Welcome to the most amazing, easiest-but-looks-complicated, tastes-sinful-but-is-secretly-wholesome, best-to-trick-your-friends cake you’ll ever have.

There’s a particular look that crosses people’s faces when you share this cake with them. It follows immediately after you tell them that this rich, soft, decadent cake was made from… a mix. It’s a look of confusion, followed by disbelief, followed by dismay when everything they thought they knew about baking mixes is proven wrong in one simple bite. One Simple Mills bite.

Oops, I made a pun. I do that a lot, so I hope you don’t mind.


Hi, my name is Nora and I bake, blog and eat out of a small kitchen in Chicago. My kitchen is a healthy one, but one that is nonetheless full of desserts. When my friends have dinner parties, they always demand I bring dessert, and while there is nothing I enjoy more than feeding my friends a sweet treat to cap off a meal, there are only so many hours in the day, you know?

And since, like many of you, I don’t have hours of free time to make elaborate baked works of art, I have developed lots of little tricks to dress up a recipe. Here are two of my favorite secret weapons:

  • Add a streusel, and
  • Never underestimate the power of a swirl

A streusel is nothing more than a buttery crumble, but it is fun to say and even more fun to eat.

And a swirl… well, a swirl is elegant and whimsical and beautiful all at the same time, just like all the best dinner parties. Ok, granted, the swirl in this recipe is more of a river, but a river of buttery, rich pumpkin cake sandwiched between two dark layers of intense chocolate cake? I don’t hear anyone complaining.


I hope you enjoy this wonderful cake!


Pumpkin Chocolate Swirl Pound Cake


For the chocolate layer:

  • One box Simple Mills chocolate muffin and cake mix
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
  • 3 large eggs, beaten
  • 1/3 cup water
  • ½ cup melted butter or oil
  • ½ Tablespoon vanilla extract


For the pumpkin layer

  • Half of one box Simple Mills pumpkin muffin mix (1 cup)
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 3 ½ tablespoons butter or oil, melted
  • ½ cup water


For the streusel topping

  • Half of one box Simple Mills pumpkin muffin mix (1 cup)
  • 2 Tablespoons melted butter or oil
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 Tablespoon water



  1. Preheat the oven to 350. Lightly grease an 8.5” loaf pan and set aside.
  2. Prepare the chocolate batter by whisking together the chocolate mix and cocoa powder in a large mixing bowl. In a smaller bowl, combine the eggs, water, melted butter or oil and vanilla, then pour the wet mixture into the dry mixture and stir until completely combined. Set aside.
  3. Prepare the pumpkin batter by mixing all of the ingredients until evenly combined.
  4. Prepare the streusel by mixing together the melted butter or oil, vanilla and water, and then use a fork to work it into the pumpkin muffin mix. It will be dry and crumbly at first, but just keep stirring until the moisture has evenly absorbed. Set aside.
  5. Pour one half of the prepared chocolate batter into the bottom of the loaf pan and spread into an even layer. Repeat with the pumpkin batter, then the remaining chocolate batter. Use your fingers to sprinkle the streusel evenly over the top of the loaf, pressing it very gently into the batter to adhere.
  6. Bake for 30 minutes, until the top is golden, then tent the loaf loosely with foil and bake for an additional 35-45 minutes, until a tester comes out clean.




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