The Cake

Thank you all for the wonderful birthday wishes. I had a great night with my family. The kids spent the evening in Grammie’s craft box making me bouquets of flowers, cakes, ice cream and decorative plates. They had so much fun! My dad worked the grill, as the sun finally poked its head out. He made a delicious barbecue chicken with Vidalia onion bbq sauce. It was super juicy and grilled to perfection. The whole evening was perfect – lots of great food, laughter and reminiscence.

In the kitchen with my dad. Now he’s a climbing apparatus for my kids!

But now on to why you came here today. The cake. It’s not fancy and it’s not a batter from scratch, but my goodness if this isn’t the best darn cake out there. Well, maybe there are better ones, but you’ll never convince me otherwise. It’s so moist and so darned full of wonderful pumpkin and spice flavors, and it’s covered in cream cheese frosting!

The preparation is simple. You beat together one package of a two-layer spice cake mix with three eggs, one 15-ounce can of pumpkin and…. wait for it…. one cup of Miracle Whip. Yep. Miracle Whip. Not mayo, Miracle Whip. Sounds awful, I know, but trust me the moisture it lends to this cake is incredible.

The cake bakes for 30-35 minutes at 350F. Once it’s completely cooled you can top it with your favorite cream cheese icing. We use a frosting made with Neufchatel cheese. It’s not a firm icing, but the fact that it drips off the sides just makes every bite of this cake all the more delicious.

We served it with my mom’s gold-colored forks. These have been a favorite of mine since I was a kid. I requested them at each of my birthdays. I thought they were so fancy and elegant – and of course I believed they were real gold. And check-out Mr. N’s decorative plates he made for all of us last night. We actually used them as chargers so that they didn’t get ruined.

I’m assuming you can all guess how many spoons we gave this dish. It was easily a 4 spoon dessert for everyone, except for Miss A who yelled out, “20 spoons!” I think she liked it. I just love this cake and I’m very thankful that my dad has made it for me for the past few years. It’s a new tradition that I plan to enjoy for many more too. (Much better than the old tradition, “Happy Birthday to you. Happy Birthday to you. You look like a monkey and you act like one too.” Okay, that’s still pretty fun too.) Thank you dad. And thank you too mom. I love you both.

Print this recipe: Pumpkin Spice Cake

A bunch of silly monkeys.

37 comments on “The Cake

  1. […] For those of you that know me well, you know I don’t make cakes (unless by special request from a birthday boy). I’m a pie, crisp, cobbler type of baker (you’ll find lots of those sprinkled throughout this blog). Cakes, however, are just not my thing. Auntie Karen, on the other hand, made a wicked, good cinnamon streusel cake – and she would make it just for me. I can’t even recall how many birthdays I made this special request. I wanted Auntie Karen’s cinnamon streusel cake, and only hers. She always delivered. Honestly, it was likely from a box mix, but it didn’t matter. It was moist, full of brown sugar and cinnamon and absolutely the only cake I would eat for a long time. (To this day I’m not much of a cake fan – unless dad is making my birthday cake!) […]

  2. What a wonderful post. Sounds like you have beautiful loving parents! Omg, the cake looks delicious, who would have thought miracle whip! Now I gotta try that! I totally love pumpkin, I literally add it to everything from my oatmeal to my baked goods to my lattes (similar to Starbucks Pumpkin latte)! :)

    • Kristy says:

      You would love this cake Lisa – and it’s so easy to make. We used Miracle Whip lite to save a few calories too. ;) I read your latte post today – mmmmmmm!!!!! It sounds better than Starbucks! :)

  3. spicegirlfla says:

    I love these old family recipes! I remember friends in my neighborhood when I was growing up that their mothers baked cakes similar to this. Tho I would have had no idea if mayo was in it!! Sounds like you had a wonderful bday!!

  4. Stefanie says:

    It looks like you had a wonderful birthday! It’s always so wonderful to spend birthdays and holidays with family and those you love :)
    The cake looks great, too! Pumpkin and cream cheese are such a wonderful combo… you really can’t go wrong. Though adding Miracle Whip reminds me of Paula Dean and how she adds butter or mayo to everything :P Happy birthday again!

  5. Mary says:

    what a lovely family! (cakes sounds pretty delicious!)
    Mary x

  6. Charles says:

    I’ve never tried a pumpkin cake before – every year when I’m hollowing out the hallowe’en pumpkin I keep telling myself that I’ll make a pie or cake or something but never do. It looks beautiful – so moist and tasty, and with that frosting too (mayo, lol) – great stuff. Great photos as always, especially the last one :D

  7. I’m really glad you had a wonderful birthday Kristy :)
    the smiles on your faces in that last picture says it all
    and I agree with everyone you are really lucky your dad is so sweet

  8. rsmacaalay says:

    Miracle whip in a cake, I never had tried it but I bet that tastes good. Love that last pic everybody is so happy :)

    • Kristy says:

      It definitely tastes good. It was totally surprising to me. I didn’t think I would like this at all when I learned what was in it, but somehow it all comes together just right. :)

  9. Kelly says:

    I’d have to agree with your assessment on the best darn cake imaginable for your birthday. As far as I’m concerned, anything made by a parent for their adult child takes the cake! And I am completely blown away by Mr. N’s decorative plates – I noticed the thematic plates but had no idea they did not come from a store until I read that part – Wow, Mr. N! Looks like Miss A has a craft of some description on her head :) Just love the photo – how happy are all of you?? :)

    • Kristy says:

      Miss A did have a little something on her head! It’s actually a beaded decorative thing that slips over wine bottles. She uses it to play princess, and I gotta say, it actually works! And Mr. N’s decorative plates were just too cute. He was a little disappointed we didn’t eat on them, but they were just too darn pretty to throw away. Once I explained the concept of a charger plate to him he seemed to think that would work. ;) Hope you’re having a great weekend Kelly!

  10. Miracle Whip? WOW. I have to try that. And the best cakes are usually the ones that come from someones heart when they’re baking it :). I’m so happy you enjoyed your birthday :). What’s funny is.. I saw a shirt in TJ Maxx the other day that said “Mommy’s little funny monkeys” lol. You guys are such a wonderful family to read about. *HUGS* all around :)

  11. This looks beautiful! Being with family, spending time together, is the most important thing, in my opinion. This cake is gorgeous and sounds delicious! I’ve never used miracle whip with cake mix, but is sounds like an interesting idea for moisture content. Kind of like sour cream, I can imagine. I’m so happy you guys had a good time. :) This is a wonderful post.

  12. Mel says:

    Happy belated birthday Kristy! Mmmm, that cake looks beautiful – and I am glad you had such a great birthday with your family!!

    On another note, I have not heard of Miracle Whip before, wonder if we have it in New Zealand. Sounds like a crazy ingredient to use in a cake, but I can definitely see why it would work!

    • Kristy says:

      Thank you so much Mel! Miracle Whip is a form of dressing similar to a mayo, but a bit sweeter. There’s a bit of a running “battle” here in the U.S. between those that prefer Miracle Whip to those that prefer mayo. I think they both have their place, but I have a slight preference to Miracle Whip. That said, when my dad first made this cake I almost didn’t try it because he told me it had Miracle Whip in it. I was so grossed out. Fortunately I took a bite…the rest is history. ;)

  13. How super special Kristy! Wonderful! :-) Mandy

  14. Great cake, and made with love. You are very very fortunate to have both your Mom and Dad. I love it that your Dad bakes, how cool is that!

    • Kristy says:

      It’s very cool that he bakes. Not often, but when he does I know it will be something good! And I couldn’t agree with you more – very fortunate indeed. :)

  15. Grammie Mom says:

    Honey, I’m glad you enjoyed your birthday so much, so did your Dad and I. I can make you happy today as well. The beautiful gold forks that we have always used for birthdays and “special” occasions are actually 14k gold plated. So, yes, sweetie, you’ve been using “real” gold forks for all these many years. Now you be sure and return that fork you borrowed!

    • Kristy says:

      Spending my birthday with you guys is my favorite part of the week! It’s been a blast the last few years. :) Glad we’re back around to do it this way again. And huh! What do you know…they do have real gold? I have always had Champagne taste. LOL.

  16. ChgoJohn says:

    What a great birthday! Loved the designer plates, especially that they were re-purposed as chargers so that they could be saved.But Miracle Whip in cake? That’s a new one on me and sounds delicious, as does the Neufchatel frosting. Great party = great post!

    • Kristy says:

      That’s my Mr. N. He is always creating something and is the master at re-purposing. If he doesn’t have a cooking show someday, perhaps he’ll be the next design star. LOL. His creativity blows me away. He’s got a good eye for design (which I’ll take credit for – LOL) and an insatiable curiosity for how things work (this I will give all the credit to his late-great-grandfather on Mike’s side). The Neufchatel frosting totally makes this cake for me. The fact that it’s a bit runny just makes it all the better. And Miracle Whip. Who would have thought. You don’t taste it one bit either!

  17. The cake looks fabulous. One of my mom’s best cakes also starts from a box believe it or not. I wonder how I sneak the MW in the batter without Katherine seeing… it’s not mayo will probably not fly with her!

    • Kristy says:

      I would think it would be tough to get this one past her in the prep stages. She’d never taste it in the final result though. ;) Still…honesty is always the best policy right?! I would never advocate sneaking anything past Katherine. :)

  18. Caroline says:

    Just got an e-mail about your post and came to your blog as soon as I could. My, my that cake looks good. Your dad did such a great job. Just because it’s not all from scratch doesn’t mean that it’s not delicious! Pumpkin paired with cream cheese frosting is one of my favorite combos…well, besides lemon and raspberry or something. :) I’ve never added Miracle Whip to any of my desserts, but a good friend of mine gave me a recipe for her grandma’s miracle whip cupcakes and she swears by them. I still need to give them a shot!

    • Kristy says:

      He did a great job didn’t he?! :) I’m with you…lemon and raspberry….tough to beat those on their own or together. I think you would like this cake though. It has all of the flavors of pumpkin and spice, but none of the texture of pumpkin pie. And the cream cheese frosting makes this cake! ;) I’m planning to devour the rest of it tonight. Hee hee.

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