for 30 minutes.
How to Make Cream Cheese Frosting
- In large bowl, beat softened butter and cream cheese with electric mixer on medium until fluffy.
- With mixer on low, add powdered sugar and vanilla.
- Beat for 3 minutes on medium. That's it!
- Fill and frost your cake.
Pumpkin Spice Pecan Cake is not only tasty but it's also beautiful. Just a lovely dessert to take to a party. It would be perfect for your holiday dessert table this year at Thanksgiving or even Christmas.
This is the Claybank Cooking cookbook that belonged to my grandmother. She contributed recipes along with lots of her friends back in the early 1980s at the First United Methodist Church in Ozark, Alabama. (Cookbook cover illustration by Sarah Gilbert.)
Let me know if you try this recipe and how you like it in the comments below.
I love hearing from you.
Happy Fall Y'all!
p.s. A little history: The Claybank Log Church is a historic church built in 1829 in Ozark, Alabama by a Methodist minister. A newer church was later built closer to the center of town in 1873 (where my grandparents attended church).
Tools for success
Wilton 8-Inch Round Cake Pans (Set of 2) - Note: I prefer Wilton brand but you need 3 pans for this recipe
8-Inch Round Stainless Steel Cake Pans (Set of 3)
8-Inch Round Parchment Cake Pan Liners
Note: The above items are affiliate links.
Want even more? Subscribe to Mom Loves Baking to get new recipes and a newsletter delivered to your inbox. And stay in touch on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, and Instagram for all my latest updates. If you make this recipe, share a photo on social media tagging @momlovesbaking and using the hashtag #momlovesbaking.
Pumpkin Spice Pecan Cake
For the pumpkin spice cake
- ½ cup butter softened
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup light brown sugar lightly packed
- 2 large eggs room temperature
- 1 cup pumpkin puree I used canned
- 3 cups cake flour
- 4 teaspoons baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons pumpkin spice
- ½ cup milk
- 1 cup walnuts chopped
For the cream cheese frosting
- 8 ounces cream cheese softened
- ½ cup unsalted butter softened
- 16 ounces powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 ½ cups pecans reserve 20 whole pecans for top of cake, then chop the rest
For the pumpkin spice pecan cake
- Cream butter and slowly add sugars, eggs, and pumpkin. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, soda, salt and pumpkin spice. Add this flour mixture alternately with the milk to the pumpkin mixture. Fold in the walnuts.
- Pour batter into three greased 8" layer cake pans, lined with parchment paper. Bake at 350°F. for 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into middle comes out clean. Cool and frost with cream cheese frosting.
For the cream cheese frosting
- In a large bowl, beat the butter and cream cheese with an electric mixer on medium for 3 minutes. With mixer on low, gradually add the powdered sugar and then vanilla. Turn mixer up to medium and beat for another 3 minutes.
- Fill and frost the cooled cake layers. Add 20 whole pecans around the top edge of cake. Chop the remaining pecans and add to the side of the frosted cake. Store in refrigerator.
Check out these great pumpkin recipes…
A Mind “Full” Mom: Mini Pumpkin Pie Cookies
Foodtastic Mom: Bourbon Bacon Pumpkin Seeds
Elephants and the Coconut Trees: Mini White Pumpkin Milk Fudge with Dry fruit Filling
Mom Loves Baking: Pumpkin Cupcakes
Pinch My Salt: Double Chocolate Pumpkin Cupcakes
Mom Loves Baking: Thankful Pumpkin Pie
You might also like these vintage recipes - this one is from my grandmother, Alabama Lane Cake
Another one of her favorites was this Watergate Cake
You might like Classic Southern Red Velvet Cake
If you like this recipe, please share on Pinterest and use the below image for your pin. Thank you!
All text and images © Lise Ode for Mom Loves Baking. Please do not use my images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words, or link back to this post for the recipe. Disclaimer: Nutrition information shown is not guaranteed to be accurate. This post may contain affiliate links.
Jane Wells Scott says
Lise, your Grandmother Dorothy McGee Wells was on the committee reviewing cake recipes to be printed in Claybank Cooking. This pumpkin cake recipe was chosen by Dorothy to be in the recipe book. Also, one of the first
preachers at the early Claybank Church was my great, great, great grandfather Dempsey Dowling. So, there's quite a
bit of family history involved in this early Methodist Church (Claybank Church) in Ozark, AL. I was named after Dempsey's grandson Simeon Dowling's wife Jane dowling. My grandmother Blanche Dowling Wells was Simeon & Jane's daughter.