Pumpkin Crunch Cake Recipe

Pumpkin Crunch Cake slices on plates

The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga

Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 50 mins
Cooling Time: 45 mins
Total: 110 mins
Servings: 12 to 15 servings
Yield: 1 9 x 13 pan
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
450 Calories
28g Fat
46g Carbs
6g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 12 to 15
Amount per serving
Calories 450
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 28g 36%
Saturated Fat 14g 70%
Cholesterol 107mg 36%
Sodium 309mg 13%
Total Carbohydrate 46g 17%
Dietary Fiber 2g 7%
Total Sugars 30g
Protein 6g
Vitamin C 2mg 10%
Calcium 181mg 14%
Iron 2mg 10%
Potassium 229mg 5%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

This Pumpkin Crunch Cake recipe couldn’t be more simple and crave-able. This cake will be your go-to for all your fall gatherings and family dinners. The warming pumpkin pie spice and crunch of the pecans and crumble topping make it a hit for almost everyone.

Don’t skip the whipped cream topping. Not only does it add to the beauty of this dessert, but it also adds a cool and creamy texture that will keep guests coming back for more and more.

This recipe is a great option for making ahead to save time the day of your holiday gathering, as it holds up perfectly in the refrigerator for several days. Be sure to cut and top the cake with whipped cream the day you intend to serve; otherwise, you risk the whipped topping spreading and losing its beautiful shape.

There is no wrong way to eat one of these squares of deliciousness; pick one up and take a big bite, or use a fork.

"The pumpkin crunch cake was divine! The spiced pumpkin custard wasn't overly sweet, and it was delicious layered with the sweet and crunchy pecan topping. You could also serve the squares right from the pan if you prefer not to invert it." —Diana Rattray

pumpkin crunch cake/tester image
A Note From Our Recipe Tester

Ingredients

For the Cake

  • Cooking spray

  • 1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin puree

  • 1 (12-ounce) can evaporated milk

  • 4 large eggs, room temperature

  • 1/4 cup sugar

  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar

  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

  • 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice

  • 1 package yellow cake mix, approximately 15.25 ounces

  • 1 cup coarsely chopped pecans

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, melted

For the Topping

  • 1 cup cold heavy cream

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar

  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice, optional

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients. Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat to 350 F. Spray a 9x13 inch baking pan with cooking spray. Line with parchment paper. Spray the parchment paper with cooking spray.

    Pumpkin Crunch Cake ingredients in bowls

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga

  2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the pumpkin puree, evaporated milk, eggs, sugar, brown sugar, vanilla, and pumpkin pie spice until well combined.

    Pumpkin puree, evaporated milk, eggs, sugar, brown sugar, vanilla, and pumpkin pie spice mixed with a whisk in a bowl

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga

  3. Pour the pumpkin mixture into the prepared baking dish.

    Pumpkin mixture in a baking dish

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga

  4. Sprinkle the pumpkin mixture evenly with the dry yellow cake mix, gently pressing it into the batter.

    Cake mix on top of the pumpkin mixture in a baking dish

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga

  5. Top the cake evenly with chopped pecans and drizzle with melted butter.

    Chopped pecans and melted butter on top of the cake mix in the baking dish

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga

  6. Bake until the top is golden, the edges begin to pull away from the pan, and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean or with a crumb or two attached, 45 to 50 minutes. If the top begins to brown too soon, cover with foil and continue to bake.

    Baked cake in a baking dish

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga

  7. Remove from the oven, transfer to a rack, and cool completely.

    Baked cake in a baking dish on a cooling rack

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga

  8. Slide a knife around the edges of the cake and invert onto a large platter. Remove and discard the parchment paper. Put another platter on top of the cake and gently reinvert so the pecans are on top. Alternatively, serve directly from the pan. Slice and serve with the whipped cream.

    Cake slices in a baking dish and on plates

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga

Prepare the Whipped Cream

  1. Add the heavy cream and sugar to a medium bowl. Whisk until stiff peaks form. Cover the bowl and refrigerate until serving time.

    Whipped cream in a metal bowl, next to a whisk

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga

  2. Top individual slices of cake with whipped cream and sprinkle lightly with pumpkin pie spice, if desired.

    Pumpkin Crunch Cake slices with whipped cream on top, on plates

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga

Tips

  • Instead of inverting the cake, you may serve it right from the pan, crunchy-side up.
  • The cake may be served chilled or brought to room temperature. Or gently warm the chilled cake in the microwave for about 15 to 30 seconds.
  • Use canned pumpkin, not pumpkin pie mix, which includes sugar and other seasonings.


Recipe Variations

  • Replace the freshly whipped cream with frozen (thawed) whipped topping.
  • Instead of pecans, use walnuts or a mixture of chopped nuts and coconut for the topping.


How to Store and Freeze

  • Cover and refrigerate the cake within 2 hours and eat within 4 days.
  • For longer storage, you may freeze the cake. To freeze individual slices, arrange them on a baking sheet and place the pan in the freezer. When the cake portions are frozen, wrap tightly and transfer them to zip-top freezer bags. Label the bag with the name and date and freeze for up to 3 months.
  • Defrost the cake slices in the refrigerator overnight or at room temperature for about 30 minutes.