Pumpkin Gooey Butter Cake

Pumpkin Gooey Butter Cake

The Spruce / Christine Ma

Prep: 25 mins
Cook: 45 mins
Total: 70 mins
Servings: 16 servings
Yields: 16 slices

Ooey gooey pumpkin butter cake—inspired by the classic St. Louis dish—is the autumn dessert you did not know you were missing. Imagine: A thin layer of moist vanilla cake topped with a thick layer of pumpkin pie. Yes, you heard that right! And that is what you're in store for if you make this delicious, fall-friendly cake. The cake could not be easier to throw together as it calls for a boxed cake mix. To assemble the cake layer, you only need a bowl and a whisk. The custard is then assembled in a stand mixer, calling for pumpkin puree, cream cheese, eggs, spices, sugar, and melted butter (hence the "butter" in the name).

Once poured over the cake batter, the whole shebang is placed in the oven until the pumpkin topping sets, about 40 minutes. Once cooled, we recommend serving slices with a dollop of softly whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream. And, yes, it is fair to say that the Thanksgiving dessert spread just got a whole lot more interesting.


  • For the Cake:
  • 1 (15.25-ounce) package yellow cake mix
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 large egg
  • For the Topping:
  • 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin puree
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 3 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted if lumpy, plus more for dusting
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients. Preheat the oven to 350 F.

    Pumpkin Gooey Butter Cake ingredients

    The Spruce / Christine Ma

  2. Grease a 13 x 9 x 2-inch pan with non-stick cooking spray or softened butter. Line the bottom with parchment paper.

    greased baking pan lined with parchment paper

    The Spruce / Christine Ma

  3. In a large bowl, vigorously whisk together the cake mix, egg, and butter until well incorporated and smooth.

    cake mix, egg, and butter whisked together in a bowl

    The Spruce / Christine Ma

  4. Transfer the mixture to the prepared pan and pat it flat with your hands. The batter will be thick.

    pumpkin cake mixture in a baking pan

    The Spruce / Christine Ma

  5. In the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment beat the cream cheese on medium-high speed until smooth, scraping the bowl as needed.

    cream cheese in a stand mixer

    The Spruce / Christine Ma

  6. On medium speed, add the pumpkin and beat until incorporated.

    pumpkin and cream cheese mixture in a stand mixer

    The Spruce / Christine Ma

  7. Add the eggs, vanilla, and melted butter, and beat again until incorporated.

    eggs, vanilla, and melted butter added to the pumpkin mixture in the stand mixer

    The Spruce / Christine Ma

  8. Add the sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice and beat on low until smooth.

    pumpkin mixture with sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice

    The Spruce / Christine Ma

  9. Pour the pumpkin mixture over the cake batter.

    pumpkin mixture poured over the cake batter

    The Spruce / Christine Ma

  10. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, rotating at the halfway point. The middle should still be a little “gooey” when the cake is done, but the edges will be set.

    baked pumpkin cake in a baking pan

    The Spruce / Christine Ma

  11. Let cool before slicing, dusting with confectioners' sugar and serving with dollops of whipped cream or scoops of vanilla ice cream.

    Pumpkin Gooey Butter Cake slice on a plate

    The Spruce / Christine Ma


    • Do not be afraid to vigorously whisk the boxed cake mix along with the egg and melted butter in order to achieve a smooth batter.
    • The cake batter is quite thick and you might think you do not have enough to cover the bottom of the pan; but if you just evenly pat it thinly across the whole bottom, you'll be all set.
    • Be sure to start with room temperature cream cheese and to beat it until smooth or you will have tiny lumps of cream cheese in your finished cake topping.
    • Sift your confectioners sugar before using if it is lumpy.
    • The cake will keep tightly wrapped in plastic wrap in the refrigerator for up to three days.

    Recipe Variations

    • You may play around with the spices in the cake topping if you like a spicier pumpkin custard, and you could even sub pumpkin spice, to taste, for the three spices called for in the recipe.
    • Add a bit of cinnamon, to taste, to the cake batter to spice up the vibe of the entire cake.
    • An extra teaspoon of vanilla would be lovely in the topping, if you appreciate desserts with a vanilla-forward sensibility.

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