Pumpkin Cheesecake Cake

5 from 6 votes

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An epic, show-stopping dessert, this Pumpkin Cheesecake Cake is perfect for birthday parties, Fall get-togethers, or any major holiday. Two spiced pumpkin cakes baked and stacked with a thick layer of cheesecake in between. Covered generously with cream cheese frosting and decorated with pumpkin candies, this will become your new favorite cake!

pumpkin cheesecake cake on white cake stand

Pumpkin Cheesecake Cake…its a thing

Everyone needs to sit down and get their seatbelts fastened because I’ve got a doozie of a recipe I’m sharing with you today! Friends, meet my Pumpkin Cheesecake Cake. I’m convinced this is the ultimate dessert you could ever make in the months between September and December. It’s got soft, delicious pumpkin cake, a thick cheesecake layer added in with a whole lot of cream cheese frosting. It’s not for the faint of heart.

This Pumpkin Cheesecake Cake (…also known as the reason I can’t zip up my jeans…) is the very definition of ridiculous and quite possibly is the start of The Cheesecake Factory going out of business. Just kidding. I love The Cheesecake Factory.

But when I made this first back in 2012 and then again last week, I was reminded again that this is the mammoth, the big kahuna, the heavy hitter of all the pumpkin desserts out there. It’s got everything there is to love about any dessert, plus its pretty darn easy to make. Its like a delicious cousin of my classic cheesecake, my pumpkin cheesecake and the classic pumpkin bar. Oh mama, its good.

What is a Cheesecake Cake?

Well, friends, it’s simply a regular cake that is layered with a crust-free New York style cheesecake. This happens to be a pumpkin version, but you absolutely can make this with just about any flavor combination out there. The sky truly is the limit.

peeling parchment paper off baked cake

Main Ingredients Needed

Before you navigate away from this blog post thinking you simply cannot make such a dessert quite as complex as this, stop right there. This recipe is so so so much easier than you think! Take a peek at this ingredients list and think again. Why yes, that is a cake mix you see.

  • Vanilla Cake Mix – I absolutely use a cake mix in this recipe that I doctor up! Told ya it would be easy.
  • Eggs, Water + Oil – for said cake mix
  • Pumpkin Puree – this gets stirred into the cake mix since it’s a pumpkin cake
  • Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Cloves + Ginger – to get those Fall flavors in the cake. Of course, you can use pumpkin pie spice in place of this homemade spice blend.
  • Cream Cheese – for that cheesecake layer and more for the cream cheese frosting
  • Sugar, Eggs, Vanilla + Sour Cream – all good things added to the cheesecake! For sweetness, structure, and flavor.

Use the right tools!

When cake decorating, life gets significantly easier if you use the proper tools. Nothing crazy or expensive, but items that will make a difference. Consider using the following:

Love Pumpkin? Try these other favorites: Pumpkin Drop Biscuits, Pumpkin Pull Apart Monkey Bread, Pumpkin Pecan Cobbler (a great Thanksgiving recipe!), Pumpkin Pie.

stirring cream cheese frosting with spatula

How to Make Pumpkin Cheesecake Cake

Just to reiterate, this recipe is SO easy!! Flexibility is the name of the game. Looks fancy, but it pretty simple!. The steps aren’t hard, they just take a few hours to put all together. For exact measurements and directions, scroll down to my printable recipe card at the bottom of this post.

1. Make the Cheesecake Layer

Make the cheesecake layer by stirring cream cheese together with sugar, vanilla, eggs, and sour cream. Pour cheesecake batter into a baking pan. Create a water bath and bake. Cool cheesecake and refrigerate.

But Lauren, I thought you hated water baths?

Yes, I did say that in my cheesecake recipe post again and again. For the record, I still think they should go and die. But they really aren’t so bad when you’re making a smaller cheesecake in a pan that is completely sealed (read: NOT a springform pan). If the pan is sealed, then your cheesecake can’t get ruined by water that seeps in because there is nowhere for the water to seep in. You see what I’m saying?

With a larger cheesecake that requires a springform pan, I absolutely do not recommend using a water bath. For something small like this, I say no big deal.

What if I want a smaller cheesecake layer?

If you are not a cheesecake person or if this looks like a little *too much* cheesecake for you, then we can’t be friends. Kidding, but sort of not.

If you’d like to reduce the size of the cheesecake layer, feel free to reduce the cheesecake portion of this recipe by 1/3rd. So you would use: 2 packages of cream cheese, 2/3 cup granulated sugar, 2 eggs and 2 teaspoons vanilla and 6 tablespoons sour cream. Bake in the same fashion, but check it around 35 minutes to be sure you don’t over bake.

pumpkin cheesecake cake on white cake stand

2. Make Pumpkin Cake

While cheesecake cools, make the pumpkin cake. Stir cake mix, eggs, water, oil, pumpkin and spices together in a large bowl. Divide batter evenly between cake pans and bake. Cool.

My cakes baked unevenly! What do I do?

So, here’s the deal with these cakes. The cheesecake will be the exact same size as the pan you bake it in. I used all 8-inch rounds for this recipe. However, the pumpkin cakes have a tendency to shrink a tiny bit. This means when you stack them up on each other, they won’t be exactly the same width. Don’t worry! This is normal!

How do you fix it? With frosting, of course! Frosting will fix a multitude of sins. Do your best to even them out with frosting along the sides. With the crumb coating, you might still notice they are uneven. That second go around with the frosting is where you’ll be a little more generous and make them as even as possible.

Another solution that isn’t quite as easy is shaving a tiny little ring of cheesecake off the entire cheesecake layer. It’s easier said than done and I don’t recommend this.

slice taken out of large pumpkin cheesecake cake

3. Make Cream Cheese Frosting

Make cream cheese frosting by whipping cream cheese, butter, vanilla and powdered sugar together until completely smooth.

4. Assemble Cheesecake Cake

Layer pumpkin cake, cheesecake and second pumpkin cake onto a cake stand, spreading cream cheese frosting between each layer.

slice of pumpkin cake on white plate

5. Decorate + Serve

Cover the entire cake with a thin layer of cream cheese frosting and refrigerate to lock in crumbs. (Called a crumb coating). Spread remaining frosting over the entire cake for a second time and use any extras to pipe a border around the top.

Garnish with cinnamon, nutmeg and pumpkin candies.

What is this ‘crumb coating’ you speak of?

A crumb coating is simply a sacrificial layer of frosting that covers the entire cake that “locks” all the crumbs in that layer before adding a second clean layer of frosting. In between the crumb coating and last layer of frosting, you’ll want to refrigerate your cake for 30-45 minutes (or freeze for 15) to make sure those crumbs don’t make it into your last coating of frosting.

pumpkin candies on cake

More Pumpkin Cakes to Try!

Anyways, the moral of the story: if you’re looking for something show-stopping that will make your family and friends’ jaws drop, then this is a sure bet. Be sure to print/share/save/bookmark/pin this recipe because it’s a good one!

Have a great day, friends!

slice taken out of large pumpkin cheesecake cake
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5 from 6 votes

Pumpkin Cheesecake Cake

This Pumpkin Cheesecake Cake is the perfect Fall dessert! Two pumpkin cakes baked and stacked with a thick layer of cheesecake in between.
servings 16 servings
Prep Time 6 hours 30 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 10 hours 30 minutes


for the cheesecake layer-

  • 24 oz cream cheese 3 blocks, softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 3 whole eggs
  • 1/2 cup sour cream

for the pumpkin cake-

  • 15.25 oz Vanilla Cake Mix 1 box
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/3 cup oil
  • 4 whole eggs
  • 1 cup pumpkin
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ginger

for the frosting-

  • 12 oz cream cheese softened, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup salted butter softened
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 1/2 pounds powdered sugar about 5 1/4 cups


  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Using an 8-inch cake pan {not a springform pan!}, trace a circle on parchment paper, cut out and line bottom of pan. Lightly spray with non-stick cooking spray and set aside.

For the Cheesecake Layer

  • In a large bowl, whip softened cream cheese. Slowly stir in granulated sugar. Scrape sides and mix until sugar is incorporated. Stir in vanilla and eggs, one at a time until incorporated into the batter. Scrape sides and bottom of bowl and mix again until batter is completely smooth. Stir in sour cream.
    three boxes of cream cheese
  • Pour into prepared 8-inch cake pan and place into a roasting pan, or other pan with high sides. Fill pan up carefully with very hot tap water until it reaches half way up the cake pan. Bake 40-50 minutes or until the top is lightly golden and cheesecake has almost completely set. Remove from oven. Cool. Remove from water bath, wipe pan and refrigerate 3 hours to overnight.
    baked cheesecake layer

For the Pumpkin Cake

  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line 2-8 inch cake pans with parchment paper {just like above} and spray with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside. in a large bowl, measure out and pour all ingredients. Stir together to incorporate. Do not over mix!
    cake ingredients in mixing bowl
  • Divide batter evenly between the two pans, level off the tops and bake 20-30 minutes until toothpick comes out clean when inserted. {A few moist crumbs should be fine.}
    pumpkin cake batter in baking pan
  • Cool 15-20 minutes, then remove from warm pans and transfer cakes to cooling racks. Cool completely.
    peeling parchment paper off baked cake

For the Cream Cheese Frosting

  • Place cream cheese and butter into a large bowl and whip to incorporate. Stir in vanilla. With mixer on low, slowly stir in powdered sugar, scraping sides as needed.
    butter and cream cheese in stand mixer
  • Continue whipping frosting until it's smooth and well mixed. Set aside.
    stirring cream cheese frosting with spatula

Assembling the Cake

  • Cut small dome shape off cooled pumpkin cakes, if present, to create flat cakes. Place one pumpkin layer onto cake stand. Top with cream cheese frosting and add chilled cheesecake. (If the cheesecake has collected some condensation from the fridge, be sure to press with paper towels to dry before stacking in the cake.) Spread with more cream cheese frosting and then top with second pumpkin layer. Coat entire cake with a thin layer of cream cheese frosting (called a crumb coating), starting on top and working down the sides of the cake. Refrigerate 30-45 minutes to solidify the frosting. (Or freeze for 15 minutes.)
    spreading frosting on cake
  • Add a second layer of frosting overtop the crumb coating and use any extra frosting to pipe rosettes around the top border. Sprinkle with cinnamon or nutmeg and garnish with pumpkin candies. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
    pumpkin cheesecake cake on white cake stand


Calories: 698kcal | Carbohydrates: 81g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 39g | Saturated Fat: 20g | Cholesterol: 168mg | Sodium: 503mg | Potassium: 169mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 68g | Vitamin A: 1888IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 146mg | Iron: 1mg
Course: Cake, Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: cheesecake cake

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Recipe Rating

29 Responses
  1. Diane White

    5 stars
    I have used this cheesecake layer center for several varieties of cake and they are always a hit! Carrot cakes, red velvet, spice cake…and even a Boston Creme Pie (used vanilla cakes, the cheesecake center and a chocolate ganache topping) were all great.

  2. Rose

    5 stars
    I made the cheesecake last night and just popped the pumpkin cakes in the oven. Can’t wait to have this at my mom’s birthday party later today!

    I just wanted to let you all know that the cake batter makes almost exactly 4 cups. So to divide evenly, it’s about 2 cups per pan (for you fellow OCDers who want them to be the same height LOL)

  3. Kelly flowers

    5 stars
    This is the best cake ever! I have made it the last two Saturday’s in a row. My family can’t get enough! Thank you for this recipe!!

  4. Sara

    5 stars
    It took me 2 days, but I finally completed this cake! It is FANTASTIC! There was quite a celebration dance in my kitchen last night after tasting the final product. Thanks for such a great recipe!!

  5. Carlas Confections

    Oh this looks super delish! I am definitely going to need to make this one soon. I havent made a cheesecake cake before. And tis the season for pumpkin so this looks like a great recipe to start with 🙂

  6. Yanica

    Ooohh, I can almost taste this!! I want to make this, but there are no instructions for getting the cheescake out of the pan. Are there any tricks to ckeeping in one piece from pan to cake layer??!!

    1. Lauren

      Because you lightly greased the pan and lined the bottom with parchment paper, the cheesecake should pop right out after it’s completely chilled.

  7. Cinnamon @ eatpraytri

    And here I was just talking about how I will be shunned from the blog world b/c I am not a fan of pumpkin and I see this and instantly want to just shove my face in it. I wonder if it is good enough or (not slap you in the face pumpkin enough) to convert me to a pumpkin lover???

  8. Katie @ Blonde Ambition

    This cake is ridonkulous. I love pimped out vanilla cake. I’m already thinking about how I can make this a Lemon Cheesecake Cake. WHAT.

  9. Michele

    Oh my goodness, this looks delicious!! I love all the “fall inspired” recipes you’ve been posting lately with pumpkin or apple in the title! hehe 🙂 I’m a sucker for all things fall!

  10. Kare @ Kitchen Treaty

    Cheesecake + cake photos always make my mouth water, even if they’re taken at 11 p.m. with no natural light! This looks totally, totally divine.