This super simple Mini Pumpkin Cake with cream cheese frosting and homemade candied walnuts is the perfect easy fall dessert to share with a couple friends.
It’s technically still summer, but I don’t care. I’m in full-on pumpkin mode now. Can’t stop this pumpkin train. I shared a small batch of Pumpkin Cupcakes a couple weeks ago, Cinnamon Sugar Baked Pumpkin Donuts last week, and today, I have a Mini Pumpkin Cake for you because you can never ever ever have enough pumpkin.
Folks, you have to make this cake this fall. It’s so soft and fluffy and pumpkiny and moist, and topped with my favorite cream cheese frosting, AKA THE BEST Cream Cheese Frosting. And since a cake this good deserves something pretty to garnish it, I added candied walnuts.
I don’t even like nuts usually, but these are soooooooo good. They’re crunchy, sugary, and so easy to make. You just need five minutes, a nonstick pan, and a little butter and sugar. The sugar melts and gets all gooey and caramelly and coats the walnuts in a crunchy candy shell when it cools. Served over the cake (or stolen by the handful), they are just fabulous.
This Mini Pumpkin Cake is baked in a 7×5-inch dish (rectangular 3-cup Pyrex containers are perfect for this) and will make four very generous servings or six smaller ones. If you’re looking for a great-tasting low-stress fall dessert, I can’t recommend this cake enough.
It’s a cinch to throw together and can be on the table in about an hour, including the hands-off baking and cooling time. Plus, the candied walnuts on top fancy it up just enough that it looks like something that took 10 times the effort. And no one needs to know just how easy it actually was. 😉
Mini Pumpkin Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
- 1/2 cup (60g) all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 large egg
- 1/3 cup (66g) granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 1/3 cup + 2 tablespoons (111g) canned pumpkin puree
- 1 cup walnut halves or pieces
- 1 tablespoon (1/2oz) butter if using unsalted, add a pinch of salt
- 1/4 cup (50g) granulated sugar
Cream Cheese Frosting
- 2 ounces cream cheese softened
- 4 tablespoons (2oz) unsalted butter softened
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2/3 cup (80g) powdered sugar sifted
- Pinch of salt
- Preheat your oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 7x5-inch baking dish and line with parchment paper*.
- In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together egg, sugar, vegetable oil, and pumpkin puree until very smooth. Whisk in flour mixture. Pour batter into prepared baking dish and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out with just a few wet crumbs and when gently pressed, the top of the cake springs back.
- Cool completely before frosting.
- While your cake is cooling, make the candied walnuts. Place a sheet of parchment paper on the counter along with an extra spatula or fork (you'll need it to separate the nuts later).
- Heat a medium non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add walnuts, butter, and sugar. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes, stirring often (don't leave unattended), until sugar is completely melted and a light amber and nuts are coated. Turn out walnuts on to prepared parchment paper, scraping all the sugar out onto the nuts. Use the two spatulas to separate the nuts into a single layer, scraping the cooling sugar on to them as you go. Be VERY careful with the hot sugar so you don't burn yourself!
- Allow to cool for 5 to 10 minutes and then break the nuts apart.
Cream Cheese Frosting
- In a medium bowl, combine softened cream cheese, butter, and vanilla, and beat until light and fluffy. Add powdered sugar and salt and beat until well-combined.
- Spread over cooled cake and pile cooled candied walnuts on top.
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