Semi-homemade pumpkin spice cake recipe

Pumpkins are at the peak of popularity in the fall. But thanks to canned pumpkin puree, recipes that call for pumpkin can be enjoyed year round. Making a semi-homemade pumpkin cake is super simple. The following recipe allows for variations.


  • 1 [15 ounce] can of pumpkin puree
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 2 tablespoons of pumpkin pie spice OR [4 teaspoons of cinnamon, 2 teaspoon of clove, 2 teaspoon of ground ginger, 2 teaspoon of nutmeg]
  • 1/2 cup of melted butter
  • 12 ounces of milk
  • 4 small eggs OR 3 large eggs
  • 1 [18.25 ounce] box of yellow cake mix
  • 1 cup of pecans (optional)
  • Non-stick cooking spray


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Mix the pumpkin puree, 3/4 cup of the sugar, the salt, the spices, and 1/4 cup of the melted butter in a large mixing bowl. (Save the other 1/4 cup of sugar and 1/4 cup of butter to add later.)
  3. Stir in the milk.
  4. Add the eggs (one at a time) mixing all the ingredients together.
  5. Stir in all EXCEPT 1/2 cup of the cake mix. Blend the ingredients in the bowl until all of the visible lumps are gone.
  6. Spray a 9×13 inch sheet cake pan with non-stick cooking spray, then pour the mixture into the sheet cake pan.
  7. Pour the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar, the remaining 1/2 cup of cake mix, and the pecans into a clean, dry bowl to blend them together. (Complete this step with just the 1/4 cup of sugar and 1/2 cup of cake mix if you choose not to include the pecans.)
  8. Sprinkle the sugar, cake mix, and pecan mixture evenly over the top of the cake mixture that has already been poured into the cake pan.
  9. Drizzle the remaining 1/4 cup of butter as evenly as possible over the top of all of the ingredients in the cake pan.
  10. Bake in a 350 degree F oven for 50 to 60 minutes, or until the middle of the cake is set. (Insert a toothpick into the center of the cake to test for doneness. The toothpick should come out virtually clean when the cake is done.)

Reduce the cup of sugar in the recipe by 1/2 to cut down on the sweetness of the cake. For those who like more spice, substitute a box of spice cake mix for the yellow cake mix in this recipe. Or, add an extra teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice or cinnamon to the dry ingredients that go on top of the cake in step #8. Raisins can be substituted for the pecans. Using brown sugar instead of white sugar is acceptable. Note that using brown sugar will give the finished cake a darker color.


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