Something Swanky

Pumpkin Better Than… Cake

Pumpkin BTS Poke Cake |
When I was in the 9th grade, two really awesome things happened to positively affect my opinion of exercise:
1. Miss Congeniality
2. Billy Blanks in gym class
I wanted to be Sandra Bullock in Miss Congeniality like you wouldn’t believe. Oh. My. Gosh. 
Did it get any cooler than that?
And thanks to my gym teachers who scheduled an entire month of Billy Blanks videos into the curriculum, I totally thought I could do it.
Pumpkin BTS Poke Cake |
No. Really.
I had completely serious plans to be Miss Congeniality.
I don’t mean I wanted to be an undercover FBI agent. Or a gun-toting beauty pageant contestant.
I mean: I wanted to be Miss Congeniality played by Sandra Bullock.
So much so, my parents bought me a punching bag for Christmas. And I loved it.
Can I just make a side note here that my parents are the coolest?? I don’t think more supportive people exist in the world. No matter what hare-brained ideas I came up with, they were there to help me make it happen.
Even if the dream was to become Sandra Bullock. Thanks Mom and Dad :)
Pumpkin BTS Poke Cake |
Anyway, with cold weather slowly creeping up on us, I’ve been desperately trying to come up with an exercise plan that I can maintain during the winter. I run outside, but I definitely can’t do that in the cold– asthma. So I needed a backup plan.
Which is how I stumbled upon the kickboxing section in my Amazon Instant Video Library. I bought the Jillian Michaels one (I know, I know. She’s a total sell out and a little creepy, but I still love her.)
It’s awesome.
And I’m not going to lie: I’m pretty sure I want to be Sandra Bullock again.
Pumpkin BTS Poke Cake |
Do you think Sandra Bullock ever eats Pumpkin Cake soaked in sweetened condensed milk, smothered in cool whip, caramel, and heath bits?
I bet she does.


Pumpkin Better Than… Cake


  • 1 box yellow cake mix
  • 14 oz pumpkin puree (NOT PUMPKIN PIE FILLING)
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
  • 8 oz. tub cool whip
  • 1/2 bag Heath Bits
  • Caramel Sundae Sauce


  1. Mix together the cake mix, the pumpkin puree (DO NOT add the other ingredients on the cake mix box), and the pumpkin pie spice until a batter forms. Using the 14 oz. can of pumpkin puree will yield a thicker batter. You can add up to 1 cup more pumpkin if you'd like a thinner batter (which will yield a slightly fluffier cake).
  2. Pour batter into a well greased 9x9 (9x13 if you added more pumpkin) baking dish. Bake at 350º for 35-45 minutes until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
  3. Let cool completely after baking. Using the bottom of a wooden spoon, poke holes all over the top of the cake (this post from a friend has great step by step photos for this part).
  4. Pour the sweetened condensed milk over the cake, aiming to fill the holes. Refrigerate for 60 minutes or until the sweetened condensed milk has soaked into the cake.
  5. Spread the cool whip over top of cake. Sprinkle on the heath bits, and drizzle caramel over top (just to your liking). Refrigerate for 3-4 hours, or overnight (best).


DO NOT USE PUMPKIN PIE FILLING. YOU MUST USE PUMPKIN PUREE IF YOU WANT THE CAKE TO BAKE CORRECTLY. The cake mix + pumpkin puree version of pumpkin cake may not be for everyone. I like it just fine, especially when it's soaked in SCM and caramel. But if you're not sure about it, feel free to substitute your own pumpkin cake recipe as the cake base. DO NOT mix together the pumpkin, cake mix, and the other ingredients on the back of the cake mix box!!!! ONLY mix the cake mix and the pumpkin puree. You must let the sweetened condensed milk soak in all the way. Letting it sit overnight will yield best results. Use the bottom of a wooden mixing spoon to poke the holes in the cake-- it's just the right size.
*I use a 14 oz can. However, readers have reported success using any amount of canned pumpkin ranging from 14 oz to 28 oz. More pumpkin should yield a fluffier cake, but note that you may need to allow more time for baking. If you use more pumpkin, you may also want to consider using additional pumpkin pie spice or cinnamon.
Recipe Notes:

  2. Feel free to sub in your own pumpkin cake recipe for my quickie version.

  3. DO NOT mix together the pumpkin, cake mix, and the other ingredients on the back of the cake mix box!!!! ONLY mix the cake mix and the pumpkin puree.

  4. You must let the sweetened condensed milk soak in all the way. Letting it sit overnight will yield best results.

  5. Use the bottom of a wooden mixing spoon to poke the holes in the cake– it’s just the right size.


If you liked this recipe, be sure to check out these!

Baked Pumpkin Donuts

Baked Pumpkin Donut Recipe


Pumpkin Boston Cream Pie

Pumpkin Boston Cream Pie


Cheesecake Factory Pumpkin Cheesecake

Cheesecake Factory Pumpkin Cheesecake


Hot Fudge Pumpkin Poke Cake

Hot Fudge Pumpkin Poke Cake

Follw me!


Ashton is the owner and author ofSomething Swanky. Although first and foremost a wife and mother, she considers herself an online entrepreneur, freelance writer and photographer, and brand ambassador.Her focus is in food styling, food photography and recipe development.
Follw me!

Latest posts by Ashton (see all)


177 Responses to “Pumpkin Better Than… Cake”

  1. Charlene Hydock posted on October 13, 2012 at 2:11 pm (#)

    So the recipe calls for a small can of pumpkin but in the “link to a friend”‘s pictures it shows a can larger than a can of condensed milk… So what size in ounces is the correct one? Although it certainly looked like the friends came out just fine.

    • Ashton posted on October 13, 2012 at 2:19 pm (#)

      The size I recommend using is just the standard 14.5oz (maybe it’s 15?) can of pumpkin :)

    • Jenny posted on October 26, 2012 at 11:58 am (#)

      I use the larger (29 oz.) can of pumpkin and it comes out delicious. I noticed that she had the larger can in the picture too. I also have used real whipped cream instead of cool whip and I think it comes out better. This is a delicious recipe and I am so thankful you posted it!

  2. Crystal-Ralph-Haughn posted on October 13, 2012 at 5:23 pm (#)

    … do you make the cake per directions then add the pumpkin?

    • Ashton posted on October 14, 2012 at 12:24 am (#)

      No, just mix the cake mix (dry) with the pumpkin puree.

    • Gayle posted on October 16, 2012 at 3:52 pm (#)

      Can you print this recipe

    • Ashton posted on October 17, 2012 at 4:23 pm (#)

      Yes! I just added the ziplist code (sorry, some things were lost in my switch to WP), so you can print now!

  3. Karen posted on October 13, 2012 at 5:54 pm (#)

    Delicious! A great shortcut recipe. I made it for a family function and it was a hit! Glad I ignored the inedible comment , made just as your recipe states and it was great. I used a the large Canadian size can (which is about three cups of puree). I set one cup of pumpkin aside and it was just right. I will be using that cup of pumpkin to make choc-chip pumpkin cookies later!

  4. Madison posted on October 14, 2012 at 10:00 pm (#)

    Hey! I was wondering what oz pumpkin purée you use? Thanks!

    • Ashton posted on October 14, 2012 at 10:57 pm (#)

      14.5 oz :)

  5. Bethany posted on October 18, 2012 at 10:35 am (#)

    hey ashton, I guess you changed the format on the recipe “card” and the link to my blog with the poking pics isn’t working. :( Is this bc of the changes you were talking about in redecorating?

    <3 Bethany @

    • Ashton posted on October 18, 2012 at 8:55 pm (#)

      Sorry! I lost a lot of my links when I switched to wordpress, and I’m just kind of discovering them as I go and people comment. I’ll go back and fix :)

  6. PW posted on October 18, 2012 at 1:11 pm (#)

    How do you make a cupcake version of this?

    • Ashton posted on October 18, 2012 at 8:50 pm (#)

      You could just bake the batter as cupcakes instead of as a cake. But you would need to put each cupcake into some sort of plastic cup or something before you poured the sweetened condensed milk over.

  7. Makayla posted on October 19, 2012 at 10:35 am (#)

    This recipe sounds amazing. My question for you is how could I make this grain free? I have Celiac disease and also allergic to other grains. I can use almond, coconut, and couple other grain free flours. Do you know of a way I could this recipe and use one of those?



    • Ashton posted on October 25, 2012 at 7:31 pm (#)

      Try googling pumpkin cake recipes and subbing the flour in those recipes for one of your grain free flours :)

    • Amy posted on October 28, 2012 at 8:38 pm (#)

      try using one of the gluten-free cake mixes that are out on the market now. I think either Betty Crocker or Pillsbury makes one. I have tried the yellow cake before and it is pretty good for gluten-free.

  8. Kristen posted on October 19, 2012 at 6:38 pm (#)

    I want to try this after eating some if my friends. I thought it was a little too sweet. Would using half sweet/half unsweeted milk cut down that a bit? Anybody tried that?!

    • Ashton posted on October 25, 2012 at 7:30 pm (#)

      I think you could easily use half SCM and half heavy whipping cream OR half & half.

  9. marilyn g posted on October 19, 2012 at 10:51 pm (#)

    where do you buy pumpkin puree? never heard of it—-

    • Ashton posted on October 25, 2012 at 7:28 pm (#)

      Anywhere! I bought mine at walmart. It may say 100% pumpkin or pure pumpkin instead of pumpkin puree– it’s all the same. Just as long as it doesn’t say pumpkin pie filling!

  10. Cindy posted on October 20, 2012 at 1:18 pm (#)

    Neither one of my boys (husband & son) will have anything to do with whipped cream (I know, what’s up with that), but this cake sounds wonderful. Could I use a regular frosting on this instead, or do you have another suggestion? Thank You

    • Ashton posted on October 25, 2012 at 7:26 pm (#)

      You could, but I imagine that would be REALLY sweet. Like, maybe too sweet? If they don’t like whipped cream, I’d say just skip it altogether and don’t worry about a substitute. It won’t be as pretty since you’ll still be able to see the holes, but it’ll be good!

    • Bear posted on September 26, 2013 at 6:14 pm (#)

      Try using the Cool Whip Frostings now on the market, i.e. Vanilla , and a blend of Cool Whip or White cake frostings and a blend of Cool Whip or Reddi Whip

    • Cristy Jones posted on October 29, 2012 at 1:23 am (#)

      I Love this recipe!!! but i understand the whipped cream issue, a few in my family like that too! My hubby loves my regular cream cheese recipe on just about everything edible…
      This can be doubled, tripled or whatever. Just play around with the ingredients to suit your tastes-
      1 – 8oz tub whipped cream cheese
      1tsp vanilla
      1/2 stick of butter- room temperature
      2.5 cups powdered sugar
      With hand mixer whip cream cheese & butter
      Add vanilla
      Slowly add powdered sugar -about 1/2 cup at a time- until light and fluffy.
      You may need a bit more or less powdered sugar depending on the room temperature (yes, it really does matter)
      Also- I use generic cream cheese or whatever’s on sale & the whipped seems to make the frosting lighter & less time consuming than doing it myself. If you want to use regular cream cheese, just whip it until it’s fluffy-really fluffy. If I do it this way, I put it in my stand mixer and let it whip for about 10 minutes.

  11. Janea posted on October 20, 2012 at 3:46 pm (#)

    Is the mixture supposed to be really thick before baking?

  12. Autumn posted on October 20, 2012 at 5:35 pm (#)

    This looks do good!!

  13. Lacy posted on October 20, 2012 at 8:29 pm (#)

    Do you let sit overnight and then put the toppings on or put the toppings on and then let sit overnight?

    • Ashton posted on October 25, 2012 at 7:24 pm (#)

      You can really do it either way, but I add everything and then let it sit overnight.

  14. Jill posted on October 21, 2012 at 1:43 pm (#)

    I just baked this and could not find pumpkin purée at the grocery. I used a can of pumpkin
    (not pumpkin pie filling). the can said 100% pumpkin. Is this correct? Thanks!

    • Ashton posted on October 25, 2012 at 3:59 pm (#)

      Same thing– so that’s perfect! I think I’m going to change the recipe to say “pure pumpkin” or “100% pumpkin.” It seems like that’s more familiar to most people. Thanks for the comment!

  15. Lisa posted on October 21, 2012 at 3:47 pm (#)

    I found this recipe on Pinterest, and am so glad to discover your wonderful blog. I have made this recipe 2 times in the last week, first for my family, then for a potluck at work. It sure didn’t last long, and all my coworkers will be showing up on your blog for this yummy recipe. Thanks for posting this easy and delicious dessert.

    • Ashton posted on October 25, 2012 at 3:19 pm (#)

      Oh yay! I’m so glad :)

  16. alison posted on October 21, 2012 at 6:41 pm (#)

    What Kind and Size Carmel Sauce?


    • Ashton posted on October 25, 2012 at 3:18 pm (#)

      Totally up to you– varies depending on how much you like caramel :) I use the smuckers squeeze bottle of sauce on just about everything. So I just drizzled over everything until it looked good to me!

    • Suzanne posted on November 18, 2012 at 9:55 pm (#)
  17. alison posted on October 21, 2012 at 6:42 pm (#)

    How many ounces or cups of heath bars?

    • Ashton posted on October 25, 2012 at 3:16 pm (#)

      That’s totally up to you! If you really want an amount…. I’d say 1/2 to 3/4 a cup? But, really, I just grabbed handfuls and sprinkled them over the top until it was covered :)

  18. Andy posted on October 22, 2012 at 11:48 am (#)

    I think one can of pumpkin and box of cake mix. Almost too dry and batter doesn’t flow in baking pan. I added a little water to batter

    • Ashton posted on October 25, 2012 at 3:13 pm (#)

      It’s a little thicker than most batters, but shouldn’t be appear abnormally thick! I used a standard sized (14-15 oz) can of pumpkin…

    • Billie posted on January 29, 2014 at 4:13 am (#)

      I had the same problem – my batter was a large glob the consistency of play-doh, and it came out of the oven very tough. I’m letting it sit overnight right now, but I don’t know if the SCM will soften it up. If I could go back to the beginning I would add another can of pumpkin.

  19. Deni posted on October 23, 2012 at 3:51 pm (#)

    Hi there….Planning to make this for my restaurant this week (will link to your blog for sure!) but as I was just reading the recipe again I noticed the disclaimer about this pumpkin cake base not being to everyone’s liking. Did you get some negative feedback on it? Are people saying it’s not sweet enough or something? It’s a gorgeous looking cake and I’m excited to make it tonight and think our diners will enjoy it!

    • Ashton posted on October 25, 2012 at 2:56 pm (#)

      Hi there! Sorry it’s taken me a few days to get back to you! I have received a little negative feedback, but best I can tell, there are two possible problems: A) people have used pumpkin pie FILLING instead of pure pumpkin, and it won’t bake correctly if you use the pie filling, or B) people just prefer to use their own from scratch recipes and take issue with using a box mix. The box mix doesn’t bother me, and I thought it was just perfect! Anytime I make a pumpkin cake, this is the method I use!

    • Deni posted on October 25, 2012 at 9:41 pm (#)

      I made it according to your directions and it was perfect. Guests love it. Thank you!

  20. Monica posted on October 27, 2012 at 12:02 am (#)

    I cut up pumpkins and and boil and puree my own….I’m guessing that would be okay to use and probably use 2 cups or just a little less to get the 14.5 oz. It sounds delicious…..similar to my Holy Cow Cake.

    • Ashton posted on October 28, 2012 at 8:20 pm (#)

      I’m sure that would work just fine :)

  21. Jennie posted on October 27, 2012 at 4:58 pm (#)

    Can you invert this cake onto a platter before poking? Or is the cake itself too smooshy?

    • Ashton posted on October 28, 2012 at 8:19 pm (#)

      You could invert!

  22. Juli posted on October 28, 2012 at 10:29 am (#)

    I made this and it was fantastic. I used electric beaters to mix up my cake mix and pumpkin and also added a little over 1 teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice to the mix. I beat it for about a minute until it started to fluff up a bit. I also drizzled about 1/4 cup of the caramel sauce over the cake with the sweetened condensed milk. Good stuff!

    • Juli posted on October 28, 2012 at 10:30 am (#)

      whoops, I meant a little over 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice, not 1 teaspoon.

    • Ashton posted on October 28, 2012 at 8:19 pm (#)

      Sounds great!!

  23. Christina Vickers posted on October 28, 2012 at 3:03 pm (#)

    I found this on Pinterest a few weeks ago. I made it the first time, full fat condensed milk and whipped topping and took it to church. Some was eaten, but you could tell people weren’t quite sure what it was, plus there were tons of other desserts at the meal. I was ok with that, because I took it home and finished it by dipping my spoon in a few times a day over the next few days. So a friend of mine didn’t get any the first time, and I made it again Friday night to take to their house for a meal they invited us to. Since it was just a few of us, I had more left over, even after leaving some with the family. Hooray! I get to dip again over the next few days! I LOVE this cake! And this time I used fat free condensed milk, low fat whipped topping, and I added 1/2 tsp of pumpkin pie spice to the cake mix and 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice to the whipped topping before putting it on the cake. It is slap yo mama good!

    • Ashton posted on October 28, 2012 at 8:18 pm (#)

      Awesome!!! So glad you liked it!

  24. Edie posted on October 28, 2012 at 8:01 pm (#)

    i made a pumpkin cake the other day with the cake mix, canned pumpkin, and a butterscotch pudding mix, 1/4 cup of oil, and 1/4 cup of water, 4 eggs, it was out of this world….seriously!!! So moist you almost think the cake isn’t done.

    • Ashton posted on October 28, 2012 at 8:09 pm (#)

      Sounds amazing!

    • judy posted on October 6, 2013 at 2:58 pm (#)

      your recipe sounded so good/do you use a 9×13 pan… you put anything on top such as cool whip…nuts, could you e-mail me more information…sounds wonderful and can’t wait to make it…thank you…

  25. Lisa posted on October 28, 2012 at 8:35 pm (#)

    I have a spice cake mix, do you think that would taste good instead of yellow?

    • Ashton posted on November 5, 2012 at 11:59 pm (#)

      I’ve heard that it’s great!

  26. Cristy Jones posted on October 29, 2012 at 1:27 am (#)

    I made this recipe for a Halloween get together today and everyone was actually arguing over who got a bigger piece, who got the last one, etc!! I didn’t change a thing. It’s perfect like it is! Thank you!

  27. Julia posted on October 30, 2012 at 11:28 pm (#)

    I used spice cake mix, rather than yellow, and it was great!!!

  28. Stephanie posted on October 31, 2012 at 2:31 pm (#)

    Hi, can you use white cake mix, or does it have to be yellow?
    I don’t care for yellow, but maybe the yellow cake wont be tasted?

    • Ashton posted on November 5, 2012 at 11:37 pm (#)

      You can use white :) I’ve also heard spice cake works well too!

  29. Iris posted on November 1, 2012 at 8:44 pm (#)

    About how many ounces or cups do you use of the pumpkin puree?

    • Ashton posted on November 5, 2012 at 11:35 pm (#)

      It’s about 15 oz :)

  30. Lauren posted on November 3, 2012 at 9:33 am (#)

    Sounds yummy! What is a small can of pumpkin purée. Can you give ounces so I know what to buy?

    • Ashton posted on November 5, 2012 at 11:31 pm (#)

      I think it’s about 15 oz! :)

  31. Seberina posted on November 5, 2012 at 10:22 am (#)

    How do you think this would taste with a spice cake mix instead of yellow??

    • Ashton posted on November 5, 2012 at 11:21 pm (#)

      I’ve heard it’s great! Several other readers have tried it with success :)

  32. Shae posted on November 5, 2012 at 12:22 pm (#)

    Made this following the directions precisely and it turned out flawless!Exactly what I would expect a pumpkin better than. . . cake to taste like! Love the variation!

    • Ashton posted on November 5, 2012 at 11:21 pm (#)


  33. Bonnie posted on November 6, 2012 at 4:27 pm (#)

    For those who don’t want to call it by it’s original name, or leave it blank, my grown sons prefer to call it “Better Than a Walk in the Park Cake.”

  34. Tracey posted on November 8, 2012 at 4:55 pm (#)

    This was amazing! I followed the directions and my kids said it was the best dessert they had ever had. Not too shabby for a dessert of only 6 ingredients! Thanks!

  35. Cassy posted on November 10, 2012 at 12:45 am (#)

    OMG – I’m making the cake right now, it’s in the oven, and I just noticed you said a “small” can of pumpkin. I used the BIG can – just saw it’s a whopping 29 oz! Oh well… I hope it’s somewhat edible?
    We’ll see. I was all excited about this too! That’s what I get for reading the recipe too quickly!

    • Ashton posted on November 13, 2012 at 12:38 am (#)

      How did it turn out???

    • Cassy posted on November 13, 2012 at 11:56 pm (#)

      It was AWESOME! Everyone loved it! The 29 oz can of pumpkin just made it more pumpkin-ey…
      I got requests to make it again for Thanksgiving.!

  36. Cathy posted on November 10, 2012 at 7:43 pm (#)

    To give the cake a little more “pumpkin pie” flavor, I used spice cake instead of yellow cake mix. I LOVE this recipe. You’re the best!

    • Candiss posted on November 18, 2012 at 10:07 pm (#)

      That’s an awesome idea!!!

  37. Mm posted on November 17, 2012 at 12:07 pm (#)

    I’m baking the cake with exact directions and baked for 30 mins but when I poke with a fork to see if its baked, it’s still mushy….the fork is full of pumpkin ….is this the ways it’s supposed to be?

    • Ashton posted on November 19, 2012 at 11:38 am (#)

      Nope! Everyone’s ovens are a little different, so just continue baking until its done

    • Ashton posted on December 3, 2012 at 12:32 pm (#)

      No, it should be baked all the way through, no mushy-ness. My guess is that you used pumpkin pie FILLING or too much pumpkin? I use a 14 oz can of pure pumpkin…. does that sound like it could be the problem?

    • Donna wright posted on March 31, 2013 at 12:06 pm (#)

      I used pumpkin pie filling and have made 3 times and it is delicious.i used a 19oz can .

  38. Candiss posted on November 18, 2012 at 10:06 pm (#)

    Sounds great. I’ll be making it for sure. I have to laugh at some of the idiotic comments; there really is such a thing as “dumb questions”!

  39. Squeaky posted on November 19, 2012 at 9:07 pm (#)

    I can’t find pure pumpkin or purée pumpkin anywhere. Went to 5 stores today . What happens if you use the pie filling?

    • Ashton posted on December 3, 2012 at 12:28 pm (#)

      It doesn’t bake very well :( All of the sugar in the pumpkin pie filling combined with the sugar in the cake mix is just too much! HOWEVER– here’s an idea. Google recipes for “pumpkin cake made with pumpkin pie filling” and see what you get. Maybe you can use one of those recipes as your cake base!

  40. Samantha posted on November 20, 2012 at 10:56 am (#)

    Going to be making this for Thanksgiving! I’ve made the devils food/butterfinger version and its fantastic, I’m sure this will be too!

  41. Tammy posted on November 20, 2012 at 7:27 pm (#)

    I made this cake and it is amazing!
    I poured the condensed milk over the cake the morning of the day I was to serve it (8-9 hours before). I didn’t want the cake to be mushy. I added the cool whip and crushed Heath bar and chilled for 2 hours before serving. I only drizzled about a quarter of the jar of caramel, didn’t want it to be too sweet. This cake was a hit at our friends pot luck Thanksgiving dinner we had this year.

  42. sara posted on November 21, 2012 at 6:57 pm (#)

    We made this twice since I found it on Pinterest and it has been a hit! Someone said its the beat dessert she has ever tasted! We are going to make it for Thanksgiving too!

  43. Jo posted on November 22, 2012 at 1:06 am (#)

    I just made the cake and it did not raise to the heighth of a regular cake. Is that how it is supposed to be? It sounds and looks yummy and I can’t wait to taste it! :)

    • Ashton posted on December 3, 2012 at 12:18 pm (#)

      It should still be ok, it definitely doesn’t rise quite so high!

  44. Lisette posted on November 22, 2012 at 11:33 am (#)

    I am an avid baker and have made e original many times. I should have gone with my gut that it was not enough pumpkin for a box of cake mix. So dry and gross I didn’t bother wasting the sweetened condensed milk and toppings. I will try again but make it with all the ingredients or twice the pumpkin. It literally crumbled apart as I tried to poke it.

    • Ashton posted on December 3, 2012 at 12:15 pm (#)

      So sorry it didn’t work for you! When I saw your comment, I went straightaway into the kitchen to re-make the cake portion (just the cake mix and pumpkin) just to double check that my measurements were correct. And using a small can (which is 14 oz), and one standard sized yellow cake box mix, it worked just fine for me! A lot of people have told me that they’ve used more pumpkin (any range from 14-oz to 28-oz to their liking) and it’s worked out as well. So definitely, if you were up for trying again, try using some more pumpkin?

  45. Anne posted on November 22, 2012 at 1:34 pm (#)

    I decided that I had to make this for thanksgiving (which is today). The picture looked so good, I couldn’t help myself. Although, through the entire process of making it, I was super skeptical about how good it would taste. Pumpkin and cake mix? No eggs? Say whaaat! I was expecting it to bake funny, but it came out like any other cake. I read other comments saying that they used a larger sized can of pumpkin puree so I got the 29 ounce can and used about 2/3 of it. The batter was thick, and I was worried. I’ve never made a dessert like this one before, and poking holes and sweetened condensed milk part scared me a little bit, but I went with it, and so glad that I did. This morning, I cut myself a little piece and went around the house asking everyone to try it. Got plenty of positive feedback, the cake came out exactly like the picture but my only problem was that it wasn’t pumpkiny enough for me. I thought the cake was going to taste like a pumpkin pancake or something but I really didn’t taste any pumpkin at all. Everyone else said they did so maybe it was just me. I don’t know how to solve that problem? Maybe pumpkin pie spice?Anyways, we’ll see how people take to it when they actually get here. I’m sure it’ll be a hit!

    • Ashton posted on December 3, 2012 at 12:13 pm (#)

      A lot of people told me that they used spice cake mix instead of pumpkin for a more pumpkin-like taste! Maybe you could try that? I don’t love spice cake personally, so I’ll stick to yellow, but if you’re looking for more of that flavor– it could work a little better for you!

  46. Joanne posted on November 23, 2012 at 12:04 am (#)

    Hey just wanted to say thanks. I got to your website through a series of links that started over at Pinterest. Anyway, made the cake for Thanksgiving with the fam and was told to hang on to the recipe for a possible encore! Thanks a bunch. Happy Thanksgiving!

  47. Mrs. Sergeant posted on November 28, 2012 at 8:16 am (#)

    OH MY WORD. I made 2 of these for Thanksgiving and both batches went in like an hour. It’s that good and I thank you so much for sharing such an easy and delicious recipe! <3

  48. Ashley G posted on December 1, 2012 at 11:59 am (#)

    Last week, my mother put me in charge of the dessert for Thanksgiving. I refused to make the standard, boring pumpkin pie that everyone always makes. I found this recipe on pinterest and just HAD to try it. It was such a hit with my family! It was rich, creamy and sweet. Everyone loved it, even my boyfriend who typically does not love sweets! I used the regular sized can of pumpkin puree, and I omitted the caramel sauce. It was absolutely fantastic! I will definitely be trying another one of your recipes when Christmas comes around in a few weeks!

  49. Heather posted on December 3, 2012 at 3:09 pm (#)

    ok, so I am definitely making this for Christmas dinner!!!!

  50. Kim posted on December 4, 2012 at 2:56 pm (#)

    I found you after talking to my sister about this recipe. She is making for us at Christmas. I was wondering if you have tried other varities? Wasn’t sure if there was any other puree out there that would turn out this good. Thanks!!

  51. Cambria posted on December 18, 2012 at 7:20 pm (#)

    I really like kick boxing too! You should totally try Turbo Jam by Chalene Johnson (
    And the cake looks awesome i love pumpkin

  52. Lori Phillips posted on January 2, 2013 at 1:57 pm (#)

    I made the pumpkin cake and it was so delicious . I made it for my church family and they all wanted the recipe :) Ty again for a delicious recipe . I will keep forever.

  53. Ashley posted on January 5, 2013 at 4:50 am (#)

    I make the heath bar cake version of this all the time.. and i LOVE pumpkin.. so I will be trying this FOR SURE!!.. It sounds SO GOOD!! :) I also found a recipe for a red velvet poke cake.. cant wait to try them !!

  54. Kate posted on January 6, 2013 at 4:45 pm (#)

    I’m not a fan of toffee, so I’m planning to use chopped walnuts on top. And also mulling over sprinkling a bit of coconut on top…
    I used a 14 ounce can of pumpkin and added a bit I had leftover in my freezer – maybe 4 or 5 ounces. Lastly, I tossed in a dash of vanilla. Just because.

  55. Sjw0889 posted on February 26, 2013 at 9:46 pm (#)

    What will happen if u use what the cake box calls for?

    • Ashton posted on February 27, 2013 at 8:15 pm (#)

      A goopy mess!

  56. Chrissy posted on March 27, 2013 at 8:15 am (#)

    Tried this with carrot cake and oh my God! It’s amazing! I didn’t even add the topping because we didn’t have Heath pieces. I will definitely be making this again at thanksgiving, it’s way yummier than pumpkin pie. Love this recipe :)

  57. Chrissy posted on March 27, 2013 at 3:28 pm (#)

    I posted earlier today I had used a carrot cake mix with the canned pumpkin (and it is so good I can’t recommend this enough) but I had just put a little cool whip on it because that’s pretty much all I had for a topping, but then I read the comments recommending cream cheese frosting. Duh! I quick whipped some up (a fluffy, light on the sugar kind using whipped cream cheese) and added it to the rest of the cake. It. Is. AWESOME.

  58. Victoria posted on April 25, 2013 at 8:03 am (#)

    Hey I was wondering what are health bits? Where can is buy them and what do they taste like?

    • Ashton posted on June 12, 2013 at 11:57 pm (#)

      You can find them in the baking aisle of most grocery stores. They’re just chopped up Heath (toffe/chocolate) bars!

  59. Brenda posted on May 23, 2013 at 8:20 pm (#)

    Made this for work party– had 4 requests for recipe! Used 3/4 of large can of pumpkin, came out moist and delicious! Thanks for sharing.

  60. Katie posted on August 5, 2013 at 7:21 pm (#)

    This looks heavenly! I love anything with pumpkin. I will be making this soon. Thanks for sharing. I found your recipe on Pinterest.


  61. Kaeli posted on August 18, 2013 at 1:19 pm (#)

    Just a tip- if you pour the sweetened condensed milk over the cake while still piping hot (don’t plan to take it out of the container until cleaning time!) it soaks into the cake much more than it would after letting it cool, making for a very moist and even more delicious cake!!

  62. shannon posted on September 1, 2013 at 7:55 pm (#)

    My cake didn’t rise very much, is this the way it is suppose to be:(?

    • Ashton posted on October 12, 2013 at 11:05 pm (#)

      Yes, this one doesn’t rise a ton! The pumpkin makes it a little extra dense!

  63. Kris posted on September 7, 2013 at 8:45 pm (#)

    People are really that uptight about calling it “better than sex cake”??? Really?

  64. Gwyn posted on September 19, 2013 at 12:22 pm (#)

    I made this yesterday. I did not have a yellow cake but I did have a spice cake mix. It was yummy. I just didn’t add the spices.

  65. Amy posted on September 21, 2013 at 9:24 pm (#)

    What if you don’t have time to let it set overnight?

  66. Sue posted on September 22, 2013 at 1:55 pm (#)

    My daughter in law made this for my son’s birthday. It was awesome! Everyone loved it!

  67. Anne from Pintesting posted on October 3, 2013 at 1:31 pm (#)

    OMG, that sounds amazing! I try to avoid coolwhip and use real whipped cream. Suggested substitution, please?

  68. angireid posted on October 3, 2013 at 4:55 pm (#)

    If I can be frank, who would want to be her if she wouldn’t eat that?? :)

  69. JoAnnWVa posted on October 4, 2013 at 1:20 pm (#)

    Hi all, I just made this cake. Baked it in a 9×13 pan by mistake but it turned out awesome. Great, great recipe. I cooked it at 20 minutes as I have a convection oven. Having company this weekend and I know they will love it!!!

  70. Courtney Johnson posted on October 11, 2013 at 11:07 pm (#)

    Does it matter if you put oil and eggs in the batter????! will it change the taste

    • Ashton posted on October 11, 2013 at 11:07 pm (#)

      It will change the consistency!

  71. Erin | The Emerging Foodie posted on October 16, 2013 at 9:06 pm (#)

    Ashton, this is a brilliant idea! Love bts cake and with the addition of pumpkin, it sounds even better! :)

  72. Diane posted on October 26, 2013 at 11:53 pm (#)

    I just baked the cake but I’m a little worried. The recipe says to let the cake cool completely before pouring the condensed milk over and I did. It’s been almost 3 hours in the frig and not all of the milk has soaked in yet – could that be because the cake was too cool? I checked a couple of other websites for this recipe and they say to pour the condensed milk on after 10 minutes out of the oven. I’m wondering if it soaks in better on a warm cake?

    • Ashton posted on October 28, 2013 at 11:11 pm (#)

      It’s always worked for me cooled. If you let it soak longer (I let it soak overnight when I can), it will be just fine! :)

  73. Sherry posted on October 29, 2013 at 11:36 pm (#)

    My boyfriend wants me to make this for a get together he is going to I would have to make it on Sunday and they would be eating it the next Saturday. Can it sit in the fridge that long, can it be frozen and thawed out the day before?

    • Ashton posted on November 6, 2013 at 11:30 pm (#)

      You can definitely make that far ahead of time and just keep it in the fridge!

  74. Jessie posted on October 30, 2013 at 12:12 pm (#)

    I use a straw to poke holes in my poke cakes. it takes the cake out instead of smooshing it down, and then there is a nice layer on the bottom of sweetness from the condensed milk too!

  75. Monica posted on November 3, 2013 at 8:27 pm (#)

    Really good, especially using only about 3/4 can of the SCM. If you use only the pumpkin and cake mix here, what can you substitute with other flavors (why do the variations call for making the cake with all the ingredients in the box directions?)


    • Ashton posted on November 6, 2013 at 10:20 pm (#)

      Because the pumpkin is a substitute for all of those other ingredients. Isn’t that cool? And it also gives a pumpkin flavor :) If you don’t want a pumpkin flavor in your other cakes, you shouldn’t use the pumpkin. Which is why the variations recommend using the package directions.

  76. Angela posted on November 6, 2013 at 4:41 pm (#)

    Will the condensed milk cause it to become soggy though?

    • Ashton posted on November 6, 2013 at 10:10 pm (#)

      Not soggy, but moist– yes! Have you ever had tres leches cake? It’s a lot like that.

  77. stephanie posted on November 10, 2013 at 11:53 am (#)

    My cake doesnt look as thick as yours yet? Its been in the fridge for a couple hours does it get thicker as it soaks?

  78. Laura posted on November 13, 2013 at 1:36 am (#)

    I make and try new dessert recipes quite often. I made this for a Halloween part
    And was inundated with recipe requests ! People seriously were
    Raving and fussing over this cake! I made it again a week later and again, everyone thought it
    Was TO DIE FOR!! Many requests for the recipe as well!! One dessert recipe I get the most
    Recipe requests for! I also used a cup of whipping cream with tsp sugar added.
    Aaahhhh. Luv this cake! Oh. And some who didn’t like pumpkin absolutely LOVED this cake!!

  79. Barb Jackson posted on November 24, 2013 at 1:29 pm (#)

    Wanting to make 13×9 cake, would pumpkin purée + a small amount of pump pie filling be ok to increase cake size?

  80. Ashley posted on November 25, 2013 at 1:40 pm (#)

    I made this cake and it was so delicious, that I want to make a 9×13 for Thanksgiving. Would you double the ingredients to make it in a 9×13 pan or will that be too much?

  81. Marilyn posted on November 26, 2013 at 3:22 pm (#)

    How far down should we poke the holes?
    How far apart should they be poked?
    I’m using a 9×13 pan. About how many holes should I poke?
    Should we use the entire can of sweetened condensed milk or just enough to fill the holes?
    Do we layer the cake with the milk after the holes are already filled?

    thanks!! :)

  82. Deanna Wiseburn posted on November 27, 2013 at 12:37 pm (#)

    I obviously should have read the recipe again, because I forgot the part about it being a super thick mix, so I worried the entire time it was baking. Being so thick it was hard to spread, and it doesn’t level itself like a normal cake would. Next time I will use extra pumpkin because I overlooked that part this time.

    It is currently soaking the milk in. But I love the pumpkin flavor. I used a new Pillsbury Pumpkin Cake mix, instead of yellow. Then followed your recipe as you said, I added some extra nutmeg, to get the flavor I wanted. (Much like the pumpkin donuts from Dunkin Donuts). I wish I would have paid attention though, because the cake isn’t as fluffy as a normal cake. But I sampled the batter, and I know it will be good.

    Thank You for sharing what I know will be an awesome recipe. I have made a similar one with a german chocolate cake mix…but never heard of the pumpkin one.

  83. Ashley posted on November 27, 2013 at 2:21 pm (#)

    I made this cake and loved it! I would like to make a 9×13 for Thanksgiving. I thought of doubling the ingredients but was afraid that would be to much. What do you think?

  84. ashley posted on November 27, 2013 at 6:27 pm (#)

    I swore the last time I made this I used a bigger pan but it could have also been a fairly different recipe. Can I use a larger size than 9×9?

    • Ashton posted on December 17, 2013 at 11:08 pm (#)

      Yes, you can use 9×13 :)

  85. Michelle posted on November 29, 2013 at 3:40 pm (#)

    I made something similar for Thanksgiving using your recipe for inspiration. My whole family loved it, and I used your link on my blog so you get credit where it’s due.

  86. Kristy posted on December 1, 2013 at 10:20 pm (#)

    Sounds delicious. Do you serve it cold? Or let it come back to room temp after you take it out of the fridge? Thanks!

    • Ashton posted on December 17, 2013 at 10:56 pm (#)

      Serve it cold :)

  87. deletha daniels posted on December 13, 2013 at 1:29 am (#)

    I add toasted peacan on top not candy try it.

  88. Nicole Sprinkle posted on December 17, 2013 at 7:48 pm (#)

    Can I use a gluten free cake mix?

    • Ashton posted on December 17, 2013 at 9:29 pm (#)

      I’ve never tried it, but I don’t see why not! Let me know how it goes :)

  89. posted on December 25, 2013 at 7:32 pm (#)

    So. I have had so many Pinterest recipe fails that I about gave up. I said WTH when I found your recipe and gave it a shot!

    So glad I did.

    I didn’t have yellow cake mix, just had butter. Had a 15 oz can of Trader Joe’s organic pumpkin puree. No pumpkin spice (hate it anyways) and mother of Hades… this was amazing. AMAZING. I did bake it in a 9×13 and it was perfection. I usually despise when people deviate from a recipe and post how they hate it or loved it but… my deviations were minor :) I can only imagine how great it is with yellow but I can say, Butter cake mix (I used generic Kroger brand) was PERFECTION!

    Thanks! Oh yeah. I also am going to gain 50 lbs. Thanksalot…haha

  90. Angela posted on September 7, 2014 at 10:43 am (#)

    What size cake mix would you ‘now’ use? I noticed that this recipe has been around for a couple of years, but the usual 18.25 oz. boxes of cake mix are no longer available. They’ve all been reduced in size, so how can can we compensate for the size difference? I’d love to make this for our upcoming Harvest Party, but I don’t want to waste the ingredients & my time if it wouldn’t come out right. Any suggestions?

    • Ashton posted on September 7, 2014 at 10:46 am (#)

      Just use any standard box cake mix– 15.25 ounces will work just fine with no adjustments needed :)

  91. Jessica posted on October 26, 2014 at 6:35 pm (#)

    Hi! I just made this cake :) but I used a 9×13 and the cake came out flat (didn’t really fluff up like a normal better than sex cake would) just wondering if I should double the ingredients or if you had other suggestions? ! Thanks in advance! 

    • Ashton posted on November 4, 2014 at 3:17 pm (#)

      Oh bummer, I’m sorry to hear that! One thing I’ve just learned that you can do is to add a little milk (I’ve started to do that in some of my more recent pumpkin cake recipes, and I like it)– like 1/2 cup or so. That should help!

  92. Jessica posted on October 26, 2014 at 7:16 pm (#)

    So I add all the ingredients listed on the box? Or just the cake mix and pumpkin? Because I just mixed the yellow cake mix and pumpkin and it wasn’t very fluffy.. :(

    • Ashton posted on November 4, 2014 at 3:16 pm (#)

      Just the cake mix and the pumpkin! You could add a little milk to make it fluffier if you want, but it works just fine without :)

  93. Kristen Rohrer posted on November 11, 2014 at 2:48 pm (#)

    Can this be made ahead of time and frozen to be brought out when needed?

    • Ashton posted on November 13, 2014 at 5:25 pm (#)

      I’ve never tried it, but I think that it would be okay. Since whipped cream is bought frozen and then thawed anyway, that texture shouldn’t be affected. The only ingredient I’m unsure of is the SCM, but my guess is that it will thaw just fine. If you try it, let me know how it goes!!

  94. Kristen posted on November 11, 2014 at 2:49 pm (#)

    Can this be made ahead of time and frozen to be brought out when needed? Thanks!

  95. Madison posted on December 4, 2014 at 11:17 pm (#)

    Hi there,

    You say that this cake will work best if kept with the sweetened condensed milk soaking in overnight. I plan on making this fairly late one night coming up, (9:00ish) and then not eating it until almost 24 hours later (probably between 6 and 8 pm the following night).  Would this be too long to keep it refrigerated, like would it get soggy, harden up from the cold, become too dense, etc? If so, I won’t make it until the following morning.

    • Ashton posted on December 5, 2014 at 10:57 am (#)

      Nope, that will be absolutely perfect!! Enjoy :)

  96. Robin Webber posted on December 10, 2014 at 5:32 pm (#)

    I made this dessert for Thanksgiving and my husband and my 22 year old son went crazy for this. Was simple to make and delicious. Was unsure how they would react to the pumpkin cake. Made it again last night to bring to an office holiday lunch… again, rave reviews. Have shared the recipe and this link. Thanks for posting!

  97. Erica Walker posted on February 7, 2015 at 11:42 am (#)

    I recommend trying finely chopped pecans instead of the Heath bits if you’re looking for a less sweet/slightly healthier version! This recipe is hands down the best thing I’ve ever found on Pinterest. I’m constantly asked to make this and it’s so easy that I always oblige!


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