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This Pumpkin Magic Cake creates its own layers while baking – thus the ‘magic’ of this pumpkin cake. A yellow cake mix layer and a pumpkin pie batter bake together to form two layers of cake and it’s finished off with a luscious & fluffy pumpkin spice pudding frosting.
Pumpkin Magic Cake – A Delicious Pumpkin Dessert Recipe
Pumpkin season has begun at my house! It may still be summertime temperatures but that never stops me from busting out all the pumpkin spice flavors and delicious fall recipes.
This pumpkin magic custard cake recipe, also called pumpkin magic cake, is a surprising and delicious recipe to make. Two different batters bake up and while baking they switch spots inside the pan. Thus the magical part of this recipe! It’s the perfect combination with the buttery yellow cake mix layer and a custard-like pumpkin pie layer, and the finishing touch is the whipped mousse-like texture from the vanilla pudding frosting.
It’s a must make dessert for all the pumpkin lover’s out there.
Simple Ingredients To Make This Magic Cake With Pumpkin & Pumpkin Spice
This layered dessert is made up of three different layers. Each one is pretty simple with easy ingredients that you either have in your pantry or are very easy to find at the grocery store.
Yellow Cake Mix Ingredients
- Yellow Cake Mix – Ignore the package instructions for how to make it. Instead, follow the ingredients found in the recipe card below.
- Whole Milk
- Oil – Half cup vegetable oil or canola oil are the best choices for this cake. the best choices for this cake.
- Large Eggs
Pumpkin Pie Mixture Filling Ingredients
- Pure Pumpkin – This is not the same thing as ‘pumpkin pie filling’. Pure pumpkin is 100% pure pumpkin – the can is labeled with that.
- Heavy Whipping Cream
- Pumpkin Pie Spice
- Light Brown Sugar – This measurement is packed which means that you press and pack in the brown sugar when measuring it out. You’ll know you did it correctly when the brown sugar retains the measuring cup form when dumped into the mixing bowl.
- Large Eggs
Pumpkin Spice Pudding Frosting
- Vanilla Instant Pudding Mix
- Whole Milk or Half & Half
- Pumpkin Pie Spice
- Cool Whip
How To Make Pumpkin Magic Cake (Step-by-Step Instructions & Recipe Card)
- Prep : Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9×13 baking dish with cooking spray. Set aside.
- First Layer (Yellow Cake Layer) : In a mixing bowl, add the dry yellow cake mix, milk, oil, and 3 large eggs. Whisk until well combined and the batter is smooth. Pour cake batter into the prepared baking pan into an even layer.
- Second Layer (Pumpkin Custard Layer) : In a separate mixing bowl, whisk together the pure pumpkin, heavy whipping cream, pumpkin pie spice, and brown sugar until it’s well combined and the mixture is thick and smooth. Whisk in the 3 large eggs just until the eggs are incorporated. Don’t overmix once you add the eggs, just mix until they’re incorporate into the pumpkin batter. Spoon the pumpkin pie custard batter over top the cake layer making sure to completely cover the cake batter evenly.
- Bake : Bake the magic cake for 50-55 minutes or until the top of the cake layer is golden brown and the pumpkin pie layer has sunk to the bottom of the cake. Rest the cake on a cooling rack for 1 hour at room temperature.
- Cool Whip Frosting : Add the vanilla pudding mix, cold milk, and pumpkin pie spice into a large mixing bowl. Whisk together for 2-3 minutes or until the pudding starts to thicken. Let the pudding sit for 3 minutes to thicken even more. Fold in the Cool Whip and mix until combined. Spread the pudding frosting over top the cooked pumpkin magic cake into an even layer.
- Chill : Cover the cake with plastic wrap or a lid and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.
- Serve : Cut into squares and enjoy! If wanted, you can garnish the top of the Cool Whip with ground cinnamon, pumpkin cookie crumbles, or chocolate shavings.
Can I Make Any Changes To This Pumpkin Recipe?
- Make your own pumpkin pie spice by using the individual dried spices – 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger, and 1/2 teaspoon of allspice or cloves (or 1/4 teaspoon of each) will replace the two teaspoons of pumpkin pie spice in the cake mixture layer. Half the recipe above to equal one teaspoon pumpkin pie spice for the pumpkin pie layer.
- Instead of a yellow cake mix two using a white boxed cake mix, golden yellow cake mix, yellow butter cake mix, or a spice cake mix. I prefer the yellow cake mix or the golden butter cake mix, but the others will work but change the flavor slightly.
- Don’t substitute the heavy whipped cream in the pumpkin pie layer. However, you can use whole milk or half & half for the cake mixture and the pudding frosting. I prefer the higher fat milk because it sets better, thickens better, and provides a better taste.
How To Store Leftovers
Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator, in the covered cake pan or remove the individual slices to an airtight container, for up to 3 days. Any longer and the cake will begin to get really soggy after that.
I don’t like the texture of this magic cake once it has been frozen and then thawed, so I don’t recommend freezing it. However, if you want to freeze it, make sure to wrap the cake pan in plastic wrap and then again in foil to avoid freezer burn. Freeze it for up to 2 months. Let the cake thaw in the fridge overnight before serving it the following day. I also recommend freezing the cake unfrosted. Prepare the pudding frosting after it has thawed and spread it on right before serving.
Can I Make Pumpkin Magic Cake Ahead of Time?
Because this cake needs 4 hours of chill time before serving it, it is a great cake to make the morning of. However, I don’t recommend making it more than 24 hours before you will be serving it. The cake will start to soften and get slightly soggy the longer it’s in the fridge. The cake is best served within 8-12 hours of when you first make it. Leftovers are still fabulous, but the best texture and softness of the cake is within that first day or so after it has chilled for 4 hours.
Tips For Making Pumpkin Magic Cake
- To help encourage the pumpkin pie layer to sink to the bottom, spoon the mixture over the cake batter instead of just pouring it over the middle. If you pour it over top the cake mixture you may end up with a big section of pumpkin pie in the middle of the cake rather than a layer of it.
- Because of the pudding frosting, do not let the cake sit at room temperature for longer than 1-2 hours at a time. The cake is best served chilled from the fridge.
- The cake will be very brown on top, but it will not be burnt, so don’t let it alarm you.
- Try not to open the oven while the cake is baking or the pumpkin layer may not sink to the bottom.
Pumpkin Magic Cake
Yellow Cake Layer
- 1 box (15.25 oz) yellow cake mix
- 3 large eggs
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1/2 cup canola or vegetable oil
Pumpkin Pie Layer
- 1 can (15 oz) pure pumpkin
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
- 1/2 cup light brown sugar packed
- 3 large eggs
Pumpkin Spice Pudding Frosting
- 1 box (3.4 oz) instant vanilla pudding mix
- 2 cups whole milk
- 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
- 8 ounces Cool Whip thawed
- Preheat the oven to 350℉. Spray a 9×13 baking dish with cooking spray. Set aside.
- Yellow Cake Layer : In a mixing bowl, add the yellow cake mix, large eggs, milk, and oil. Whisk together until the cake is batter is smooth and combined well.1 box (15.25 oz) yellow cake mix, 3 large eggs, 1 cup whole milk, 1/2 cup canola or vegetable oil
- Pour the cake batter into the prepared pan making sure to spread it out evenly to the edges to create an even layer.
- Pumpkin Pie Layer : In a separate mixing bowl, whisk together the pure pumpkin, heavy whipping cream, pumpkin pie spice, and light brown sugar until combined.1 can (15 oz) pure pumpkin, 1 cup heavy whipping cream, 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice, 1/2 cup light brown sugar
- Add the eggs, and continue whisking just until the eggs are incorporated. Do not over-mix the eggs.3 large eggs
- Spoon the pumpkin pie mixture over top the cake batter layer inside the pan. Make sure to cover the cake layer entirely (as best you can) with the pumpkin pie batter. * It's important to spoon the pumpkin batter over top the cake batter to ensure that you get an even layer of it. If it's dumped onto the center then you won't get that nice layered look once the cake is baked.
- Bake the cake for 50-55 minutes or until the top of the cake is golden brown and the pumpkin layer has mostly sunken to the bottom of the pan. A toothpick inserted into the center should come out clean (minus the custard-like pumpkin layer).
- Remove the cake from the oven and set it on a cooling rack. Let the cake cool completely for 1 hour.
- Pumpkin Spice Pudding Frosting : Add the vanilla instant pudding mix and whole milk to a mixing bowl. Whisk together for 2-3 minutes or until the pudding starts to thicken. Let the pudding sit for another 2 minutes. Fold in the thawed Cool Whip.1 box (3.4 oz) instant vanilla pudding mix, 2 cups whole milk, 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice, 8 ounces Cool Whip
- Spread the pudding frosting over top of the cooked cake. Cover the cake with a lid or plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 4-6 hours before serving.
- Cut the cake into squares and serve chilled.