Pumpkin Crunch Cake is creamy pumpkin filling topped with a buttery, crunchy topping and covered in layers of sweet whipped topping. Perfection!
I’m not sure if this recipe falls under the category of a cake or a pie but what I do know is that this my all-time favorite pumpkin recipe. This is the dessert I make for Halloween-induced company potlucks, this is the dessert my husband
demands asks for each year for his birthday, this is the only pumpkin dessert I am allowed to make for Thanksgiving. I have tried to sneak others in … pecan pie .. NOPE …. apple pear pie… NOPE … praline cake … NOPE NOPE NOPE!!! .. It has to be THIS dessert. And as much as I may try to fight it (Seriously!!! Who doesn’t love a fresh baked apple pear pie????), I love this dish as much as everyone else so that hot apple pear pie will just have to wait.
Now, I love pumpkin. Pumpkin muffins, pumpkin lattes, pumpkin cheesecake, pumpkin bars even pumpkin ravioli (oh dear reader, THAT is an upcoming recipe NOT to be missed) but there really is nothing that compares to this dessert. I was given a copy of this recipe years and years ago .. circa 2003, to be exact … and have tweaked it over the years to upgrade it a bit, if you will.
Just look at this picture.. check that date out and see how stained this recipe is?? Yup, this has been made A LOT!!!!
Now, some of this recipe will fall under the heading of Personal Preferences. As I have discussed before, choosing your spices is a personal decision on some level. In this recipe, I use cinnamon and ginger but I have made it adding allspice and cloves and it was amazing then too. Some people like pecans, some people prefer walnuts, some people don’t like or can’t have nuts at all. And then there is the life long debate that I won’t even weigh in on … Cool Whip or Redi-Whip. I know better, that battle is just not worth starting.
Ok, non-Cool Whip people.. sit down.. relax.. settle yourself… we will discuss this in a minute.
Now, before we start this let me say that for as many times as I have made this, you need to trust me on a couple of things. Number 1 rule: Make this the day before you need it. I have tried to cheat this rule so many times and every time I regret being a slacker and not making it the day before. If you make is the day of, I promise bad things will happen. They just do. Trust me.
Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees. Mix together the pumpkin, milk, sugar, eggs and spices of your choice.
Pour this mixture into a 13×9 pan. In a separate bowl, pour in your cake mix and add in 1 stick of butter. This is where I tell you to grab your trusty hand mixer and mix, mix, mix until both are harmoniously combined and resemble crumbs. I will tell you to do this step this way because you probably have not sacrificed your one and only hand mixer to the joy of combining 5 lbs of joint compound and latex paint to create Halloween props. You probably would have thought ahead a little bit and realized at some point you would need a hand-mixer for cooking, not spackling. You would be one step ahead of me, in this case. So, I rolled through this part the old fashioned way with fork in hand and 15 minutes to kill. Sigh…. I also noticed that I had a tendency to spill cake mix on the floor doing it this way… like a swarm of sharks, suddenly floor lickers appeared of of nowhere to help me fix my mess … having a pack is a good thing …
Once you have the cake and butter combined, if you want to add in half of the chopped nuts mix them in with the cake and sprinkle the entire mixture evenly over your poured pumpkin in the 13×9. Pop this into your oven and bake on the center rack for 50-55 minutes. Once done, remove and set aside to cool.
Now, here is the part I touched on earlier concerning trust. No matter how long you let this sit to cool, no matter if you pop it in your refrigerator for an hour and think that it will be cool enough… this dessert has some kind of hidden heat properties… no matter how cool it feels, it is never cool enough if you cook it the day you need it. Then what happens is that you plop on your two tubs of Cool-Whip and right before your eyes, you end up with a melted, gloppy mess that you cannot recover from. Again .. trust the Momma .. cook this the day before you need it.
ONCE COMPLETELY COOLED… add on your Cool-Whip and spread evenly before adding on the remaining chopped nuts (if you are using them).
Before I upset anyone with the use of non Redi-Whip topping, let me explain. I was raised on The Whip and never had Redi-whip ever in my house as a I child. As an adult, I love it. My husband loves it. My dogs have been trained (thank you Husband) to come running whenever they hear that magical SHKKKKAAAAAAA sound because Mike will feed them all whippets out of the can. So believe me, this is not a favoritism situation. The reason I use Cool-Whip is because it stays.. it sets… it never goes anywhere… Redi-whip just doesn’t keep as well so that is why I choose Cool-Whip over Redi-Whip. Now, you most certainly could use the latter, I would only suggest then to add it to the dessert piece by piece instead of covering the entire dish at one time. Again, its all about personal preferences.. whatever twirls your skirt up is fine by me.
Now sit back and wait for the onslaught of compliments. Smile and be gracious.. No one needs to know how easy this is to make. This will be our little secret, I promise.
Please leave me a comment and let me know what you think… or just say Hi! I love hearing from you!!