How to Make a Pumpkin Pie Cake

There’s sure to be some disappointed guests at Thanksgiving dinner if the iconic pumpkin pie doesn’t show up on the dessert table. But what happens if the holiday chef isn’t a pumpkin fan? What’s a cakemaker to do?

Make a pumpkin pie cake of course!


Sharon Zambito (sugarshack) of SugarEd Productions ran into this very problem and dreamed up this clever cake deception to (sweetly) fool her guests. Read on to find out how to make her creative pumpkin pie cake!


1 prepared and cooled pumpkin cake (recipe below)
Airbrush colors or canned color mists: yellow, ivory
Icing colored with orange, brown and red coloring
Ivory fondant
Mini pie shells
Pie tin
White icing
Viva paper towel

Easy pumpkin cake recipe

1 (18.25 ounce) package spice cake mix
3 eggs
⅓ cup vegetable oil
1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree
1 TBS pumpkin pie spice
⅓ cup white sugar

Combine everything in mixer at #2 speed until combined. Pour into prepared pan and bake at 325 °F until done.

Cool completely. Level off the top, put the scraps in a plastic bag and hide them in your office so no one else can get to them.

Split layer into the height needed to fill your pie pan.



Start with a pie tin and line the edge with a strip of ivory fondant. Use some shortening to glue it on or it will not stay in place.


Flute the edges with your fingers just as you would to a regular pie crust.


Airbrush color gives this “pie” its magic. A little yellow base coat, followed by ivory. If you do not have an airbrush you can use the color mists in the can as well.


After the crust is dry, then add a layer of pumpkin cake. You can split and fill the cake if you want, but it is a pretty short layer, so I find the icing on the top to be enough for me.


Ice the top of the cake with colored icing. I used orange, brown and a little red to get this color. Some pumpkin pies are more brown, and others more orange, so go for the look you like. Sprinkle some cinnamon on top of the icing. If you get big clumps like you see in this photo, just spread it out with your spatula. Let the icing crust and then smooth it out with your Viva paper towel.


A little bit more airbrushing on the top. I used a combo of yellow and ivory to give it that  yummy custard-y baked look.


How about some mini meringue “pies” on the side ? (wink wink)


Follow the same process using mini pie shells. Pile on white icing with a spatula and hit it with a light coat of ivory airbrush color.


They have that beautiful just-baked meringue look.


Watch your guests’ faces as they cut into this pie and find out your secret surprise! (You might want to bring along a real pumpkin pie as backup, just in case. You don’t want an angry crowd at Thanksgiving.)

This cake was SO easy and fast to do. You can make several and trick all of your neighbors as well. And your coworkers and boss. And the kids’ teachers. The fun could go on for weeks!


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