The best, soft, quick and easy pumpkin cake recipe with cake mix, homemade with simple ingredients. Paired with cream cheese frosting.
If you are looking for an easy dessert, look no further because this doctored cake mix recipe is perfect! It's soft and moist and has the perfect balance of spices (cinnamon, nutmeg and a little ginger) without becoming overwhelming. This is just as popular with my friends as this Pumpkin Cheesecake with Gingersnap Crust and Turkey Cake.
Please note that this is not a dump cake nor is it a pie cake! Both of those use cake mix boxes too but the process and the other ingredients are entirely different. They are dense and have a texture that's similar to a cobbler/ pie. Also, everything is typically dumped in a baking pan and then baked.
Table of contents
Key ingredients for spiced pumpkin layer cake
- Yellow cake mix- This can be any name brand, such as Pillsbury or Betty Crocker. I try to avoid the store brand as the quality is not the best.
- Oil- Vegetable oil or canola oil work best in baking.
- Eggs- This is one of the main ingredients that contributes to the cake being deliciously moist.
- Sugar- Use granulated sugar for best results.
- Spices- Cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg come together for that perfect Fall flavor.
- Pumpkin puree- This is not to be confused with pie filling.
- Sheet cake- You can easily pour this batter in a larger 9x13 rectangle cake pan and make that instead.
- Chocolate version- Instead of cream cheese frosting, ice this cake with Chocolate Buttercream Frosting or even chocolate ganache.
- Crumb cake- Prepare a classic crumble topping and sprinkle it on top of the cake, prior to baking.
- Cake pops- Don't throw away cake scraps. Use those make cake pops. I have a tutorial here for How to Make Cake Pops and Cake Balls.
- Crunch cake- Add layer of chopped roasted nuts on top of the frosting or between layers to give each bite a nice crunch.
- Bundt cake- You can't use this recipe to make a bundt cake because those cakes typically have a firmer texture and a fairly thick batter, which makes it easier to remove it from the pan without any breaking. Since this is a "melt in your mouth" soft cake, it won't be suitable for those special tube pans.
- Poke cake- Use this recipe to make a sheet cake. When it cools down, poke holes with a bubble tea straw and pour thin caramel all over it. Top it off with frosting and serve.
- Adjust amount of spices- Based on your preference.
- Use white cake mix- Instead of yellow cake mix and follow all other directions in the recipe the same.
- Decorate this cake- With a Fondant Turkey Topper (For Cakes and Cupcakes), which is so fun for a party. Another option is to decorate with Chocolate Tree or Chocolate Leaves. Any of these ideas will turn your cake into a showstopper.
- Add a spread- Such as Pumpkin Butter for added flavor and moisture as a filling underneath the icing. You can even replace the cream cheese filling with this Pumpkin Dip (Cheesecake).
- Frost entire cake- I did not frost the sides of the cake to give it a semi-naked, rustic look. However, you can frost the entire cake in frosting, if you like. If you have never made these styles of cakes, check out my post on How to Make Naked Cake.
How to make easy pumpkin cake recipe with cake mix box?
- Beat together- The eggs, oil, and water.
- Mix in- Pumpkin puree.
- Add in- Cake mix and spices
- Pour- Batter into cake pans.
- Bake- Until inserted toothpick comes out clean.
- Cool- Both cakes completely.
- Ice- The cake in cream cheese frosting.
- Decorate- With sprinkles and pumpkin candies.
Tips and techniques
- You must use pumpkin puree and not pie filling- Because that will make this dessert very dense.
- All ingredients must be at room temperature- Because that allows everything to blend together smoothly and evenly.
- Allow the cakes to cool completely- Before icing them because this will prevent the icing from melting all over the cake.
- You cannot use this recipe to make a cake roll- Because its texture is so soft that it can't easily roll and falls apart.
- Don't over-mix batter- Because that will make the cake very dense and chewy.
- Don't over-bake cake- Because that will make it dry.
It was probably not baked long enough or at the correct temperature. An additional reason could be that you may have opened the oven door during baking, causing a major drop in temperature.
The quantity of wet ingredients is too much in your recipe. Make sure you are measuring your ingredients properly with measuring cups and spoons and not eyeballing anything.
Yes, you can use that in this recipe. Just make sure that the consistency is not too thin. If it is, Then, just cook it on the stovetop for a few minutes until excess water is evaporated.
No. That has additional ingredients like milk, sugar e.t.c and using that instead of puree will make this cake too dense.
Storage of homemade cake
- Room temperature- Due to the use of cream cheese frosting, this cake can only be left out at room temperature for 3-5 hours, preferably in a covered container away from heat.
- Fridge- Leftovers can be stored in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
- Freezer- Store unfrosted cake and frosting separately in airtight containers for up to 1 month. When you are ready to enjoy this dessert, thaw, frost, and decorate as per instructions below.
More Thanksgiving Cakes
- Pear Cake (Pear Upside Down Cake)
- Applesauce Cake
- Chai Tea Spice Cake
- Ginger Cake
- Chocolate Pretzel Cake
- Easy Rustic Cake
- Autumn Cake (Fall Cake)
More Pumpkin Desserts
- Pumpkin Bars (With Cream Cheese Frosting)
- Easy Pumpkin Donuts
- Pumpkin Fudge (With Gingersnap Crust)
- Pumpkin Truffles
- Easy Pumpkin Cookies
- Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies
- Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Pumpkin Pancakes
- Pumpkin Brownies (With Brownie Mix)
- Pumpkin Muffins
- Pumpkin Bread
- Easy Pumpkin Pie
Easy Pumpkin Cake (With Cake Mix Box)
- 2 tablespoon Sprinkles Orange and green colors
- 8 Pumpkin candies
- In a large mixing bowl, add eggs, oil, water and mix until mixture is bubbly and smooth.
- Add pumpkin puree and mix until combined.
- Add cake mix, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and mix until smooth.
- Pour batter into 2 greased/floured round cake pans (Dimensions: 8x2). Spread evenly with a spatula.
- Bake at 350 degrees F for about 40 minutes or until an inserted toothpick in the center comes out clean.
- Allow the cakes to cool down completely.
- Then, use a sharp serrated knife to cut the sides and dome (if there is any).
- Place one cake on a cake stand and spread cream cheese frosting on top.
- Place another cake on top of this frosting and spread another layer of cream cheese frosting.
- Decorate with seasonal sprinkles and pumpkin candies. Enjoy!
- Read all my tips above.
- You must use pumpkin puree and NOT pumpkin pie filling. They are not interchangeable in this recipe.
- Leftovers can be stored in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 3 days.