Saturday, November 26, 2022

Pumpkin Crunch Dessert with Frosting

A cross between gooey butter cake, dump cake and pumpkin pie, this dessert is a fall favorite and perfect for the holidays or to carry to a church supper, family gathering or potluck.

Pumpkin Crunch Dessert

Apple and pumpkin recipes are definitely fall favorites, though I lean more toward the apple recipes than the pumpkin. Unless we're talking about pumpkin pie, of course, or... this Pumpkin Crunch!

This recipe has been a personal favorite for way too many years than I care to admit! Though you'll find variations around the internet today, and in older church and community cookbooks, this is the one that I love dating back to sometime in the 70s.
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Something that differentiates this one from many of the recipes you'll see on the web is a topping that I feel is an essential part of the whole dessert and is actually the way that I learned this recipe. Of course, instead of frosting the whole thing, you can certainly just put a dollop of whipped cream on individual slices too and call it a day!

Essentially a dump cake, but made with pumpkin, and sometimes known by that name, it forms a pumpkin custard on the bottom similar to a pumpkin pie but with a crunchy, buttery crumb topping, that is great all on its own or topped with that whipped cream and cream cheese topping.

It's kind of a cross between gooey butter cake, basic dump cake and pumpkin pie.

Some variations I have seen over the years:
  • Some folks use 2 cans, or 1 large can of pumpkin, sometimes with the standard 3 eggs, and sometimes increasing the eggs to 4. Typically, everything else is the same.
  • While every recipe seems to warn "NOT pumpkin pie mix" I have seen some recipes using it. That said, if you do, understand that pumpkin pie mix is already seasoned and sweetened so you'll need to make adjustments for that.
  • Though a yellow butter or white cake mix is typical, I've seen a variety of cake mix flavors used. Spice cake mix, which I can't recall whether it existed or not when this recipe first came to be, seems to be a fan favorite, though I've also seen chocolate cake mix used. Pumpkin and chocolate, interesting!
  • Some recipes use half granulated sugar and half brown sugar.
  • Yes, while dump cakes are typically made with mixes just for convenience, you can certainly substitute a homemade version as well if you don't want to use a boxed mix.
  • Some recipes sprinkle a portion of the cake mix onto the pumpkin batter, then swirl it in a bit first before topping with the remaining cake mix.
  • Sometimes cold butter is sliced, and the top of the cake mix is completely covered with the slices, rather than melted and drizzled over.
  • I've also seen a recipe on TikTok that uses sweetened condensed milk instead of evaporated milk. I have suspicions that the substitution was actually a mistake though, and I can't attest to the results.
  • Because I have a frosting to top it, I use about 1/2 of the box of cake mix. Just reserve the rest in the freezer for the next dump cake, in a crumb topping, or use it to make microwave mug cakes! Or, if you're skipping the frosting, just use the whole box.
  • Something else different that I do, because I feel this dessert is best when made in advance, is to refrigerate the cooled dessert for up to two days. First it helps to firm up the bottom layer to be more like a pie and second, because I prefer to serve it cold, rather than warm or at room temperature.

 Here's how to make my Pumpkin Crunch Dessert with Frosting!

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter or spray a 9 x 13-inch pan; set aside. Gently combine the pumpkin, evaporated milk and eggs by hand in a large bowl.

Whisk together the sugar, pumpkin pie spice (or individual spices in the notes) and salt.

Add to pumpkin mixture, gently mix well by hand and pour into prepared pan.

Sprinkle the dry cake mix evenly over pumpkin mixture.

Top with pecans and gently press into the cake mix.

Slowly drizzle melted butter evenly over the entire top. Yes, there are two sticks of butter in this recipe. Don't cry. That's just the way it is. Just have yourself one serving and make sure you have plenty of others to share this dessert with. It's quite rich, so you'll need some folks to help you anyway.

Bake at 350 degrees F for 50 minutes to 1 hour or until golden brown on top. It will still have some jiggle to it. Let this cool completely.

If frosting, beat together the cream cheese and confectioners sugar; fold in the whipped topping and blend.

Spread evenly on top of the cooled cake.

Cover and chill for several hours or overnight and let come to room temperature before serving. Garnish top with freshly grated nutmeg.

For more of my favorite desserts, check out the collection on my Pinterest page!

Unable to view the printable below on your device? Tap/click here.

Posted by on November 26, 2022
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