slice of pumpkin cake on metal plate with pumpkin in background

Take a spice cake mix and turn it into an easy pumpkin cake! This pumpkin spice cake is super moist because of the added milk, oil, and pumpkin puree. Pair pumpkin sheet cake with chocolate, cream cheese or spice frosting! Learn our cake mix hacks for how to make a box cake taste homemade. 

When I did my most recent doctored up cake flavor poll on instagram, so many of you guys suggested pumpkin. 

There was a whole debacle (in my head) about if I should use yellow cake mix or spice cake mix as the base.

I tried both. The one using the yellow cake mix was good, but not quite as fall-y or pumpkin spiced as the spice cake mix one.

Hands down go with the spice cake mix if you can! That being said, it can still be made with a box of yellow cake mix! 

slice of pumpkin cake on metal spatula in glass 9x13 inch pan

This pumpkin spice cake is perfect for all of us who like the ease of a box mix, but maybe want to doctor up the cake mix for more of a homemade taste. Plus, I feel that this doctored up version comes together just as quick as the box mix because you can still put everything into one bowl and beat it together.

You’ll notice that my pumpkin cake recipe calls for additional spices (cinnamon and nutmeg). You might be thinking, isn’t the spice cake mix spiced enough? NOPE! Trust me, add the extra spices and you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

What is an Easy Pumpkin Cake?

I consider an easy cake to be one that starts with a box mix. Box cake mixes are great and very handy, plus they can be transformed into bakery style cakes with a few extra ingredients. You are essentially doctoring up a cake mix with a few cake mix hacks. 

pumpkin cake in glass 9x13 inch pan without frosting

How to Make a Box Cake Taste Homemade

It’s all about adding ingredients to the cake mix to give the cake better texture & taste.

Plus, adding these additional ingredients will result in a larger cake. Sometimes people call doctored up cake mix recipes “cake mix extenders” because you’ll have more batter which = more cake or more cupcakes.

Adding additional dry ingredients to the cake mix like flour and sugar will improve the structure and texture of the cake.

Adding milk, vegetable oil and pumpkin puree will ensure your cake turns out incredibly moist. 

Adding additional eggs enhances the flavor and fluffiness of the cake.

Pumpkin Cake Ingredients

  • eggs: binds the cake together by providing structure 
  • vegetable oil: adds moisture & fat
  • milk: adds moisture & fat
  • pumpkin puree: adds moisture and real pumpkin taste & flavor
  • all purpose flour: adds structure 
  • sugar: adds sweetness and flavor
  • cinnamon and nutmeg: to amplify the fall spice flavor
  • 1 box of spice cake mix

How to Make Pumpkin Cake with Cake Mix

For this recipe you’ll want to use a 15.25 oz box of Duncan Hines spice cake mix. I know some boxes out there are 18.25 oz, so be sure you’re getting the right size. 

  1. In a large mixing bowl combine the eggs, vegetable oil, milk and pumpkin puree, beat with an electric mixer until combined, 30 seconds.
  2. Add in the flour, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and spice cake mix. Beat with an electric mixer for 1 minute.
  3. Spray a 9×13 inch pan with non-stick cooking spray. Pour the batter into the pan and bake for 36-38 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Allow the cake to cool completely before adding frosting.
slice of pumpkin cake on metal plate with pumpkin in background

What Brand of Cake Mix to Use

I prefer Duncan Hines cake mixes, as do a lot of food bloggers, plus Wilton recommends Duncan Hines brand and Wilton is a cake powerhouse, so I trust their opinion. 

Pumpkin Cupcakes 

You can also use our recipe for pumpkin cake to make pumpkin spice cupcakes. 

This recipe will yield at least 24 cupcakes. Probably even 30 if you only fill the muffin liners 1/2 full. The bake time for the cupcakes is about 16-18 minutes.

Frostings to Pair with Pumpkin Cake

More Pumpkin Desserts

slice of pumpkin cake on metal plate with pumpkin in background
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For a step-by-step of how to make this pumpkin cake recipe, watch this short video:
Easy Pumpkin Cake

Easy Pumpkin Cake

Yield: 9x13 inch cake or 24 cupcakes
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Additional Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 45 minutes

Take a spice cake mix and turn it into an easy pumpkin cake! This pumpkin spice cake is super moist because of the added milk, oil, and pumpkin puree. Pair pumpkin sheet cake with chocolate, cream cheese or spice frosting! Learn our cake mix hacks for how to make a box cake taste homemade.

Ingredients

Pumpkin Cake

  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup milk, I used skim
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 box spice cake mix, 15.25 oz

Spiced Frosting

  • 3 sticks (1 & 1/2 cups) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 5 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp nutmeg

Instructions

Pumpkin Cake

  1. Preheat the oven to 350º F. Spray a 9x13 inch cake pan with non-stick cooking spray OR for cupcakes line 2 muffin pans with 24 liners.
  2. In a large mixing bowl combine the eggs, vegetable oil, milk and pumpkin puree. Beat lightly with an electric mixer.
  3. Add in the flour, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and spice cake mix. Mix with an electric mixer on low until combined.
  4. Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan or scoop into the muffin liners, filling 1/2 to 3/4 full.
  5. Bake a 9x13 inch cake for 36-38 minutes or the cupcakes for 16-18 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow the cake to cool completely before adding the buttercream.

Spiced Frosting

  1. In a mixing bowl beat the softened butter using an electric mixer for 1-2 minutes. Add in the powdered sugar (2 cups at a time) and the cinnamon & nutmeg, mixing by hand or on low. Continue to beat in the powdered sugar until the frosting is smooth and tastes good to you! Spread frosting over the cake or pipe onto cupcakes.

Notes

This can be made with a 15.25 oz box of yellow cake mix.