Rich, decadent and dense, this buttermilk-pumpkin pound cake is a welcome addition to any holiday dessert table. Each delicious bite is perfectly moist and full of our favorite fall flavors and warm spices. Plus, this pound cake features simple ingredients, and it’s easy to make for even the novice baker.
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
Your go-to fall dessert: Everyone needs a tasty, reliable pound cake recipe in their back pocket. Luckily for us, this buttermilk-pumpkin pound cake is happy to oblige, especially during the fall months when we can’t get enough pumpkin spice in our lives. This cake is perfect for every fall occasion.
So many versatile serving options: We can serve it simply as cake, or we can cube it and use it in a holiday trifle. Or maybe we use this fall pound cake to make an out-of-this-world French toast or even a festive icebox cake. With so many serving ideas, you need this buttermilk-pumpkin pound cake in your holiday recipe collection.
Easily serves a crowd: We make this bundt style, which means we get a lot of cake from just one batch. When the whole family is coming over for the holidays, this pumpkin cake will keep everyone full and happy.
Now let's organize our ingredients. Here are a few notes to ensure you make the perfect fall cake.
Flour: Please note that this recipe was specifically tested with all-purpose flour.
Leavening: For this, we use a combination of baking soda and baking powder. Make sure you double check the expiration date for both. Expired leavening will not rise the cake.
Pumpkin purée: Make sure you get pure pumpkin purée, not pumpkin pie filling. They’re two very different products and are not interchangeable. I opt for canned pumpkin, but you're more than welcome to roast your own pumpkin purée.
Buttermilk: This gives us a nice moisture boost and a little zip to balance those warm spices.
Butter: We use salted butter rather than unsalted butter.
Dark brown sugar: I like to use dark brown sugar over light brown sugar because of the higher molasses content for a richer flavor. That said, you can substitute light brown sugar if need be.
Spices: These warm fall spices include a mixture of ground cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves and allspice. Alternatively, you could substitute 2 ½ tablespoons pumpkin pie spice for the individual ingredients if that’s what you have on hand.
Now to show you how truly simple this buttermilk-pumpkin pound cake is.
Step 1: We start by combining the dry ingredients, including our flour, baking soda, baking powder, spices and salt in a medium bowl, and then we sift the mixture (photo 1). To sift, you can use an actual sifter, a fine-mesh sieve or even a whisk. In case you've never sifted a flour mixture, check out the video in the recipe card that shows how I like to use a fine-mesh sieve for sifting.
Step 2: In a large bowl, we now cream butter, sugars and vanilla extract using a hand mixer or stand mixer with the paddle attachment on medium-high speed (photo 2). Expect to spend about four to five minutes creaming the butter and sugars. Our butter and sugars are properly creamed when they're light and fluffy like so.
Step 3: From here, we beat in our large eggs at medium speed one at a time (photo 3). This makes for a more stable emulsion as opposed to adding the eggs all at once, so don’t skip this process, thinking it doesn’t matter.
Step 4: Once we incorporate our eggs, we add a scoop of our sifted flour to the wet ingredients and mix, and then we do the same with a splash of our buttermilk (photos 4 and 5). We repeat the process until we mix in all the flour and buttermilk.
Step 5: Now we stir in our pumpkin purée (photo 6). And just like that, the cake batter is ready.
Step 6: At this point, we generously grease the bundt cake pan with cooking spray, lightly flour it and pour the batter into the prepared pan (photos 7 and 8). If we don’t flour the pan, the cake may stick during the removal process. Flouring makes a world of difference.
Step 7: All that’s left is to bake the pumpkin pound cake in a 350-degree F oven for about 55-60 minutes until it's completely cooked in the middle. We then remove the cake from the oven and allow it to cool (photo 9).
How to Serve
Sure, you could serve this pumpkin pound cake sliced and unadorned or with a simple powdered sugar topping and still have one tasty dessert, but it's even better with a couple additions. First, we warm up the pound cake in the microwave along with my oh-so decadent bourbon caramel. We then top our warm, caramel-soaked moist cake with a big scoop of ice cream.
You might also love topping this pumpkin spice bundt cake with a tangy cream cheese frosting or brown sugar glaze. Feel free to get creative here. No matter how you serve it, you have the perfect fall dessert.
Before attempting to remove the cake, we need to first let the cake cool for about an hour. We then use a butter knife to loosen the cooled cake from the side of the pan, place a wire rack on top and then flip the pan. As long as we properly greased and floured the pan, the cake should slide out easily.
Keep the cake stored at room temperature in an airtight container. A cake dome works especially well for this. This pumpkin pound cake is nice and moist and should last on the countertop for up to five days.
You can make your own buttermilk with just a few simple ingredients. Mix ½ tablespoon lemon juice or distilled white vinegar with ½ cup whole milk. Allow the mixture to sit for five to 10 minutes, and the buttermilk substitute is ready.
Use softened butter: Make sure the butter is softened before creaming. Softened butter is crucial to getting the proper texture.
Measure properly: Don’t scoop your measuring cup into a bag of flour. That packs in too much flour and can throw off the recipe. Instead, spoon the flour into the measuring cup and level with a butter knife.
Use room-temperature eggs: Room-temperature eggs mix better than cold eggs.
Check doneness with a long skewer: While a toothpick works for a simple layer cake, it’s not nearly long enough to reach the center. We need a long skewer to ensure the cake is fully baked.
Double check your bundt pan’s capacity: This recipe specifically calls for a 12-cup bundt pan rather than a 10-cup bundt pan. This pumpkin pound cake recipe makes a lot of batter, so we need the room.
Do yourself a favor and get a barrel-aged, dessert-like pumpkin ale. You can thank me later. Whether you pick a pumpkin ale aged in bourbon barrels or rum barrels, both boozy beers are delicious with this pound cake.
For wine, a tawny port is almost always my favorite pairing with pumpkin desserts, and this recipe is no exception. I just love how those dried fruit and caramel-like flavors of the tawny port play with the pumpkin spice. As far as I'm concerned, the two are the perfect match.
This cake also makes a lovely brunch dessert. For that occasion, serve it with my pumpkin chai latte, and you're in for a real treat. Or you could go with a nice dessert cocktail if this is the end of your Thanksgiving dinner. In that case, you'll love it with my maple bourbon sour.
When you need the ultimate fall dessert, I hope you try this buttermilk-pumpkin pound cake. This easy but delicious fall bundt cake always impresses, no matter the occasion.
Love Pumpkin Spice?
If you love this recipe, please leave a comment with a five-star rating — or simply hit the five-star button in the recipe card. Don't forget to sign up for my newsletter, and you can follow me on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and TikTok.
Buttermilk-Pumpkin Pound Cake
- Stand or hand mixer
- 12-cup bundt pan
- 3 cups all-purpose flour plus more for dusting
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg preferably freshly grated
- ½ teaspoon ground cloves
- ½ teaspoon ground allspice
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups packed dark brown sugar
- 1 cup white sugar
- 1 cup butter softened
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract or paste
- 7 eggs room temperature
- 1 cup buttermilk well shaken before measuring
- 1 (15-ounce) can of pumpkin purée
- Heat oven to 350 degrees. In a mixing bowl, stir together the flour, spices, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Sift into another bowl.
- Add the dark brown sugar, white sugar, butter and vanilla extract to a separate large mixing bowl. Using a stand or hand mixer, cream the ingredients over medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about four to five minutes. From time to time, scrape the butter off the side of the bowl to ensure everything is well-incorporated.
- Beat in the eggs one at a time. Once you beat in all the eggs, add about ½ cup of the flour mixture into the batter and beat until combined on low speed. Beat in a splash of the buttermilk. Repeat the process until both are fully incorporated into the batter, ending with the buttermilk. Stir in the pumpkin puree.
- Grease and flour a 12-cup bundt pan. The flour makes a big difference in keeping the finished cake from sticking, so don't skip this step. Pour in the batter and smooth on top.
- Bake for 55-60 minutes. The cake is ready when a long skewer comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pan for an hour or up to two hours. Run a knife along the edge of the bundt pan to loose the cake. Invert on a wire rack to finish cooling before serving.
- For baking at 5,280 feet altitude, I adjusted to 1 ¾ teaspoons baking powder and ⅞ teaspoon baking soda.
- Make sure your butter, buttermilk and eggs are at room temperature. Since we rely on physical leavening, we need to properly incorporate the ingredients, and room-temperature ingredients mix much better than cold ingredients.
- Do not scoop a measuring cup into your flour and white sugar to measure. Instead, spoon the ingredients into your measuring cup and then level with a knife. Scooping can pack in too much of your ingredient and throw off the entire recipe.
- When beating the sugar and butter, periodically stop the timer and scrape the butter off the side of the bowl. Turn the timer back on when you continue to whip.
- Since this is a big cake, we want to test the doneness with a long skewer rather than a toothpick. I recommend checking in several spots to ensure it's baked all the way. Make sure you insert the skewer all the way.
- Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.