Pumpkin Cake Surprise

Pumpkin slice wedge, with a mini pumpkin in the background. Photo by Cecilia Kennedy

Some people get their whoopie pies in a hot mess tangle when they find out that there’s pudding inside of a baked good. I’m one of those people.  I come down with a hot mess case of “whoopie pie in a bind.”  You see, I love the idea of discovering there are actually two desserts inside of one.  If someone serves me a slice of cake, I say, “But is there pudding inside that cake?”  It’s like the opposite of sneaking healthy vegetables into a food.  It’s sneaking more dessert into a dessert and I find that very, very clever.  Nate, on the other hand, does not understand why anyone would need to put pudding inside of other baked goods. He’s not so easily whoopie pied.  So, when I announced that I was going to make a pumpkin cake yesterday, this was Nate’s reaction:

“Oh! I love pumpkin cake! Wait. . . you’re not going to put pudding inside; are you? Please. . . please don’t.”

“Oh, there will be vanilla pudding and it will be awesome.”

So, there was vanilla pudding, and the cake turned out incredibly . . . average.  I think the vanilla pudding made the cake moist, but dull. It dulled down the fall spices I expect to just pop and explode in a pumpkin confection.  I’ll still share the recipe, if you want to make this cake, but only use the recipe if you just want to pull a “C” at dessert time.  It is utterly, fantastically average:


–1 can of pumpkin

–1 ½ cups of all-purpose flour

–3/4 cup of sugar

–2 tsp of pumpkin pie spice

–tsp baking soda

–1/2 tsp nutmeg

–1/2 tsp cinnamon

–1/4 tsp salt

–1 package of vanilla pudding—3.4 ounces

–1 tbsp of vegetable oil

–1/2 cup of egg substitute or 2 eggs

–baking spray


–Spray an 8×8 pan with baking spray and heat the oven to 350.

–In a medium bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking soda, pumpkin pie spice, nutmeg, cinnamon, salt, and vanilla pudding. Use a wire whisk.

–In a larger bowl, combine the canned pumpkin, oil, and eggs.

–Pour the flour mixture in with the wet ingredients and combine them until they are blended. Do not over mix.

–Bake for 50-55 minutes.

Serving Suggestions:

Plan on serving this pumpkin cake to people you only sort of care about, like some of the overly bureaucratic office people at your child’s school; strangers at a holiday party you’re forced to attend; and maybe the host at the restaurant who says that all of the empty tables in the extremely empty dining establishment are actually reserved.

Ways to boost this cake from a “C” to a “B:”

–Pour rum over the whole thing and eat it with a spoon.

–Spread butter onto each slice.

–Top it with an actual whoopie pie.

Actually, Alex just had a slice of it this morning for breakfast, and he topped it with pumpkin ice cream. He said it was really, really good.  I believe him.  To bring this cake to an “A” level and impress, rather than just get by—serve it like you’re a 17-year-old on a swim team:  Slather a larger than necessary slice in loads of pumpkin ice cream.  Cheers!

Your Turn:  What is your favorite dessert hack? Do you like finding out that there is a “dessert within a dessert?”  Discuss.



40 thoughts on “Pumpkin Cake Surprise

  1. I love desserts, especially with pumpkin. I have a recipe somewhere for a pumpkin pudding made with vanilla pudding mix (sugar free:) and canned pumpkin in place of at least part of the milk. It was quite tasty. However, pumpkin cake with rum drizzled over the top sounds even better!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Once I stopped chuckling, I started to think about using pumpkin for sweet recipes. I don’t have much of a sweet tooth, though. I do like the idea of using pudding in baked goods, though. My grandmother always added a pudding packet to her cake ingredients and it kept everything very moist and tender, though it does take a bit of experimenting. Anyway, another great and amusing post, as always!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I love the serving suggestions for the ‘C’ version of the pumpkin cake! I have a recipe from a 1950s-era cookbook for lemon cake-top pudding. You mix the ingredients together, pour the batter into a pan, and when it comes out of the oven, it has magically separated into pudding on the bottom and cake on top!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am breathing into a paper bag right now–I’m that excited about your 1950s lemon cake-top pudding. I can’t even imagine. I sooo want this recipe–it sounds amazeballs!! 🙂


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