Preheat the oven to 350F. Butter and flour a 9x13-inch cake pan or spray with baking spray with flour.
In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and salt.
In a separate bowl, whisk together sugar, pumpkin, oil, eggs, and vanilla, until smooth. Pour into the flour mixture and stir together just until combined. Pour into the prepared cake pan.
Bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with a few crumbs. Let cool completely on a wire rack.
For the Cream Cheese Frosting:
In a large mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter until smooth. Add the cream cheese and beat on medium-low speed until the mixture is well combined, about 2 minutes. Scrape down the bowl as needed. Beat in the vanilla and salt.
With the mixer on low speed, slowly add in the powdered sugar. Once incorporated, increase the speed to medium and beat until light and fluffy, about 1 minute. Spread over the top of the cooled cake.
Not all canned pumpkin is the same. Libby’s is my preferred brand as it is thick with rich color and taste. Different brands may be lighter in color and more watery in their consistency. You might have to blot the pumpkin to absorb the extra liquid if you use another brand of pumpkin purée.
Measure your flour correctly! Adding too much flour to the recipe is the most common mistake that will yield a dry and dense cake. The best and easiest way to measure flour is by using a scale. If you don’t have one, then fluff your flour with a spoon, sprinkle it into your measuring cup, and use a knife to level it off. If you scoop the flour straight from the bag, you overpack the measuring cup.
The egg should be at room temperature to ensure they incorporate into your batter evenly. If you forgot to take your egg out of the fridge ahead of time, you could quickly bring it to room temperature by placing it in a large bowl and covering it with warm tap water for 5 minutes.
An offset spatula is perfect for frosting the cake.
I use a cookie scoop to portion out the cream cheese frosting on the cake before spreading. Doing so helps with spreading the frosting evenly.
Avoid overmixing as you risk over-developing the gluten in the batter leading to a tough and dense cake.
You can use chocolate pumpkins, fall-themed sprinkles, or buy silicone pumpkin molds and make your own candy toppings to decorate. Or, you can keep it simple with a light sprinkling of cinnamon.