Pumpkin Spice Cream Cheese Pound Cake

Recipe Pin
1 hour 15 minutes
16 servings

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Flavors abound in this moist Pumpkin Spice Cream Cheese Pound Cake with tart cranberries, warm cinnamon, exotic cardamom, and a cream cheese center.

With great appreciation, this fall cake recipe courtesy of our friends at Eating Well Magazine!

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a bundt cake with cranberries and coffee

It’s fall y’all, and fall cakes are gracing the cover of every magazine, luring us in to browse delicious fall cake recipes and take comfort in nesting at home.

Cakes for autumn always stop me in my tracks. Or should I be more accurate in saying that the flavor of cakes baked up during this special season are what inspire my days and prompt my experiments in the kitchen?

How This Recipe Came About…

With great appreciation, this fall cake recipe comes today by way of our friends at Eating Well Magazine. Their interpretation of what would otherwise be a sugar-laden dessert, simply eliminates the typical butter and and white flour conundrum.

Instead, they replace with ingredients such as unsweetened applesauce and whole wheat pastry flour. The result is nothing short of magnificent!

a pan with cake

Ingredients for Pumpkin Spice Cream Cheese Pound Cake

  • cream cheese
  • granulated sugar
  • eggs
  • ground cardamom
  • lemon juice
  • vanilla extract
  • all purpose flour
  • whole wheat pastry flour, NOT whole wheat flour
  • ground cinnamon
  • baking soda
  • baking powder
  • salt
  • canned pumpkin puree, NOT pumpkin pie filling
  • unsweetened applesauce
  • light or dark brown sugar
  • fresh cranberries
a bundt cake with cranberries and coffee

What Is The Difference Between Whole Wheat Flour And Whole Wheat Pastry Flour?

…and there IS A DIFFERENCE. Whole wheat pastry flour has a low protein and low gluten content. It is not gluten free, however because gluten affects the texture of the flour, whole wheat pastry flour is lighter as compared to whole wheat flour.

Whole wheat flour is obtained by grinding hard wheat. It has a high 14% protein content. You can’t substitute whole wheat flour in equal measures as it contains more protein and is heavier.

The difference between the gluten levels of whole wheat flour and whole wheat pastry flour also affects their overall structure and elasticity. The takeaway? Do not use whole wheat flour as a substitute for whole wheat pastry flour in your bakes unless you want a rubbery cake or bread!

How To Make Pumpkin Spice Cake?

The first time I approached this pumpkin cake, I noticed that it’s assembled first in three easy parts in three mixing bowls. Cake recipes like this Bundt cake are nice when they are this straightforward. Easy assembly, and super easy cleanup. Bam.

You must begin with room temperature cream cheese and room temperature eggs. It’s just how it is folks, otherwise it makes for some very difficult mixing of your ingredients. Once the cream cheese, sugar, aromatics, and an egg are creamed, the dry ingredients are whisked in bowl number two.

Now the fun begins. Unsweetened applesauce, two sugars, eggs, and the entire can of pumpkin puree are combined until they are ultra smooth. The dry ingredient mixture is added and stirred until only just combined, then in go the cranberries.

Half of this cake batter will be scraped into the bottom of a prepared Bundt pan, and a ‘dip’ or well made gently with the back of a spoon around the whole cylinder. The cream cheese mixture is poured into that well, and the remaining cake batter spooned over top.

That’s it. It’s that easy, and what bakes up is an entirely applause-worthy moist bake that will take your breath away. Dress it with a sweet glaze, cream cheese frosting, or as I’ve done here, with just some cranberry halves that I have taken care to sugar.

a bundt cake with cranberries

What Can I Substitute For Cranberries In This Fall Cake Recipe?

In this recipe, if you absolutely had to sub the cranberries out, I would consider chopped apple, walnuts, pecans, or even chocolate chips. Any that I’ve mentioned would work well with a bit of a caramel drizzle making this a fabulous pumpkin caramel apple cake.

If you wanted to stick with fresh ingredients, shredded carrot or fresh raspberries might be nice. I also have a strong idea that toffee chips baked into the cake would be outstanding, although I have yet to try this myself.

a bundt cake with cranberries

What Can I Substitute For Pumpkin Puree In This Fall Cake Recipe?

First and foremost, this is a pumpkin spice cake recipe. Swapping out any other ingredient will mean altered bake times and the like, so only do this if you are a somewhat experienced baker.

That said, I imagine sweet potato would offer similar flavor and texture here, however not the same amount of moisture which is why I like the pumpkin. But a sweet potato cake mustn’t be discounted if a pumpkin pound cake just isn’t your jam.

Substitute equal measure of pureed sweet potato, unsweetened, for the pumpkin puree in this method. If using sweet potato, begin testing for doneness at 40 minutes.

a bundt cake with cranberries and coffee

Can The Cream Cheese Layer Be Omitted?

Yes, but give this careful consideration. The cream cheese layer is laden with cardamom which is a key cake flavor in this recipe. The cream cheese layer also breaks up the pumpkin layers very gracefully which is absolutely necessary.

If you had to omit the cream cheese layer, I might then suggest looking elsewhere for a basic pumpkin sheet cake recipe, as the method would befit the bake time and not have to allow for modifications.

a pan of cake and 3 coffees

How Long Does This Fall Cake Recipe Take to Make?

From start to finish, plan on one hour and fifteen minutes. The prep time doesn’t take too much effort, but the bake must go in a 350°F for nearly 50 minutes, more if necessary.

What To Drink with Autumn Cakes?

Funny enough, I prepared an Indonesian coffee with cardamom and ginger for sampling with this cake. The match was PERFECT. Flavored cakes go great with aromatic coffees, hot or chilled.

In this case, several crushed cardamom pods and a big knob of smashed ginger are lending warmth to this already hot cuppa. The match is unbelievable.

Other beverages to consider would be hot mulled wine, hot mulled cider, or a lovely spiked Chai tea latte.

Recipe FAQs

What Can I Bake With Canned Pumpkin Other Than Pumpkin Pie?

Plenty! Pumpkin is versatile and lends itself to both sweet and savory dishes and pairings. Previously, I’d shared with you my version of a Turkey And Pumpkin Curry for which you all declared your love of everything pumpkin! And my recipe for Pumpkin Bread Pudding proved a winner given the number of times it’s been downloaded. So today, we’re dishing pumpkin, just a little different. Today, we’re gonna tackle a cake.

The pumpkin spice fall cake recipe I am sharing today incorporates fresh cranberries, warm cinnamon, exotic cardamom, a lovely sweet cream cheese center, and a single can of pumpkin puree which keeps the bake ultra moist! Keep things simple by decorating only with sugared cranberries, or add a festive glaze. The choice is yours!

More Delicious Autumn Cake Recipes!


featured image for Pumpkin Cranberry Bundt Cake With Cream Cheese Filling

A Pumpkin Spice Fall Cake Recipe

Jenny DeRemer
Flavors abound in this moist pumpkin spice fall cake recipe with tart cranberries, warm cinnamon, exotic cardamom, and a cream cheese center.
5 from 1 vote
Servings: 16 servings
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine American, Southern
Servings 16 servings
Calories 218 kcal


  • 12 cup non-stick Bundt pan
  • hand held electric mixer or stand mixer
  • mixing bowls (3)
  • rubber spatulas


  • 6 ounces cream cheese softened to room temperature
  • 1 ¼ cups granulated sugar divided
  • 4 large eggs divided
  • 2 teaspoons ground cardamom divided
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 ½ cups all purpose flour
  • 1 ½ cups whole-wheat pastry flour do NOT use whole wheat flour as a substitute
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ¾ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 (15) ounce can unseasoned pumpkin puree do NOT use pumpkin pie filling
  • ¾ cup unsweetened applesauce
  • ¼ cup brown sugar light or dark; packed
  • 1 cup cranberries thawed if frozen, halved, plus more for garnish


  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat a 12-cup nonstick Bundt pan with cooking spray.
  • Beat cream cheese, 1/4 cup granulated sugar, 1 egg, 1/2 teaspoon cardamom, lemon juice and vanilla in a small bowl until smooth.
  • Whisk flours, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder, salt and the remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons cardamom in a large bowl. Whisk pumpkin, applesauce, brown sugar and the remaining 1 cup granulated sugar and 3 eggs in a medium bowl. Add to the flour mixture and mix until just combined. Fold in cranberries.
  • Pour half the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Spread the cream cheese mixture evenly over the batter. Spoon the remaining batter on top and spread into an even layer.
  • Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 40 to 50 minutes. Let cool in the pan for 20 minutes. Unmold onto a wire rack and let cool for 20 minutes more before slicing. Garnish with cranberries, if desired.

The nutrition value can vary depending on what product(s) you use. The information below is an estimate. Always use a calorie counter you are familiar with.

Please note that table salt and iodized salt are NOT substitutions for Kosher salt. Do not deviate unless otherwise specified.


Serving: 1servingCalories: 218kcalCarbohydrates: 39gProtein: 5gFat: 5gSaturated Fat: 3gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 58mgSodium: 215mgPotassium: 108mgFiber: 2gSugar: 21gVitamin A: 228IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 40mgIron: 1mg
Did you love this recipe?Leave a comment and Let me know how it was!

5 from 1 vote

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Recipe Rating


  1. Great post! I didn’t know what the difference in pastry vs. regular flour was. And the cake looks wonderful! Thanks so much for sharing at the Lazy Gastronome’s What’s for Dinner party! Have a fabulous weekend and hope to see you on Sunday!