Magic Pumpkin Cake

See for yourself why this 3 layer Magic Pumpkin Cake is so magical! It’s made up of a creamy pumpkin puree layer, a layer of yellow cake, and lastly a white chocolate pumpkin spice frosting topped with white chocolate shavings!!

Layered desserts not only look pretty, but usually have an irresistible combination of textures and flavors. This is one of our favorite layered pumpkin desserts, right up there with Pumpkin Lasagna and Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars!

3 layer magic cake on a white plate

Why is it so magic?

Hola!! It’s me, Lily!! Today’s recipe is Magic Pumpkin Cake. YUMMMMMY!! Even though I don’t love pumpkin, I reallllly liked this recipe. It has three delicious layers – a pumpkin layer, a fluffy cake layer, and pumpkin spice frosting layer.

This cake is called “magic cake” because the pumpkin layer sinks to the bottom while it’s baking. It’s really cool – kind of like a science experiment. My mom says it has something to do with the cake batter being really liquid-y, and the pumpkin layer being heavier and more dense.

You also bake it in the oven for a really long time compared to other cakes, and while it’s baking for so long, the pumpkin layer starts to sink down to the bottom. Neat, huh? Just like magic! If you like Pumpkin, you’ll love this recipe!

pumpkin magic cake layers in a glass casserole dish

The pumpkin will sink to the bottom – it’s MAGIC!!

How to make it:

CAKE LAYER. Start out by preparing the yellow cake mix as the instructions say to on the box. Pour the cake batter into a greased 9×13 pan and set aside.

PUMPKIN. Then, make the pumpkin layer by mixing the pumpkin, evaporated milk, cream, eggs, and brown sugar in a medium bowl until it’s smooth. Pour all over the cake mix in the 9×13 pan.

BAKE. Bake for about an hour until it doesn’t jiggle in the middle.

FROSTING. While the cake is cooling, make the frosting by whisking together the white chocolate pudding mix, pumpkin pie spice, and milk until smooth. Then, fold in the Cool Whip and mix well. Spread the frosting over the cooled cake and top with white chocolate curls if you like!

Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Cinnamon cream cheese frosting in bowl

Additional Tips

STORING: Magic Pumpkin Cake can be made up to a day ahead of time and stored in the fridge. Cover leftovers and store in the fridge for up to a week.

Recipe Notes:

  • Remember, don’t mix the pumpkin batter with the cake batter. Just pour over the top. 
  • Once baked it may be hard to tell the the layers have switched. Don’t worry, trust the process, frost and enjoy!
  • Chocolate curls are easiest to make with slightly softened chocolate. Use a vegetable peeler.

Pumpkin Magic Cake on a white plate

Be prepared for lots of Pumpkin and Halloween treats because we’re going to be making lots of them!! I hope you can come back again soon for more yummy treats from me.

Love, Lily

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Pumpkin Magic Cake Recipe

4.91 from 21 votes
3 layer cake made up of creamy pumpkin puree layer, a layer of yellow cake, and lastly a white chocolate pumpkin spice frosting topped with white chocolate shavings!!
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings 12
Calories 357 kcal
Author Lil' Luna

Ingredients

  • 1 box yellow cake mix PLUS ingredients needed to make - eggs, water, oil
  • 15 oz can pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 c evaporated milk
  • 1/2 c heavy cream
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 c brown sugar

Frosting

  • 1 box white chocolate instant pudding mix 3.4 oz
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 c cold milk
  • 1 c cool whip
  • white chocolate curls

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Prepare cake as instructed on package and pour into a greased 9x13 pan. Set aside.
  • In a medium bowl add pumpkin, evaporated milk, cream, eggs, and brown sugar and whisk until smooth. Pour all over the cake mix in the 9x13 pan.
  • Bake for an hour (or until it not longer jiggles in the middle).
  • Let cool and make frosting by whisking together the white chocolate pudding mix, pumpkin pie spice and milk until smooth.
  • Fold in Cool Whip and mix well.
  • Spread over cooled cake and top with white chocolate curls.
  • Refrigerate until ready to serve. ENJOY!

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Recipe adapted from I Wash You Dry

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About the Author

Kristyn Merkley

My name is Kristyn and I’m the mom of SIX stinkin’ cute kids and the wife to my smokin’ hot hubby, Lo. My mom’s maiden name is Luna, and I’m one of the many crafty “Lil’ Lunas” in the fam. On this site I like to share all things creative - from recipes to home decor to gifts and home decor ideas. Welcome!

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Comments:

    1. 3 stars
      Great concept but mine turned out a bit bland. Should I have packed down the brown sugar? The kids didnt even finish it Om their plate. hmm. I guess I was hoping itd be more like Paula Deans Gooeys Butter Cake.

      1. I do pack the brown sugar. It isn’t overloaded with flavor..hints of pumpkin, cake, & the frosting gives a nice flavor. Thank you for giving it a try 🙂

  1. It sounds as though your brother had a great birthday! And this pumpkin cake truly does sound magical. I’ll have to make it for my kids.

  2. I’ve never made the famous magic cake! This pumpkin version looks so good, I am thinking now I have to try it!!

  3. I am a little confused. So you use 3 eggs according to the yellow cake mix. Then you list the ingredients and say 3 eggs. Is that an additional 3 eggs, that we are supposed to use? Thank you in advance for your response.

  4. I’m wondering if I could put the pumpkin layer in the pan first followed by the cake mixture? To get a better layered look rather than marbled. I don’t mind if there’s no magical sinking. 🙂

  5. Thanks! This is awesome! I made it tonight and it was layered perfectly. To get the layers it takes 6 eggs. Or however many eggs for your cake mix PLUS the three eggs in the recipe. I think a lot of people didn’t understand that.

  6. 5 stars
    This cake was fantastic!! Super easy to make too! I actually made it with my class for a Thanksgiving feast and we all loved it! The cake did make it’s magic layers so we were very happy!

  7. 5 stars
    The Pumpkin Magic cake is my 8 yo Grandson’s favorite cake of all times. Any time I ask him what kind of cake should we make…………………..Pumpkin Magic!

  8. hi from Australia.
    cake looks great, we don,t have canned pumpkin here, can I cook the pumpkin, let get cold. then use? but what amount, eg ; grams or ounces, please

    1. Thank you Beverly!! You can definitely make your own pumpkin puree. You’d need like 1 3/4 c to 2 cups (15ounces). I’d love to know what you think!! Thanks for stopping by!

    1. I just use a grater. One used for grating carrots or potatoes and use it on a white chocolate bar. I like to use the side of the bar and stoke down. Hope that helps!

  9. I made this cake today and I used a 4 serving pudding mix and followed your instructions and the frosting was like soup. Was I supposed to make the pudding, let set and then add the cool whip? Thanks!

      1. It’s just one cup of milk in the frosting and 1/2 cup evaporated milk at the beginning. Sorry yours was a little stiff! Hope you’ll give it another try!!

        1. Confused. You say FOr frosting add 1 cup milk and 1/2 cup evaporated milk at BEGINNING. Isnt the E.M. fOr the pumpkin??

          1. I am not sure where you read that, but I only see that the milk is for the frosting & evaporated milk is for the cake part 🙂

  10. I made this recipe but tweaked it slightly by using a spice cake mix. I didn’t get the obvious layers but that’s because I don’t make boxed cake mixes following the exact instructions. I add an extra egg, substitute mild for the water and instead of oil, I use melted butter, doubling the amount. I love the result! Also, I opted to frost it with a pumpkin spice buttercream frosting and garnish with chopped pecans. This was a really great dessert, a huge hit!! Thank you for sharing!!

  11. 5 stars
    Does this cake need to be refrigerated? I made two 8×8″ cakes and will be serving them two days in a row to two different groups. So I need to store one for two days.

      1. I’d love to know how it tastes, so we can pass that along! Thanks. And, yes, it needs to be refrigerated, if you aren’t serving right away. Thanks for stopping by!

    1. I’m sure you could, though I haven’t tried that. You could follow the instructions on the box for two rounds, then I guess make the layers and split in two to pour over. You’d have to decide how to layer your two rounds. Let me know how it comes out!! Have fun! Thanks so much!

    1. It should. I personally haven’t used that, so it may taste just a little different, but it will still work. Hope you like it 🙂 Thanks so much!

  12. The recipe calls for a cup of cool whip. Did you measure out a cup or did you use the whole 8 oz (technically 1 cup by weight) container? Also, would it hurt to put the pumpkin mixture in the pan first to ensure it layers right? I want defined layers for my pumpkin loving fiance’.

    1. I just used the container. If it’s 12 oz, I just used most of it. And, also it goes in layered, so it will be in layers, if you follow the instructions. Hope that helps!! Enjoy!!

      1. OMG!!!!! It turned out AMAZING!!!!! My layers are fantastic and super defined. You are awesome and this cake is definitely going to be made a gazillion times! Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!!

          1. 5 stars
            You are most welcome and to anyone making this cake, trust the process. The pumpkin layer will sink if you follow the instructions to the letter. It will look marbled on the top but when you cut it you will see the magic.

  13. I couldn’t find white chocolate instant pudding mix. The only flavor I could find was vanilla. Do you think it’all be ok?

  14. 5 stars
    I made this for Thanksgiving and EVERYONE loved it! My husband begged me to make another. So guess what I’m doing tonight?! 😉 Thank you for the fabulous recipe!

  15. I made this tonight and it turned out well. My pumpkin was actually in the middle instead of the bottom but I liked it that way actually. I used vanilla because my husband doesn’t like white choclate (so strange I know). I will make again for sure!

    1. Hi Shari! I have not tried using the smaller pan, but it should be ok, it will probably just be thicker 🙂 Hope that helps you.

  16. 5 stars
    Can this be frozen to thaw and serve later? How long does it stay if refrigerated? It looks delicious and can’t wait to try it!

  17. would it be ok to add some pumpkin pie spice to the pureed pumpkin ? It really doesn’t taste like much if that’s not in it. and if so, how much?

    1. You could. I add it in the frosting, but not the cake part. I wouldn’t know how much exactly, since I haven’t tested it out. I would start with a small amount. Maybe a few tablespoons?

  18. 5 stars
    hello, I tried your pumpkin magic cake and got great reviews from my testers (guinea pigs-lol) it was divine, hopefully for thanksgiving I will make it again. will always keep this recipe. I didn’t know how to make the curls on top so I didn’t add it. I wasn’t going to add the white chocolate because I couldn’t find it, but I did find it ( so hard to locate) and I am so glad I did add it. it just gave the cake and added texture. this cake is so delicious

    1. I am so happy to hear that!! I am glad you found the white chocolate!! I just get a peeler (one I would peel carrots, etc) & use it on the chocolate, to make the curls. Thank you for sharing with me!

  19. How will the cake come out in layers like that with the yellow Cake in the middle if you put the pumpkin mixture on top of the cake? Do you put the cake then pumpkin mixture or the other way in so confused..

    1. 5 stars
      If you read at the top she tells you that the pumpkin sinks to the bottom as its cooking. Pumpkin is heavIer and will sink. Thats the magic!

  20. 5 stars
    I made this recipe last night. It was heavenly! My whole family loved it! Thank you so much for sharing! Anyone that makes this will not be disappointed! Its very moIst and light!

  21. something dosnt make sence, it looks like the pumpkin is the only thing on the bottom, it dosn’t look marbled how do you get it to look like the pic?

  22. I just made this for the first time (havent tasted it yet) and My PumPkin layer didnt sink to the bottom. Could this be becaused i used a gLuten free cake mix? I’m disappoiNted that it doesnt Look like it was supposed to, but i Imagine it should taste about the same. The layers are just in a different order.

  23. 5 stars
    Made this yesterday for my son’s birthday for today. It’s such a hit, everyone had 2 slices. Made it as listed with the exception of the white chocolate curls and the pumpkin pie spice, i had neither.

    For those curious about the recipe, yes the pumpkin sunk to the bottom. It is not overtly sweet. If you use canned puree, there is only a slight hint of pumpkin taste in the finished product, but I suspect that homemade puree would bring out more flavors.

    For those interested in the texture, my husband said it was like eating a pumpkin pie and a cake at the same time.

    I loved this, and it was so easy to make. This is definitely a keeper.

  24. 5 stars
    did you flip the cake because you baked the cake first then added pumpkin layer and in the picture the pumpkin layer is at the bottom. thanks

  25. 5 stars
    Made this cake fOr my 27 yr oLd granddaughteRs birthday. Very good, easY and it is magica. She is verY picky but loved the cake.

  26. I am going to try this with spice cake instead of yellow cake mix. Has anyone switched out the cake and still had the “magic” work? Crossing my fingers!

  27. 5 stars
    Easy, yummy, and versatile! I used what I already had: spice cake mix instead of yellow, and cheesecake flavored instant pudding instead of white chocolate. Followed directions exactly. Turned out delicious, tasted and looked like a fancier version of pumpkin pie. Not overly sweet, perfect with coffee. Great dessert to feed a crowd.

  28. I’m sorry you had a problem, Sheila. Did you cut into it? It looks a bit marbled but when if you followed the directions exactly and cut into it you should see the layers. 😉

  29. I’m so sorry, Nikki. I’m really not sure what happened. If you followed the directions exactly it should have sank to the bottom. 🙁