Beginner, Cake Recipes, Dessert Recipes, Fall and Winter, Thanksgiving

Praline Pecan Pumpkin Crunch Cake

Praline pecan pumpkin crunch cake is like pumpkin pie in cake form. It has a creamy, sweet pumpkin layer topped with yellow cake mix and crunchy pecans.

slice of pumpkin crunch cake topped with ice cream on a white place

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If I had to describe this recipe with one sentence, it would be “pumpkin pie in cake form.” The bottom layer has that creamy spiced pumpkin layer that tastes just like pumpkin pie filling. It’s topped with yellow cake mix and melted butter, which forms a nice, sweet crust over the pumpkin as it bakes. Finally, a layer of chopped pecans mixed with butter and sugar caramelizes, providing the “crunch” in the recipe name.

This pumpkin crunch cake recipe would be ideal if you’re serving a large crowd during the holidays and you didn’t want to fool with making multiple pumpkin pies. Also, the varying layers of tastes and textures might appeal to someone who isn’t a traditional pumpkin pie lover.

How to make pumpkin crunch cake

ingredients for pumpkin crunch cake on a white background

Start by preheating the oven to 350°F. Spray a 9 x 13-inch baking pan with cooking spray.

Set ¼ cup of butter out at room temperature to soften. Melt the remaining ¼ cup and set it aside.

Spoon one can of pumpkin puree out into a large mixing bowl. Make sure the label on your canned pumpkin says something like 100% pure pumpkin and not pumpkin pie filling. Pumpkin pie filling has sugar and spices already added to it. I prefer to add my own sugar and spices myself.

Left, unmixed pumpkin layer ingredients in a metal mixing bowl Right, pumpkin mixture in a mixing bowl after it has been combined. Right,

To the mixing bowl, add one can of evaporated milk, four large eggs, ½ cup each of white granulated sugar and light brown sugar, two teaspoons of vanilla extract, pumpkin pie spice and salt. Mix on medium speed until everything is thoroughly mixed together. It will look kind of soupy.

Pour the pumpkin mixture into prepared baking pan and spread it into an even layer using a spoon or spatula. Sprinkle one box of dry yellow cake mix evenly over the pumpkin mixture. Drizzle the melted butter over the entire top of the cake.

Left, pouring the pumpkin filling into the baking dish. Right, sprinkling the cake mix onto the pumpkin layer

Combine the softened ¼ cup of butter with an additional ½ cup of light brown sugar and ½ cups of chopped pecans. Mix everything together until it resembles the consistency of wet sand. Using a spoon (or your fingers), sprinkle the praline layer as evenly as you can over the top.

Left, mixed praline topping mixture in a mixing bowl. Right, overhead shot of assembled cake in a baking pan right before it goes into the oven

Bake the cake for 50-60 minutes until the top is golden brown. However, I would check the cake after 35-40 minutes just to make sure the top isn’t browning too quickly. If it looks like it is, cover it with a layer of aluminum foil and continue baking for the duration.

After baking, pumpkin crunch cake does need some time to cool and firm up. I recommend allowing it to cool completely, the chilling it in the fridge for a few hours. You can serve it cold or warm it up in the microwave for a minute. Pumpkin crunch cake is excellent served with vanilla ice cream.

Can this be made in advance?

Since it needs a few hours to set anyway, I totally recommend making this cake in advance. Even a couple days ahead of time is fine. I had this cake sitting in my fridge for several days and noticed no difference in the quality between day one and day four.

Does it need to be refrigerated?

Yes, the cake will firm up and be easier to serve if it has been allowed to chill for a few hours. If there are any leftovers, cover the pan with plastic wrap or transfer everything to an airtight container with a lid. Pumpkin crunch cake should be eaten within five days.

Can you freeze pumpkin crunch cake?

Freezing and then thawing the cake will change the texture of the pumpkin layer, causing it to become watery and the praline topping soggy. I do not recommend freezing.

More Fall Dessert Recipes:

slice of pumpkin crunch cake topped with ice cream on a white place

 

slice of pumpkin crunch cake topped with ice cream on a white place
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Praline Pecan Pumpkin Crunch Cake

Praline pecan pumpkin crunch cake is like pumpkin pie in cake form. It has a creamy, sweet pumpkin layer topped with yellow cake mix and crunchy pecans.
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Cook Time 50 minutes
Chill time 4 hours
Servings 12 people
Calories 253kcal
Author Lisa B.

Ingredients

For the cake layer:

  • 1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree
  • 1 (12 ounce) can evaporated milk
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 box yellow cake mix
  • 1/4 cup of unsalted butter melted

For the praline layer:

  • 1/4 cup of unsalted butter softened
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup of chopped pecans

Instructions

For the cake layer:

  • Preheating the oven to 350°Spray a 9 x 13-inch baking pan with cooking spray.
  • To a mixing bowl, combine pumpkin puree, evaporated milk, eggs, white granulated sugar, light brown sugar, vanilla extract, pumpkin pie spice and salt. Mix on medium speed until everything is thoroughly mixed together.
  • Pour the pumpkin mixture into the prepared baking pan and spread it into an even layer using a spoon or spatula.
  • Sprinkle the dry yellow cake mix evenly over the pumpkin mixture. Drizzle the melted butter over the entire top of the cake.

For the praline topping:

  • Combine the remaining 1/4 cup of softened butter with light brown sugar and chopped pecans. Mix everything together until it resembles the consistency of wet sand. Using a spoon (or your fingers), sprinkle the praline layer as evenly as you can over the top.
  • Bake the cake for 50-60 minutes until the top is golden brown. Check the cake after 35-40 minutes just to make sure the top isn’t browning too quickly. If it looks like it is, cover it with a layer of aluminum foil and continue baking for the duration.
  • Allow the cake to cool completely, then chill it in the fridge for a few hours before serving. Pumpkin crunch cake can be serves cold or heated in the microwave for a minute.
  • Serve with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 253kcal | Carbohydrates: 29g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 14.4g | Saturated Fat: 5.6g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5.7g | Cholesterol: 75.3mg | Sodium: 239.5mg | Potassium: 142.4mg | Fiber: 2.2g | Sugar: 22.7g | Vitamin A: 35IU | Vitamin C: 1.9mg | Calcium: 8.1mg | Iron: 3.6mg

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