With a spice cake base and a silky pumpkin topping, this pumpkin gooey butter cake is a delicious addition to any Thanksgiving dessert menu.
Even though I think there should definitely be a place at your Thanksgiving table for apple desserts (especially apple butter cake or apple galette), you know there’s no way I could go through Thanksgiving without a pumpkin dessert or two.
If you love pumpkin pie but don’t want to bother with making an actual pie this year, you’ve got to give this pumpkin gooey butter cake a try.
The assembly is super quick and easy and it’s a great make-ahead dessert, but you’ll still get all of the flavors of your beloved pumpkin pie in every bite.
Honestly, what could be better?
WHAT IS PUMPKIN GOOEY BUTTER CAKE?
Pumpkin gooey butter cake is a twist on the classic gooey butter cake, a recipe that is most famous in St. Louis, Missouri, but is popular around the Midwest.
While there’s a more complicated traditional recipe, most home bakers make an easy gooey butter cake with a layer of yellow cake batter made with cake mix and topped with a cream cheese, butter, and powdered sugar mixture.
After baking, the cake becomes a dense crust on the bottom with the gooey cream cheese “filling” on top.
I’ve used gooey butter cake as the inspiration for other recipes before, such as my gooey butter cookies and cranberry gooey butter bars. This time, we’re bringing fall into the mix with this pumpkin gooey butter cake.
In this version, we’re swapping the yellow cake base out for a spice cake base. We’re also adding an entire can of pumpkin into the filling.
The topping of this pumpkin gooey butter cake reminds me of pumpkin pie filling with a bit of tang from the cream cheese.
Since it’s made with a cake mix, this recipe comes together quickly. It’s also perfect for making ahead of time, so it’s a great dessert to add to your Thanksgiving menu!
HOW TO MAKE PUMPKIN GOOEY BUTTER CAKE
Pumpkin gooey butter cake is pretty quick to assemble. Most of the time needed for the recipe is baking and cooling time – aka, hands-off time!
Ingredients you’ll need
A lot of the ingredients in this recipe are used twice – once in the cake base and again the filling. So the number of ingredients needed is actually pretty short.
To make this pumpkin gooey butter cake, you will need:
- 1 spice cake mix
- 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice, divided use
- 5 large eggs, divided use
- 3 teaspoons vanilla extract, divided use
- 1 cup melted unsalted butter, divided use
- 8-ounce package cream cheese, at room temperature
- 15-ounce can pure pumpkin puree
- 3 cups powdered sugar, sifted
Betty Crocker is my personal favorite brand of cake mix to use when doctoring cake mixes. But, as always, feel free to use whatever you like best or your store has available.
Make sure you buy pumpkin puree for this recipe, not pumpkin pie filling.
Measure the 3 cups of powdered sugar, then sift. When measuring powdered sugar, I recommend following the same method for measuring flour correctly.
Making this recipe
This recipe makes a 9×13-inch cake, so spray your favorite 9×13-inch cake pan with nonstick spray. If you want to make it easier to remove the cake after baking, line the pan with a piece of parchment paper, making sure to leave overhang on the two long sides of the pan.
Start with the crust of this pumpkin gooey butter cake. Use a mixer to combine the cake mix, pumpkin pie spice, eggs, and vanilla until well combined. This will take about 1 minute.
Add the melted butter and mix until just combined, then spread the mixture into the prepared pan. Set this aside.
You’ll need a mixer for the pumpkin filling, too. I usually clean out my bowl but don’t bother cleaning the beaters for this step.
Beat the cream cheese for about 2 minutes, until smooth. Add in the eggs, along with the pumpkin pie spice and vanilla extract, and beat until smooth.
Add the pumpkin puree and the melted butter and beat until well combined. Finally, add the powdered sugar and beat on low to incorporate, then increase the speed to medium for about 1 minute, until the mixture is light and smooth.
Spread the pumpkin filling over the crust. Bake for 40-45 minutes; the cake is done when the edges are puffed and golden and the center is set.
Let the pumpkin gooey butter cake cool completely before slicing and serving.
STORAGE & MAKE AHEAD
Since pumpkin gooey butter cake needs to cool completely before serving, it’s a great make-ahead dessert. You can either make it in the morning before serving it in the evening or even make it a full day ahead of time!
If making more than a few hours ahead of time, store the cake in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
Make sure to store any leftovers in the refrigerator as well. Leftovers will keep for up to 3 days if kept chilled in the refrigerator.
MORE THANKSGIVING-READY PUMPKIN DESSERTS
Love this pumpkin gooey butter cake and looking for more Thanksgiving pumpkin desserts that aren’t the classic pumpkin pie? I’ve got you covered. Try any of these incredible pumpkin recipes and wow all of your guests.
Pumpkin Gooey Butter Cake
For the Crust:
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 13-by-9-inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray.
- For the crust: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or in a large bowl with an electric mixer, combine the cake mix, pumpkin pie spice, eggs and vanilla and beat on medium speed until well combined, about 1 minute. Add the butter and mix just until combined. Spread the mixture evenly in the prepared baking pan.
- For the filling: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or in a large bowl with an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese until smooth, about 2 minutes.. Add the eggs, pumpkin pie spice and vanilla and beat until smooth and creamy. Add the pumpkin and butter and beat until fully incorporated. Add the powdered sugar and beat on low speed to incorporate, and then beat on medium until light and smooth, about 1 minute. Pour over the crust layer and smooth the top with a spatula.
- Bake until the edges are puffed and golden brown and the center is set, about 40-45 minutes. Let cool completely on a wire rack. Cut into squares and serve topped with whipped cream.
- Refrigerate any leftovers.