The recipe that has been hurting my brain for 4 years is finally here. Our insanely delicious pumpkin lava cake is going to blow up Christmas desserts for the rest of eternity.
Aren’t you a little like me? You get to that big Christmas meal and go back and forth on which dessert you want to bring to the table, something chocolate, a little pie – oh but you ate pie for a week after Thanksgiving, so maybe not…
Pumpkin lava cake to the rescue!
I saw all of those chocolate lava cakes for years but never fully enjoyed one, so I decided that we need a pumpkin version. All the spice of a molasses or gingerbread feel but 100% pumpkin. I wanted to feel the Christmas spirit and for me that means smelling it and tasting it. You know I’m right, you walk into a place that smells of Christmas and you’re instantly all tingly like you are a little kid again. Chocolate is awesome, but Christmas needs spice!
Ingredients for Pumpkin Lava Cake
Prep all your warm Christmas spices and the typical cake ingredients and you’ll have what you need to get going on this cake. Here is what you will need:
- Dry Ingredients: flour, sugar, dark brown sugar, baking soda, salt
- Spices: cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, ginger, cloves
- Wet Ingredients: evaporated milk, pumpkin, butter, vanilla
And for the brown sugar cinnamon topping, you will need a couple of more ingredients:
- Light Brown Sugar
- Dark Brown Sugar
- Heavy Cream
- Boiling Water
The measurements for each ingredient can be found in the recipe card at the end of the post.
How to Make Pumpkin Lava Cake
Remember how this cake is going to blow up Christmas desserts for all time? Well, the best news about it is that it so easy! Here are the basic steps:
- Preheat oven and grease a 9×13 baking dish.
- Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl.
- Add the wet ingredients and mix until just blended.
- Pour into the baking dish.
- In a separate small bowl, combine all the dry ingredients for the crumb topping.
- Sprinkle over the batter.
- Bring water to boil in a glass measuring cup in the microwave. Whisk in the cream and butter.
- Pour over the top of the batter.
- Bake and cool for a few minutes before serving with ice cream or whipped cream.
All of these instructions can be found in more detail down in the recipe card.
Tips for Making Pumpkin Lava Cake
- If you really want to step up your pumpkin dessert game, brown the butter before adding it to the cake batter. It adds so much richness.
- When you add the wet ingredients to the dry, do not overmix it. Just stir it enough to moisten all the dry ingredients and then stop. It’s okay if there are a few streaks of dry ingredients.
- Do not stir the batter after you have added the topping and hot water/cream mixture. This is what makes the lava. It’s pretty much magic.
What is the Difference Between Light and Dark Brown Sugar?
The amount of molasses added to the sugar is the only difference. Dark brown sugar has almost twice the molasses added to it as light brown sugar. It has a deeper and richer caramel-y flavor.
What is Evaporated Milk?
Evaporated milk is cow’s milk that has been heated so that most of the water evaporates from the milk leaving it concentrated. It could also be called unsweetened condensed milk. Sweetened condensed milk is the same thing but with sugar added.
Storing, Reheating and Freezing Pumpkin Lava Cake
Lava is hot, so this cake is best served and eaten while it’s still warm and the lava is gooey. As the cake cools, the cake will absorb the lava and it won’t have that “lava” feel. It will still taste dang delicious though!
Store the cake in an airtight container in the refrigerator. You can reheat individual pieces in the microwave.
This cake will freeze fine, but like I just mentioned, that lava gooey-ness won’t be quite the same as when you first pull it out of the oven. Make sure the cake has cooled completely then wrap in plastic wrap and then foil. It will keep in the freezer for up to 3 months.
More Delicious Pumpkin Desserts:
- Swirled Pumpkin Cheesecake
- Gingersnap Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars
- Pumpkin Sheet Cake
- Nutella Swirled Pumpkin Bars
- Chewy Pumpkin Cookies
Insanely Delicious Pumpkin Lava Cake
- 2 1/2 Cups Flour
- 1 Cup Sugar
- 1/2 Cup Dark Brown Sugar, regular is fine
- 4 Teaspoons Baking Soda
- 4 Teaspoons Cinnamon
- 2 Teaspoons Ground Cardamom
- 1 1/2 Teaspoons Nutmeg
- 1 Teaspoon Ground Ginger
- 1/4 Teaspoon Ground Cloves
- 1/2 Teaspoon Salt
- 1 Cup Evaporated Milk
- 1 Cup Canned Pumpkin
- 1/2 Cup Butter, melted, see note
- 2 Teaspoons Vanilla
- 1/2 Cup Light Brown Sugar
- 1/2 Cup Dark Brown Sugar, all light brown is fine
- 1 Tablespoon Cornstarch
- 1 Teaspoon Cinnamon
- 1 Cup Heavy Cream
- 2 Tablespoons Butter, melted
- 1 Cup Boiling Water
- Preheat oven to 350°. In a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients. Add milk, pumpkin, butter and vanilla; mix until blended. Grease a casserole dish or 9x13" baking pan and pour in the batter, spreading it evenly.
Make the Topping
- In a small bowl, mix together the brown sugars, cornstarch, and cinnamon; sprinkle over batter.
- In a glass measuring cup, boil the water in the microwave. Whisk in the heavy cream and melted butter. Pour the hot mixture over the top but do not stir!!!
- Bake until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean and liquid is bubbling around the edges, about 30-40 minutes. The middle will still jiggle. Cool about 15 minutes in pan and then serve with ice cream or whipped cream!
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Flavor was decent but mine didn’t look anything like the picture when it came out of the oven. Additionally, a bunch of it overflowed from my 9×13 pan all over my oven so now I have to clean that tonight too. 🙁 My guests liked it though so that was a win.
Hi Mauren! I’m so sorry about the mess. I’m not sure what could have happened to cause that. I’m glad your guests enjoyed it!