Pumpkin Cake Cookies (Soft Pumpkin Cookies)

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Pumpkin cake cookies are the perfect fall dessert (especially when they’re topped with pumpkin buttercream frosting)! These cookies are light, full of incredible pumpkin spice flavor, and delicious.

A stack of pumpkin cake cookies.
Pumpkin cake cookies with pumpkin buttercream frosting.

It’s officially fall y’all! That means that everything pumpkin is in full swing, and that it’s time for me to break out this pumpkin cake cookies recipe!

Truly, I am obsessed with anything pumpkin. Even the color is gorgeous! Ok, I’m obviously getting a little excited that it’s officially fall. I can’t help myself. It’s been cooling off where I live for a few weeks now, and it’s been so exciting to watch the leaves start changing. It’s time for me to break out my cold season clothes, go on all of my favorite fall hikes, bundle up, and enjoy some pumpkin spice cookies.

Pumpkin cake cookie dough.

How to make pumpkin cookies:

Because of the pumpkin, pumpkin cookies naturally love to be cakey and fluffy in texture. Rather than fight that tendency, we’re going to embrace it. There’s loads of pumpkin puree in this recipe, and a good amount of leavener (both baking powder and baking soda).

When you mix the pumpkin puree with the butter, you’ll notice that it doesn’t fully incorporate. In fact, it looks relatively grainy (as shown in the picture above). Not to worry! It’s supposed to look like that. Just do your best to get it as incorporated as possible.

Pumpkin cake cookie dough.

This is what your finished dough will look like. It’s a wet and sticky dough, so it MUST be refrigerated for at least 3 hours, but preferably overnight.

Pumpkin cake cookie dough.

I used a #50 cookie scoop for these cookies, and it made the perfect size cookies! I can’t recommend using a cookie scoop enough. It helps make all of your baking even and consistent.

Pumpkin cake cookie dough.

Since it’s a sticky dough, it’s easier to drop the dough balls directly into the pumpkin spice sugar mixture. Roll them around a bit and then place them on a parchment paper or silicone mat lined baking sheet.

Pumpkin cake cookie dough.

Using three fingers, press each cookie dough ball down. This will give you a slightly rounded cakey cookie. If you don’t press them down, the finished cookies will be closer to muffin tops.

What you’ll need:

There are two tools that I can’t recommend enough for this recipe.

The first tool is an air insulated baking sheet. I use these for all of my cookies because they create a more even baking environment for the cookies, which helps with the dreaded problem of a burned bottom with a doughy middle. Using these baking sheets allows your entire cookie to cook evenly.

I bake these for exactly 8 minutes. The high pumpkin content causes the bottoms to brown quickly. Keep a close eye on them so that they don’t burn. I use an air insulated baking sheet for all of my cookies, and I swear by it because it helps me avoid burnt cookie bottoms. I noticed a real difference using it with these cookies. If you have one, I’d recommend using it for this recipe.

If you’re not using an insulated baking sheet, your baking time will be shorter. Check them at 6 minutes.

The second tool I recommend is this cookie scoop. It’s the perfect size for these cookies, and really for any standard cookie. It keeps all of your cookies the same size, which makes such a difference in even baking. I definitely recommend having one on hand if you love baking cookies. It’s an affordable tool that is definitely worth it!

Bonus Tools:

If you love to bake, using this affordable powerhouse stand mixer will make your life so much easier.

If you don’t have the space for a stand mixer, then using an electric mixer is your next best bet. The trick to using an electric mixer is using it with an extra large mixing bowl. I have a mixing bowl this size, and it comes in handy all the time. It’s perfect for meal prep, salads, and it makes baking so much easier.

Using silicone mat baking mats improves all your baking (especially if you like crispy edges!). They create a crispier and drier bottom edge than parchment paper does, so it’s great for cookies like this.

Finally, don’t forget to cool your cookies completely on a cooling rack!

Bonus Tip:This pumpkin puree is fantastic quality with an insanely amazing price.

Pumpkin cake cookies.

How to make these pumpkin spice cookies even better:

I highly recommend using my DIY Pumpkin Pie Spice for this recipe. It’s so much more delicious and aromatic than store-bought blends! I’ve used it in over a dozen recipes this season, and every single one has turned out amazing.

Cinnamon, ginger, cloves, nutmeg, and allspice on a plate.

These cookies taste beyond amazing topped with my Pumpkin Buttercream Frosting! It’s truly the most incredible fall dessert. Better yet, sandwich two of the cookies around some of the buttercream and make the most brilliant autumn inspired pumpkin whoopie pie.

Pumpkin buttercream frosting.

How to make GLUTEN FREE PUMPKIN CAKE COOKIES:


I’ve made these pumpkin cookies with regular flour and with gluten free flour and they turned out beautifully both ways.

I recommend this gluten free flour blend above all others. It makes the most amazing baked goods, and I can always count on my recipes turning out well when I use it. This is flour I used for this recipe, so I can only vouch for how the recipe will turn if you use it, too.

I also added in a Tablespoon of this magical binding ingredient (hint: it’s not xantham gum!).

I love keeping this ingredient on hand. Whenever I’m adapting a recipe to make it gluten free, I always use my favorite gluten free flour blend and add in 1 Tablespoon of this binding ingredient.

Yield: 50 cookies

Pumpkin Cake Cookies

Pumpkin Cake Cookies

Pumpkin cake cookies are the perfect fall dessert (especially when they're topped with pumpkin buttercream frosting)! They're light, aromatic, and so delicious.

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 8 minutes
Additional Time 3 hours
Total Time 3 hours 23 minutes

Ingredients

  • ¾ cup unsalted butter (softened)
  • 1 cup canned pure pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix)
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs (room temperature)
  • 2 ¾ cups flour or gluten free flour blend
  • 1 Tablespoon psyllium husk (ONLY if using gluten free flour blend)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons DIY Pumpkin Pie Spice
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt

Sugar Coating

  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon DIY Pumpkin Pie Spice

Instructions

  1. Add the softened butter to the bowl of a stand mixer. Beat using the paddle attachment on low speed until just creamy and fluffy.
  2. Add in the canned pumpkin, granulated sugar, and light brown sugar. Beat on medium speed until the granulated texture starts to get smaller (about 2 minutes). It will look very grainy because of the pumpkin. Don’t worry! It’s supposed to look like that.
  3. Add in the vanilla and mix until just combined.
  4. Add in the eggs, one at a time, and beat on medium speed for 30 seconds after adding each egg.
  5. Add in the flour or gluten free flour blend, baking powder, baking soda, DIY Pumpkin Pie Spice, fine sea salt, and psyllium husk (ONLY add in psyllium husk if using a gluten free flour blend). Stir on low speed until just combined.
  6. The dough is very soft at this point, so it MUST be refrigerated. Refrigerate for a minimum of three hours, but preferably overnight.
  7. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
  8. In a medium bowl, mix together ½ cup granulated sugar and 1 teaspoon DIY Pumpkin Pie Spice.
  9. Scoop cookie dough using a #50 cookie scoop. Since this is a sticky dough, it’s easiest if you scoop the dough directly into the pumpkin pie sugar mixture, and then sprinkle the sugar on top to coat the dough ball.
  10. Place on a parchment paper or silicone mat lined baking sheet. Using three fingers, press the cookies down in the center. Pressing the cookies down will give you cake texture cookies. If you don’t press them down, they will be closer to muffin tops.
  11. Bake for 6-8 minutes, or until the edges are just starting to look crisp. Because of the high pumpkin content, the bottoms of these will burn quickly. Be sure to keep an eye on them and not leave them in the oven too long.
  12. Let cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes, and then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely before serving.

Notes

The baking time will be on the shorter end if you use a standard baking sheet and on the longer end if you use an insulated cookie sheet.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

50

Serving Size:

1 cookie

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 82 Total Fat: 3.1g Carbohydrates: 12.7g Fiber: .4g Sugar: 7.1g Protein: 1g
Nutrition information isn’t always accurate.

Let me know what you think of this recipe in the comments and on Instagram! @keytomylime #keytomylime

Be sure to pin this recipe for later!

Pumpkin cake cookies with pumpkin buttercream frosting.

Did you know that sweet potato and pumpkin have very similar flavors in baking? Where I grew up, sweet potato pie was just as popular as pumpkin pie. Stephie Cooks has a great sweet potato cookie recipe if you’re interested in baking with sweet potatoes.

Make these Pumpkin Cake Cookies and enjoy all the delicious flavors of fall!

Pumpkin cake cookies with pumpkin buttercream frosting.

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