Thursday, October 20, 2011

Pumpkin Crunch Cake

5pumpkin crunch cake

I have a problem with pumpkin. Call me an addict. When the season comes around I want to bake pumpkin non-stop. Poor husband isn’t as in love with the sweet, wet squash as me. No matter. More for me.

7pumpkin crunch cake

I made two pumpkin cakes in two days. The first one was a bust (I still ate it), and the second was sweet victory. I was inspired by the infamous pumpkin crunch cake that is floating around the internet, which has very little pumpkin flavor and HORROR of horrors, is made entirely with boxed cake mix and is essentially a dump cake. I know, it’s tasty, but this just blows all of those others out of the water.

8pumpkin crunch cake

I think this cake needs no other explanation than the sum of its parts:

Pumpkin cake layers (thanks to David Leite for his perfect pumpkin cake)

Pumpkin pie layers

Cream cheese frosting layers

Crunch in the frosting

1pumpkin crunch cake

2pumpkin crunch cake

Amaya said, “Thank you for making this cake! You make the best food Mommy.”

Dang it. She tricked me into giving her another piece.

3pumpkin crunch cake

4pumpkin crunch cake

Pumpkin Crunch Cake (click to print)

If you don’t know David Leite’s website, Leite’s Culinaria, you’re in for a treat. Tested, awesome recipes, and David’s writing make a great website. This was the best pumpkin cake recipe I’ve made as most pumpkin cakes are dense, soft, and not suited for layering, however tasty. This one was perfectly pumpkin-y without being too soft.

This is a really long recipe. So worth it. Husband approved, and he only got one bite because he’s off sugar until Halloween.

Heat the oven to 375 degrees

Prepare two 8” round cake pans. Place cut circles of parchment paper at the bottom of the pan and butter the bottom and edges.

Pumpkin Pie Layers:

  • 1 Cup and 2 Tbsp canned pumpkin
  • 1 Cup canned table cream (found in Latin food aisles or supermarkets)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 Cup sugar
  • 1/3 Cup brown sugar
  • ½ tsp cinnamon or pumpkin pie spices

  1. Whisk together all of the ingredients and divide equally between the two cake pans. Cook for 15 minutes in the oven. While it’s cooking prepare the pumpkin cake layers.

Go to David's web site to get the cake recipe:

David Leite’s Pumpkin Cake Make just the batter.

I did not put in all of the spices. Just the cinnamon and just a pinch of black pepper. I'm sure it's good with all of it though.

1. Remove the pumpkin pie layers from the oven. Turn the heat down to 350 degrees.

2. Spoon the cake batter over the pumpkin pie layers, evenly and gently. You don't want to mix the layers. Smooth it out with the back of a spatula and firmly hit the pan on the counter a few times to remove the air bubbles.

3. Return the cakes to the oven and bake for about 37-45 minutes. Check the cakes with a toothpick or sharp knife after 35 minutes and remove when just done. The toothpick, when removed from the cake, should have just a few crumbs clinging to it. If it comes out with raw batter, cook for longer. This part really depends on your oven. If your oven cooks unevenly, probably rotate the cakes a couple of times during cooking.

While the cakes are cooking, make the cream cheese frosting

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 12 oz cream cheese, softened slightly (1 and a half boxes of cream cheese)
  • 8 Tbsp butter, still cool, but not cold
  • 2 Tbsp sour cream
  • 2 Cups powdered sugar

1. In a food processor/cuisinart fitted with the blade, process the cream cheese, butter, and sour cream until uniform and whipped. Add the powdered sugar and process until completely mixed, about 20 seconds. You will have to scrape down the sides a couple of times. Put it in the fridge until ready to use.

When you remove the cakes from the oven, turn on the broiler and prepare the crunch. Let the cakes cool for 10 minutes, then remove the cakes from their pans. Run a knife around the edge of the cakes and invert to remove. Let cool completely.

Crunch for pumpkin cake

  • 1 cup yellow box cake mix
  • 8 tbsp butter, divided
  • ½ Cup walnuts, chopped into small pieces
  • ½ Cup brown sugar

1. Sprinkle the nuts and cake mix over a quarter of a baking sheet. Don’t worry about being exact, but the cake mix should be in an even layer. Break up the largest pieces of cake mix, but little pieces are fine.

2. Drizzle four tablespoons of butter over the cake mix. It’s ok if it isn’t completely wet, just try to sprinkle it over as evenly as possible.

3.In a bowl, mix together the brown sugar and remaining butter. Spread this evenly over another unused portion of the baking sheet in a thin layer—about 1/8”.

4. Broil for 3-5 minutes, pulling it out when the brown sugar layer is bubbly and glossy and the cake part looks still yellow but just barely getting browned on the edges. You have to watch this very closely and it depends on the heat of your broiler.

5. Let the crunch cool completely. Then use a metal spatula and remove the brown sugar layer to a cutting board and chop it up. Mix the pieces in a bow with the cake crunch part and set aside for assembly.

Assemble the cake.

1. Place the first cake on a serving platter with the pumpkin side up. Put about 1 cup of frosting on the cake and spread over the top of the cake. Layer the second cake on top of that with the pumpkin pie layer on top, again.

2. Spread another cup or more of frosting on the sides and top of the cake in a thin layer to seal in the crumbs. Put the cake in the fridge for an hour or two to let seal.

3. Remove the cake from the fridge and put another layer of frosting on the whole cake—use as much of the rest as you like—I didn’t quite use all of the frosting.

4. Sprinkle the crunch all over the cake, also on the sides. Serve. Serves a lot, or just you. I won't tell.

6pumpkin crunch cake



sophia said...

Holy wow. I expected a lot of pumpkin recipes this season, but this one takes the cake!

Belinda @zomppa said...

I'm happy to help you out with this addiction - just hand it over...slowly....

shar :) said...

WOWZAAAS ! pretty please with brown rice syrup on it...could I please have a slice !!!!

Pumpkin is da bomb !

Maryea @ Happy Healthy Mama said...

Wow. I am speechless. I had a simple pumpkin pie planned for the weekend but this changes everything.

K and S said...


Damaris @Kitchen Corners said...

I want to try this. I plenty of squash in my backyard.

Mariko said...

Sophia: Ha ha. Thanks.

Belinda: Too late. !

Shar: Thanks! I think so too.

Maryea: I think it covers all the bases. :)

K and S: Thank you!

Damaris: I have no idea how to make the thick pumpkin puree out of a real pumpkin. It never works for me. Tell me how to do it!

jalna said...

Waaaah, it's too hard for me to make . . . I'll just feast on your photos.

Anonymous said...

I like the idea of the crunch in the frosting!

Masayuki said...

Oh my gootness. This looks so good. I'm coming over just to eat this.

Anonymous said...

People- it IS that good! I've tasted it and no pumpkin dessert even compares. It's a perfect recipe.

Kristin said...

I think I just died and went to pumpkin heaven. Good night Irene.

Kristin :)

MyLittleMe said...

That looks amazing!

MyLittleMe said...

That looks amazing!

MyLittleMe said...

That looks amazing!

Jill said...

I've never made anything with pumpkin before. I'm in the Uk and it's only just becoming popular so looking forward to giving this a try.

Dana said...

This look sinfully delicious! I am a healthy eater but do believe good food (like this pumpkin crunch cake) should be enjoyed. Just in moderation. Thanks for the recipe.

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