Better Than Pumpkin Pie . . . Cake!

better than pumpkin pie cake

I spent some time with one of my sister’s today visiting my Mom. We got talking about life, kids, work, and FOOD. For some reason when it starts turning colder and ‘fall is in the air’ I start obsessing about “comfort food”.  Aren’t “Autumn” recipes the best!?!?  I love all the pumpkin-y recipes that start showing up everywhere!

My sister JoAnn mentioned she had taken this yummy dessert into her office the other day and her colleagues LOVED it. She said there were even knock down drag out FIGHTS over it! Not really. :-) But after tasting it for myself, I can see how there COULD have been! I think I’d be willing to throw a punch or two to get a piece. ;-)

I had to make it just as soon as I got home. It sounded THAT good! And I didn’t even have to write one thing down…it was THAT easy to remember. (OK…I might have had to call her once to verify the amount of butter…but that’s all!)

pumpkin pie cake

I made mine with a gluten-free cake mix…but you can make yours with whatever type of boxed cake mix you like. Also, the recipe calls for pumpkin pie filling. I used my Mom’s recipe that she’s been making for over half a century (and I practically have memorized)…but you can use whatever recipe you normally would use for pumpkin pie.

This is the perfect dessert for when you’re craving pumpkin pie…but don’t want to go to the trouble of making pie crusts.

Better Than Pumpkin Pie . . . CAKE!

by my sister JoAnn


1 box yellow cake mix (minus 1 cup, set aside for topping)
1 stick butter (8 Tablespoons)
1 egg

Mix with hand mixer (or in food processor) and press into greased 9 x 13 inch pan.

pumpkin pie cake


Prepare your favorite Pumpkin Pie filling recipe. (I used my Mom’s recipe below.)

My Mom’s Pumpkin Pie Filling

1 large can pumpkin
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon Mace
1/2 teaspoon Allspice
4 eggs (beaten)
2 cups milk
1 Tablespoon butter

Cook on low until thick. Pour over crust.

(UPDATE:  My sister JoAnn informed me today you don’t actually have to COOK the pie filling ingredients….you can just combine them and put them on top of the crust and BAKE. I guess that’s why hers took longer to cook in the OVEN than mine.)

pumpkin pie cake



Add 3 Tablespoons cold butter and 1 Tablespoon cinnamon to reserved cup of dry cake mix. Cut butter into cake mix until crumbly.

Sprinkle topping over pumpkin pie filling.

pumpkin pie cake

Bake at 350 degree for 60 – 70 minutes. (Mine only took 60 minutes…might have had something to do with the gluten-free cake mix, I’m not sure.  My sister said hers took 75 minutes. Just keep an eye on it after the 60 minute mark. You want it to be “set” in the middle. So if you shake the pan a little and it doesn’t “jiggle”, you should be good.)

Let cool and serve with whipped cream on top!

Since I got a late start making this today….by the time it was out of the oven it was almost 9pm. The hubster and No. 2 son were patiently (impatiently?) awaiting a taste…so I had to resort to putting the pan in front of an open window with a fan blowing on it! :-)

pumpkin pie cake

They said it was WORTH the wait though….here are their reviews:

Mmmmm….uhhhhhh….nom nom nom….ahhhhhh…..<insert Homer Simpson sound here>.  They are men of few words. But based on the LARGE helpings I served them and the fact that they both basically licked their bowls clean…I think we can assume they liked it VERY MUCH!

For me personally….this actually WAS better than pumpkin pie!  But that might have something to do with the fact that about the only time I HAVE pumpkin pie is after a HUGE Thanksgiving dinner when I couldn’t possibly enjoy ANYTHING all that much. :-)

pumpkin pie cake

I’d love to hear what you think of it!

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  1. Mel says

    This may be a silly question, but what is “Mace” and where in the grocery store can I find it? With spices?

    • Suzanne says

      Mace is a spice. It is similar to nutmeg and actually derived from the nutmeg seed. From Mace is a spice made from the waxy red covering that surrounds nutmeg seeds. The flavor is similar to that of nutmeg, with a hint of pepper and a more subtle note which can be overwhelmed by heavy-handed cooks. It is readily available in many cooking supply stores in both whole and ground form, and it has a wide range of uses from desserts to savory roast meats. The versatile flavor can make mace a useful spice to have around, especially since many recipes call for it.

      • says

        I’ve found mace in the Mexican spice section at the grocery store. (If you’re in Southern California) I guess it’s not a common item where I live, so when I’m stumped as to where I’m going to find a spice, that’s where I look. Hope that helps!

  2. Murphy says

    For someone outside the US, how big a cake should the Mix, be designed to bake? I can deal with inches, just would like a guideline size. The box shows a round cake, one layer. Thanks! Oh, and what’s the weight of the large can of pumpkin? (I’ll be baking a whole one, freeze the leftovers in 1 Cup pureed for muffins and such.)


    • Mindy says

      The can of pumpkin looks like the 29 ounces can (it is the one that would make 2 pies). The cake mix says 15 oz, but most cake mixes here are about 18-19 ounces. Sorry, you’ll need to convert from ounces. Hope this helps!

      • Murphy says

        Thanks Mindy! But since I usually bake from scratch, I’m wondering how big a cake the mix should make in the first place? I understand putting in a different amount of liquids, the butter and egg, to make it firmer. How many cups of dry mix are you starting with? Would someone measure for me, please?

    • says

      Murphy, 3 cups of puree is what the large can of pumpkin holds. (I make my own pumpkin puree, too.)
      You can make your own cake from scratch or the box mix is to make a 9″ x 2″ (across x deep) two-layer cake. hth

    • says

      Julie….yes, you can use prepared pumpkin pie filling! Just make sure you’re using FILLING and not 100% pure pumpkin PUREE. That would NOT be yummy :-)

  3. Kelly says

    I normally do my holiday baking a few weeks in advance and freeze it so I’m not overwhelmed right before the holiday. I freeze cookies and cakes, they come out just fine on the holiday and no one knows I made them in advance. Do you think this pie/cake could be frozen?

  4. Lisa says

    THIS was the dessert my aunt always made for Thanksgiving when we were kids. I was so happy when I she gave me the recipe. So now, every year I switch it up by either making Aunt Kathy’s famous Pumpkin Cake or my Pumpkin Swirl Cheesecake :)

  5. Mindy says

    We love pumpkin around here and this looks fabulous! I think it would be phenomenal with a spice cake as the base! Definitely adding this to my “to bake” list!

  6. Mary Malone says

    Hi Jillee!

    Thanks for one MORE good thing! I check your blog 1st every day…. This cake/pie sounds great!!

    Only, is there a way you could put recipes on your blog so they are printable? I would love to print this one out without all the pictures….


    • says

      Mary….if you go to the PRINT button at the bottom of every post (on the right hand side) and click on it….it takes you to an application called “Clean Save”. There you can EASILY remove any of the pictures and text you don’t want/need and print it out or save it to a PDF on your computer if you’re not going to need it printed out right away.
      Hope this helps!

      • Judy Ann says

        I did a “refresh” on the page and there was the clean print button!
        It showed 3 or so pages when printed, so I just did cut and paste to get the recipe. Pictures not needed, so now I have a 1 page recipe.

        Thanks Jillee!!!!!! I think it will be a recipe similar to the wonderful “pumpkin muffins” at Dunkin Donuts.

        I am a big fan of the Dump cakes..which surprised me because I have mostly made my cakes from scratch- like my favorite Italian Cream Cheese cake or my family recipe for Sour Cream Pound cake. YUM! I like to add different ingredients to my dump cakes, like nuts, coconut, and graham crackers broken up in pieces..and brown sugar crumbled up on top after the butter. YUM YUM!

  7. Heather says

    I saw this recipie and thought “sounds yum, but I bet I’ll have trouble converting it to gluten free…” Then I clicked on it and saw the gluten free cake mix box and squealed with delight! It’s sounds amazing! I can’t wait to get started! I’ll have to adjust mine to be dairy free also, but thankfully their are lots of good products out there to make it easy! Thanks again for making my morning! ~Heather

      • Karen says

        I agree! We have one member of the family that is gluten free, and until they came out with these mixes, I usually made her something separate for gatherings as it didn’t taste the same and didn’t want them left out.

        Love that I can use my own pie filling for this recipe too, as I prefer mine over all other recipes and can’t get the can one (severe allergy to cinnamon).

    • Debbie says

      I am dairy free too. The best whipped cream substitute is whipped coconut milk. It it delish. I can’t wait to make this.

      • Megan says

        I’m dairy-free, Debbie and I’ve been having a heck of a time finding a whipped cream substitute! Is there a secret behind whipped coconut milk or is it as easy as it sounds??