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pumpkin crunch cake with cream cheese frosting
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4.99 from 71 votes

Pumpkin Crunch Cake

What better way to celebrate the season than with my Pumpkin Crunch Cake!  It will definitely bring smiles to your table and soon become your new family fall tradition.
Prep Time45 mins
Cook Time35 mins
Total Time1 hr 20 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: American dessert, pumpkin cake, pumpkin crunch cake
Servings: 20
Calories: 942kcal
Author: Chef Dennis Littley

Ingredients

Crunch Topping

  • 3 cups walnuts finely chopped
  • 3 cups vanilla wafers about 75 cookies
  • 3 cups brown sugar
  • 8 oz butter

Pumpkin Crunch Cake

  • 1 ¼ cup sugar
  • 6 oz softened butter
  • 16 oz can solid pack pumpkin not pumpkin pie mix
  • 2 ½ cups flour
  • ½ cup Greek yogurt
  • 1 Tablespoon pure vanilla
  • 1 Tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 2 ¼ teaspoons baking powder
  • ¾ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 4 large eggs

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 24 oz cream cheese
  • 16 oz mascarpone * you can use cream cheese instead of mascarpone
  • 8 oz softened butter
  • 2 cups confectioners sugar
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla

Instructions

Crunch Topping

  • Melt Butter
  • In a food processor, pulse cookies to a fine crumb
  • Pulse walnuts to a fine chop
  • Mix cookie crumbs, walnuts and brown sugar together, blending well.
  • Add in Melted Butter and mix together.
    *if the mixture is too dry add additional melted butter
  • Divide mixture into 4 prepared (greased and floured) cake pans - standard 9-inch rounds (One very full cup per pan), pressing into bottom and spreading it evenly into the cake pans. Reserve about 2 cups of the mixture which will be baked to use on the sides of the cake.
    I** like using a parchment cake circle in the bottom, the cake releases easily.
  • Set pans aside and begin cake.
  • Preheat Oven to 350 degrees.
  • Bake the reserved crunch mix for 8-10 minutes at 350 degrees F. Or until it crisps up a bit. Don't let it burn!
    Allow to cool before adding to the sides and top of the cake.

Pumpkin Cake

  • In your mixer beat sugar and butter for about 5 minutes until light and fluffy, scraping down the bowl frequently.
  • Add in the pumpkin, Greek yogurt, vanilla and pumpkin pie seasoning. Mix well.
  • Add the flour mixture (flour, baking soda, baking powder). Mix just enough to incorporate the flour.
  • Add in the eggs, one at a time just until blended.
  • Divide batter equally into your 4 prepared cake pans, smooth it out and make it as even as possible in the pan.
    **Be careful spreading the batter, you don't want to pull up the crunch topping. Using an offset spatula makes this process much easier.
  • Bake in a 350-degree oven for about 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. If you use 2 racks to bake on in the oven, at the halfway mark rotate the pans.
  • Allow pans to cool about 10 minutes, then turn them out onto a wire rack and allow to completely cool.
  • while your cakes are baking prepare a Cream Cheese Frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • Whip the cream cheese, mascarpone, and butter till very smooth and creamy
  • Slowly add in the confectioner's sugar while the mixer is on low setting
  • Add in vanilla and mix well. Set aside till needed.

Assembly

  • After your cake is completely cooled (you can even refrigerate for a few hours) begin frosting the layers and putting the cake together.
    **Don't rush this step, or the layers will start sliding off the cake. You can let the cakes cool overnight to be sure and make the cream cheese frosting ahead of time and let it chill. If the frosting is too hard, whip it with your mixer to soften it up enough to spread.
  • When you have assembled all the layers with some frosting between them, start to spread the remaining frosting on the sides and top.
  • Coat the cake with the crunch topping by placing your hand along the side of the cake and dropping the topping along the sides. Keep turning the cake until the entire cake has been coated. Add a layer of the crunch on the top of the cake or leave the top plain, it's up to you.

Notes

*You can substitute cream cheese for the Mascarpone, I don't always have it on hand. You may want to increase the butter a bit cutting that amount from the cream cheese. If you have a favorite cream cheese frosting recipe, use that!
*feel free to eliminate the extra frosting on the sides of the cake and the additional crunch topping on the sides, the original cake was served simply with only whipped cream between the layers.
**I always use standard size 9 inch round cake pans. You can use other size pans but your cooking times will need to be adjusted
****If your cake sticks to the bottom of the pan, place it on a burner of your stove for about 15 seconds, the heat will help release the cake from the pan. This process works for all cakes. Just be careful and judge how hot and evenly your stove top heats the pan.
After heating place a plate on top of the pan, and invert quickly. Tap the pan with the heel of a knife to help release the cake.

Nutrition

Calories: 942kcal | Carbohydrates: 88g | Protein: 11g | Fat: 63g | Saturated Fat: 31g | Cholesterol: 170mg | Sodium: 540mg | Potassium: 323mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 64g | Vitamin A: 5148IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 159mg | Iron: 2mg