Sourdough Pumpkin Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Sweetness, spice, a slightly tangy flavor from the sourdough starter, and the best-ever cream cheese frosting. This sourdough pumpkin cake is one the best discard recipes ever.

Let everyone else have their silly lattes. You go ahead and bake yourself a cake.

square of pumpkin cake on wooden surface

Sourdough Pumpkin Sheet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Sweet pumpkin spice mixed with tangy sourdough starter combine to form this moist, easy to make sourdough pumpkin cake.
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
cooling 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 50 minutes
Serving Size 20 slices


  • Rimmed sheet pan
  • Hand mixer
  • Large mixing bowl



  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 cups pureed pumpkin 1 (15 ounce) can
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 ¾ cups all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon cloves
  • ¼ teaspoon allspice
  • 1/2 cup sourdough starter discard (unfed is fine)


  • 10 tablespoons melted butter
  • 8 ounces cream cheese
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 dash vanilla


  • Preheat oven and prepare pan. Preheat oven to 350 with the rack in the center. Spray 10 x 15 jelly roll pan with nonstick cooking spray.
  • Make the batter. In a large mixing bowl beat the canned pumpkin, sugar, and oil until well combined, using an electric hand mixer on medium speed.  Add eggs, 1 at a time and beat until blended, scraping down bowl as necessary. Combine the flour, spices, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a seperate mixing bowl. Add the dry ingredients to the pumpkin-sugar mixture, mixing on low until just combined.
    wet ingredients and dry ingredients in bowl
  • Stir in the sourdough starter. Add the sourdough starter to the cake batter and stir by hand, scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl to make sure everything is incorporated.
    batter with sourdough starter
  • Bake and cool. Pour batter into prepared pan, gently spreading to smooth it out. Bake in preheated oven at 350 for 25-30 minutes.  Cool in pan on wire rack. Cover the cake with a clean tea towel after it has cooled for 15 minutes.
    fully baked cake
  • Make the frosting. After cake is cooled, make icing:  blend butter, melted cream cheese, and vanilla with mixer until fluffy.  Slowly add powdered sugar and beat until smooth. Do not frost the cake until it is fully cooled. Spread icing on cake and serve directly out of the pan. Refrigerate any leftovers.
    cream cheese frosting


You can bake this cake in a rimmed sheet pan or a 13 x 9 baking dish.  
If your icing seems too thick, add a splash of milk.
🌻 Click here for more fall sourdough recipes 🌻
Calories: 421kcal | Carbohydrates: 56g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 21g | Saturated Fat: 13g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 45mg | Sodium: 327mg | Potassium: 95mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 45g | Vitamin A: 4264IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 52mg | Iron: 1mg

You’ll need the following for this easy fall dessert:

  • sugar
  • oil: simple vegetable oil is all you need
  • pureed pumpkin: just the canned stuff
  • eggs: the eggs act as a binding agent and create a very moist cake
  • flour: regular all-purpose flour is great
  •  baking soda
  • baking powder
  • salt:
  • spices : we will be using our fall and pumpkin spice spices here such as cinnamon, cloves, and allspice
  • sourdough starter discard: don’t worry about feeding it, unfed started is fine. If you are new to sourdough starter, be sure to use my Homemade Sourdough Starter recipe.
canned pumpkin, vegetable oil, flour, sugar, and sourdough starter on counter
  • melted butter: this is for the frosting
  • cream cheese
  • powdered sugar
  • vanilla

  • Rimmed sheet pan
  • Hand mixer
  • Large mixing bowl

After cake is cooled, make icing:  blend butter, melted cream cheese, and vanilla with mixer until fluffy.  Slowly add powdered sugar and beat until smooth. Do not frost the cake until it is fully cooled.

🥫 Storage instructions

slices of cake on white plate

Refrigerate any leftovers. The cake will keep quite well in the fridge for up to 4 days.

👩🏻‍🍳 Expert tips

  • If your cake looks a bit uneven when it comes out of the oven, don’t worry. It will even out as it cools.
  • Make sure the cake is totally cool before you frost it.
  • The cake and frosting can be made ahead and fully assembled. Just pop it in the fridge until you’re ready to serve. It keeps great for a day or so.
  • Your sourdough starter does not need to be recently fed. But if it is, mix it up to flatten out the bubbles before you measure it out.
sheet pan with slices of pumpkin cake cut out

📘 Related Recipes

🍽 Serve it with

Having a casual fall party? Try these recipes too:

plate with 3 pieces of sourdough pumpkin cake with cream cheese icing on top
Sourdough Pumpkin Cake with Cream Cheese FrostingSourdough Pumpkin Cake with Cream Cheese FrostingSourdough Pumpkin Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    I have a trusted recipe for pumpkin bars/cake that I live by. Well, that changed with this recipe. The crumb on this is SUPERB. I did have some batter run over the side of my (not deep enough) pan during the baking process, but the foil on my bottom rack caught it. I cannot say enough how AMAZING this tastes, though! This recipe will be a new staple in our house with all my home processed pumpkin!

    1. Abby thank you so much for letting me know this! i have found that if my starter is at all active i get a little overflow, like you, and sometimes it’s safer to bake it in a 9×13. i’ll add that to the recipe 🙂 and happy to meet a fellow march pumpkin baker… i use pumpkin right up until strawberry season!

  2. 5 stars
    This recipe is incredibly good! I left the whole batter to ferment over night and it was the most moist cake I have ever eaten.😍