Pumpkin Sheet Cake with Brown Butter Frosting



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Pumpkin Sheet Cake with Brown Butter Frosting

This pumpkin sheet cake with brown butter frosting is moist, fluffy and smothered with brown butter frosting. The frosting is nutty, buttery and a perfect balance of salty and sweet.

‘Tis the season to make a pumpkin sheet cake with brown butter frosting! Don’t you think?

I’m not sure if you’ve noticed but me and sheet cakes have a thing. It’s not an old relationship at all. In fact, this guy right here was kinda the first sheet cake I’d ever made. But once I made that one, I was like WHOAA. This is WAY better than a big, layered cake because it’s a million times less stress and time. I also think that anyone, AND I MEAN ANYONE, can decorate a sheet cake.

Pumpkin Sheet Cake with Brown Butter Frosting

It just takes some swoops and swirls with a trusty off-set spatula and that’s it. I mean, even a butter knife could do the trick.

Pumpkin Sheet Cake Pre-Bake

Here’s the trick—I found—to making those bomb-ass swirls: You gotta plop all the frosting right in the center and then push it out. It really works splendidly. It also takes under 5 minutes. If you mess with it too much then it starts to look too purposeful.

The decorating needs to look casual yet cute. Don’t put too much effort into it, you know.

This combo is A++++, too.

Brown Butter Frosting Is Delicious!

When I first started this recipe, I was set out to make a salted caramel frosting. But then we made the salted caramel frosting and both HATED IT.

It was way too sweet! I wanted gigantic glass of water and a salad after I took a taste of it. But then, Billy got the bright idea to do a brown butter frosting. At that point we set off to make it and never looked back. It was magical.

Homemade Cozy Sprinkles

I always love adding savory elements to sweet things. I think it’s a welcomed tasting note vs. just sugar sugar sugar. It makes things way more interesting and delicious.

The brown butter frosting is delicious and nutty. The pumpkin sheet cake is fluffy with just the right amount of pumpkin spice and pumpkin. Add too much pumpkin and it’ll be heavy and meal-y. Add too little and it tastes just like a spiced cake.

This is Pumpkin Sheet Cake with Brown Butter Frosting is my official love letter to fall. It’s starting early this year. Let me know if you make it on Instagram! 



Here is the cake pan I love using.

Here is a link to the sprinkles I made!

Pumpkin Sheet Cake with Brown Butter Frosting
5 from 41 votes

Pumpkin Sheet Cake with Brown Butter Frosting

Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 30 minutes
Decorating: 10 minutes
Total: 55 minutes
Servings: 1 (9×13-inch) cake
Pumpkin Sheet Cake with Brown Butter Frosting is a fluffy pumpkin cake for a crowd. The brown butter frosting is to die for! It's buttery and nutty and indulgent.


  • 1 (9×13-inch) baking pan


One-Bowl Pumpkin Sheet Cake:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 3/4 cups white granulated sugar
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice*
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup neutral oil, (such as avocado, vegetable or safflower oil)
  • 1 (15-ounce) can pure pumpkin puree
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Brown Butter Frosting:

  • 1 1/2 cup unsalted butter, divided (2 sticks are just room temperature)
  • 4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream


To Make the Cake:

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9×13-inch cake pan with cooking spray and line with a sheet of parchment (this makes it easier to remove it from the pan) and set aside. Alternatively you can make cupcakes and cake pans
  • In the a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda and salt.
  • In the bowl of a stand-up mixer (or a large bowl using an electric mixer), whisk together the eggs, neutral oil, pumpkin puree and vanilla extract until smooth.
  • Add the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Pour the batter into the pan and smooth it out using an offset spatula or butter knife. Transfer to the oven to bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pan for about 10 minutes and then invert it onto a cooling rack. BE CAREFUL IT'S A BIG CAKE.

To Make the Brown Butter Frosting:

  • If you’ll notice in the recipe it calls for the butter to be divided so! Two sticks (1 cup) are going to be room temperature. One stick (1/2 cup) of the butter is what we’re going to brown.
  • Go ahead and start by adding the room temperature butter to the bowl of a stand-up mixer with the paddle attachment (OR a medium bowl using an electric mixer).
  • Cube up 1/2 cup of the butter (1 stick). In a small saucepan, set over medium heat, add the cubed butter. Once it’s melted, it will begin to foam up and bubble a bit. Allow it to cook until you begin to see lightly browned specks beginning to form. Give it a stir and cook until it’s browned. You should also start to smell its nutty aroma. Remove it from the pan and continue to stir to cool it down.
  • Transfer it to a small bowl (freezer-safe) and place it in the freezer to chill, for about 10 to 15 minutes. We want it to be around room temperature butter. After it gets to that room temperature butter-firmness (it can be a bit softer—that’s ok), transfer it to the bowl with the other room temperature butter.
  • Sift in the powdered sugar and add the vanilla extract, salt and heavy cream. Beat the frosting for about 3 minutes. The fluffiness from the heavy cream really lightens up this frosting so be sure to beat it for the full 3 minutes.

To Assemble the Cake:

  • Pour all of the frosting on the cooled sheet cake and spread it around, creating cute swoops as you go. Top it with some sprinkles and cut it up and slice! Cake will stay moist for about 3 days when wrapped properly.


*If you don’t have pumpkin spice, you can make your own by adding this to the dry ingredients:
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
Pinch of ground cloves
This recipe can be made into cupcakes! 
This recipe will make 24 cupcakes. Fill each cupcake liner about 3/4 of the way. Bake for 20 to 24 minutes, until a skewer comes out clean. 
This recipe can be made into a layer cake! 
Divide the batter into two 8-inch or 9-inch cake pans. Bake for about 30 to 35 minutes, until a skewer comes out clean. 
Let’s talk about different oils! 
In the cake pictured, I used vegetable oil. But avocado oil (a very neutral healthy oil) will work great. As will coconut oil, though it will give off a bit of a coconut flavor so beware. 


Calories: 365kcal

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Like this Recipe? Please Rate & comment below!
Slice of Pumpkin Sheet Cake with Brown Butter Frosting

Cozy Latin-Inspired Comfort Food Recipes

Hi! I'm Adrianna and this is my cozy space on the internet that is super-charged by butter, flour and copious amounts of pasta. Stay awhile, will you!

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  1. 5 stars
    Made this today and brought it for dessert for Thanksgiving. Was a huge hit. I did omit 2 cups of powdered sugar for the icing because I thought it sweet enough and although my frosting had great consistency, when I applied it to the cake it seemed to just revert back to butter consistency. Not the entire thing of course but a good portion did. Is it because I had less powdered sugar?

    1. yes! the powdered sugar helps the frosting with its stability and thickness. omitting 2 cups of powdered sugar would have definitely resulted in a runny frosting.:/

    1. What would you want to substitute it for? In order for this recipe to work as advertised, it needs vegetable oil.

      1. Hi! Definitely not apple sauce. You could use olive oil but it will definitely taste like olive oil, which I don’t think will be bad–I think it’ll taste good, actually. 🙂

  2. This cake looks delicious! I’m thinking about making either this pumpkin cake or your pumpkin tres leches for Thanksgiving this year. I was going to go with a pumpkin pie, either bruleed or with toasted marshmallow topping, but there are three other types of pie being brought to the party this year. I think I’ll change things up a bit and be different. On your Instagram, I thought I saw a photo of this made into a layer cake. What size pans did you use and for how long did you bake it? Thanks!

    1. Oh yes, I made it into a 2-layer 8-inch cake. I used lined the bottom of the cake pans with a round of parchment and divided it amongst two 8-inch cake pans. I baked them for about 20 to 25 minutes, until a skewer came out clean. It’s a great layer cake!

    1. Hmm…I kinda wouldn’t–there’s a solid chance that it would mess with the texture. You can definitely try it but I have a feeling it’ll be much heavier! 🙁

  3. 5 stars
    I made this in two small rectangular pans (for two different groups) and thought I might’ve really messed up. I took it out of the oven after 25 minutes because the toothpick seemed to be clean, but after the cakes cooled, the middle slumped badly. I should have baked it 5 minutes longer. When they were fully cool, I inverted the cakes and frosted the bottom (now the top). Because the frosting was so awesome, no one noticed. The brown butter made all the difference though I thought it was a tad too sweet. I made half the recipe and it was exactly enough for my two cakes. Everyone loved it. I will make this frosting for many other cakes and cupcakes – brown butter anything is my new favorite!

  4. I just made this, and while I haven’t tried the finished product, the frosting is sooo dreamy. I couldn’t stop taking little tastes of it. 🙂