Pumpkin Magic Cake Recipe

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Pumpkin Magic Cake is a must for the holidays. The yellow cake and pumpkin pie layers magically separate into a delicious treat.

This recipe is a combo of delicious Pumpkin Pie with a tasty Yellow Cake. Top it off with some homemade whipped cream and you’ve got a magical dessert.

Slice of pumpkin magic cake on a stack of white plates.
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Why Pumpkin Magic Cake is Best

Do you know what goes great with pumpkin pie? Cool Whip. Sorry friends, I know it’s a bit controversial and some people are judgmental about it. If you prefer to not eat it, that’s cool.

When I saw this Pumpkin Magic Cake on Shawn’s blog, I knew it had to be made. I have been eyeing this cake recipe for quite some time!

Shawn has a pudding frosting to top her cake, but I skipped that and just used Cool Whip! This cake is making an appearance on our Thanksgiving table because we LOVED it so much!!

And it’s truly a magic cake.

  • THREE layers of deliciousness to enjoy
  • The pumpkin layer and yellow cake layer magically separate
  • Warm spices make it perfect for the holidays

If you love this magic cake, be sure to try our easy chocolate wacky cake next! Or give our coconut cake recipe a try for a truly magical bite of dessert.

Important Ingredient Notes

Ingredients needed to make pumpkin magic cake.
  • Cake Mix – You need a box of yellow cake mix for the base of this recipe. Any brand will do.
  • Pumpkin – Be sure to use a can of PURE pumpkin puree, not a pumpkin pie filling.
  • Brown Sugar – I use light brown sugar, but dark brown sugar would be fine too if that’s all you have. Be sure to pack it well when measuring.
  • Spices – The recipe calls for cinnamon, ginger and cloves, but you could also swap these out for pumpkin pie spice.
  • Cool Whip – I’m a big fan, but you could also make our stabilized whipped cream if you prefer.

Easy Instructions

Step by step photos showing how to make cake layer for magic cake.

Cake layer.

  • Blend together the cake mix, water, oil and eggs as directed on the cake mix box.
  • Pour into a 13×9 baking dish coated with non-stick baking spray (you could also use our homemade cake release).
Step by step photos showing how to make pumpkin magic cake.

Pumpkin pie layer.

Combine all of the ingredients for this layer and mix until well combined and smooth.

Pour into the cake layer. The pumpkin will settle to the bottom, as it should. No need to swirl or mix.

Step by step photos showing how bake a magic cake.


  • Bake the cake in a preheated 350 degrees F oven for 1 hour, then let cool completely.
  • Frost the cake with Cool Whip and then refrigerate for at least 4 hours before serving.

Tips and Tricks

  • Make sure to beat the cake layer and the pumpkin layer until very well mixed and very smooth.
  • When you remove the cake from the oven you’re going to think to yourself, “I did something wrong, it doesn’t look separated.” Trust me, it will WORK. Wait until you slice into the cake and you’ll see.
  • Also to note, the cake may look a little more “done” than other cakes; that is OK! Trust the process.
  • Be sure to let the cake cool completely before you add the Cool Whip or other frosting. And then be sure to refrigerate for at least 4 hours – or even overnight – before slicing and serving it cold.
Pumpkin magic cake with a bite taken out.

Recipe FAQs

Can I make Magic Cake in advance?

Yes! Because this cake needs to cool before being frosted AND then be refrigerated for at least 4 hours – or overnight – it is best made in advance.

What can I use instead of Cool Whip?

You can top this cake with homemade stabilized whipped cream. Regular whipped cream might get runny and not hold its shape as well. Or try a pumpkin spiced mousse instead.

How do I store pumpkin magic cake?

Store leftovers in the refrigerator covered with foil or in an airtight container for up to 3-4 days. This cake tastes best when its nice and cold.

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Pumpkin Magic Cake

4.84 from 30 votes
By: Aimee
Pumpkin Magic Cake is a must for the holidays. The yellow cake and pumpkin pie layers magically separate into a delicious treat.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings: 16 servings


For the Cake layer:

  • 1 box yellow cake mix
  • 1 cup water
  • ½ cup canola oil
  • 3 large eggs

For the pumpkin layer:

  • 1 can pure pumpkin 15 oz
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup light brown sugar packed
  • 2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • ½ teaspoon ground cloves

For the frosting:

  • 1 tub Cool Whip, thawed 16 oz
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  • Preheat oven to 350 degree F. Spray 13×9 baking dish with non-stick baking spray. Set aside.
  • Prepare cake layer by blending ingredients together until smooth. Beat 2 minutes and pour into prepared baking dish.
  • For the pumpkin layer, combine ingredients and beat until smooth. Pour into cake layer. Pumpkin will sink down to the bottom, as it should. No need to swirl or smooth.
  • Bake for 60 minutes. Remove from oven and cool completely. The cake will look a little more “done” than usual, that’s okay. Frost cooled cake with Cool Whip and refrigerate until ready to serve (at least 4 hours or overnight). ENJOY!


  • If you want to try Shawn’s original frosting recipe, check it out here! It’s worth trying!
  • Swap out the cool whip for Homemade Whipped Cream



Calories: 308kcal, Carbohydrates: 40g, Protein: 4g, Fat: 15g, Saturated Fat: 5g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 9g, Cholesterol: 87mg, Sodium: 346mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 26g
Course: Cake
Cuisine: American
Did you make this recipe?Mention @shugarysweets or tag #shugarysweets!

Look at those beautiful layers in this Pumpkin Magic Cake! This is a must make recipe for the holidays!

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About Aimee

Aimee is a dessert lover (specifically rice krispie treats), workout enthusiast, self-taught foodie, and recipe creator.

Learn more about Aimee.

Affiliate Disclosure:**There may be affiliate links in this post! By clicking on them, or purchasing recommended items I may receive a small compensation. However, I only recommend products I love! Thank you for supporting Shugary Sweets! See my disclosure policy for more info**

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Posted on October 3, 2023

Comments & Reviews

  1. I’m going to make this today, so excited to try your recipe, it sounds delicious! One question, I need to substitute pumpkin pie spice for the separate spices in the recipe because that’s what I have. How much would you recommend I use? Thanks for your help! I love so many of your recipes ❤️


    1. If you’re swapping it out for the cinnamon and spices, you would use an equal amount of pumpkin pie spice.

  2. No debate from me on Cool Whip! I love it for topping cakes! Also love this alternative to traditional pumpkin pie. Yum!

  3. I had two slices of this cake because it is DELICIOUS! I will be making it for our small Thanksgiving dinner this year. Yum!

  4. When I read a recipe with cool whip, I just think can I use whipped cream instead.  If the answer is yes, I keep reading!  My daughter likes cool whip, I like cream, who cares!  This looks yum!

    1. Hi can your pumpkin cake be left out on the counter as long as the cool whip is not on it?
      Love the recipes you share.

4.84 from 30 votes (29 ratings without comment)

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