This unique pumpkin-flavored cake is so light and fluffy that it is like eating a cloud. It is just 3 ingredients and doesn’t require any flour, eggs, butter or oil. It is a fun dessert to serve to family and friends.
This pumpkin cake is a fun dessert to try. When you slice into it, it looks like a cake but it isn’t really a cake. It is very light and fluffy and melts in your mouth. This dessert is also packed with pumpkin and pumpkin spice flavor.
- Pumpkin Pie Mix
- Gelatin Powder
Pumpkin Pie Mix: This recipe uses canned pumpkin pie mix to give the dessert its pumpkin flavor and sweetness. Pumpkin pie mix is pumpkin puree that is already mixed with sugar and spices. You can also make your own pumpkin pie mix using pumpkin puree, sugar and pumpkin spice. I don’t recommend just using plain pumpkin puree because your cake won’t be sweet enough.
Applesauce: This recipe uses unsweetened applesauce. Make sure to use unsweetened. Sweetened applesauce sold in supermarkets often is sweetened with syrup which prevents the batter from fluffing up. Applesauce is used in this recipe for a few reasons. First, pumpkin puree is too thick on its own, so adding applesauce will help thin out the puree. In addition, applesauce adds a nice flavor and some texture to the cake. Also because applesauce is not completely smooth, it helps create the look of the “crumbs” of the cake.
Gelatin powder: This recipe uses unflavored gelatin powder. The gelatin is what gives the dessert its structure.
How to Make Pumpkin Cloud Cake
The pumpkin and applesauce are first mixed together. The gelatin is then stirred in. Adding the gelatin will initially make the puree mixture very thick. The mixture is then heated on a stove to fully dissolve the gelatin. As it heats up and the gelatin dissolves, you will see the mixture become much thinner, like a soup. Once dissolved, the mixture is poured into a mixing bowl of a stand mixer. Let the mixture cool for about 15 minutes and then beat it on highest speed with the mixer until the mixture turns light and fluffy, almost like whipped cream. Turn off the mixer and scrape the sides of the bowl. Then beat for 5 more minutes until the mixture becomes even fluffier and can hold a soft peak.
The batter is then poured into a baking pan lined with parchment paper. Place it into the fridge until set and then it’s ready to serve. If desired, add frosting on top before cutting and serving. I added whipped cream frosting to mine.
Cloud Cake Texture
This dessert looks like a cake but will not have the texture of a cake. It is very light, soft and fluffy and melts in your mouth as you eat it.
More Cloud Cake Recipes
3 Ingredient Pumpkin Cloud Cake
- 1 1/4 cups (323 g) canned pumpkin pie mix
- 1 1/4 cups (314 g) unsweetened applesauce
- 2 tbsp +1 tsp (21 g) unflavored gelatin powder
- Use a large sheet of parchment paper to line the sides and bottom of a 9 inch square pan. You want to use a single sheet so that you can lift the cake out of the pan after.
- Add pumpkin and applesauce to a large heat-proof mixing bowl. Whisk until evenly combined. Sprinkle gelatin across the surface. Whisk until gelatin is fully incorporated. The gelatin powder should make your puree thicker and chunkier.
- Using the double boiler method on the stove, heat the puree and dissolve the gelatin completely. As your mixture heats up, it should become noticeably thinner and soupier, like a pumpkin bisque consistency (see photo in post for reference). The mixture should feel warm to the touch, but not too hot to touch. Be sure to whisk any lumps of gelatin until fully dissolved. Then remove the bowl from the stove.
- Pour the batter into the bowl of a stand mixer. Let your batter cool to room temperature (about 15 minutes). You may need less time if your kitchen is very cool or cold. You only need to wait until the mixture not longer feels very warm but it should not be fully cooled. Using the wire whisk attachment, beat the batter on highest speed for about 15 minutes. Your mixture should look light and fluffy and change to a lighter shade of orange (more like an orange yellow). Stop your mixer. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula. It's important to stop your mixer for a few seconds before whipping again. Just make sure you don't stop too long (only about 30 seconds to 1 minute). Beat again on the highest speed for another 5 minutes or until the batter has increased even more in volume and looks very light and airy and resembles whipped cream. When you stop your mixer, your batter should be able to hold a soft peak (see photo in post for reference).
- Working quickly, pour the batter into your prepared pan. It is important to do this right away because the batter will begin to solidify soon after you stop beating (within a few minutes). Use a spatula to spread it evenly across the pan and smooth the surface. Place it into the fridge until set. To check if cake is set, press lightly on the surface. The cake should not be wet or liquid and it should feel springy and bounce back. It should only take about 15-30 minutes to fully set but I like to keep it in for at least 1 hour so that the cake completely chills as well.
- Keep the cake in the fridge until ready to serve. Before serving, you can decorate the cake with whipped cream frosting or other frosting. Slice cake with a very large and sharp knife. The cake is best served chilled. Store any uneaten cake in the fridge.
- You do need to be careful about adding the correct quantities. Adding too much puree will prevent the mixture from whipping up. Adding too much gelatin will make the texture firm and gelatin-like rather than soft and fluffy.
- When measuring the gelatin, make sure to level off the top of the measuring spoon with a knife to have an accurate measurement. Adding even a few grams too much can make a difference in the texture of the cake.
- When measuring the purees, also level off the surface of the cups with a knife.
- I recommend using store-bought applesauce to make this recipe. Homemade applesauce can vary in thickness and you want a runnier applesauce for this recipe to work because one of the reasons applesauce is being used is to thin out the pumpkin puree. Also make sure to use unsweetened applesauce. Sweetened applesauce is softened sweetened with syrups which will prevent the mixture from fluffing up.
- Pumpkin Puree version: If you only have pumpkin puree available, you can add sugar and spices to get a pumpkin pie mix. I did find that this resulted in a thicker puree and did not fluff up as much (you should put the finished batter in an 8 inch square pan rather than a 9 inch). To make it, mix 1 cup canned pumpkin puree with 5 tbsp granulated white sugar and 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice. Use that instead of the canned pumpkin pie mix in the recipe.
- Optional Whipped Cream Frosting: Add 1 cup of cold heavy cream and 3 tbsp of sugar to a large mixing bowl. Beat on highest speed until stiff peaks form.
- Nutrition estimate is for cake only and does not include the optional frosting.
The nutrition information provided are only estimates based on an online nutritional calculator. I am not a certified nutritionist. Please consult a professional nutritionist or doctor for accurate information and any dietary restrictions and concerns you may have.