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Easy Pumpkin Swirl Cake

Easy pumpkin swirl cake is made with a doctored up yellow cake mix with a delicious pumpkin filling layer swirled in! It tastes like pumpkin coffee cake. Give this pumpkin cake with cake mix a try for breakfast or dessert!

a slice of yellow cake swirled with a pumpkin layer on metal spatula

It took me forever to name this recipe.

Some recipes fit within a box, but others are a mash up of 3 different desserts and then you’re left trying to pair down “easy pumpkin swirl coffee cake with yellow cake mix and canned pumpkin” into like 3 words.

So, easy pumpkin swirl cake it is. But I really feel like this cake is a coffee cake, just minus the crumb topping. And google says that a coffee cake is a cake, often spice flavored, with drizzled white icing – this cake definitely fits that description!

slice of easy pumpkin swirl cake with white icing on metal plate

There are so many names you could call this cake.

So let’s break it down..

To make easy pumpkin swirl cake, you need…

sour cream
vegetable oil
eggs
vanilla extract
yellow cake mix (can use a gluten free mix!)
pumpkin puree
brown sugar
pumpkin pie spice
cinnamon
nutmeg

Follow the detailed instructions below, but essentially make the doctored up cake batter and pour that into a 9×13 inch pan.

Then make the pumpkin swirl mixture, and swirl on top of the cake 😍

Once the cake is done baking, drizzle the glaze over the cake.

This is for sure the easiest way to make pumpkin coffee cake!

how to make easy pumpkin cake with cake mix collage

Can I make pumpkin cake with sour cream ahead of time?

Yes. You can make this cake the day before you serve it and store it on the counter in an airtight container. However, I recommend waiting to add the glaze until the day of, otherwise the glaze can make the cake soggy.

Does pumpkin cake with cake mix need to be refrigerated?

No. The cake can be kept on the counter in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

three pieces of pumpkin coffee cake stacked on top of metal plate

What can I use in place of a box of yellow cake mix?

You can replace the 15.25 oz box of yellow cake mix with another 15.25 oz cake mix. Other flavors I recommend are white, butter golden, spice, and french vanilla!

Can you make this pumpkin coffee cake gluten free?

YES! I tested this recipe with a Betty Crocker gluten free yellow cake mix and it turned out SO good!

slice of easy pumpkin swirl cake with white icing on metal plate

Tips for making doctored up pumpkin coffee cake

Don’t be afraid to really swirl in the pumpkin mixture. Use a butter knife or small spatula to do this.

If you bake your cake in a metal pan, check the cake for doneness at 32 minutes. I used a glass pan which slows the flow of heat, meaning it takes a little longer to bake.

Want cream cheese icing instead?

Beat 4 oz softened cream cheese with 2 cups powdered sugar and 14 cup milk until thick. If too thick, beat in more milk (1 tsp at a time).

a slice of yellow cake swirled with a pumpkin layer collage with text overlay

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For a step-by-step of how to make this easy pumpkin swirl cake recipe, watch this short video:

 

Easy Pumpkin Swirl Cake

Easy Pumpkin Swirl Cake

Yield: 9x13 inch cake
Additional Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes

Easy pumpkin swirl cake is made with a doctored up yellow cake mix with a delicious pumpkin filling layer swirled in! It tastes like pumpkin coffee cake. Give this pumpkin cake with cake mix a try for breakfast or dessert!

Ingredients

CAKE

  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 box yellow cake, 15.25 oz (can use a gluten free mix!)

Pumpkin Mixture

  • 1 can pumpkin puree, 15 oz
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg

GLAZE

  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 3 tbsp milk or more if needed
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350º F. Spray a 9x13 inch pan with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the sour cream, vegetable oil, eggs, and vanilla extract, beat with an electric mixer for 1 minute or until combined. Add in the cake mix, gently mixing with the beater. Pour the cake mixture into the 9x13 inch pan, smooth with a spatula.
  3. In a small bowl, combine the pumpkin puree, egg, brown sugar, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, and nutmeg, mix with a spatula to combine. 
  4. Drop scoops of the pumpkin mixture all over the cake. Use a butter knife or spatula to swirl this mixture into the cake batter. Don’t be afraid to really swirl it! 
  5. Bake for 40-43 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove the cake from the oven and allow it to cool while you make the glaze. *Note: Baking time is for a glass pan. For a metal pan check the cake for doneness at 32 minutes. 
  6. In a mixing bowl combine the powdered sugar, milk and vanilla extract. Use a whisk to stir the mixture until it’s smooth.

YOUR CHOICE: pour the glaze over the warm cake or let the cake cool completely then add the glaze. Serve right away or cover the cake pan with a lid and store on the counter until serving!

Notes

Want cream cheese icing instead?

Beat 4 oz softened cream cheese with 2 cups powdered sugar and 1/4 cup milk until thick. If too thick, beat in more milk (1 tsp at a time). 

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