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Easy Pumpkin Cake with Yellow Cake Mix

When fall arrives, there’s nothing quite like the comforting aroma of pumpkin treats wafting through the air. One of the easiest ways to indulge in this seasonal treat is by baking a pumpkin cake. Fortunately, by using a box of cake mix or a homemade cake mix in a jar, you can make a delicious cake that is sure to become a family favorite. 

a piece of two-layer, pumpkin cake with cream cheese frosting on a white plate with a fork that has a bite of cake on it.

Simple Ingredients

This easy pumpkin recipe has just a few simple ingredients and is super versatile, which is a good thing when you want to use heathier options even when you’re making dessert. 

Cake Mix – Using a boxed cake mix always seems like a super easy way to make cakes. However, they are filled with questionable ingredients and honestly, end up being quite pricey since you still have to add all the expensive ingredients. 

In about 2 minutes you can scoop out a bit of flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt to make your own homemade white cake mix which really can be a yellow cake mix recipe if you use the whole egg instead of just the egg whites when you make the cake.

I like to keep a few jars of this cake mix in a jar on the pantry shelves for when the mood strikes for a quick dessert – which is exactly what happened when I was putting away the leftover pumpkin puree from that morning’s pumpkin pancakes when I decided to make a pumpkin dessert for that evening.

white cake mix in a mason jar with a recipe tag on it along with a stick of buttter on a white dish, three eggs, small cup of milk, small cup of pumpkin puree and a blue and white checked kitchen towel

Pumpkin Puree – For the pumpkin puree, you can use a can of pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling) from the grocery store or homemade pumpkin puree. The result will be the same. Just be sure to buy plain pumpkin puree and not pumpkin pie mix. That being said, fall is a great time to cook a few pumpkins, make the puree and freeze it in 1 to 2 cup quantities for making all your favorite pumpkin spice recipes

Pumpkin Spice – Pumpkin spice or pumpkin pie spice mix can be found on the spice aisle in most grocery stores. It’s a mix of warm spices such as cinnamon, ginger, allspice, nutmeg and cloves. Of course, it will be much cheaper to just make your own pumpkin spice mix, especially if you already have these spices in your pantry. Just like the dry cake mix and the pumpkin puree, you can use a little bit of time and make up a batch and have it available whenever you want to whip up an easy recipe. 

Other Ingredients – The rest of the ingredients are butter, milk and eggs

double layer pumpkin cake with cream cheese frosting on wooden cake pedestal

Frosting the Cake

There are a lot of options for frosting a pumpkin cake, you can go from simple to elaborate. This cake is not super sweet but sweet enough to serve without any frosting. 

  • Sprinkle with a dusting of powdered sugar
  • Sprinkle with chocolate chips when the cake is still hot.
  • Cream cheese frosting pairs really nicely with the spicy flavors of pumpkin cake
  • Serve with a small dollop of whipped cream or cool whip on each piece 
  • Don’t frost and serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Pumpkin Cake Variations

One of the great things about cake is that is bakes up great in various pans. I usually just use a 9×13 pan but you can also use round cake pans to make a pumpkin layer cake, a bundt pan for a bundt cake, a loaf pan, or even a muffin tin lined with cupcake liners for cupcakes.

Storing Pumpkin Cakes

If you have leftover cake, store it in an airtight container so it doesn’t dry out. Cakes can be left at room temperature for a couple of days without it going bad. Any longer than that and you’ll want to store it in the refrigerator. 

If I know that we won’t be able to eat the whole cake in a couple of days, I’ll freeze half of it before frosting it. I wrap the cooled cake in plastic wrap and then put it in a freezer bag and label it. If I’ve made frosting, I freeze half of it in a separate ziplock bag. To thaw, set them out on the counter and they should be thawed in a couple of hours. 

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Yield: 15 servings

Pumpkin Cake with Yellow Cake Mix

double layer pumpkin cake with cream cheese frosting on wooden cake pedestal

This easy fall dessert uses a yellow cake mix and pumpkin puree to make tasty treat that is full of fall flavors. 

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes


  • 1 Dry Cake Mix
  • 1 teaspoon Pumpkin Spice Mix
  • 1 cup Pumpkin Puree
  • 1/2 cup Butter - melted
  • 1/2 cup Milk
  • 3 Eggs


  1. Preheat oven to 350 Degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Grease a 9X13" pan and set aside.
  3. Dump the cake mix into a large bowl and mix in the pumpkin spice. Set aside.
  4. In a medium bowl, whisk together the pumpkin puree, melted butter, milk and eggs.
  5. ​Mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir until completely combined. This is a fairly thick batter.
  6. Spread the cake batter evenly into the prepared pan.
  7. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until edges are just a bit golden and an inserted tester comes out clean.
  8. Cool completely on wire rack before frosting as desired.


This recipe is super forgiving so don't be afraid to use your homemade pumpkin puree, it doesn't need to be as thick as store bought puree.

Baking times for cake variations:

  • 10-inch bundt cakes - 40 to 50 minutes
  • 9-inch round cakes - 20 to 25 minutes
  • Loaf cake - 30 to 40 minutes
  • Cupcakes - 18 to 20 minutes

More Pumpkin Recipes to Try

With just a few simple steps, you’ve transformed a humble box of yellow cake mix into a delightful pumpkin cake that’s the perfect fall dessert.

But there is so many more delicious pumpkin recipes to try like chocolate pumpkin cake, or soft pumpkin cookies, or how about some healthy pumpkin lentil muffins.

double layer pumpkin cake with cream cheese frosting on wooden cake pedestal with a piece of cake on a white plate in the foreground

Thanks for sharing!

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