Pumpkin Bundt Cake with Caramel Sauce is an easy and impressive dessert that looks and tastes like you did way more than you actually did.
This pumpkin and yellow cake mix recipe is an easy one-bowl cake recipe that mixes together in minutes. It's so moist and flavorful, no one will believe it started with a box of yellow cake mix.
And the pretty shape of the Bundt cake gives it a fancy flair with no extra effort on your part. But you can also bake it in a 9 x 13 pan!
The luscious homemade caramel sauce suggests a certain amount of doing difficult things with a candy thermometer, but it only takes 10 minutes to make. And no candy thermometer.
This pumpkin spice cake is the most delicious, easiest dessert ever, and one you'll be making all pumpkin season long. If you love pumpkin desserts, try Pumpkin Magic Cake Bars and Pumpkin Pie Dump Cake next!
Why You're Going to Love This
- Easy pumpkin cake recipe with simple ingredients
- Perfect fall dessert full of pumpkin spice flavor
- Canned pumpkin and yellow cake mix recipe that tastes like homemade
- Super easy caramel sauce recipe you'll want to put on everything
Yellow cake mix. Ignore the instructions on the box of cake mix.
Brown sugar. Brown sugar adds caramelly molasses flavor and offsets the savory pumpkin. You can also use granulated sugar.
Canned pumpkin. You'll use one cup from a 15 oz. can of pumpkin puree. Make sure you don't grab pumpkin pie filling at the store -- the cans look pretty similar.
Melted butter. Melted butter instead of oil is a great way to make cake mix taste better.
Sour cream. The extra fat content of sour cream makes boxed cake mix moist and rich.
Orange juice. I keep a resealable can of orange juice concentrate in my freezer so I can make small amounts of orange juice anytime. For ¼ cup orange juice, mix 1 tablespoon concentrate and 3 tablespoons water.
Baking spray. I use baking spray to coat my Bundt pan, which is nonstick cooking spray with flour. Wait to spray the pan until just before you add the batter. Otherwise, the oil will run down and pool in the nooks and crannies.
Brown sugar. Brown sugar makes it possible to quickly achieve rich, caramel flavor.
Corn syrup. Corn syrup is a type of invert sugar that prevents crystallization in the caramel sauce.
Evaporated milk. Evaporated milk is thicker and creamier than regular milk. For this recipe, I use a 5 oz. can. The tiny bit that's left over can just be dumped into coffee, tea, or oatmeal.
Salt. This caramel sauce isn't salty, but feel free to add more for a salted caramel vibe.
Cinnamon, optional. A little bit of cinnamon warms up the flavor and tastes great with this cake, but it's totally optional.
Cake mix. Try a box of spice cake mix for even more fall flavor! White, butter, vanilla, or carrot cake mix would also be delicious.
Orange juice. You can also use water, milk, or apple juice.
Mix-ins. Try adding mini chocolate chips, chopped chocolate, nuts, or dried fruit for extra flavor and texture. To keep them from sinking, chop them into small pieces, toss them in a little dry cake mix or flour, or swirl them into the cake batter after it's in the pan.
How to Make Pumpkin Cake with Yellow Cake Mix
Step 1: Stir the cake mix and spices together in a large bowl. Add the brown sugar, canned pumpkin, melted butter, sour cream, orange juice, and eggs.
Mix on low speed for 30 seconds, until just combined, then on medium speed for 2 minutes.
Step 2: Spray the Bundt pan with baking spray. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.
Step 3: Bake at 350 for 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, or the internal temperature reaches 205-210.
Place the cake pan upright on a wire baking rack to cool for about 10 minutes.
Step 4: Run a knife or thin spatula around the pan to loosen the cake around the edges and the center tube. Place the wire rack on top of the pan and flip it over. Lift the cake pan off of the cake.
Let the cake cool the rest of the way on the baking rack, at least 2 hours.
Step 5: Make the caramel sauce. Place brown sugar, corn syrup, butter, evaporated milk, and salt in a medium saucepan and turn the burner to medium heat.
Step 6: Whisk the mixture as it melts together and comes to a full boil. Boil and stir for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla and cinnamon.
Pour the caramel sauce into a heat-proof jar or bowl to cool.
- Spray the Bundt pan right before filling it with the cake batter.
- Let the cake cool for 10 minutes before flipping over the pan.
- Cool leftover caramel sauce completely before refrigerating.
Bundt Cake Troubleshooting Guide
How to Keep a Bundt Cake from Sticking
There's nothing quite like the heartbreak of a broken Bundt cake. Try these tips to keep your Bundt cake from sticking to the pan.
- Use a nonstick pan, but know that the coating can wear down. If the cake still sticks, try replacing your pan.
- Get a simple pattern. Intricate designs create more places to stick. The classic Bundt design is still plenty pretty.
- Coat all the grooves of the pan, and the center tube. I use nonstick baking spray with flour. Others brush on shortening or swear by "cake goop," a mixture of flour, vegetable oil, and shortening.
- Spray the pan right before adding batter. If you use spray, apply it just before you pour the batter into the pan. Any earlier and the oil will run down, pool in the grooves, and cause the cake to stick.
- Cool the cake for 10-20 minutes before flipping over the pan. If the cake is still hot, it could fall apart. Wait too long, and the moisture from the cake can cause it to stick.
- Loosen the edges of the cake with a thin knife or spatula to release any stuck parts before turning the pan over.
What Not to Do
- Use butter. The milk solids in butter can actually cause the cake to stick.
- Dust the pan with flour. Adding a coating of flour to the greased pan just doesn't look or taste very good.
How to Unstick a Stuck Bundt Cake
You flip over the pan for the big ta-da and ... nothing. It's stuck. Well, #$^%. Here are a few things you can try.
- Let it rest. Sometimes gravity will be a pal and help you out. Let it sit upside down and maybe it will fall out.
- Wiggle it. Gently shake it from side to side to see if you can loosen it out of the pan.
- Warm it up. Putting it back into the cooling-off-but-still-warm-oven just might loosen up any stuck parts.
- Freeze it. Once the cake has hardened, it might fall right out of the pan.
If all else fails, cut it up and turn it into a trifle or individual parfaits, smush it up into cake pops, or crumble it onto ice cream.
Store leftover pumpkin cake tightly covered in an airtight container at room temperature for 3-4 days.
Cool the caramel sauce completely, then refrigerate in a mason jar or microwave-safe container with a lid for easy reheating.
Reheat caramel sauce in the microwave in 30-second increments, stirring after each one, or in a saucepan over medium-low heat until warm.
Yes. To freeze pumpkin cake, let it cool completely. Wrap it in a double layer of plastic wrap and a layer of aluminum foil. Place in a freezer-safe container or another layer of aluminum foil and freeze for up to 3 months.
Freeze caramel sauce in a freezer-safe container. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator.
Caramel sauce can become gritty or grainy if the sugar crystallizes. This can happen for a number of reasons including not cooking the mixture long enough, or cooling the caramel sauce too quickly.
Thankfully, it's really easy to fix grainy caramel. Place the caramel sauce and a little bit of water in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring it to a boil while stirring until the mixture is smooth. It should only take a couple of minutes. You can also microwave it until bubbly to get rid of any grittiness.
Freeze it for up to 3 months, store it in the fridge for a week, or stir it into smoothies, overnight oats, pumpkin pancakes, yogurt parfaits, or even savory hummus.
Yes! Whenever baking a bundt cake in a 9 x 13 pan, be careful not to overfill the pan and bake for less time. Check for doneness every 10-15 minutes.
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Easy Pumpkin Cake with Yellow Cake Mix
- 1 box yellow cake mix 15.25 oz.
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon ginger
- ½ teaspoon allspice
- ½ cup brown sugar
- 1 cup pumpkin puree
- ⅓ cup melted butter
- ⅓ cup sour cream
- ¼ cup orange juice, apple juice, or water
- 4 eggs
- powdered sugar, for dusting -- optional
Brown Sugar Caramel Sauce
- 1 ½ cup brown sugar
- 3 tablespoons corn syrup
- 6 tablespoons butter
- ½ cup evaporated milk
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- ¼ teaspoon cinnamon, optional
Pumpkin Cake with Yellow Cake Mix
- Preheat the oven to 350.
- Stir the cake mix and spices together in a large bowl. Add the brown sugar, pumpkin puree, melted butter, sour cream, orange juice, and eggs. Mix on low speed for 30 seconds, then on medium speed for 2 minutes until completely combined.
- Spray the Bundt pan with baking spray with flour. Pour the batter into the pan and use a spatula to even out the top of the batter.
- Bake for 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean or the internal temperature reaches 205-210.
- Place the Bundt pan upright on a cooling rack for 10 minutes. Run a knife or thin spatula around the pan and center tube to loosen the cake. Place the wire rack on top of the pan and flip it over. Remove the cake pan. Let the cake cool the rest of the way on the baking rack, about 2 hours.
Easy Caramel Sauce
- Whisk and stir the brown sugar, corn syrup, butter, evaporated milk, and salt in a medium saucepan over medium heat until it comes to a full boil. Boil and whisk for 2 minutes or until it reaches 225 degrees.
- Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla and cinnamon.
- Pour the caramel sauce into a heat-proof jar or bowl to cool.
Seve & Enjoy!
- If desired, sprinkle powdered sugar over the cooled pumpkin cake. Serve the cake with warm caramel sauce.
Recipe inspired by Betty Crocker.