I’ve been waxing poetic about the merits of gooey butter cake for years. It’s not something you see on many menus or at many bakeries…and I can’t understand why. I started experimenting with gooey butter cake recipes back in 2010, and I’ve tried many different takes over the years. Earlier this year I made this Biscoff Gooey Butter Cake, declaring it my favorite version yet.
But now…there’s a new contender for that title. This Pumpkin Gooey Butter Cake is truly something else. The top is similar to pumpkin pie: soft, perfectly spiced, comforting. The bottom is cakey, with a slight layer of goo between the cake and pumpkin layers. It all adds up to an awesome flavor combo, and textural mix.
This recipe was inspired by a couple of recipes I kept seeing in my Pinterest feed. I loved the idea of pumpkin gooey butter cake—but didn’t want to follow those actual recipes. They used cake mix for the bottom layer, and I prefer to make my own cake instead.
So: I combined bits and pieces from a couple recipes. The bottom layer comes from the same Butter Baking recipe I used for my Biscoff-flavored version, and the top pumpkin layer came from Averie Cooks. If you want to use a cake mix on the bottom, just follow Averie’s original recipe and use spiced cake mix. If you want to make your own plain cake layer—keep reading below!
Note that the bottom layer bakes faster than the top pumpkin layer, so make sure to keep an eye on your oven. And allow time to let this chill for a few hours before you cut in.
Pumpkin Gooey Butter Cake
Yield: 36 bars
Suggested equipment: Mixer
Total Time: 1.5 hours, but I recommend tacking a few more hours on to let the bars cool completely before you cut them.
Cook Time: ~45 minutes
- 2 cups plain flour
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 egg
- 1/2 cup butter, melted
- 2 tbsp milk
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 8 oz of cream cheese, softened
- 15 oz of pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling!)
- 3 large eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
- 4 cups powdered sugar
- 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice (I used this recipe)
- 1/2 tsp salt
Make your cake layer
- Pre-heat your oven to 350F
- Mix your flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a large bowl
- Add your egg, butter, milk and vanilla, then stir until it’s just combined
- Line a 9×13 inch pan with parchment paper, leaving a little extra hanging on the sides so it’s easy to pull out your cake later
- Pour your cake layer into the prepared pan, making sure it’s evenly distributed
Make your pumpkin layer
- Use your mixer to beat your cream cheese and pumpkin until it’s smooth. This can get pretty messy, so I suggest using your mixer cover if you have one!
- Add the eggs, vanilla and butter, then beat until it’s all smooth again
- Add your powdered sugar, pumpkin pie spice and salt. Beat until ingredients are totally incorporated. You’ll need to scrape down the bowl a few times to get there
- Pour the pumpkin mixture on top of your cake layer
- Bake for 43-48 minutes (mine took 45). When it’s done, the edges will be set—but your center will look a bit jiggly. Resist the urge to bake longer, because you’ll start to burn your cake! Rest assured that the cake will set up more as it cools
- Let the cake cool on a wire rack for a bit. Then cover it, and move it into the fridge to cool completely. It’ll be much easier to cut chilled
- After a few hours, cut your cake into bars
These bars kept nicely in a covered container for a few days. You could also store them in a fridge for up to 5 days.