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Even though I didn’t grow up celebrating Thanksgiving, it has become my absolute favorite holiday to celebrate. I love everything about it. I love the food and I love being able to sit down with a big group of rambunctious friends, friends of friends and family members to create a community over dinner. This is the time to slow down, enjoy the company, reflect on all the things we have to be thankful for, and eat some really good food.
For most things Thanksgiving I’m a food snob. I make almost everything from scratch, and every year I have a good spirited argument with my friend Regine who insists on bringing cranberry sauce in a can. We both make a big show of eating our cranberry sauce, and absolutely refusing to try the other.
When my good friend Matt described the Duncan Hines recipe for the Pumpkin Pie Crunch he was planning on bringing that year I was mildly horrified, but I went along with it. It turned out to be delicious, and far outshone my regular Pumpkin Pie. It seems most people refer to the phenomenon as a Pumpkin Dumb cake, but in my household it’s now known as Pumpkin Crack due to its highly addictive nature. This was several years ago, and this year I have already made one myself, as Matt can’t join us.
This is a super simple and very non-intimidating to make. You can find lots of different recipes, but the premise is very simple:
- Make (or buy) pumpkin pie filling.
- Drizzle enough cake mix on top of the pie filling to cover.
- Pour melted butter on top of the cake mix to mostly cover it.
- Bake a bit, top with pecans and bake some more.
- Enjoy with some whipped cream or whatever strikes your fancy. Make sure to share some with those you love.
As far as I'm concerned heavy cream will always win over sweetened condensed milk, so I used my regular pumpkin pie-filling recipe. Since I'm gluten intolerant I used a gluten free vanilla cake mix, but you can use any cake mix you like. I’ve also seen recipes that call for spice cake mix instead of vanilla cake, so you can play around with the variations depending on your preference.
Going back to the cream thing. I grew up with the idea that no desert is complete without freshly whipped cream. And when I say whipped cream, I mean heavy cream that's whipped just before serving. I do not use sugar in my whipped cream (just didn't grow up with it that way), and my mom would be mortified if I ever referred to anything close to Cool Whip as whipped cream. I have been known to spike it with bourbon for Thanksgiving, although this year I will likely refrain as I've discovered my 7 month old is quite fond of eating whipped cream (I suppose he is half Icelandic after all). But you could serve with whatever your preference is. Vanilla ice cream might be good. But I find the cake sweet enough that the unsweetened cream balances it out well. But that's just my preference.
Now all you have to do is find folks you love and would like to share the tasty treat with. Enjoy!
Pumpkin Dump Cake (aka Pumpin Crack)
A printable recipe without photos coming very soon!
Step 1: Make the pie filling
Combine in a small bowl
- 3/4 cup sugar (I used raw sugar)
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
- a pinch of nutmeg
Step 2: Finish pie filling
- Whisk 2 eggs in a large bowl.
Then add the following and mix well.
- 15 oz can of pumpkin puree,
- 1 1/5 cup of heavy cream,
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract,
- 1 tablespoon bourbon, and the
- sugar and spice mixture
Step 3: Assemble the cake and bake
Pour pie filling mixture in a greased 9 x 13 inch pan.
Sprinkle cake mix on top of pie filling. I only used enough to cover the filling, or about 1/3 of a bag.
Melt 1/2 cup butter and drizzle over the cake mix.
Bake for 25 minutes at 350F.
Sprinkle 1 cup chopped pecans on top of cake and bake again for 20-25 minutes.
Step 4: Serve and Enjoy!
Let the cake cool before serving. Serve with accompaniment of your choice. I recommend freshly whipped cream (about half a pint to a pint should be enough). If you would like to spike the cream with bourbon you only need about a tablespoon for that.
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