Ridiculously Easy Pumpkin Cake

The other day I came across an idea on Pinterest some website (that’s how that site is referred to at my mom’s, thanks to all the projects and ideas she was passing along to my dad) in which you make brownies by mixing a can of pumpkin with a box of family-sized brownie mix. Great idea! Only, in a tradition I learned from my mom, I didn’t follow those two-ingredient directions. I added some ginger, nutmeg, and cinnamon. Like the original author, I made a buttercream frosting – also with fall spices. The brownies came as promised: dense and fudge-y, but tasty.  The only problem is that even though many people enjoy chocolate-pumpkin desserts, I apparently prefer them separately.

However, I know I like hazelnut and pumpkin.  I also like simple.  Thus a cake is born. I figured if brownie mix + pumpkin = dense brownies (which would probably be absolutely fantastic if you just don’t add the spices!), then cake mix + pumpkin + egg would = fluffy cake. Ding ding ding!

Not quite as simple as a two-ingredient dessert, but still easy. (I’m not arguing healthy here, but how about we settle for less unhealthy?) Don’t have Frangelico? I’m sure the same amount of water + extract – vanilla, maple, hazelnut – would work just as well.

Pumpkin Cake


1 box yellow cake mix (I used Duncan Hines)
1 egg
1-15 ounce can pumpkin
1/4 cup Frangelico (or liquid totaling 1/4 cup)
optional: 1 – 2 teaspoons cinnamon, dash nutmeg


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Whisk all ingredients together until well-blended. Mixture will be quite thick.
Smooth into cake pan. I used a 9×11.
Bake according to directions on box, or until tester comes out clean. I baked for 28 minutes, which was a little underdone, but I that’s what I wanted.
Let cool and then frost with your favorite frosting.

Maple Buttercream


1/2 cup room temperature butter
2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon maple extract
heavy cream


Beat butter until fluffy.
Add powdered sugar in 1/2 cup batches until all is incorporated.
Stir in salt.
Beat on medium/high until fluffy.
Add maple extract, and stir at low speed to incorporate.
Add cream and blend in, a tablespoon at a time, until desired spreading consistency is achieved.

*You can probably take the super-easy way out and just mix in some extract to a store-bought buttercream.


6 thoughts on “Ridiculously Easy Pumpkin Cake

  1. Looks delicious, but I am wondering . . . I inadvertently bought pumpkin pie filling instead of regular pumpkin recently. Do you suppose that would work? Perhaps not add the liquid, or at least a little less liquid?
    See, it’s this way – Shasta girl is our chubby-butt dog, so to try to fill her with less calories, we cut back on the amount of dog food she gets for dinner and add pumpkin. But, like I said, I accidentally bought pumpkin pie filling, and really we don’t need three large pumpkin pies. But a cake might be fun.

    • I would give it a try! I expect that as long as the mix still ends up kinda thick – I used a spoon/spatula to spread mine – it will cook up fine. I would start with no added liquid like you said and then add as needed. If it’s very thick, your cake will just come out more like fudge 😉

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