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Pumpkin Spice Cake with Chai Buttercream Frosting

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The Fall season just got sweeter with this Pumpkin Spice Cake with Chai Buttercream Frosting! Enjoy three layers of homemade pumpkin pie spiced cake generously topped with the best-ever chai spiced buttercream frosting. It’s perfect for any occasion, from family gatherings to Thanksgiving dinner. This delicious cake is simple to make and guaranteed to be a hit!

Here’s what one of our readers had to say!

5 star rating
5 star rating
5 star rating
5 star rating
5 star rating
I am so happy to have stumbled across your recipe. My first attempt turned out like I had been making this cake forever. I just made two cakes that I am sending to friends in Connecticut and Arizona for their birthdays. The cakes freeze like a dream. Thanks again.
Tony S.
spice cake on a white plate with two slices taken out of it

About The Recipe

We’ve perfected this Pumpkin Spice Cake with Chai Buttercream Frosting over the last few years through thorough testing and adjustments. We experimented with various spice blends and varying amounts of the spice. Still, we couldn’t get the flavor we were looking for. Finally, we discovered that adding just a bit of cocoa powder to the spice blend really enhanced the flavor. (Don’t worry. You can’t taste the chocolate.) We tried various fats and mixing techniques, ultimately settling on butter and creaming it with the sugar. Adding chai spices to the buttercream made this the ultimate Fall dessert.

This adorable 6-inch cake ensures just enough for everyone without having to worry about leftovers. If you’re a fan of this smaller sized cake, we have plenty to choose from, like this Peppermint White Chocolate Cake, Lemon Blueberry Layer Cake With Lemon Buttercream Frosting, Vanilla Rose Layer Cake, Oreo Cake With Oreo Frosting, or Chocolate Malt Robins Egg Cake With Malted Vanilla Buttercream just to name a few.

Why You Will Love This Pumpkin Spice Cake

  • Unexpected Delight. A fun twist on the classic spice cake!
  • Tiny Treat. The smaller size is ideal for all occasions!
  • Pumpkin Free. There is actually no pumpkin IN this recipe, so pumpkin lovers and those who don’t like it will adore this cake.
  • Beautiful. A gorgeously simple layer cake.
  • Chai Spices. Has a chai spiced buttercream that really complements the cake!!
cake on a white stand with a slice in front of it

Ingredients You’ll Need:

For The Cake:

  • All-Purpose Flour – We wanted a moist, tender cake but one with enough structure to hold its shape without going to pieces. That’s where the all purpose flour comes in. It has the perfect amount of protein to create that structure.
  • Salt – Just a bit of salt really enhances the flavor.
  • Baking Powder & Baking Soda – The leavenings used in this batter, baking powder and baking soda each make their own contributions to the texture and structure. Baking powder both starts and finishes the process of rise in this cake, starting as soon as it is mixed with liquid and continuing more robustly once it is in the oven. Baking soda reacts with the acidity in the buttermilk to give the rise a boost while also neutralizing enough of the acidity in the buttermilk to keep the cake from tasting sour.
  • Pumpkin Pie Spice – The perfect blend of warming spices to give this cake just the punch we were looking for.
  • Cocoa Powder – This is our secret ingredient for enhancing the flavor of the spices.
  • Unsalted Butter – Adding richness, tenderness, and structure, unsalted butter also has a bright, fresh flavor and allows us to control the level of salt.
  • Granulated Sugar – While adding the perfect amount of sweetness, it also helps with the texture and structure of the cake.                              
  • Eggs – The binder that holds all the ingredients together, eggs also contribute structure, stability, moisture, and richness.
  • Buttermilk – This is the ingredient that really makes this cake sing! It helps the cake rise, giving it a light fluffy texture, makes it tender, and contributes to the flavor as well.
  • Vanilla Extract – While adding a subtle undertone, vanilla enhances the flavors.
flour, butter, baking soda, cocoa, baking powder, sugar, eggs, milk, salt, vanilla, and pumpkin pie spice on marble counter

For The Frosting:

  • Salted Butter – This frosting gets its richness and creaminess from the butter. The salt in the butter eliminates the need for the extra step of adding salt while enhancing the flavor and helping the spices in the chai really stand out.
  • Powdered Sugar – Not only does powdered sugar sweeten, it is the best choice for keeping this frosting smooth and stable because it melts easily, soaks up moisture, and stops the frosting from separating once mixed.
  • Ground Chai Spice – A classic chai blend featuring cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, and allspice adds depth and complexity to the frosting, balancing the sweetness and enhancing the other ingredients.
  • Heavy Cream – With its higher fat content, heavy cream adds richness which contributes to the silky, luxurious mouthfeel while also keeping the frosting velvety smooth.
butter, chai spice, cream, powdered sugar in bowls

How To Make Pumpkin Spice Cake (Step-by-Step!)

Step 1: Make the cake batter

In a medium sized bowl, whisk the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, cocoa powder, and pumpkin pie spice together. Set aside.

In a stand mixer with the beater attachment, beat butter and sugar until the mixture is light and fluffy. About three minutes.

Add the eggs in one at a time, mixing well after each addition.

Now, add the flour mixture and buttermilk alternatively. Beginning and ending with the flour mixture!

Stir in the vanilla.

Step 2:Divide and bake

Spoon out the batter into three greased 6 inch cake pans. Each pan should be about half-way full, but if you have a scale, use that to guarantee each pan has the same amount of batter! Bake at 350℉ for 30-35 minutes, or until the cake layers test done. Once the cake layers have cooled slightly, turn them out onto a wire cooling rack to finish cooling.

Step 3: Make frosting

To make the frosting, place the butter in a mixer and beat until light and fluffy.

Add the powdered sugar 1 cup at a time. mixing well after each addition.

Stir in the chai spice and heavy cream.

Step 4:Assemble the cake

Now that the cakes have completely cooled, use a serrated knife to level them!

cake layers leveled on a wire cooling rack

Now it’s time to assemble! Place the bottom cake layer on a cake board place it on a rotating cake stand (for the easiest way to frost), and spoon about 1/2 cup frosting onto it. Spread the frosting across the top. Place the next layer on top of the frosting, pressing down gently to ensure it’s level. Repeat the steps until no more cake layers remain. From there, decorate how you please! I chose to do semi-naked/lightly frosted cake, but that’s just me. Have fun with it and make it your own!

Slice and serve!

spice cake with a slice out of it with flowers, star anise, and slice on a white plate

Pumpkin Spice Cake: FAQs and Tips for Success

Can I use a different pan size to make this pumpkin spice cake?

Yes, you can! If you double the recipe, I recommend using either an 8inch x 3inch pan or a 9inch x 2inch pan. If you want to triple the recipe, I recommend using a 9inch x 3inch pan or a 10inch x 2inch pan. Remember that you will have to adjust baking times.

Can I make this as pumpkin spice cupcakes?

Sure! Just keep in mind it will probably make 24-30 cupcakes (more or less depending on the size of your cupcake tins and how much batter you put in each). You will probably need more frosting, depending on how you decorate the cupcakes.

Why is there no pumpkin in this cake?

We opted to make this recipe just as a plain spice cake. We found that using a pumpkin spice blend (without actual pumpkin) created a beautifully warm, spiced flavor. However, if you are looking for a cake recipe with pumpkin in it as well, try our Pumpkin Coffee Cake With Spiced Pecan Streusel or our Cream Cheese Filled Mini Pumpkin Coffee Cakes.

Can I use a different type of frosting for this cake?

Of course! We highly recommend trying this cake with cream cheese frosting, salted caramel frosting, or white chocolate frosting!

5 Tips For Success

  1. Room Temperature Ingredients: Ensure that ingredients such as butter, eggs, and buttermilk are at room temperature before using them. This helps in achieving a smooth and evenly mixed batter.
  2. Proper Mixing: Follow the mixing instructions carefully, alternating the addition of dry ingredients (flour mixture) and wet ingredients (buttermilk) to ensure a well-combined batter.
  3. Evenly Filled Cake Pans: When dividing the batter into cake pans, aim for an even distribution to ensure uniform cake layers. Using a kitchen scale can help achieve this.
  4. Leveling Cake Layers: After baking, use a serrated knife or cake leveler to trim the tops of the cake layers to ensure even and stable stacking during assembly.
  5. Frosting Consistency: Adjust the consistency of the chai buttercream frosting as needed. If it’s too thick, add a small amount of cream or milk; if it’s too thin, add more powdered sugar.

A Few Decorating/Topping Ideas

For an extra touch of indulgence, consider drizzling salted caramel over the top of this cake, creating a deliciously rich and sweet contrast, similar to our caramel apple cake! To make this cake even MORE delicious, serve each slice with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or cinnamon ice cream to add creamy sweetness to the warmly spiced cake.

For something easy, dollop or pipe Chantilly cream (sweetened whipped cream) around the edges of the cake or on individual slices for an elegant and luscious finish.

But, if you’re looking for an additional textural element, try decorating this cake with some pumpkin spice cookies!

spice cake on white cake plate with slice slices, flowers, and star anise

Craving more Fall recipes? Here are a few you may like:

When you make this Pumpkin Spice Cake with Chai Buttercream Frosting, leave a comment down below! We love hearing from you and answering any questions you might have! Also, be sure to tag us on social media and hashtag it #BakersTable.

Happy baking!
xo, Caylie

spice cake on a white plate with two slices taken out of it
4.93 from 14 votes

Pumpkin Spice Cake with Chai Buttercream Frosting

Soft, moist, and the perfect cake! This Pumpkin Spice Cake with Chai Buttercream Frosting is the ultimate Fall dessert!
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes
Servings: 8



  • 2 ½ cups all purpose flour*
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 Tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 Tablespoon natural process cocoa powder
  • ¾ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 ¾ cups sugar
  • 1 ¼ cups buttermilk, room temperature
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla


  • 1 cup butter, room temperature
  • 3 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1 teaspoon chai spice
  • 1 ½ Tablespoons heavy cream



  • Heat oven to 350℉.
  • Spray three 6 inch cake pans with baking spray. Set aside.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, pumpkin pie spice, and cocoa powder. Set aside.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the beater blade (flat beater for traditional stand mixers), beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  • Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  • Add flour mixture alternately with buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour mixture, and stirring after each addition. Be careful not to over mix!
  • Stir in vanilla.
  • Evenly divide batter into prepared pans. If using a scale, it should be roughly 16.4 ounces per pan.
  • Bake about 30-35 minutes, or until cake tests done.


  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the beater attachment (or with a flat beater for a traditional mixer), beat butter until fluffy, about 3 minutes.
  • Add powdered sugar 1 cup at a time, mixing well after each addition.
  • Stir in chai spice and vanilla.


  • Level cake layers using a serrated knife or cake leveler, if needed.
  • Place one layer on a round cake board and then on a turntable (the easiest way to decorate) or directly on the plate you will be serving on.
  • Spoon about ½ cup of frosting in the center of the cake layer.
  • Spread evenly across the top.
  • Place second layer on top of frosting, pressing down gently to ensure it's level.
  • Again, spread about ½ cup frosting on top.
  • Top with remaining cake layer, again pressing down gently to ensure it's level.
  • Frost as desired.

Notes + Tips!

*This recipe was written using an average of the dip and sweep method for measuring flour and the spoon and level method. If you are using a scale, you will need to add 3/4 oz or 22 g  to the measurement for each cup of flour.
How To Store:
If you have leftovers, you can store this cake easily! There are actually a couple of choices. You can leave it covered in a cake plate for a few days on the counter, place it in the fridge covered by a cake plate, or even freeze individual slices!
You could also freeze the individual cake layers and assemble the cake at a later date!
A Few Tips For Baking This Cake:
  • Be sure to check the expiration dates on your baking powder and baking soda.
  • You can use a scale to ensure the cake batter is equal in each pan!
  • Cooking times may vary based on your oven! Use a cake tester/tooth pick to check if your cakes are done.
  • Use an oven thermometer to ensure the correct baking temperature.
  • If you let the cake sit overnight, it will develop more flavor!


Serving: 1slice | Calories: 910kcal | Carbohydrates: 122g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 45g | Saturated Fat: 28g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 12g | Trans Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 184mg | Sodium: 715mg | Potassium: 153mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 90g | Vitamin A: 1448IU | Vitamin C: 0.3mg | Calcium: 141mg | Iron: 3mg

Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.

When you make this recipe, remember to tag @bakerstble or hashtag it #BakersTable!

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  1. 5 stars
    I am so happy to have stumbled across your recipe. My first attempt turned out like I had been making this cake forever. I have been using Fat Daddio bakeware for several years and this was the perfect excuse to buy 3 of their 6 inch pans. I just made two cakes that I am sending to friends in Connecticut and Arizona for their birthdays. The cakes freeze like a dream. Thanks again.

    1. Hi Tony! We are SO glad to hear you loved this pumpkin spice cake (and we hope your friends love it, too!). This comment really made our morning! We hope you continue find recipes on our blog that you love and can share with more friends and family! Let us know if you ever have any questions. Happy baking! Xo, Caylie