The Pumpkin Cake Trick: Success or Failure?


I’ve seen it pinned quite a bit that one can add one can of pumpkin to one box of regular cake mix, and yield excellent results.

While I love pumpkin, I know that many find it bland. And without eggs to help it rise, I found myself questioning the quality of such a cake.

But I went to work with 9 of my nearest and dearest as the guinea pigs. (This cake was made for a “We’re Not Pregnant” Celebration. Read more here.)

I’m not a big fan of most generic cake mixes because a lot of them feature preservatives and other undesirables, but according to the ingredient list this yellow cake mix box from Trader Joe’s seemed innocent enough.

The mix instructions called for either one cup oil or one cup water + three eggs + 1/2 cup oil. Okay, the truth has to come out here a bit. I did not just add in pumpkin. Why? Because there’s no harm in water and a little choline from egg yolk does a body good, too. I did add in 1 cup of pumpkin as planned and the results were pretty impressive.

The cake was big! I ended up having to shave a lot of the very rounded top off. It rose quite a bit and it was incredibly moist. I actually brought the leftovers to my writing center tutors the following day and they commented on how moist it was.

Success? Yes. I think so. I could try this again with only pumpkin, but I think I already know the results: a fairly soft cake, but a dense one that will dry out a bit faster than usual. I think this trick would work well if you aren’t trying to please a crowd. You could even keep it as a single serving standby by having a box and some puree always ready, like I do with my favorite No-Pudge Brownies. But to impress a group, I recommend adding in the extra ingredients so long as they are healthful.

And to top it all off I went with a marshmallow creme from my local health market.

Yes, this was a non-pregnancy celebration, so the cake had a theme. See that little ring of 28 dots? Seven are a different color. I call it “Contraceptive Cake.” Read more about this party theme by clicking here.