I have always loved cooking and experimenting in the kitchen. But when I was in the fifth grade I became obsessed, and Paula Deen was my inspiration! I used to tape her show on the Food Network (yes, I said tape) because it aired during the school day. And I would
watch study it every evening.
Now this was pre-diabetic Paula so there was an entire stick of butter and pound of sugar in everything.
I’ll never forget the first recipe of Paula’s that I made—Pumpkin Gooey Butter Cake. I was so excited to make it for Thanksgiving! You see, pumpkin gooey butter cake has a yellow cake mix crust and a pumpkin filling that has the same texture as pumpkin pie.
My mom was concerned after finding out it had an entire pound of powdered sugar and 16 tablespoons of butter, but she didn’t care after one bite. In fact, no one cared that there were nearly 1,000 calories in a piece the size of a thumbnail. Even my cousin who doesn’t like pumpkin loved this.
Now that I create my own recipes, I wanted to develop something similar to the gooey butter cake, but with a little different texture. I know some people who say they don’t like pumpkin have the biggest issue with its texture. And I understand that. It definitely can be slimy especially when it sits around and develops a pool of water on top from condensation. So for this recipe, I wanted to make something with a little crunch! Instead of using all of the cake mix for the crust, I saved a cup of it and made a streusel to go on top with brown sugar and pecans. If you don’t like pecans or maybe you’re allergic to nuts, you can always substitute the pecans with chunks of graham crackers or whatever else you prefer.
I also changed up the pumpkin layer a bit so it has significantly less sugar and butter. Don’t worry, it’s still incredibly delicious!
If you look at the recipe, it may seem complicated because there are three different layers. But really, it’s very simple. There are only seven ingredients in this entire cake—you just use them in different proportions at different times throughout the recipe. I separated each layer in the ingredients list because I think it’s easier to see as you’re making the recipe.
I wanted to call this recipe “Pumpkin Crunch Cake,” however, I just found out that already exists! So I just went with “Pumpkin Gooey Butter Crunch Cake!” If you have better ideas please let me know!
Pumpkin Gooey Butter Crunch Cake
Yield: Makes one 9x13 cake
- 1 (16.25 ounce) box yellow cake mix (reserve 1 cup)
- 1 egg
- 8 tablespoons Challenge butter, melted
- 1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin purée
- 3 eggs
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 cup milk
- 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- Reserved 1 cup cake mix
- 4 tablespoons Challenge butter, melted
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1 cup chopped pecans
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Combine cake mix (minus the reserved 1 cup), egg and melted butter; mix well. Press evenly into bottom of pan.
- Combine pumpkin, 3 eggs, brown sugar, milk, pumpkin pie spice, and vanilla and pour evenly on top of base
- Mix together reserved 1 cup cake mix, melted butter, 1/2 cup brown sugar, and pecans. Sprinkle mixture evenly over pumpkin mixture.
- Bake for about 35 to 40 minutes, and test for doneness with a toothpick.
- Serve warm or chilled.