I have been in such a time warp since our return from vacation that I completely forgot today was Thursday and, thus, an occasion to bring out another plate of Christmas cheer for the 12 Weeks of Christmas Cookies. As luck would have it, I have the perfect holiday dessert to share - and one that's probably much richer, sweeter and all-around tastier than the cookie recipe I was planning on whipping up today!
This Pumpkin Crunch Cake is holiday baking personified: rich, creamy, buttery and indulgent. I'm a big fan of anything pumpkin, but when you add butter, sugar and nuts, and a crumbly, crunchy topping, well, that's a whole new ball game. I've seen this recipe all over the internet, with minor variations, but to be honest, these ingredients in any combination should be downright delicious. It's a great addition to a Christmas dessert platter, but also a perfect stand-in for a Thanksgiving pumpkin pie, or a nice, dressed-up dessert for a regular old Thursday night (because I'm a firm believer that you can always find a reason to serve dessert).
I made this treat for Matt and his parents last week and the response was very enthusiastic. We ate ours still-hot from the pan, but my recommendation is to serve it chilled (with a bit of barely-sweetened whipped cream) if you can stand the wait!
Velvety Pumpkin Crunch Cake
1 can (15 oz) pumpkin puree
1 can (12 oz) evaporated milk
3 large eggs, beaten
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup chopped pecans
1 box yellow cake mix
1 cup butter, melted
Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 9x13-inch baking dish. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, combine pumpkin, evaporated milk, eggs, sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Stir until well blended. Pour mixture into prepared pan. Sprinkle dry cake mix over the pumpkin mixture, taking care to cover evenly. Top with chopped pecans and drizzle melted butter evenly over the pecans. Bake 50-60 minutes or until top is golden and mixture appears set (a knife in the center should come out mostly clean). Take care not to overbake the topping - remember, the pumpkin layer will set a little upon cooling. Serve chilled, with a dollop of cream.
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