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We’ve all been there: you finally try a recipe expecting the perfect pumpkin cake, only to end up with something dense and crumbly instead. What happened?! It turns out that it could be one of many things going wrong in your baking process. The great news is that this 2-ingredient pumpkin cake can help you identify and fix those issues, so you’re left with a delicious and light pumpkin cake every time!

I will cover everything from why your pumpkin cake may be too dense to how to make the perfect earthy sponge – so read on for all of our tips!

When it comes to baking cakes, one of the most common issues is having a dense cake. A dense cake lacks the desired fluffiness and tends to feel heavier when eaten.

There are various reasons why a cake can become dense, and it’s essential to understand them to avoid this problem.

Overmixing the batter, insufficient leavening agents, improper measuring of ingredients, too much fat, incorrect oven temperature, and overbaking are some of the factors that contribute to cake density. It is necessary to consider all these things when trying to determine how long to bake a cake from scratch.

To prevent a dry or dense cake, you can incorporate techniques such as using cake flour, adding a creamy and light wet ingredient like sour cream or plain yogurt, and checking the cake’s doneness.

Close up of a pumpkin and spice pound cake

Why is my pumpkin cake dense?

Having a dense pumpkin cake can be quite frustrating, especially after spending time and effort in making it. There are several reasons why your pumpkin cake may turn out dense; here are some possibilities:

  1. Overmixing the batter– this can cause the cake to become dense and heavy.
  2. Using too much flour– measuring flour accurately is important. Too much flour can cause a dense texture in cakes.
  3. Not using enough leavening agents– Baking powder and baking soda help lift the batter. It’s important to use the correct amount.
  4. Oven temperature– If the oven temperature is too low, the cake may not rise well and become dense.
  5. Too much fat– Using too much butter or oil can also lead to a dense cake.

Below is a detailed table of pumpkin ingredients and tips to help you avoid a dense pumpkin cake.

IngredientQuantity (for a standard cake)Tips to Avoid a Dense Pumpkin Cake
All-purpose flour2 cupsSift the flour to aerate it and create a lighter cake
Baking powder1 1/2 teaspoonsEnsure freshness to help the cake rise properly
Baking soda1/2 teaspoonUse to counteract acidity and help the cake rise
Salt1/2 teaspoonEnhances flavors and balances sweetness
Ground cinnamon1 teaspoonAdds flavor while not weighing down the cake
Ground nutmeg1/4 teaspoonAdds flavor without adding density
Granulated sugar1 1/2 cupsCream with butter for a fluffy and tender cake
Unsalted butter1/2 cup (1 stick), softenedCream with sugar to incorporate air into the batter
Eggs2 largeAdd one at a time, and beat well to incorporate air
Vanilla extract1 teaspoonEnhances the flavors of the cake
Canned pumpkin puree1 cupDon’t overmix; fold gently into the batter

Additional tips to avoid a dense pumpkin cake:

  1. Preheat the oven to ensure proper baking temperature.
  2. Use room temperature ingredients, especially eggs and butter.
  3. Do not overmix the batter, as this can cause the cake to become tough.
  4. Bake the cake on the middle rack for even heat distribution.
  5. Test for doneness with a toothpick or cake tester before removing it from the oven.
  6. Allow the cake to cool in the pan for a few minutes before transferring it to a wire rack to cool completely.

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How do you substitute pumpkin for eggs and oil in cake mix?

Using pumpkin puree or canned pumpkin in cakes is a great way to add moisture and flavor. You can substitute 1/4 cup of pumpkin puree or canned pumpkin for every egg. When substituting oil for pumpkin puree, use an equal amount (1 cup). If the recipe calls for butter, use melted butter instead of oil.

It’s also important to note that pumpkin puree will add some sweetness and moisture, so you may need to adjust the sugar and/or liquid added to the recipe.

Who makes a pumpkin cake mix?

When it comes to making pumpkin cake, using a cake mix can save time and effort while still delivering a delicious dessert. There are a few brands that make pumpkin cake mix, including:

  1. Duncan Hines: Their Classic Yellow Cake Mix can be combined with canned pumpkin and spices to create a flavorful pumpkin cake.
  2. Betty Crocker: Their Super Moist Spice Cake Mix can also be transformed into a pumpkin cake with the addition of canned pumpkin and warm spices.
  3. Pillsbury: Known for their boxed cake mixes, Pillsbury also offers a Moist Supreme Pumpkin Cake Mix for those who want a more straightforward pumpkin cake recipe.

While using a cake mix may simplify the baking process, it’s important to note that substitutions and adjustments can still be made to achieve the desired texture and flavor. 

Is pumpkin puree the same as canned pumpkin?

Pumpkin puree and canned pumpkin are often used interchangeably in recipes. However, they are not exactly the same thing. Canned pumpkin is typically made from a specific type of squash called Dickinson squash. This strain closely resembles butternut squash and was specifically developed for pumpkin pie filling.

On the other hand, pumpkin puree can be made from any pumpkin or squash that is cooked and pureed. The texture and flavor may vary depending on the type of pumpkin used. It is important to note that not all canned pumpkin products are 100% pumpkin. Some may be a blend of multiple varieties.

So, when buying canned pumpkins, it’s essential to check the label for ingredients and the percentage of actual pumpkins. 

Chocolate pumpkin cake with caramel buttercream icing.

How much pumpkin replaces egg?

The amount of pumpkin used to replace eggs depends on the recipe. Generally, for cakes and baked goods, you can use about 1/4 cup of canned pumpkin puree or cooked mashed pumpkin for each egg that is called for in a recipe. This substitution will work best in recipes that call for two or three eggs, as more than that will significantly change the texture and flavor.

When using pumpkin as an egg substitute, it’s important to note that the cake may be denser than usual because of its high moisture content. Additionally, you may need to bake your pumpkin cake a bit longer to ensure it is cooked. If your recipe calls for more eggs than this, consider using a different egg substitute, such as applesauce or mashed banana.

Can you use canned pumpkin instead of oil?

Absolutely! Canned pumpkin is a great alternative to oil in your pumpkin cake. The canned pumpkin adds moisture and fiber that helps keep the cake dense. Just substitute an equal amount of canned pumpkin for oil when preparing your cake recipe.

2-Ingredient Pumpkin Cake Recipe

This 2-ingredient pumpkin cake is incredibly easy to make and will surely satisfy everyone’s sweet tooth. It requires just two ingredients – one box of pumpkin spice cake mix and one can of pumpkin puree – so it’s perfect for when you don’t have much time to bake.

2 Ingredient Pumpkin Cake

Ingredients to Make 2-Ingredient Pumpkin Cake

To make a simple 2-ingredient pumpkin cake, all you are going to need are the following:

  • 1 box pumpkin spice cake mix
  • 1 can (15 ounces) pumpkin puree
2 Ingredient Pumpkin Cake

How to Make a 2-Ingredient Pumpkin Cake

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Grease a 9 x 13-inch baking pan or bundt pan with cooking spray and set aside.
  2. Place the pumpkin cake mix in a large bowl and pour the pumpkin puree over it. Mix together until fully combined, about 1-2 minutes.
  3. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and spread evenly with a spatula.
  4. Bake for 25-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Allow to cool before serving.


Your 2-ingredient pumpkin cake is now ready to be served and enjoyed. Keep leftovers stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

This simple recipe can also be used as a base for more creative variations like adding chocolate chips or nuts or topping with cream cheese frosting.

Yield: 10

2 Ingredient Pumpkin Cake

Close up of a pumpkin and spice pound cake
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes


  • 1 Box of spice cake mix
  • 1 can of regular size can of pumpkin


  1. Mix the two ingredients.
  2. Transfer the mixture to a bundt pan.
  3. Bake the cake for around 30 minutes at 350 degrees F.
  4. Once you remove it from the oven and let it cool a little bit….flip it over on your serving platter and sprinkle it with powdered sugar if you desire.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 201Total Fat: 2gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 382mgCarbohydrates: 44gFiber: 1gSugar: 23gProtein: 2g

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