This one layer 6 inch Small Pumpkin Cake recipe with cream cheese frosting is made from scratch using canned pumpkin. Make it for your Thanksgiving For Two dessert!

Small 6 Inch Pumpkin Cake with cream cheese frosting
Thanksgiving. It’s a tough food holiday for those who cook for 1-2 people. So much food. So many leftovers.

Over the years I’ve learned most Thanksgiving recipes don’t cater towards small serving sizes. Luckily for you, I’m solving that problem with my Thanksgiving Dinner For Two menu!

Not everyone has a giant family gathering for Thanksgiving. If that’s you, then you need a small Thanksgiving dessert. Or maybe you want to make multiple desserts but don’t want a ton of leftovers.

A few years ago I posted my Pumpkin Layer Cake.

Although it’s a holiday favorite, it makes too much cake for a proper Thanksgiving for two.

I decided it’s time I scaled it down and turn it into a one layer 6 Inch Small Pumpkin Cake with cream cheese frosting.

It’s moist and pumpkin-y, perfect to get you in the mood for fall. Serve with a dusting of cinnamon on top.

Small 6 Inch Pumpkin Cake for Thanksgiving dessert for two

How To Make A Pumpkin Cake From Scratch

The pumpkin cake batter is really easy to make because it uses vegetable oil instead of softened butter, meaning there are less steps to do.

Plus you don’t have to worry about creaming together the butter and sugar.

With this small pumpkin cake recipe, you beat together the sugar and liquid ingredients together until smooth. Then you gradually add your dry ingredients.

Once the batter is made, you transfer it to a 6 inch cake pan and bake.

Your pumpkin cake is done baking when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

If you don’t have one already, you’re going to need a 6 inch round cake pan. You can buy one either on Amazon (affiliate link) or you can buy one in the cake decorating section of your local craft store.

Don’t have a cake pan? Make Pumpkin Pie Cupcakes in a muffin pan instead!

How do you make a pumpkin cake for two from scratch moist?

This pumpkin cake for two stays incredibly moist thanks to the vegetable oil, brown sugar, and pumpkin.

The best oil to use in pumpkin cake is either vegetable or canola, which are both neutral oils.

Can I use butter instead of oil in pumpkin cake?

Don’t have vegetable oil? Use an equal amount of melted butter.

Cream Cheese Frosting on top of Small 6 Inch Pumpkin Cake

Which frosting pairs best with pumpkin cake?

Cream cheese frosting is definitely a classic pairing for pumpkin. Its tanginess balances the pumpkin spice.

Because it’s a 6 inch cake, I made my Small Batch Cream Cheese Frosting. The best part is you won’t have any leftover frosting!

Not a fan of cream cheese? Check out my other small batch frosting recipes.

You can also frost pumpkin cake with small batch whipped cream.

Several slices of Small 6 Inch Pumpkin Cake

How To Store Pumpkin Cake

Store unfrosted pumpkin cake at room temperature in an airtight storage container for up to 3 days.

Store frosted pumpkin cake in an airtight storage container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. Let the cake sit at room temperature for 15-30 minutes before serving.

Can you freeze pumpkin cake?

You can freeze unfrosted pumpkin cake for up to 6 months. Wrap it in plastic wrap first then place in a freezer bag.

What To Do With Leftover Canned Pumpkin

Because you won’t use a whole can of pumpkin, you’ll have extra pumpkin. Check out my other easy pumpkin recipes to use up your leftover canned pumpkin including pumpkin bread mini loaves.

More Small Cake Recipes

Looking for more small cake recipes? Check out my 6 Inch Cake Recipes guide. Some favorites are:

Small 6 Inch Pumpkin Cake with cream cheese frosting

Small Pumpkin Cake

Yield: 4-6 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes

This one layer 6 inch Small Pumpkin Cake recipe with cream cheese frosting is made from scratch using canned pumpkin. Make it for your Thanksgiving For Two dessert!


  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour, sifted
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup canned pumpkin puree
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg, room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Frosting (Choose One)


  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease one 6-inch round cake pan then line the bottom with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and salt.
  3. In another large bowl, beat together the pumpkin, oil, brown sugar, sugar, egg, and vanilla.
  4. Gradually add the flour mixture to the pumpkin mixture. Mix together until incorporated.
  5. Transfer the batter to the cake pan. Bake for 22-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool for 15 minutes then invert cake onto cooling rack. Cool completely.
  6. Frost cake with Small Batch Cream Cheese Frosting (get the recipe here)


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