Pumpkin Magic Cake


Here’s the deal with this Pumpkin Magic Cake – it has a little bit of everything to please just about everyone.

I spent a long time perfecting this recipe. It finally came out just right, and I think you’re going to love it!

Pumpkin Magic Cake

It has three layers of dessert goodness going on.

A layer of pumpkin pie on the bottom. A layer of cake in the middle. Finished off with a sweet layer of pumpkin pie spiced pudding/frosting/icouldeatthiseveryday on top.

What’s so magical about this cake?

You start off by mixing up a box of yellow cake mix, just like you normally would. Pour it into the cake pan, then you whip up some pumpkin pie, and pour that on top. It sinks to the bottom, and when baked it comes out in perfect layers!

Pumpkin Magic Cake

Whisk up the top layer which is just a combination of Cool Whip, Pudding mix, milk and pumpkin pie spice. Spread it on top, and you have a multi-level dessert with layers upon layers of delicious Fall flavor.

Pumpkin Magic Cake

This dessert is a definite crowd pleaser.

Make it!

Make sure you don’t miss a thing! Follow I Wash You Dry here:

Pumpkin Magic Cake
For the Cake
  • 1 box of yellow cake mix PLUS ingredients needed to make (eggs, water, oil)
For the Pumpkin Pie
  • 1 (15oz) can Pumpkin Puree
  • ½ cup evaporated milk
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
For the Frosting
  • 1 (4 serving size) box vanilla instant pudding mix
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 cup cold milk
  • 8 oz Cool Whip, thawed
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Prepare box of cake mix according to package instructions, then pour into a lightly greased 9"x13" cake pan. DO NOT BAKE. Set aside.
  3. In another bowl whisk together the ingredients for the Pumpkin Pie (pumpkin, evaporated milk, cream, eggs, brown sugar, and pumpkin pie spice), until smooth. Slowly pour the pumpkin pie mixture all over the cake mix.
  4. Carefully place cake into the oven and bake for 50-60 minutes or until the center is no longer jiggly, and a toothpick inserted into cake mix comes out clean. NOTE: The cake might be slightly darker than normal, but still tastes great. Let cool to room temperature.
  5. Make the frosting: Place the vanilla pudding mix into a large bowl, add the pumpkin pie spice and pour in the cold milk. Whisk until combined and starting to thicken. Gently fold in the Cool Whip until it's completely combined. Spread on top of the cooled cake.
  6. You can serve now, or chill the cake, and serve when chilled. Either way tastes great. Enjoy!
Notes from Shawn:
Before baking the cake, you can place it on top of a rimmed baking sheet just in case any of the cake spills over the edge of the pan while baking.

After you are done baking the cake, it may look like it did not settle into layers, but it has! Frost it, cut it, and marvel at it's awesomeness. :)


Chocolate Pumpkin Magic Cake

Chocolate Pumpkin Magic Cake


  1. Love those layers!

    • Thanks Rachel! :)

    • i did a test run with regular ingredients. It turned out just like the photo. I used my office mates to taste test. The reviews were outstanding! So the next step was to try it with Gluten free products because I have celiac disease. It was a disaster!

    • I made this and there is still pumpkin on the top :/ Dont know what happened but it still taste good. If I can get it to do what it should it will be bett3er

  2. It’s hard to belive such a random drizzle of the batter can come out so perfectly even! Great job.

  3. Oooooh! Yes!!

  4. I made this tonight and it was a huge hit with my pumpkin loving family! Will definitely make it over and over and over again! Thanks for the delicious recipe!

  5. What a perfect cake. I’m dying over every single layer!

  6. Oh my, I’m going to have to try this. It seems like a richer and more moist version of my grandmother’s pumpkin pleaser.


    Thanks for the post, can’t wait to give it a go!

  7. Looks amazing!! Can’t wait to try! Can Half & Half or whole milk be substituted for the cream? Thanks.

    • I’d like to know the answer to this too! I’d like to make it with 1 cup of evaporated milk. Can I make this substitution?

      • Hi Rose, I’m sure it would work with a full cup of evaporated milk in place of the heavy cream. The cream adds a little bit more richness and body to the pie, but I’m sure it would still taste great without it. Let me know how it turns out! :)

        • I used a full cup of evaporated milk and it turned ouy great. I took it to a church function and came home with 4 small peices. It is a very good cake. Will make for Thanksgiving rather a pie.

  8. Wow I need this in my life, been really feeling all the pumpkin recipes I”m seeing lately. Your pics look fabulous too!

  9. Gah!! I want this, no scratch that, I NEED this in my life like yesterday!! Looks sooooo good!!

  10. Erin–How would I adapt this to sugar free? Is it possible? I had a friend email me once I shared this on Facebook and ask me,….

    • Hi Diane, I’m not sure if there is a way to do a sugar free version. Sorry.

      • Um…couldn’t you use a sugar substitute, such as Splenda? They do make a version that’s formulated for baking..

        • There is still sugar in the cake mix though. I suppose if you found a sugar free cake mix, and used a brown sugar substitute, and a sugar free version of pudding mix and Cool whip… you might be able to achieve a sugar free version. I can’t guarantee results though.

          • I just made it using a sugar free cake mix and sugar free pudding. I did use regular brown sugar but they do make the brown sugars that are sugar free and suitable for baking.

          • Awesome! So glad you found an alternative that works for you! :)

  11. Oh my goodness, I’m so glad this finally turned out the way you wanted it to! Looks like it was well worth the wait.

  12. I love the three different layers, It looks really lovely, I bet it tastes lovely to!

  13. What a great idea with all the layers! I am obsessed with all things pumpkin and cinnamon right now!

  14. Ooo I think I’d rather have this than regular ol’ pumpkin pie!

  15. This is fantastic Shawn!! Like, mind blown fantastic!

  16. I love pumpkin pie, but hate pie crust, this seems to be the solution! Gonna make it for my pumpkin loving boss on Boss’ Day.

  17. Am I to assume this is insstant pudding??

  18. ok feel stupid asking this but here i go. u put the cake batter in first so how does the pumpkin layer get on bottom lol sorry want to make this for thanksgiving but want it to look like the pic

    • It’s magic… bwahaha (evil laugh). Yes, you put the cake batter in first and then the pumpkin pie. The pumpkin pie weighs more than the cake so it will sink to the bottom and even out. It’s pretty neat! I hope you enjoy it! :)

      • Christa Jacelone says:

        How do you get the cake out of the pan though? With pumpkin on the bottom, its not dense…. any ideas? Or do you bake in a glass cake pan and leave it in?

        • Hi Christa, I just baked it in the glass casserole dish and left it in the pan. I used a spatula to get the slices out when I served it. :) If you want it out of the pan, I would try waiting till the cake cools, and then before frosting it turn it out onto a serving platter, then frost the pumpkin portion (which should be on top since you flipped it over). Does that make sense? Good luck! :)

  19. Oohh, love the layers! Can’t wait to try this out!

  20. Made this last night for hubby to take to work and this was a huge hit! This is definitely a keeper! Thank you!!!

  21. Hi Shawn, I made this last week and I’m posting pics tomorrow with a link to your page and crediting your creation. My family LOVED this dessert, as did I! Thanks for sharing, I will definitely be making this again.

  22. Okay so I’ve got a question!! If I would make this in two round cake pans then stacked it by flipping them over so It would be layered- cake,pumpkin,cake,pumpkin,wipped topping- would it work? Guess my question is does the pumpkin really stick to the pan on the bottom?? Thanks -Adaline

    • Great question! If you’re going to try that, I would suggest putting a circle of parchment paper on the bottom of your pans. That way the bottom will come out nicely and you can just peel off the paper. If it works, take a picture and tag me! I would LOVE to see it!! Sounds awesome! :)

  23. Kristen Drake says:

    This did now layer for me. I followed directions exactly! I hope it still tastes delicious as I made it for company.

    • Hi Kristen, I know it may not look like it turned after baking, but have you cut into it yet? I only ask because you stated that it is for company, so I’m not sure if you’ve cut into it yet. Let me know how it went! Thanks!

  24. Kristen Drake says:

    Sorry, it did *not layer. Can Anybody tell me why?

  25. I was wondering if you could make this with the white cake being from scratch?

  26. Kristen Drake says:

    I think I figured out why it didn’t layer. It was marbled. Still a pretty dessert, but turned out to be more of a messy, use a spoon, kinda thing :) anyway, I bought a yellow cake that called for butter and not oil. The butter must’ve been too heavy for the pumpkin to settle on the bottom. I will try again using the other cake mix. It was still quite tasty.

    • Hi Kristen, if the cake was not set in the middle, and soupy, it sounds like you need to try and bake it longer. This cake does take a bit longer to bake then a normal cake, so make sure you bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

  27. This is a triple threat! Pie, cake, and frosting–you can’t get much better than that!

  28. I’d like to make it with 1 cup of evaporated milk, rather than the 1/2 evap milk and 1/2 of cream. Can I make this substitution?

  29. I was wondering if I could use the recipe and substitute lemon pie filling instead. Any thoughts.

  30. Any idea if this would do well as a make ahead, freeze, defrost dessert? Minus the frosting….

    • Well, I know the cake would do well when frozen. I’m not sure about the pumpkin pie part, though. I’m guessing that as long as it’s cooled completely before covering and placing in the freezer, it should be ok. :)

  31. I’m baking this as of now and the pumpkin did not settle to the bottom for some reason. I did everything exactly how the directions said. Are you suppose to wait till it sinks to the bottom and then put it in the oven ? It just said pour pumpkin over batter and put in oven. Hope it still taste good !

    • I just made this cake too and the pumpkin didn’t settle on the bottom either. I’m still going to make the frosting and take it to our party tonight. Hopefully it tastes good! I guess this will go down as another pinterest fail.

      • Please wait till you cut into the cake to decide if it has settled on the bottom or not. From the outside the cake does not look as if it has turned, but when cut into, it will actually prove to be pumpkin pie on the bottom, and cake on top. You’ll enjoy it. :)

        • Ok ok! I’m sooooo sorry!!!! I was shocked when I cut into the cake. It was perfect! I take back my fail comment. And it was a huge hit at dinner.
          But when I took it out of the oven it looked like the pumpkin was still on top and I was so bummed. Boy was I wrong?!?!

    • Hi Debbie, The directions are correct, just pour it in over the cake and once baked the pumpkin pie will settle on the bottom. It might not look like it has, but once you cut into it, you’ll see that it did. Hope you enjoyed the cake! :)

  32. I made this yesterday for my husband and myself. We have been eating Paleo. Oh my gosh what a wonderful treat, The cake is so moist, turned out great layers, amazed me. I did not make the frosting because did not have pudding or whip topping but we love it the way it is, plan to make for Thanksgivng for the grands, they do not like the pie crust, I will add the topping but even without it this is a 5 star recipe. Thumbs up to you, I ran across this accidentally. Love your site and will try a lot more of your recipes. Great site and wonderful cook, keep it up young lady. Joan(AZ)

    • I’m so glad you guys enjoyed it! I appreciate your sweet comments, and I am so happy you stumbled upon my blog! :) I wish you a very happy Holiday season! :)

  33. This looks amazing. Just curious, could you put the pumpkin in first and add the cake on top? I can’t wait to try this recipe out!

  34. Can you make this with cupcakes In stead of cake?

    • Curious to know if you ever gave it a shot into cupcakes? I am going to try it myself ~ would love this to be a holiday addition to my home bakery, thanks for the fun ideas!

  35. Pumpkin & Chocolate have become one of my favorite flavors together. Do you think this would work with Dark Chocolate cake mix? I want to make this for dessert on Sunday for company and would love to try it with chocolate…

  36. Just put my first attempt at this cake in the oven. My pumpkin didn’t look swirled like yours did… it just sat on the top. Hope it comes out ok! Looks delish!

  37. Made this last weekend for a party and it was wonderful, even enjoyed it 3 days later. Freaky how the pumpkin pie part sinks to the bottom (while it’s cooking, bakers!) but it’s wonderful. Will definitely make this again!
    Thank you.

  38. Hmmmm…not a box cake girl…will have to try this from scratch. :-)

  39. I’m so ready for pumpkin season again, I still eat it all year long! This cake is gorgeous!

  40. Jeannie McMahan says:

    I made this cake last night. Thank you for sharing this recipe! it turned out perfect, so easy and delicious. I did not have any heavy cream, so I used one cup of lowfat evaporated milk, it worked out just fine!!
    This is defenitely a keeper!

  41. I made this tonight, however, I am fearful that it didn’t layer. There is still pumpkin on top of the cake (visible) and the cake certainly isn’t smooth on top. I followed the directions exactly but the pumpkin stayed on top and didn’t incorporate like yours did by looking at the picture. I have to take this to a work function tomorrow. It smells great, I just hope it looks great too! Fingers crossed!!

  42. Can you make this into cupcakes?

  43. Alicia Acuna says:

    So very very good! Thank you!

  44. This sound delicious. Has anyone tried instant pumpkin pudding and cool whip instead of the vanilla pudding/pumpkin pie spice/cool whip?

  45. Just popped this beauty in the oven… Can’t wait to sink my teeth into it!

  46. Hi Shawn,
    Silly question…I am assuming the layers are from top to bottom, frosting, cake and pumpkin pie. I am a bit confused. The way the recipe reads the cake is on the bottom then pour the pumpkin pie on top of it…the picture is pumpkin pie on bottom and cake on top??? Can you please clarify?

    Thank you, Michelle

  47. Never mind Shawn… I see that it will sink to the bottom…I am going to make this for thanksgiving. It looks delicious

  48. Dawn Ball says:

    Hi Shawn! I don’t like the taste of pumpkin pie spice. Can I use the cinnamon, clove & Nutmeg instead? I think that’s the ingredients. You know what I mean! Lol! Thanks! Can’t wait to make this!! Looks delicious! ! :)

  49. Kim Seigler says:

    Can you make it a day before you eat it.

  50. Marge DeGraw says:

    This is one awesome recipe and the perfect dessert for Thanksgiving or any other time for that matter. The smell when baking is wonderful and putting the cake together is so very simple for even the amature baker. I have now made this cake 3 times and it has turned out with perfect layers every time with the pumpkin on the bottom so don’t worry ladies about the pumpkin going to the bottom, it will. I rate this with a 10.

  51. I am loving this recipe!!!!! i am now mixing all the ingredients, but I want to divide it so i can use loaf pans. how many do you recommend diving it into? two or three loaf pans? and how long should I bake it for??

    happy thanksgiving!

    • How big are your loaf pans? If they’re 8″x4″ you could probably separate into two, maybe three pans. I would start by pouring your cake batter in one pan until it’s about half full, then seeing how many more you can fill. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Hope that helps!

  52. Sue Turnbeau says:

    definitely a keeper recipe! First time to make it for a family/friends dinner and will be making it again! Thanks for terrific recipe!

  53. Julie Schwark says:

    Delicious!!! I wanted something different than the usual pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving and this was a hit! This has replaced the pie in my list of must-have for holiday dinners! Thank you such for sharing this !

  54. Hi! New here found you off Pinterest. I just wanted to stop in to let you know that this cake was phenomenal! I actually shared the recipe with friends and family since it was such a HIT at my house! Can’t wait to try another one of your recipes!

  55. This was amazing!!!! It was a huge hit!! So delicious!! Thanks for sharing!

  56. Queens Greene says:

    Would this work with sweet potato instead of pumpkin purée? Has anyone else tried S/potatoes? Amount?

  57. My husband’s two favorite desserts are yellow cake and pumpkin pie so this cake is perfect! I made it yesterday to celebrate his birthday today and the smells through the house… delicious! Can’t wait to cut into it today!

  58. I’m making this right now. But I used Duncan Hines Butter Golden cake and the batter is thicker than yellow cake. I added the pumpkin purée and it did not sink to the bottom (like on your pic) I went ahead and still put it in the oven. Let’s see how it comes out. Hopefully good!!

  59. I followed instructions exactly and allt he pumpkin did not sink so there were not actual layers. I will try it again . Tasted good

  60. Delicious, but the layers didn’t work at all. Pumpkin was still all in the top half of the cake. The only thing I can figure is that I used all evaporated milk instead of the cream. Maybe the pumpkin layer wasn’t heavy enough. The frosting is delish though!

    I wonder why you wouldn’t just layer the pumpkin pie on the bottom to begin with?

  61. Couldn’t you just put the pumpkin pie layer in the pan first? I’m wondering why you need to put it second and let it sink.

    • Because the pumpkin and cake layers cook at different speeds, putting them in this order helps both of them to finish cooking at the same time. :)

  62. This would be great with sweet potato pie as well. Use yams instead of pumpkin.

  63. I live on a small island in e Bahamas and we don’t have cool whip. Any substitute suggestions? Whipped cream?

    • Michelle, I would think any icing would work. (I’m going to try a spice cake mix and cream cheese icing myself.)

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