Baker, recipe developer, and cookbook author Jessie Sheehan shares her recipe for a pumpkin snacking cake. This version is spiced with cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger, then swiped with a layer of chocolate cream cheese frosting. It’s so quick and easy that you’ll find yourself making it often—long after pumpkin season ends.  

Snacking cakes are my favorite cakes. If you have crossed paths with my apple snacking cake—and I certainly hope you have—then you have likely already heard me wax eloquent about them. But if you’re in need of a refresher: Snacking cakes are easy to assemble, incredibly moist and tender (as they often call for oil, rather than butter), and adorable to behold in their 8x8x2-inch pans. This pumpkin version, with the most divine, deeply chocolatey, tangy cream cheese frosting, is perfect for your Thanksgiving dessert table.

Related Reading: How to Line Every Pan with Parchment

Swap Pie for Cake This Thanksgiving

Although this may come as a surprise, not everyone loves pie. In fact, many are team cake (including me: I am the self-proclaimed captain) and would be over the moon to see a cake among all the apple and pecan and sweet potato pies. I’m certainly not advocating that you scratch all pies and only make snacking cakes for Thanksgiving (but I won’t lie: I would love you for doing that), but if you can substitute even a single pie for a snacking cake, you’ll be simplifying holiday baking in the most delicious of ways.  

Related Reading: The Only Pumpkin Bread You’ll Ever Need in Your Life

This snacking cake is far easier to construct than any of the pies you would be laboring over in anticipation of turkey day. It comes together quickly and bakes in about 30 minutes. Plus, chocolate and pumpkin is a marriage that is often unfairly sidelined. The spices that usually accompany pumpkin—nutmeg, cinnamon, and allspice—mesh brilliantly with the chocolate frosting, and chocolate unquestionably helps those who are apprehensive about pumpkin ease into the ingredient.

Jessie Sheehan

Its Simplicity Will Give You Time to Focus On The Rest of the Cooking

This cake—frosted and all—can be baked and frozen up to a month before Thanksgiving. That means you can make it tonight, freeze it, forget about it, and then pull it out Thanksgiving morning. It’ll come to room temp by the time the big meal is served, leaving you with one less thing on your plate during the busiest of prep days.

Related Reading: Fall Recipes Perfect for Those Sick of Pumpkin-Flavored Everything

Simply transfer the frosted cake to a cookie sheet and stick it in the freezer. Once frozen, tightly wrap it in plastic wrap and a sheet of tinfoil and return to the freezer until ready to eat. Let it come to room temperature, unwrapped, before serving. Your friends and family members— whether they’re team cake, team pie, or team pumpkin—will be delighted.

Pumpkin Snacking Cake with Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting

Click the link below to get the recipe.

Pumpkin Snacking Cake with Chocolate Frosting

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For more tips, tricks, hacks, and recipes, see our Ultimate Guide to Thanksgiving.

Header image courtesy of Jessie Sheehan

Jessie Sheehan is a cookbook author, food writer, recipe developer, and baker. She is the author of "The Vintage Baker" (one of the Washington Post’s best cookbooks of 2018 and beloved by Oprah and Nigella) and the co-author of "Icebox Cakes" (both published by Chronicle Books). She has developed recipes for many cookbooks, besides her own, and has contributed recipes, written and/or created video content for Better Homes & Garden, Rachael Ray Everyday, the Washington Post, Fine Cooking, Yankee Magazine (October 2020) Epicurious, Food52, The Hallmark Channel’s Home & Family Show, The Feed Feed, The Kitchn, TASTE, Chowhound, Yummly, Spruce Eats and Little Sous, among others. Jessie blogs at and can be found on Instagram at @jessiesheehanbakes.
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