This moist Magic Pumpkin Cake features a creamy pumpkin layer and a fluffy yellow cake layer that magically swaps places as the cake bakes. To complete this amazing fall dessert, it’s topped with decadent creamy sweet frosting as the top layer.
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Pumpkin Magic Cake Recipe
When pumpkin season rolls around, I am always looking for new pumpkin desserts to take to potlucks or parties. Trust me, this magic pumpkin cake does disappoint! It starts out with two delicious layers that magically swap places while baking. Once baked, you’ll have a pumpkin pie layer on the bottom that’s infused with warm autumn spices. The second layer is a deliciously moist yellow cake that tastes amazing with the flavors in the pumpkin layer.
When the cake is cooled, it’s topped with a smooth and creamy vanilla cream cheese frosting with a sprinkle of pumpkin pie spice. It’s truly a beautiful and absolutely delicious layer cake, great for all your fall festivities. The best part is that a boxed cake mix makes it super easy to prepare. If you love easy cake mix recipes that are perfect for fall, you should try this Cherry Chocolate Dump Cake, and this Apple Cider Bundt Cake.
Why We Love This Recipe
- Delicious pumpkin flavor – If you’re a huge pumpkin lover, you’ll love the warm pumpkin spice flavors in this cake.
- Perfect fall dessert – This delicious cake is the perfect treat, whether it’s for a Thanksgiving dinner dessert or any fall gathering.
- Simple ingredients – Everything you need to make this fall magic cake can be found at any grocery store; nothing fancy here.
- Electric mixer (hand or stand mixer)
- Large mixing bowl
- 9 x 13-inch cake pan
- Measuring cup
For the Cake Layer
- Yellow cake mix – you will need to box mix plus the ingredients on package instructions, usually water, vegetable oil, and eggs
For the Pumpkin Layer
- Pumpkin puree – make sure you’re using pumpkin puree and not pumpkin pie filling
- Brown sugar – we used light brown sugar, but you can use dark brown sugar if you prefer.
- Half-and-half -this layered dessert works best with half-and-half, but it would with heavy cream as well.
- Eggs – help to create a texture similar to a custard layer
- Pumpkin pie spice – gives the dessert warm fall flavors
- Salt -balance out the sweetness
For the Frosting Layer
- Softened cream cheese – tangy cream cheese is the base for the frosting
- Heavy whipping cream – makes the frosting light and fluffy
- Confectioner’s sugar – adds the perfect amount of sweetness to the frosting
- Vanilla extract – adds flavor
- Pumpkin pie spice – used as a dusting on top of the frosting
- Salt – just a pinch to balance out the sweetness
Step One: Make the Cake Layer
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray the bottom of a 9 x 13 baking dish with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.
- In a large bowl of an electric mixer add cake mix, water, vegetable oil, and eggs and mix until ingredients are combined. Pour the cake batter into the bottom of the prepared baking dish.
Step Two: Make the Pumpkin Layer
- In a separate bowl, combine pumpkin puree, brown sugar, half and half, eggs, pumpkin pie spice, and salt. Whisk until smooth.
- Carefully pour the pumpkin mixture over the top of the cake layer in the baking dish.
Tip: To make sure the layers of cake do not combine, SLOWLY pour the pumpkin mixture, making sure it covers the entire cake.
Step Three: Bake the Cake
- Place the baking dish in the preheated oven and bake for 44 to 49 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. The middle shouldn’t be loose. Let cool for 30 minutes then refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight.
Step Four: Make the Frosting Layer
- In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the room temperature cream cheese, powdered sugar, vanilla, and 1/8 teaspoon salt until creamy. Add heavy whipping cream and mix on high speed until stiff peaks form.
- Spread the mixture over the top of the cooled cake.
- Decorate by lightly dusting with pumpkin pie spice.
Suggestions and Alternatives
- Nuts – Add chopped pecans or walnuts to the pumpkin layer for some extra crunchy goodness.
- Cake mix flavors – Try other flavors of cake. You can make a chocolate version with a chocolate cake mix. White cake mix is another good option.
- Frosting – For a shortcut, you can use store-bought frosting. Or, for a lighter version, you can skip the frosting and top the cake with Cool Whip or a homemade whipped topping.
- Caramel drizzle – Add even more sweetness with a drizzle of caramel sauce on top of the frosting.
- Toasted coconut – Sprinkle toasted coconut flakes on top of the cream cheese frosting. The coconut flavor goes great with pumpkin.
How Do I Store This Magic Cake?
Fridge – Allow the cake to cool completely at room temperature then cover the baking dish tightly with plastic wrap or transfer it to an airtight container. Place the covered cake in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days.
Freezer – If you want to freeze it for later, you can wrap individual slices or the entire cake tightly in plastic wrap and then in a layer of foil. Label it with the date. It can be frozen for up to 2-3 months. Thaw the cake in the refrigerator overnight when you’re ready to serve it.
How Do I Make My Own Pumpkin Pie Spice?
You can easily make this homemade pumpkin pie spice with a few simple ingredients.
How Can I Add More Pumpkin Flavor?
If you want a stronger pumpkin flavor, you can add some of the pumpkin pie spice to the cake layer.
Can I Make This Recipe with Fresh Pumpkin?
While you can use fresh pumpkin, canned puree makes it so much easier. Pumpkin puree is made with pure pumpkin. Just keep in mind is not the same as the pumpkin filling you use for pies. To read more about the differences, check out this article: “Pumpkin Puree vs. Pumpkin Pie Filling.”
More Pumpkin Recipes
- Pumpkin Dump Cake
- Pumpkin Lush
- Pumpkin Truffles
- Pumpkin Pudding Shots
- Pumpkin Roll
- Pumpkin Hand Pies
- Pumpkin Crescent Rolls
Pumpkin Magic Cake
- 1 yellow cake mix plus Water, vegetable oil and eggs called for cake mix box
- 15 ounces pumpkin puree 1 can (not pumpkin pie filling)
- 1 cup packed brown sugar
- 1 cup half-and-half
- 3 eggs
- 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 8 ounces cream cheese softened, 1 block
- ¾ cup confectioner’s sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ⅛ teaspoons salt
- 2 cups heavy whipping cream
- pumpkin pie spice
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray bottom of a 9 x 13 baking dish with cooking and set aside.
- Make the cake layer: In bowl of an electric mixer add cake mix, water, vegetable oil, and eggs and mix for 2 minutes until ingredients are combined. Pour cake mixture into bottom of prepared baking dish.
- Make the pumpkin layer: In another large mixing bowl, combine pumpkin puree, brown sugar, half and half, eggs, pumpkin pie spice and salt. Stir with whisk until smooth. Carefully pour pumpkin mixture over cake batter in baking dish. (Pour SLOWLY and make sure it covers the entire cake.)
- Place baking dish in oven and bake 44 to 49 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. The middle shouldn’t be loose. Let cool for 30 minutes then refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight.
- Make top layer: In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat cream cheese, confectioner’s sugar, vanilla, and 1/8 teaspoon salt until creamy. Add heavy whipping cream and mix until stiff peaks form. Spread mixture over chilled cake.
- Decorate by lightly dusting with pumpkin pie spice.
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