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Easy Pumpkin Spice Cake (Doctored Cake Mix)

Easy Pumpkin Spice Cake from Out of the Box Baking.com

If you’re in the mood for those perfect fall flavors–pumpkin and spice–have I got a recipe for you! This is an easy cake to whip up in a hurry, and it all starts with a boxed cake mix! Whether you’re serving it for Thanksgiving, Christmas, or any other time of year, it’s the perfect blend of flavors.

My Pumpkin Journey

I feel compelled to interject this little story because I know that friends and family are going to see this recipe and panic.

I’m allergic to pumpkin.

I know. The holidays are ruthless. There was that time I ended up in the E.R. And then there was that time I went to a brunch only to discover that absolutely everything there was pumpkin flavored, from the coffee to the coffee cake to the muffins.

I ate nuts and drank water.

But, I digress. Pumpkin and I don’t get along. Ever. Once I ate it by accident at a church potluck. Someone mixed it into their mashed sweet potatoes. (Who does that?) I knew I was in trouble when my throat started swelling on the way home. (Benadryl to the rescue!)

Pumpkin Recipes?

All that to say, you won’t find other pumpkin recipes on this site, at least not yet. I do use a lot of pumpkin pie spice, and that helps. And once I made pumpkin muffins (from a boxed mix) for a church event. But, to actually crack open a can of pumpkin and dump it into a cake? Nope, that’s never happened.

Until today.

With fall coming and this blog in need of Thanksgiving and Christmas recipes, I decided the time had come. I invited a friend to sample the cake for me, knowing I couldn’t have a slice. Perhaps she will chime in in the comments if she reads this post.

For now, here’s a quick peek at what you’ll need.

Ingredients for Easy Pumpkin Spice Cake

You’ll find a full printable recipe card at the bottom of this post, but here’s a look at the simple ingredients you’re going to need for this easy cake. (I’m all about cake mix hacks!)

FOR THE CAKE:

Easy Pumpkin Spice Cake from Out of the Box Baking.com
  • spice cake mix (any brand)
  • large eggs, room temperature
  • whole milk
  • pumpkin puree

FOR THE GLAZE

Easy Pumpkin Spice Cake from Out of the Box Baking.com
  • cream cheese, room temperature
  • whipping cream (or milk)
  • powdered sugar

That’s it! All easy ingredients!

How to Make this Pumpkin Bundt Cake

Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Generously spray your bundt pan with nonstick cooking spray.

Place cake mix in a large mixing bowl. Add eggs and room temperature milk to the dry ingredients. I used the paddle attachment of my stand mixer for this but you can use a hand mixer if you choose.

Now it’s time to add the pumpkin puree (pumpkin pie filling). Dump it in and mix thoroughly, but don’t over-do it. You don’t want to over-activate the gluten strands in the flour or you will end up with a dense cake.

Easy Pumpkin Spice Cake from Out of the Box Baking.com

Pour cake batter into prepared bundt pan.

Easy Pumpkin Spice Cake from Out of the Box Baking.com

Place in preheated oven and bake for 30 – 35 minutes or until it turns golden brown. Cake should pull away from the edges of the pan and a toothpick should come out clean.

Remove from oven and place in wire rack to cool.

Easy Pumpkin Spice Cake from Out of the Box Baking.com

Once cooled, flip bundt pan over and allow cake to release naturally. (Before beginning this process you might consider loosely running a butter knife around the edges of the cake to make sure it’s not going to stick.)

Easy Pumpkin Spice Cake from Out of the Box Baking.com

Make Your Glaze

While cake is baking, make your glaze.

Mix the cream cheese until light and fluffy with no lumps.

Stir in the powdered sugar.

Add whipping cream (or milk) until the glaze is the consistency you like. You don’t want it too loose or it will run off of the cake. (This is such an easy frosting recipe!)

Easy Pumpkin Spice Cake from Out of the Box Baking.com

Spoon glaze over the top of the cake.

Easy Pumpkin Spice Cake from Out of the Box Baking.com

Slice and serve.

Easy Pumpkin Spice Cake from Out of the Box Baking.com

Store leftovers in airtight container or cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate. Bring to room temperature naturally before serving.

What to Expect from this Pumpkin Cake:

First, expect that if you’re allergic to pumpkin and you make the mistake of licking the spoon you’re going to have to take a Benadryl a few minutes later. (Ahem.)

Second, expect a luscious cake, loaded with texture and flavor. It definitely has a rich pumpkin scent while baking and has a bright, vibrant fall color when sliced. I can see now why so many people choose this cake for fall holidays like Thanksgiving or Halloween. The colors really put one in mind of fall leaves.

cake mix pumpkin muffins

The addition of the cream cheese glaze is the icing on the cake, pun intended. It adds an extra layer of flavor.

I would give you more details than that, but, alas. . .I cannot. This was one cake I could not eat.

Questions People are Asking about Pumpkin Cake

What if I don’t have spice cake mix?

No problem! You can make your own using a white or yellow cake mix. Just add adequate pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, and a bit of clove or nutmeg.

Do I have to bake this cake in a bundt pan?

Absolutely not! You can make it in two 9″ pans or bake in a 9 x 13-inch baking dish.

How can I add depth of flavor?

Add a couple of tablespoons of brown sugar to the batter. You can also add a dash of vanilla extract if you want, or maple extract. To add a tart flavor, add sour cream in place of the milk. Drizzle caramel sauce over the top of the cake for even more flavor (after adding the cream cheese glaze).

Can I turn this recipe into cupcakes or muffins?

Absolutely! Bake cake mix pumpkin muffins in muffin tins for 16 minutes. (Hack: use liners if you’re cupcakes and no liners if you’re making muffins. Add slightly less liquid for muffins than for cupcakes.)

Is pumpkin a fruit or vegetable?

According to expert Joe Masabni, Ph.D., Texas A&M Agri Life Extension Service vegetable specialist in Dallas, scientifically speaking, a pumpkin is a fruit simply because anything that starts from a flower is botanically a fruit.(Agrilifetoday.tamu)

What are some other ways I can use pumpkin?

There are so many ways to use this versatile fruit! You can make pies, cakes, muffins, and even cookies. You can roast the seeds and use the rind as a jack-o-lantern. You can make your own puree and use it to make soup. You can use it to make easy pumpkin butter. The possibilities are endless!

Can I turn this Easy Pumpkin Cake into Pumpkin Bread?

Yes! To make the cake denser you’ll need to add what’s called an extender. Here’s what you’ll add to the (above) recipe:

  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • Add’l 1/3 cup milk

Add the extender to the dry cake mix and whisk thoroughly. Add the additional milk when eggs and milk are added.

I made an “extender” version of this cake. You’ll notice the crumb is tighter.

Easy Pumpkin Spice Cake from Out of the Box Baking.com

Just for fun I placed the two slices side-by-side. “Extender” (pumpkin bread) version is on the left. Pumpkin spice cake is on the right. (Can you tell I love bundt cakes? They’re so easy!)

Easy Pumpkin Spice Cake from Out of the Box Baking.com

Other Fall Cakes from Out of the Box Baking

I might be allergic to pumpkin but that doesn’t stop me from loving other fall flavors. Here are some of my favorite cakes that would be perfect for Thanksgiving or Christmas:

That’s it for this post, friends. This is one of those easy cake mix recipes you’re going to want to use again and again! I hope you enjoy this pumpkin spice cake. You’ll have to eat a slice for me!

Easy Pumpkin Spice Cake

Easy Pumpkin Spice Cake

Yield: 15
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes

If you're in the mood for those perfect fall flavors--pumpkin and spice--have I got a recipe for you! This is an easy cake to whip up in a hurry, and it all started with a box of cake mix!

Ingredients

  • FOR THE CAKE:
  • 1 box spice cake (any brand)
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 15 oz. can pumpkin puree
  • FOR THE GLAZE
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons whipping cream (or milk)
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • That's it! All easy ingredients!

Instructions

    How to Make this Pumpkin Bundt Cake
    Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
    Generously spray your bundt pan with nonstick spray.
    Place cake mix in a large bowl. Add eggs and room temperature milk to the dry ingredients. I used the paddle attachment of my stand mixer for this but you can use an electric mixer if you choose.
    Now it's time to add the pumpkin puree. Dump it in and mix thoroughly, but don't over-do it. You don't want to over-activate the gluten strands in the flour or you will end up with a dense cake.
    Pour batter into prepared bundt pan.
    Place in preheated oven and bake for 30 - 35 minutes or until it turns golden brown. Cake should pull away from the edges of the pan and a toothpick should come out clean.
    Remove from oven and place in wire rack to cool.
    Once cooled, flip bundt pan over and allow cake to release naturally. (Before beginning this process you might consider loosely running a butter knife around the edges of the cake to make sure it's not going to stick.)


    Make Your Glaze
    While cake is baking, make your glaze.
    Mix the cream cheese until light and fluffy with no lumps.
    Stir in the powdered sugar.
    Add whipping cream (or milk) until the glaze is the consistency you like. You don't want it too loose or it will run off of the cake.
    Spoon glaze over the cake.

    Slice and serve.

    Store in airtight container in refrigerator up to 2- 3 days.

Janetta

Monday 3rd of October 2022

Perfect dessert for the fall, or any time. Looks yummy. I say again, find a way to have scratch and sniff.

Susan R

Tuesday 6th of September 2022

Question: what size can of pumpkin puree?

booksbyjanice

Tuesday 6th of September 2022

15 oz. (It's in the picture but I should list it in the ingredients, thanks!)

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