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3-Ingredient Pumpkin Cake Recipe

This 3-ingredient pumpkin cake recipe couldn’t be easier. Not only is it super simple, but also it is scrumptious. You can’t go wrong with this yummy treat in the fall, but you don’t have to limit this to one season per year.

If you like the flavor of pumpkin as much as we do, stock up on canned pumpkin when it’s available and on sale. Then you can make it any time of year when the mood strikes.

AKA Pumpkin Dump Cake

This delicious cake is also known as a pumpkin dump cake. I hesitate to call it that because I don’t think it sounds nearly as good as it tastes.

In fact, if you like pumpkin, it will quickly become one of your favorite desserts. Leave it as is or add cream cheese frosting. I love it both ways, depending on my mood.

Whether you want something to serve for dessert or you like a sweet afternoon snack, this is ideal. It’s also a great afternoon snack.

If you ever want to bring something to a get-together with friends, this makes an excellent coffee cake. Add some nuts or coconut to the mix to make it a little different, and everyone will think you’re brilliant.

Slice of pumpkin cake and a cup of coffee

3-Ingredient Pumpkin Cake in an Hour

Have you run into someone you haven’t seen in a while? Go ahead and invite her over for cake and coffee. The 3-ingredient pumpkin cake recipe is so easy you can make it on the spur of the moment.

Throw the ingredients into a bowl, mix them up, put them in a pan, and bake. After it comes out of the oven, it only needs a few minutes to cool before you add cream cheese icing and serve it.

Your kids will be delighted if they come home to a treat of a slice of pumpkin cake, these fruit kabobs, and a glass of milk. You’ll love the cake with a cup of coffee or tea.

2 slices of pumpkin cake with frosting--one with pecans and one without

Ingredients in 3-Ingredient Pumpkin Cake

As the name implies, this cake only has 3 ingredients. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Can of pumpkin puree (not the pumpkin pie mix but the one that has 100% pure pumpkin on the can)
  • Cake mix
  • Pumpkin pie spice

That’s all. The moist pumpkin puree makes up for the lack of other ingredients listed in the directions on the back of the cake mix box.

Gluten-free yellow cake mix, pumpkin, and pumpkin pie spice

For exact measurements of each ingredient and full directions, go to the recipe card at the bottom of the page. You can even print out the card by using the “print” button.

You’ll notice that I used a gluten-free cake mix, but a regular mix comes out the same. It’s just nice to know that everyone has options.

There are times when I drop in a little extra pumpkin pie spice … just because it sounds good and I want to. Then it turns into a pumpkin spice cake, which is fine with me.

Another option is to start out with spice cake mix. I haven’t been able to find one that’s gluten-free, but I’ve learned to improvise.

How to Make 3-Ingredient Pumpkin Cake

Put all of the ingredients in a medium-size mixing bowl.

Cake mix, pumpkin, and pumpkin pie spice in a bowl

Stir well until there are no lumps left in the cake mix.

Mixed pumpkin cake batter

Spread evenly in a baking dish or pan.

Uncooked pumpkin batter in a baking dish

Bake until it’s done. You can use the toothpick or knife test to determine whether or not the cake is done. Insert it in the middle of the cake and pull it out.

If it comes out clean, it’s done. If there is still some gooey cake mix on the toothpick or knife, stick it back in the oven for a few more minutes.

Baked pumpkin cake cooking on a cake rack

How to Make Pumpkin Pie Spice at Home

There have been times when the pumpkin pie spice was sold out at the grocery store, so I’ve had to make it myself. It’s actually easy and has ingredients you might already have. So don’t be intimidated.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • 1-1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1-1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon allspice

Combine all of the ingredients in a small bowl and whisk until they are well mixed. Now they’re ready for adding to your pumpkin cake or anything else you want to put it in.

To Frost or Not to Frost

This cake is delicious without anything else on it. However, if you love icing on your cake, I recommend keeping it simple and using cream cheese frosting that’s ready-made.

I have to admit that although I like it either way, I prefer it plain. It’s also good with just a very thin layer of icing.

Or you can spritz a bit of whipped cream on top to dress it up a bit. I’ve also sprinkled a little powdered sugar on top when I didn’t have anything else on hand.

Pumpkin Cake Add-Ons

You can serve this pumpkin cake either as-is, or you can add more ingredients for additional flavor and texture.

  • Here are some things you can add to the cake mix or on top of the frosting:
  • Pecans or whatever nuts you have on hand
  • Seeds—sunflower or pumpkin
  • Chocolate chips
  • Coconut, either right out of the bag or toasted until crunchy
  • Raisins
  • Sprinkles to decorate for a birthday or holiday
Pumpkin cake with cream cheese icing, some with sprinkles, some with chocolate chips, and some with pecans

Whether you serve this to your family for dessert, the kids when they get home from school, or your friends when they stop by for coffee, you’ll love this easy yet versatile pumpkin cake.

3 ingredient pumpkin cake with pecans

Benefits of Pumpkin

Don’t forget about the health benefits of pumpkin. According to, pumpkin is extremely nutritious.

Here are some of the benefits that might interest you:

  • Pumpkin has a high amount of antioxidants that help fight cancer and other diseases.
  • It’s loaded with vitamins—especially vitamin A.
  • The combination of vitamin A and vitamin C helps protect your immune system.
  • Vitamin A and lutein found in pumpkin are good for eye health.
  • It also contains quite a bit of fiber and potassium—both good for your heart.

More Delicious Desserts and Snacks

If you enjoy treating your family and friends to dessert and snacks, you’ll love these:

Peanut butter cookies without flour – These gluten-free treats are delicious and actually melt in your mouth.

plate of peanut butter cookies

Chocolate walnut pie – Make this yummy pie with a regular or gluten-free pie crust. It’s super easy and only takes a few minutes from start to finish.

Slice of gluten free chocolate walnut pie

Mug cake – This is the perfect dessert to serve when everyone prefers a different flavor. It’s also super quick and easy!

mug cake with whipped cream and cherry on top

Granola Fruit Crisp – Serve this variation of the old-fashioned fruit cobbler with ice cream. This is another dessert that is quick, easy, and only has a few ingredients.

Scoop of granola apple crisp topped with ice cream

3-Ingredient Chocolate Cake — Enjoy this delicious flourless cake with a light dusting of powdered sugar or your favorite frosting.

slice of chocolate cake on a plate

Chocolate Caramel Cookies – This is the perfect option for those who enjoy the blended flavors of chocolate and caramel. They’re perfect to serve with coffee or to take to a potluck!

plate of cake mix chocolate caramel cookies

Quick and Easy Dessert

There are times when you need a quick and easy dessert. Whether you have last-minute company or you simply want a sweet treat, this pumpkin cake should hit the spot!

Yield: 12 servings

3-Ingredient Pumpkin Cake

2 pieces of pumpkin cake with icing--one with pecans and one without
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes


  • 1 box of yellow cake mix (regular or gluten-free)
  • 1 can of pumpkin (100% pumpkin, not the pie filling)
  • 1 teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice


    1. Preheat the oven to 350. Spray the bottom of a 7” x 11” baking dish or pan with nonstick cooking spray.
    2. Combine the cake mix, pumpkin, and pumpkin pie spice in a medium-size bowl. Mix well.
    3. Spread the mixture evenly in the baking dish.
    4. Put in the oven and bake for 30 minutes.
    5. Allow the cake to cool before serving.


You can make a thinner cake in a 9” x 13” baking dish or pan. If you do this, cut 5 minutes from the cooking time and take it out of the oven after 25 minutes. Test it by inserting a toothpick. The cake is done when the toothpick comes out clean.

Serve warm or allow it to cool and top with your favorite frosting. I like cream cheese frosting.

Nutrition Information



Serving Size


Amount Per Serving Calories 168Total Fat 2gSaturated Fat 1gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 0gCholesterol 0mgSodium 318mgCarbohydrates 37gFiber 1gSugar 19gProtein 2g

The nutrition information is a product of online calculators. I try to provide true and accurate information, but these numbers are estimates.

Did you make this recipe?

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tracy smith

Saturday 29th of October 2022

wonderful! added a sprinkling of butterscotch chips to the top and it was genuinely one of the best desserts i have made lately. and i used a sugar free cake mix to keep cals low


Saturday 29th of October 2022

Hi Tracy. What a great idea! I love butterscotch, so I'll have to try this! Thanks so much for the tip!

tracy smith

Saturday 29th of October 2022


Shannon Clayton

Saturday 23rd of November 2019

I need to make this cake the night before. I will be using the cream cheese frosting. Do I need to refrigerate the cake overnight?


Saturday 23rd of November 2019

Hi Shannon. I'm not sure if it's necessary to refrigerate it, so to be on the safe side, I probably would. I hope you enjoy it!

Miz Helen

Saturday 31st of August 2019

What a great Pumpkin Cake with only 3 Ingredient's and delicious! Thanks so much for sharing your awesome post with us at Full Plate Thursday,447 this week. Hope you have a great Labor Day Weekend and come back to see us real soon! Miz Helen

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