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Pumpkin Pecan Crunch Cake

My fast and easy Pumpkin Pecan Crunch Cake is jam-packed with all the best fall season flavors. You’ll mix up this delicious dessert in 10 minutes using cake mix for a shortcut!

Y’all know how much I adore my vintage recipes. And you also know that I’m not opposed to taking a shortcut in the kitchen now and then, either. So what could be better than a vintage shortcut recipe!?

A slice of pumpkin pecan crunch cake on a white plate.

Some of the best vintage cake recipes are the “dump” cakes. You know – dump a can of this and a can of that and combine it with a cake mix?

Some of those recipes are so good. Well, this Pumpkin Pecan Crunch Cake is similar except that it’s not dumped, it’s layered.

You mix up a wet layer that goes on the bottom, then sprinkle it with dry cake mix, top it with pecans and butter, and pop it in the oven. An hour later – cake!

If it takes you more than 10 minutes to put this together, you’re doing it wrong ;-)

❤️ Why We Love This Recipe


  • So simple! Just layer everything into one pan and bake.
  • Who doesn’t like pumpkin! From black walnut pumpkin bread to the classic pumpkin roll, they’re all delicious! Pumpkin, pecans, and spices are some of the best autumnal flavors.
  • Great for both kids and adults. All ages enjoy this easy dessert.

🛒 Ingredient Notes


All ingredients needed to make the recipe.

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  • Pumpkin PureeYou’ll need pumpkin puree, not pumpkin pie mix for this recipe. Pumpkin pie mix has spices and other ingredients that won’t work. Be sure you purchase plain pumpkin puree.
  • Whole MilkI recommend whole milk for the best flavor in the finished cake.
  • CinnamonMake sure your cinnamon is fresh and fragrant. I typically use Saigon cinnamon for baking.
  • Melted ButterSee the notes below for how to melt butter.
  • Yellow Cake MixUse any brand that you like. Betty Crocker is always dependable.
  • PecansYou’ll need two cups of chopped pecans for the nutty, flavorful topping on the cake. Two cups is approximately 8 ounces in weight of pecans.
  • Heavy CreamFor garnishing individual servings. Make the whipped cream yourself or use purchased whipped cream or whipped topping if you prefer.

You’ll find detailed measurements for all ingredients in the printable version of the recipe at the bottom of this post.

🔪 How to Make Pumpkin Pecan Crunch Cake


Do the Prep Work

  1. Preheat the oven to 350.
  2. Grease and flour a 9×13 baking dish or pan. Set the pan aside.

👉 PRO TIP: How to Grease and Flour a Pan

So often a recipe says “grease and flour a pan” but hardly ever explains how to do that. I’m here to help.

When I need to grease and flour a pan for baking, I start with about a tablespoon of soft butter and, using my fingers, spread it all over the bottom and up the sides of the pan. Depending on the size of the pan you may need a little more or less butter.

Then lightly sprinkle a tablespoon or two of flour in the bottom of the pan. Now pick up the pan and tilt it back and forth and turn it around until the flour has stuck all over the butter and coated the inside of the pan.

Last, I always turn my pan upside down over the trash can and gently tap on the bottom to loosen any excess flour. Simple!

Mix the Wet Ingredients

  1. Place the pumpkin, milk, eggs, sugar, and cinnamon in a medium mixing bowl. Use a spatula or whisk to combine them well.
  2. Pour the pumpkin mixture into the prepared baking dish.

Add the Cake Mix, Pecans, and Butter

  1. Sprinkle the dry cake mix evenly over the wet ingredients layer.
  2. Sprinkle the pecans evenly over the dry cake mix layer.
  3. Pour the melted butter evenly over the pecan layer.

👉 PRO TIP: How to Melt Butter

The easiest way to melt butter is in the microwave. Cut the butter into chunks about 1 tablespoon each and place them in a microwave-safe bowl. Cover the bowl with a plate or plastic wrap.

Microwave the butter at 50% power until melted (it’ll take between 30 and 60 seconds for a stick or 1/2 cup of butter). Watch carefully and stop the microwave as soon as the butter has melted. Use oven mitts to remove the bowl.

Alternatively, you can always melt the butter in a small saucepan over very low heat on the stovetop.

Cake after baking for 55 minutes.
  1. Bake for 50-60 minutes or until the cake is set in the center.
  2. Remove from the oven and allow the cake to cool completely in the pan.

👉 PRO TIP: How to Test Whether a Cake is Done

Quickly insert and remove a toothpick, wooden skewer, or the tip of a sharp paring knife into the center of the cake. If the tester comes out clean, the cake is done. If it comes out wet, gummy, or with wet crumbs clinging to it, the cake needs to cook some more.

🍽 Serve with Whipped Cream


  1. When ready to serve, whip the cream on high speed with an electric mixer until soft peaks form. Add the sugar and beat for 1 more minute. Top individual servings with whipped cream. Or substitute purchased whipped cream or topping.
A slice of pumpkin pecan crunch cake on a white plate.

❓ FAQs


Can I make this in advance?

Absolutely! The cake is actually best made at least a day before you plan to serve it. I like to serve it at room temperature, but you can also rewarm individual servings in the microwave if you like.

Does it need to be refrigerated?

After the cake is completely cool, you should store it in the refrigerator until you’re ready to serve.

I don’t have pecans (or they’re really expensive where I live!). What can I substitute?

You can always just leave out the nuts, but walnuts can be substituted for the pecans. You can also use roughly crumbled cookies such as graham crackers or Biscoff as a substitute for the nuts.

Lana Stuart.

Questions? I’m happy to help!

If you have more questions about the recipe, or if you’ve made it and would like to leave a comment, scroll down to leave your thoughts, questions, and/or rating!

Thanks so much for stopping by!

📖 Recipe

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A slice of pumpkin pecan crunch cake on a white plate.

Pumpkin Pecan Crunch Cake

This Pumpkin Pecan Crunch Cake is jam-packed with all the best fall season flavors. You'll mix up this delicious dessert in 10 minutes using cake mix for a shortcut!
5 from 3 votes
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Course: Desserts
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
Servings: 12 servings
Calories: 391kcal
Author: Lana Stuart

Ingredients

  • 15 ounces canned pumpkin puree
  • ½ cup whole milk
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 cup butter melted
  • 1 yellow cake mix (recommended brand: Betty Crocker)
  • 2 cups pecans chopped

For the whipped cream topping:

  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons sugar

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350.
  • Grease and flour a 9×13 baking dish or pan. Set the pan aside.
  • Place the pumpkin, milk, eggs, sugar, and cinnamon in a medium mixing bowl. Use a spatula or whisk to combine them well.
  • Pour the wet ingredients mixture into the prepared baking pan.
  • Sprinkle dry cake mix over the wet ingredients layer.
  • Sprinkle pecans over the dry cake mix.
  • Pour melted butter evenly over the pecan layer.
  • Bake for 50-60 minutes or until the cake is set in center.
  • Remove the cake from the oven and allow to cool completely.
  • When ready to serve, whip the cream on high speed of an electric mixer until soft peaks form. Add the sugar and beat 1 more minute. Top individual servings with whipped cream. (Alternately, top with purchased whipped cream or whipped topping.)

Notes

  • After the cake is completely cool, you should store it in the refrigerator until you’re ready to serve.
  • This cake is best made at least a day before you plan to serve it. I like to serve it at room temperature, but you can also rewarm individual servings in the microwave if you like.
  • For those with nut allergies, you can always leave out the nuts or substitute roughly crumbled cookies such as graham crackers or Biscoff as a replacement for the nuts.

Nutrition Information

Serving 1 | Calories 391kcal | Carbohydrates 25g | Protein 4g | Fat 32g | Saturated Fat 14g | Cholesterol 96mg | Sodium 161mg | Potassium 181mg | Fiber 3g | Sugar 21g | Vitamin A 6219IU | Vitamin C 2mg | Calcium 52mg | Iron 1mg

Nutrition information is calculated by software based on the ingredients in each recipe. It is an estimate only and is provided for informational purposes. You should consult your healthcare provider or a registered dietitian if precise nutrition calculations are needed for health reasons.

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— This post was originally published on November 8, 2013. It has been updated with new photos and additional information.

A slice of pumpkin crunch cake on a white serving plate.

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22 Comments

  1. I have a Spice cake mix, will it work with this recipe?

    1. I haven’t tested that, but I think it should work. I’d leave out the cinnamon, though.

  2. I am making this for Thanksgiving! And dressing…. and cranberry sauce. And maybe other stuff….
    Miss P

  3. Patricia Smith says:

    Could you switch out pumpkin for sweet potatoes

    1. Lana Stuart says:

      I haven’t tried that, but I would think you could.

  4. Barbara L Belt says:

    This is a wonderful recipe which I made for a potluck. People loved it and will make it again and again. So easy. Thank you.

  5. Dustin Walter says:

    My beautiful girlfriend brought home the wonderful aroma of Pecan Pumpkin Cake… via a scented candle… this in turn lead me to Google the recipe; I stumbled upon your website/recipes and now can’t wait to bake this delight. It sounds incredible and I know it will fill our home and bellies with the autumn essence we love.

  6. Maureen | Orgasmic Chef says:

    I saw this on Facebook and had to run (okay, click) over to see how you made this. Yummo.

  7. Brenda @ a farmgirl's dabbles says:

    I’ve looked at alot of recipes today, but this one is one that is really speaking to me. Looks delish!

    1. Lana Stuart says:

      Thanks, Brenda. It’s such an easy recipe for such a big reward :-)

    1. Lana Stuart says:

      Thanks, Shaina! Hope you’ll try it.

  8. I have read many recipes for dump cakes, and they always sound delicious! Pumpkin and pecans together would make for a perfect cake:-) Yum, Hugs, Terra

    1. Lana Stuart says:

      It really is a fantastic combination, Terra! Thanks for stopping by!

  9. Barbara | Creative Culinary says:

    All I know is this. I want some. BAD!!

    1. Lana Stuart says:

      Shall I ship one out to you? :-)

      1. Lana, I’m totally using your recipes for the holidays this year and already making my grocery list! Thank you so much for Lana’s Cooking. I’m enjoying reading each recipe!

        1. I hope you find all the recipes you need to make your holidays special, Janet! You might also be interested in my new cookbook — link at the top of every page.

  10. Don’t use many boxed items but this one sounds so good and easy that I plan to do it for our Senior Center’s next potluck. Why is it that as we grow older we love our sweets even more?

    1. Lana Stuart says:

      I don’t know, Stella, but it does seem that we crave the sweets more and more, doesn’t it? I have to make something, have a little taste, and send the rest to work with my hubby or I’ll be too tempted to over indulge! Hope you enjoy the recipe!

  11. Melissa @ My Recent Favorite books says:

    Your Cake recipe sounds so good!!! =)
    Thanks for sharing !

    1. Lana Stuart says:

      You’re welcome, Melissa! Thank you so much for reading.