A pumpkin layer cake studded with chopped walnuts and golden raisins, and then topped with a not-too-sweet cream cheese frosting scented with orange zest.


  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup packed (light) brown sugar
  • 1 cup vegetable or canola oil
  • 4 large eggs
  • One 15-ounce can pumpkin puree
  • 1 teaspoon orange or vanilla extract
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons ground allspice
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • 3/4 cup chopped walnuts, plus more for decorating
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins
  • Two 8-ounce packages cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • Zest of 1 orange
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar (or more to taste)


  1. Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Line two 8-inch cake pans with parchment and coat with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. Add both sugars and the oil to a large bowl and stir to combine.
  3. Whisk in the eggs, one at a time, until evenly incorporated. Whisk in the pumpkin puree and orange extract.
  4. Sift together the flour, cinnamon, allspice, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and nutmeg. Add these to the wet ingredients and mix until just combined. Fold in the walnuts and raisins.
  5. Divide the batter evenly among the two cake pans. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean, about 1 hour. Let the cakes cool in the pan slightly before emptying on a baking rack to cool completely before frosting.
  6. Add the cream cheese, butter, orange zest, and salt to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment or a large bowl with an electric hand mixer. Beat until softened and the cream cheese and butter are combined.
  7. Add in the confectioners’ sugar on low speed so it doesn’t fly all over the place. Increase the speed and beat until smooth.
  8. Trim the tops of the cakes with a serrated knife to create an even surface for the cakes to rest on. Proceed with frosting the cakes and decorating with the additional walnuts, if using.

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