As the leaves start to drop and we begin to see cooler, cloudy days, I always crave my mom’s Pumpkin Pie Cake. This recipe came from the 1960’s when cake mixes started to become popular. This version is NOT to be mistaken with other versions known as “Pumpkin Dump Cake” or “Pumpkin Pie Cake” where the pumpkin pie layer is placed as the bottom layer. This version has three layers: the bottom layer is a cake mix crust, the middle layer is a creamy pumpkin pie filling, and the top layer is a nutty, buttery crust.
This cake tastes delicious right out of the oven with a dollop of fresh, homemade whip cream. To make the whip cream simply blend together heavy cream, superfine sugar and vanilla.
Baker’s tips for Pumpkin Pie Cake:
Options for cake mix:
The original recipe calls for boxed cake mix. I only use a an all-natural cake mix. Although the original recipe calls for yellow cake mix, you can use vanilla or a spice boxed mix. You can also make your own using my simple recipe for Homemade Cake Mix.
Pick your pumpkin:
Libby’s, like most bakers is my favorite brand of pumpkin puree. You can always roast your own pumpkin though to give even more natural pumpkin flavor. To roast a pumpkin: simply half the pie pumpkin (2-3 lbs.), scoop out the seeds, brush with oil, place flesh down on baking sheet and bake at 450 degrees for 45 minutes. Puree in a Vitamix or high-speed blender.
Use the proper baking sheet:
An aluminum, 9×13 is the best cake pan to use for this cake because it helps conduct even heat. My favorite brand of cake pans are Fat Daddio’s or Nordic Ware.
The magic is in the spice blend:
Many recipes call for Pumpkin Pie Spice which you can purchase, however, I make my own Pumpkin Spice Blend, which is a bold version with higher proportion of classic spices (ginger, nutmeg, ginger, and allspice) to a cinnamon base.
Butter temp affects topping texture:
When making the topping, use room temperature butter to ensure a rich, buttery top layer. Do not use melted butter which makes it soggy. You also don’t want to use cold butter since it cuts into the flour and becomes thin when spread all over the top.
Homemade whipped cream is easier than you think:
Homemade whip cream is so much easier than you think and tastes delicious compared to the waxy texture of cool whip. Be sure to place your metal bowl and whisk attachment in the fridge before making. It is important to use superfine sugar to prevent clumps, but you could also use confectioners sugar. To prepare whip cream ahead of time, simply stabilize with 1-2 tsp. of clear jel or unflavored gelatin.
Pumpkin Pie Cake
Cake mix base layer
- 1 Homemade Cake Mix reserve 1 c. for top
- 1 egg
- 1/2 c. unsalted butter melted
Pumpkin Pie filling
- 3 1/2 c. pumpkin puree 29 oz. can
- 3 eggs
- 2/3 c. evaporated milk whole
- 2/3 c. brown sugar
- 1 tsp. Pumpkin Spice Blend
- 1 tsp. cinnamon
- 1 tsp. vanilla
Nutty top layer
- 1 c. cake mix
- 1 c. nuts chopped
- 1/3 c. unsalted butter room temp
- 1/3 c. brown sugar
Homemade whip cream
- 1 c. heavy cream
- 2 T. superfine sugar
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 9 x 13 cake pan.
- Place cake mix in mixer, add egg and melted butter and mix together. Press mixture into bottom of pan.
Pumpkin Pie Filling
- In the mixer, combine pie filling ingredients. Spread on top of cake mix base layer.
- In a bowl, combine ingredients and mix with fork or hands. Spread on top of pumpkin pie layer.
- Bake cake at 350 degrees for 60-65 minutes.
Homemade Whip Cream
- Pre-chill your metal bowl and whisk attachment of mixer.
- Blend together ingredients in cold metal bowl and mix until stiff peaks form, about 3-4 minutes. Do not over beat.