A rich and tender pumpkin cake with a thin layer of brown butter icing poured over the warm cake right from the oven! This pumpkin spice sheet cake is a fall favorite and feeds many people!
I’m from Michigan, not Texas. But, during my childhood years one of my favorite desserts was a Texas Sheet Cake that a lady in our church brought to every church potluck. It was a densely rich chocolate cake topped with a shiny chocolate frosting. It’s a very large dessert and fed a ton of people. I remember going back for seconds and thirds.
Today I’m sharing a pumpkin spin of this delightful cake. Although I do not have her recipe, I remember our church friend poured the chocolate icing over her Texas sheet cake still warm from the oven. Therefore, it was essential I used a pour-able icing for this pumpkin version, too.
The icing is a thin layer, which is great in my opinion. I like less frosting so the cake is the highlight of each bite. Because of the brown butter, the flavor of icing does really shine but with a perfect balance to the cake. You will want to spread it quickly because it hardens soon after you pour it.Typically, sheet cakes call for a jelly-roll pan. Do you know what that is? It is a baking sheet with a 1-inch rim generally used to make sheet cakes like this. There is controversy over the dimensions for a true jelly-roll pan. A classic jelly-roll pan is smaller than a half-sheet pan. For this recipe, you should use the half-sheet pan which is about 13- x 18-inches when you measure the outer rims. (I linked to the ones I recommend.)
I keep it simple here by using only one large mixing bowl for the cake batter. Forget dirtying one for wet ingredients and one for dry! Also, you do not need to line the pan with foil or parchment. Instead, grease it with butter or a nonstick spray. My ultimate go-to for all my baked goods is Baker’s Joy.
I’m excited for you to try this recipe because I know you’ll love it as much as I do! There is no better welcome into the fall season than a delicious pumpkin dessert!
Pumpkin Sheet Cake
For the cake:
- 1 cup (16 tablespoons) unsalted butter melted
- 1/3 cup milk
- 1 cup pumpkin puree
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 3 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon cloves
For the icing:
- 3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 cup (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 4-6 tablespoons milk
For the cake:
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 13- x 18-inch rimmed baking sheet with nonstick spray (I recommend Baker's Joy). Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the butter, milk, pumpkin, and sugars. Whisk in the eggs and vanilla until combined. Whisk in the rest of the cake ingredients.
- Pour batter into the pan. Bake on center rack 15-20 minutes, checking at 15 minutes to avoid over-baking. If it passes the toothpick test, it's done.
For the icing:
- In a medium mixing bowl, combine the powdered sugar and cinnamon. Set aside.
- As the cake is baking, melt the entire stick of butter in a pan over medium heat. Continue to heat until it turns a deep golden brown. It will foam and pop, so be careful.
- Pour the brown butter into the bowl with the sugar and stir. Whisk in the vanilla and 4 tablespoons milk until the mixture becomes smooth and pour-able. Use more milk as needed, adding 1 tablespoon at a time.
- Gently pour over the warm cake. Using a rubber spatula, quickly spread to cover the entire surface. The icing layer will be thin.
- Serve immediately or store covered at room temperature up to 3 days.