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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    • 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!

  1. 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.)


  2. 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?

  3. 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 :)

  4. 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!

  5. 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

  6. says

    opened the e-mail on this, and immediately had to make it! Had my daughter check for the cake mix..only had a butter golden, told her that was close enough and we set to work making it. I used Pumpkin Pie spice to mix in with the topping instead of cinnamon. I also used a pumpkin pie mix can from Libby as I needed to use it up, just followed the directions on the back of it. Can’t wait, it smells SO delish! Everyone can’t wait to try it!

    I agree with Mary, perhaps a link to print without the pictures. It takes me forever to format them in word having to remove the pictures and such!

    • says

      Lisa C….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!

  7. Noey143 says

    Oh, I LOVE the pics! I’m so visual that if I don’t know what something is supposed to look like I’m in deep icky! You could just copy and paste into Word, then select “keep text formatting only” and it may remove pics. Or, if pics copy, one click of the delete and pic will disappear. =-)

  8. Comet says

    For other “Pumpkinaholics” here is an easy EASY way to have your pumpkin “fix” and eat it too:

    Take a box of cake mix.
    Any kind any flavor.
    Add one can of regular plain pumpkin (NOT filling!)
    Mix. Bake as per box instructions but keep an eye on them towards the end –don’t over bake.
    Use for muffins –cupcakes –or cake.

    Additional ideas:

    This is just fine as is. But–since we cannot seem to not tinker:

    Mix in choc chips (or mini chips) with a chocolate cake mix (or any other!)
    Add pumpkin pie spices to a yellow or vanilla or even a spice cake mix to perk it up
    Add white choc or butter scotch morsels
    Add raisins or dates to spice or yellow cake with spices added—very fall!
    You can also add an egg or two for a bit of extra “richness”
    Add other chopped or smashed candies like candy canes for winter

    Mash up some softened cream cheese and pour some of the batter (It will be thick) into the bottom of the muffin cups; drop in a dollop of cheese; cover with batter. (You can also just cut the cream cheese into 1″ squares and plop ‘em in there!) Mmmm–Chocolate cream cheese cupcake muffins!

    Bet a caramel baked in there would be yummy—gotta try that one just occured to me!

    This is great to do with little kids who get bored with measuring and fussing.

    Spray pan liners before baking

  9. Regina says

    I make this every year for Thanksgiving and Christmas. I have a couple of things that I do differently thought. I use Spice Cake mix. And instead of mixing the reserved cake mix with cinnamon for the topping, I mix it with sugar. Since it is spice cake, the butter and sugar mixed with it and crumbled on top makes for an awesome streusel topping.

  10. Chris says

    This sounds yummy. I however am not a big fan of Pumkin and therefore I make Sweet Potato pies for the holidays. I wonder if this would work just as well with my Sweet Potato pie mixture as it does with Pumkin. I may just have to give it a try and see how it turns out. Can’t do it for several weeks as I’m having surgery tomorrow, but will save the recipe for later and will let you know if it works once I’ve tried it.

  11. Kristina says

    Thank you for this recipe! OMG!! I can’t wait to make this!! Also, thank you for all your helpful cleaning advice and tips that you give on this website. I am so grateful!! I have used your cleaning methods to clean the bathroom, kitchen and sink. It’s awesome!!
    Have a wonderful day!!

  12. Donna says

    I have most of the ingredients, and will stop at the store soon for the rest. My family wants it tonight!! Thanks for sharing, Jillee.

    P.S. Your cake might have baked faster than your mom’s because you used a glass pan. Usually recipes say to turn down the heat 25 degrees for glass, and I’m guessing that you didn’t. I’m using a glass pan tonight too, so I’m not going to turn it down either!! :-)

    Also everyone, if you can get whole nutmeg nuts, you can just grate it into whatever you are making. It tastes so much better than a jar spice. You can find them at a lot of large supermarkets. I bought some at Pick N Save. I store them in a little glass bottle. Use a planer or a little cheese type grater. A couple of nuts of nutmeg will last a long time. Mace is the little covering over the ball of the nutmeg. I wonder tho if the ball nutmeg is called a nut? :-) I watch too many food shows.

  13. Cheryl says

    Hi! I’ve never made pumpkin pie filling. Do I just dump all the ingredients for it into the pot at once? Can you give me a little more detail or that really as simple as it gets? How long does it normally take to thicken up?


    • says

      Cheryl….it’s really that simple. Just put everything in the pot (beat the eggs together first) and cook on low for about 10-15 minutes. It will slowly thicken up.

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

  14. Cynthia says

    Jillee, this sounds amazing. I can’t wait to try it. But, I have a little problem. We have frozen pumpkin puree that we have made from real pumpkins ourselves. We measure it out into bags to freeze, and it’s enough to make 2 pies. How much pumpkin is in the can you use? Thanks a bunch!

  15. Dawn says

    I made this using a quart of canned cubed pumpkin which I drained and pureed in the food processor. It was very good–my family loved it–but for more of a pumpkin pie flavor I think I should have used two quarts. (One quart jar of cubed pumpkin usually makes one regular sized pumpkin pie.) I asked my husband if he thought it was really better than pumpkin pie, and he thought it was. Great recipe, and so many ways to tweak it! Thanks for sharing…

  16. Christy says

    My husband has a pumpkin cake recipe that is quite similar and we love it. I do not like pumpkin pie but I love his pumkin cake. We take it to Thanksgiving dinner instead of pie (everyone brings their own pie and shares). The main difference in his recipe is that he doesn’t cook his pumpkin mixture. This one looks as good as his but I won’t tell him that, it’ll be our little secret.
    I would definitely recommend to anyone that they try pumpkin cake even if you do not like pumpkin that much.

  17. Barbara R. says

    I was so excited to see this recipe. Me, my daughter and grandson (he’s only 3) are all gluten intolerant. With the holidays coming up, I’ve been looking for recipes. I made this tonight and it is delicious! Thank you for sharing and also for all your other gluten free recipes. Can’t wait to try them.

  18. Linda says

    I thought my mother had a secret pumpkin pie recipe until I made my first ones using the recipe on the pumpkin can. Low and behold it tasted just like hers. It isn’t Thanksgiving and Christmas wiout the pie from the can recipe. It is my Halloween babys’ favorite pie. Did I mention the baby will be 51 this Halloween? Anyway cannot wait to try this pumpkin cake and going to send to my Halloween baby since he is a chef and may want to try it. Take care.

  19. Kira says

    Isn’t this recipe fantastic? I’ve made it for many years, always tinkering with method, of course! I have used 1 and a half cake mixes before to give it more crumb on the top…and I bake mine like a pie…425 degrees for 15 minutes, then turn it down to 350 deg for 30-40 minutes. (It sometimes takes longer depending on how much pie filling I put in.) I have also baked it in a 9″ round springform pan so it ends up looking kinda like a pumpkin cheesecake…especially good when a 9×13 isn’t quite fancy enough.
    Thanks for posting the recipe! I love the pictures too!

  20. Lisa says

    OK……I have been looking at this recipe for the past few days. I couldn’t resist it anymore. I had to make it last night! Major craving! End result……..My 11 yrs old son said he prefers regular pumpkin pie. When I woke this morning 1/3 of the cake/pie was missing! My “Big Guy” loved it so much he ate it for breakfast then took some to work for his lunch! He is already making plans for me to make it again! My baby girl (7 yrs old) had a piece for breakfast. I see a war in my future between her and her daddy over that cake! This is definately a recipe for the books! LOVE IT!

  21. Karen says

    Mine pumpkin pie filling recipe is 95% of what is on the can, and 5% secret ingredient that my dad and I came up with 30 years ago. We had a lot of people coming for Thanksgiving, and I (13 at the time) was in charge of pies. Mom didn’t buy enough evaporated milk, so Daddy suggested eggnog. Best pie in the world, and for the last 30 years I use all eggnog instead of the evaporated milk.

    This was my ‘secret ingredient’ and I’ve told people about it a few times over the years. I’ve started seeing recipe books with this here and there, so don’t mind sharing here in comments.

  22. winona says

    I made this last week and it was a huge success.. My mother in law said I should make this instead of pumpkin pies for Thanksgiving and my 14 year old daughter couldn’t get enough of it! She would eat it every day after school and every night before bed! Thanks Jillie!

  23. Janel Baker says

    I made this tonight and I ended up with a cake-like mixture on the bottom with the pumpkin pie filling on top. It did NOT look like the photo. It was tasty but the pumpkin didn’t “mix” with the cake mix mixture. Any ideas?

  24. Paula says

    I made this last night. While everyone thought it was delicious, I thought that the pumpkin layer was a little thick (I used two of the 15 oz. cans of pumpkin). I also think cooking so long to set my pumpkin overdid my cake bottom. Next time, I think I’ll try one can of pumpkin so I get thinner layers.

  25. ruth crawford says

    I made this right after I read the post. Everyone loved it and I am making it again for Thanksgiving. I use the gluten free cake mix and a 15oz can of pumpkin. Love it. I also love your blog, thanks for all the gluten free tips.

  26. Alexis says

    What do the eggs and butter do? when my family makes pumpkin cake we mix the pumpkin pie mix (which already has eggs and neccessary ingredients in it) with the cake mix and bake it at 350. It’s a two ingredient cake…


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