Pumpkin Dump Cake, learn how to make a dump cake that is a cross between pumpkin pie, cobbler, and cake. This simple fall dessert recipe is a great easy option for parties, potlucks, and even Thanksgiving!
This Pumpkin Dump Cake is a great combo of pie, cake, and cobbler all in one. The nuts also give a nice crunch which is perfect! So simple to make you’ll wonder why you haven’t made it before. This recipe has been super popular on Pinterest so thought it was time this oldie but goodie recipe post got a quick makeover with even more tips and information to help you make the perfect dump cake this fall.
If pumpkin isn’t quite your thing check out my other easy dump cake recipes like my:
- Chocolate Dump Cake – No fruit in this one. Just all chocolate goodness.
- Blueberry Dump Cake – Great for fresh or frozen blueberries.
- Caramel Apple Dump Cake – Another tasty fall-inspired dump cake.
- Cherry Dump Cake – This one would be delicious with a chocolate or vanilla cake mix.
- Pina Colada Dump Cake – Full of pineapple, coconut, and rum and inspired by the popular cocktail.
So if you’re still wondering what a dump cake is, let’s start with that…
What is a Dump Cake
Dump cakes are a great way to feed a crowd! You can change them up with your favorite fruit, cake flavors, and mix-ins.
I know the name “dump” cake sounds a little crazy, but don’t worry, they are easy and delicious. In general, you “dump” the ingredients into a baking pan then bake. Generally speaking, you don’t need any mixing bowls. However, some like this pumpkin dump cake may use some mixing bowls and may not quite follow the “dump” rule.
Dump cakes usually have some type of fruit on the bottom such as canned fruit, fruit pie filling, fresh fruit, or even defrosted frozen fruit. Canned fruit pie fillings are quite popular. I find them a bit gooey and sweet, but personal preference.
A DRY cake mix is then sprinkled over the fruit. Melted butter or slices of butter are then generally placed on top of the dry cake mix before baking. Some people also use melted butter.
Dump cakes can vary a lot! For this Pumpkin Dump Cake, you will need a mixing bowl. Unfortunately, there’s not really any way around it since you can’t generally buy pumpkin pie type filling that has ALL the ingredients in it such as eggs.
You probably have all the tools you need for this recipe but here are just a few that come in handy…
Tools & Equipment
- 13×9 baking pan – Fairly standard pan that hopefully you already have.
- Mixing bowls – Just a few should work for this recipe.
- Whisks – Good sturdy whisks will be helpful.
Pumpkin Dump Cake Ingredients
- Pumpkin – Canned unsweetened pumpkin or homemade roasted pumpkin. Do not use pumpkin pie filling.
- Sweetened condensed milk – Adds plenty of sweetness so no additional sugar needed.
- Eggs – Large eggs.
- Vanilla extract – Or you could (maple extract would be good) use your favorite extract or flavored liqueur.
- Pumpkin pie spice – Or you could also just use cinnamon if you don’t like all the spices in pumpkin pie spice.
- Salt – Just a little.
- Pecans – You can omit the nuts entirely if you have a nut allergy or don’t like them or could substitute something else like walnuts, toffee bits, or even some mini chocolate chips if you like pumpkin and chocolate together. Other baking chips such as cinnamon chips would also be a great substitute.
- Yellow cake mix – I like the yellow cake mixes but you could also try a white cake mix or even a spice cake mix. I’ve read cake mixes with pudding mix in them do NOT work as well, so you may want to avoid those.
- Milk – Any type will do.
- Butter – I used unsalted but salted butter or even margarine would work.
- Toppings (optional): sweetened whipped cream or whipped topping, caramel sauce (or butterscotch or maple syrup), and/or chopped nuts –
How to Make a Pumpkin Dump Cake
(scroll down to bottom of post for full printable recipe card with measurements)
- PREHEAT. Preheat oven and prep pan.
- PUMPKIN FILLING. Mix together pumpkin, sweetened condensed milk, eggs, vanilla, pumpkin pie spice, and salt. Pour into pan.
- NUTS. Sprinkle pecans on pumpkin filling
- CAKE MIX. Sprinkle dry cake mix over pecans.
- BUTTER. Mix together milk and melted butter and pour over cake mix.
- BAKE. Bake until golden brown.
This dump cake does take a while to bake so be sure the pumpkin is set underneath and the top is golden brown. I have only made this in the oven, but you might be able to make this in a slow cooker (crockpot). Again, I haven’t tried it, but it might work ok.
The bottom layer is similar to a pumpkin pie while the top layer is more cobbler and cake-like and a bit of crunch with the nuts.
That’s it! Super easy, right?
- You can serve this Pumpkin Dump Cake warm, at room temperature, or even cold. Personal preference. I kind of liked it cold like pumpkin pie.
- Top with whipped cream, whipped topping, vanilla ice cream, your favorite dessert sauce (caramel, butterscotch, or even maple syrup), and/or more nuts. This homemade Cajeta would be delicious!
- Serve with coffee, tea, or your favorite fall drink. This Pumpkin Spice Latte would be great!
- It is kind of rich, so small slices are probably perfect.
Quick Tips for Best Results
- Don’t make a lot of substitutes if you can. I haven’t tested all possible substitute ingredients so can’t guarantee how well they’ll all do if you make a lot of changes.
- Be sure you use unsweetened pumpkin and not pumpkin pie filling.
- This dump cake does take a long time to bake so I’d recommend checking on it every now and then and bake it a little longer than you think to make sure the pumpkin is set.
- The Pumpkin Dump Cake will cut better into slices when cold or at room temperature, but it still tastes good warm!
Pumpkin Dump Cake FAQ
How should I store Pumpkin Dump Cake?
You can store it covered at room temperature or in the refrigerator. I personally like to store it in the fridge so it lasts longer.
Can I freeze Pumpkin Dump Cake?
I haven’t tried it, but think it would be fine. The topping may just become a little soft.
How long will the dump cake last?
I would think a few days at room temperature, or maybe about a week in the fridge, and a few months in the freezer.
Instead of pecans, you could use a different nut, baking chip, toffee chips, or your favorite “mix-in”. Instead of pumpkin pie spice you could use your favorite fall spice blend or cinnamon.
Can I use low-fat ingredients?
You could try using a low-fat butter or margarine for the top as well as fat free milk.
What else can I add to this recipe?
You can add some of your favorite “mix-ins” such as baking chips or toffee chips instead of some of the nuts. You could also add a little of another extract or flavored liqueur. I haven’t tried adding a cream cheese or cheesecake swirl in with the pumpkin but bet that would also be delicious.
Can I make this vegan/vegetarian/low carb/gluten-free?
Here are some suggestions, but I can’t guarantee results. Be sure as always to check particular brands and ingredients if you’re following a specific diet or have diet restrictions or allergies.
Vegan – This one might be a little tough, but could probably be done. Make sure you get a vegan-friendly cake mix. You might also need to make a homemade sweetened condensed milk substitute, and also use a milk (almond milk or coconut milk) and butter substitute.
Vegetarian – It’s vegetarian.
Low-Carb – There is a lot of sugar and flour in this so it would be tough.
Gluten-Free – Use a gluten-free cake mix. Double-check the other ingredients but they should be ok.
Other Pumpkin Recipes You May Enjoy
- Pumpkin Muffins – Tasty copycat recipe of Panera’s pumpkin muffins.
- Pumpkin Cannoli Dip – A quick Italian inspired dessert dip.
- Pumpkin Cannoli – With store-bought cannoli shells, this dessert comes together in minutes.
- Pumpkin Smoothie – A healthy breakfast or snack option.
- Pumpkin Ale Cupcakes – A fun fall recipe with a cake mix, pumpkin, and pumpkin beer!
- Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies – Just a little pumpkin in these chocolate chip cookies so they don’t get overly gooey and have the perfect texture.
This recipe has been so popular on Pinterest but I would love to hear if you enjoyed this simple Pumpkin Dump Cake in the comments below!
Pumpkin Dump Cake Video
Here’s a quick video to show you how to put this dump cake together…
Pumpkin Dump Cake
- 29 ounces pumpkin (1 can, not pumpkin pie filling)
- 28 ounces sweetened condensed milk (2 - 14 ounce cans)
- 4 large eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 cups pecans chopped
- 15.25 ounces yellow cake mix (1 box, do not prepare cake according to box)
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1/2 cup butter melted
- Toppings (optional): sweetened whipped cream (or whipped topping), caramel sauce (or butterscotch or maple), and chopped nuts
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lighty butter a 13x9-inch baking dish or spray with nonstick spray.
- In a large mixing bowl whisk together the pumpkin, sweetened condensed milk, eggs, vanilla, pumpkin pie spice, and salt until well combined. Pour into prepared pan and spread to form an even layer.
- Sprinkle nuts on top of pumpkin mixture.
- Sprinkle dry cake mix over pecans.
- Mix together the milk and melted butter and spread evenly over dry cake mix covering as much of the cake mix as possible. (see note below)
- Bake dump cake for about 45-60 minutes or until golden brown around the edges and on top. Cool slightly then serve warm, at room temperature, or cold. Top with your favorite toppings such as whipped cream (or whipped topping), caramel sauce, and nuts.
(Nutrition data is provided when available for informational purposes only and calculated using an online nutritional calculator. For the most accurate information please calculate based on specific ingredients and brands you use as well as any changes you made to the recipe. I am not a certified nutritionist or registered dietician and any nutritional information provided should only be used as a general guideline and estimate.)
This post was originally published in September 2018, but updated in November 2020 with additional information.