In the back of the Contessa’s newest cookbook there’s a stunning photo of a banana cake lathered in cream cheese icing. I’ve been drooling over this cake for months but haven’t made it because, well, I absolutely hate bananas! After reading over the recipe though, I had a feeling I could substitute the banana with puréed pumpkin.

This past Saturday afternoon, I gave my idea a go. I brought the cake to a dinner party that night and everyone loved it, so I think it’s safe to say it was a success! Feel free to do banana instead of pumpkin, but I have to say this is one of the best pumpkin cakes I’ve ever had.  The cake is incredibly moist and not overly sweet.  And the best part? No fussy icing job!  You just spread the icing thickly across the top of the cake, making this a completely stress free dessert, perfect for the holidays.

Pumpkin Cake with Cream Cheese Icing adapted from the Barefoot Contessa “How Easy Is That?”

Serves 8-10
For the cake:

  • 1 cup pumpkin purée
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 extra large eggs at room temp
  • 1/2 cup greek yogurt (2% or full fat)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
For the frosting:
  • 8 oz (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 8 0z cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 9 x 2-inch round cake pan (I used a springform pan).

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or using a hand mixer, mix the pumpkin and sugars on low speed until combined. With the mixer still on low, add the eggs, oil, yogurt, and vanilla.  Mix until smooth.

In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt. With the mixer on low, add the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 45- 50 minutes until a cake tester or tooth pick comes out clean.  My cake was done at 45 minutes.

While the cake is baking, beat together the cream cheese and butter until just combined. Add in the powdered sugar and mix until smooth.

Once the cake is done baking, let is cool in the pan for 15 minutes, then turn onto a wire cooling rack and let it cool completely.  Once cooled, spread the frosting thickly on the top of the cake.

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  1. brilliant substitution, and perfect for the brisk winter weather!

  2. Thank you! Yes, it’s certainly a good one for the season.

  3. Brandon

    That icing is amazing!

  4. Pingback: J.Crew Spring Preview + The Week in Review | Channeling Contessa

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