Saturday, November 2, 2013

Pumpkin Pecan Crunch Dessert

All the rage this season, is an easy to make dessert that seems to be replacing pumpkin pie on the Thanksgiving table.  I first heard of it from my sister, then a friend.  When searching it out online I found hundreds of food blogs and Pinterest posts talking about it.  It is often called a 'dump cake' as you pretty much dump the ingredients together and give them a stir, top with the cake mix and you are done.  Paula Deen is making it on YouTube and her son Bobby has a lighter version. I wouldn't call it a cake as it can't be cut into clean pieces.  Rather you spoon it out onto plates so it's perhaps best as a buffet food.

Testing Recipes
You'll find these 'cakes' made with varying spices and usually one of three types of cake mix; yellow, butter pecan or spice cake.  The brand of cake mix doesn't really seem to matter, as I tested several. They all use the basic recipe for the pumpkin custard, using more or less pumpkin pie spices. You can also use the substitutions noted in my recipe below for lower sugar/fat.  Testers couldn't tell the difference.

I made two versions for a taste testing for a crowd at work of about 20.  When the votes were cast it was 60% favored the spice cake version and 40% favored the yellow cake version.  Both are really tasty and I personally preferred the one with the spice cake mix.  I increased the amount of nuts from the basic recipes I found online to give it more crunch.


1 box cake mix (yellow, spice or butter pecan, Betty Crocker preferred)
1 can (15 oz) pumpkin puree
1 can (12 oz) evaporated milk (substitute non-fat)
3 large eggs (substitute 1 whole egg, 2 egg whites)
1 1/2 cups sugar (substitute 3/4 cup Splenda Baking Blend)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups chopped pecans
1 cup butter, melted

Whipped cream, Cool Whip or Paula Deen's cream cheese whipped cream topping are all good options for this dessert.


Heat oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease or spray with food release (Pam) a 9" x 13″ pan.  Mix pumpkin, milk, eggs, sugar, cinnamon, and salt with a whisk until well blended.  Pour mixture into prepared pan. The mixture will be very loose. Gently sprinkle dry cake mix over pumpkin mixture and top with pecans.  Drizzle melted butter over pecans.  Bake 50-55 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.

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