Pumpkin Spice Cake with a Cream Cheese Swirl

If you are looking for a cozy and warm treat for fall, look no further. This pumpkin spice cake with a cream cheese swirl is bound to warm you right up.

Did you know that as I baker, I run out of sugar and flour often? I think I have extra bags stored, but I frequently forget that I already used them the previous time I ran out.

Well, I ran out last week on a very inconvenient day. We had the privilege of having the two missionaries from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints for dinner. Their time is split between 10 different congregations, and it was our congregation’s week to host them for dinner. I always jump on the opportunity to feed these young men or young women.

The problem is, they had been warned that I would have something amazing for dessert, so they already had their hopes up. My problem, however, was that I was completely out of flour. Gasp!

However, I had all of the ingredients on hand for this pumpkin spice cake and it.was.so.incredible. The two missionaries kept asking for more, as well as my kids and husband.

It has everything that you could ever want in a cake; cream cheese, pumpkin, and chocolate! I surprised myself with how delicious it was.

I made it again to photograph, and my oldest daughter came home from school and actually dug out a huge piece right from the center. She saw a huge chunk of cream cheese swirl and just went for it.

F.A.Q.S and Troubleshooting

Can I use a different flavor of cake mix? I think a different flavor of cake mix would be totally fine! However, if you want get those strong cinnamon, clove, nutmeg flavors. If you are looking for those warm spices, I would suggest adding an extra teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice. If you don’t want to do that, though, I think the cake would be great with a yellow or chocolate cake mix.

What can I make with the remaining pumpkin? There isn’t much pumpkin leftover, but I would definitely suggest using any leftover pumpkin to make my Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins, this Pumpkin Delight, or even this Pumpkin Butterscotch Cake.

I can’t find pumpkin pie spice, help! That’s okay! You can easily use a combination of spices that you probably already have on hand. I’d probably add 1/4 tsp each of cloves, ginger, nutmeg, and cinnamon.

My cake fell, what went wrong? If the center of your cake fell, you most likely under baked it. Make sure to bake it long enough that the sides start (key word, start) to pull away from the sides of the pan and the middle isn’t super jiggly. The fun thing about this cake is that it will crack a little where the cream cheese is. I love that it adds a little character to it.

Pumpkin Spice Cake with a Cream Cheese Swirl


  • For the cake
  • 1 box spice cake mix 
  • ⅓ cup granulated sugar 
  • 1 tsp. Pumpkin pie spice
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin 
  • ¾ cup water
  • ½ cup vegetable oil 
  • ½ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips  
  • Cream Cheese Filling 
  • 1 8 oz. block cream cheese 
  • ½ cup butter, softened 
  • 3 cups powdered sugar

Preheat your oven to 350. Grease a 9×13 pan and set aside. 

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the spice cake mix, sugar, and pumpkin pie spice. Once the dry ingredients are fully incorporated, add in all of the wet ingredients (eggs, pumpkin, water, and oil). Mix well until all ingredients are combined and there are no dry ingredients visible. Pour cake batter into the greased 9×13 pan and set aside. 

In a separate bowl, use a hand mixer to combine the cream cheese and butter. They should be mixed until creamy and completely combined. Slowly add in powdered sugar 1 cup at a time. The cream cheese mixture will be thick. 

Place spoonfuls of the cream cheese filling over the top of the cake batter. Use a knife to swirl in the cream cheese. It will mix slightly into the cake batter and that’s totally fine. Sprinkle the top with the chocolate chips. 

Bake for 35-40 minutes or until the center is not jiggly and the sides start to pull away from the pan. 

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