Pumpkin earthquake cake starts with a box of spice cake mix, then add in canned pumpkin, pumpkin pie spice and a cream cheese frosting swirl that bakes inside the cake! This easy pumpkin cake is a family favorite to make each fall!

Slice of pumpkin earthquake cake on white plate with scoop of vanilla ice cream on top

I’m partnering with Hudsonville Ice Cream to add sweeter moments to the fall season with this pumpkin earthquake cake! If fall is your favorite season, mark September 22nd (the first official day of fall) on your calendar with a giant drawing of a pumpkin and plan to make this recipe as a way to celebrate with family and friends! This cake not only tastes great, but it will make your house smell like a warm pumpkin spice candle all day!

I paired this recipe with Hudsonville’s Vanilla Bean ice cream. It’s smooth, simple and has flecks of real vanilla bean mixed in. Hudsonville is focused on making moments sweeter, and this Midwest brand makes some of the best ice cream using a base recipe created in 1926!

Slice of pumpkin earthquake cake on white plate with scoop of vanilla ice cream on top

An earthquake cake is a unique type of cake! You don’t have to frost this cake because the cream cheese mixture becomes a layer of frosting INSIDE the cake. The frosting creates cracks and crevices inside the cake after baking, resulting in the name earthquake cake!

Ingredients

  • spice cake mix
  • pumpkin puree
  • pumpkin pie spice
  • oil
  • large eggs
  • water
  • butter
  • cream cheese
  • powdered sugar
How to make pumpkin earthquake cake collage image

How To Make Pumpkin Cake

  1. Mix the spice cake mix with the oil, water, eggs, pumpkin puree and pumpkin pie spice using a spatula or hand mixer on low. Pour the cake batter into the pan. 
  2. In a saucepan, melt the butter and cream cheese, stirring frequently. 
  3. Using a mixer on low, beat in the powdered sugar. The mixture will become thick. 
  4. Transfer the frosting mixture into a piping bag or ziplock bag and drizzle all over the cake. Alternatively, place dollops of the frosting mixture all over the cake. Use a butter knife to swirl the frosting and cake together. 
  5. Bake for 40-45 minutes.

Total Time Required

  • 10 minutes to prepare the cake and frosting mixture
  • 40-45 minutes to bake
  • 10 minutes to cool
Slice of pumpkin earthquake cake on white plate with pumpkin in background

Swirling Tips

There are 2 ways you can add the frosting mixture to the cake. 

  1. Transfer the frosting mixture to a piping bag and drizzle it all over the cake and swirl with a spatula. 
  2. Place dollops of frosting all over the cake and swirl with a spatula. 

The dollop method will result in larger pools of frosting whereas the piping bag method will result in frosting that is more evenly distributed throughout the cake – both are great, the choice is yours!

How To Store

Because this cake contains cream cheese, store leftovers covered in the fridge. 

Add In Extras

Feel free to add in extras like chopped pecans, walnuts, chocolate chips, or white chocolate chips. Sprinkle them on top of the cake, then add the frosting mixture and swirl everything together. 

Two slices of pumpkin earthquake cake stacked on top of each other on white plate with scoop of vanilla ice cream on top

Pumpkin Pie Spice Substitute

If you don’t have pumpkin pie spice in your pantry, make your own! The following will yield 2 teaspoons of pumpkin pie spice.

  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground allspice

More Pumpkin Desserts

See where Hudsonville Ice Cream is sold near you with their Scoop Locator

Watch how to make pumpkin earthquake cake in this video! 

Pumpkin Earthquake Cake

Pumpkin Earthquake Cake

Yield: 9x13 inch cake
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Additional Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes

Pumpkin earthquake cake starts with a box of spice cake mix, then add in canned pumpkin, pumpkin pie spice and a cream cheese frosting swirl that bakes inside the cake! This easy pumpkin cake is a family favorite to make each fall!

Ingredients

  • 1 box spice cake mix 15.25oz (do not prepare as directed on box, prepare as directed below)
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin puree
  • 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
  • 8 oz cream cheese
  • 3 & 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1-48 oz carton of Hudsonville Vanilla Bean ice cream

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9x13 inch pan with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside. 
  2. Mix the spice cake mix with the oil, water, eggs, pumpkin puree and pumpkin pie spice using a spatula or hand mixer on low. Pour the cake batter into the pan. Set aside. 
  3. In a saucepan, melt the butter and cream cheese, stirring frequently. Alternatively, place the butter and cream cheese in a microwave safe bowl and microwave for 3 minutes on 50% power. Stir and add more time as needed to melt completely. 
  4. Using a mixer on low, beat in the powdered sugar. The mixture will become thick. Transfer the frosting mixture into a piping bag or ziplock bag and drizzle all over the cake. Alternatively, place dollops of the frosting mixture all over the cake. Use a butter knife or small spatula to swirl the frosting and cake batter together. 
  5. Bake for 40-45 minutes. The cake is done when it doesn't wobble in the pan if you shake it. The toothpick test shouldn't work because the cake should be more gooey in nature due to the frosting being baked in. 
  6. Allow the cake to cool. Serve with a scoop of Hudsonville’s Vanilla Bean ice cream. Store any leftover cake covered in the fridge.