This fall pumpkin recipe is the first I make every year. This flavorful Pumpkin Crunch Cake recipe is a top family (and friends) favorite!
One the end of summer begins, making that first pumpkin baked good is looked forward to like almost no other dessert.
It's like sliding into you favorite pair of jeans, it just feels right.
My daughter and I especially look forward summer for Fall to begin, both the weather, the beauty and the pumpkin delicacies we can enjoy! This Pumpkin Crunch Cake recipe kicks off our festivities.
This Fall Pumpkin Cake recipe has become a family & friends favorite. And it's easy too!
I had been thinking about a cake or pound cake flavored with pumpkin for a couple of weeks back in 2014 when I first posted this recipe. The word 'crunch" was popping into my head whenever I thought about it.
So I tinkered and tinkered until I got it where I wanted it. In my first attempt, I grabbed a bundt pan. I'm not sure what I was thinking since the crunch was on top, so getting that cake out of the pan, then flipping it was not so smart especially since this cake is so moist and heavy from all of the pumpkin.
Miraculously it didn't break apart, but I knew that was not the way to go! Use a springform pan instead. (or make as cupcakes).
This pumpkin cake is SO moist and explodes with pumpkin flavor, it reminds me of something but what that something is, I just can't figure out.
I can vaguely remember a boxed cake when I was a kid that said it had pudding in it, that might be what this reminds me of, it's so moist and dense.
My husband, kids and sister were crazy for this pumpkin cake, they begged me to stop making it (since I made it 3 days in a row to get it right) so they could stop eating it. They couldn't control themselves!
If you enjoy nuts, feel free to add some chopped pecans in for extra crunch, my kids are allergic so no nuts for us. Initially, I envisioned a pumpkin-flavored drizzle over-top the cake but trust me, it doesn't need it.
Pictured above is the full batter in one springform pan (maybe a 9-inch? That was back in 2014)/ Pictured below is the cake made in an 8-inch springform pan AND I did use some of the batter to make two smaller cakes. This is why it is not as high as above.
How To Make The Topping For This Pumpkin Crunch Cake
- You can make the topping in a variety of ways. Originally, I used packets of my daughters favorite instant oatmeal (O Organics Maple Brown Sugar Oatmeal), I added butter and some brown sugar until the crumble was where I wanted it.
- Later I decided to use plain oatmeal, brown sugar, butter, AND then added Hershey's Heath Toffee Bits and their Cinnamon Chips. OMG is that good! (If you only have one or the other, that is fine as well)
- You can honestly make any type of crumble or strudel you like for the topping and make it sweet or less sweet, based on your preference. I have even used chopped dried banana chips for the topping before.
Tip: The cinnamon chips and the toffee chips (without chocolate) can be hard to find in regular markets. Walmart and Target however usually have them for less than $3 a bag.
- When looking for canned pumpkin, make sure you grab "pure pumpkin" in a can and not pumpkin pie filling which has additional ingredients and spices already in it. Or you can roast your own pumpkin. See how to roast a pumpkin easily in your oven here.
- The yogurt is optional, if you add it it makes it really moist and a little bit like a gooey cake, love those! (Depending on how long you bake it)
- You want your batter a little thicker, not runny.
- You can adjust the sweetness level of the cake. Cut it down by ¼ cup or more of sugar for a less sweet cake.
- The topping is a delicious MUST! Experiment with toppings, plain oats mixed with spices and butter, adding toffee chips, cinnamon chips, or both. Adding maple flakes (yum) or anything else you think would be delish.
- A springform pan really does work best for this, but go ahead and try whatever pan you have.
- Split into 2 smaller springform pans or loaf pans lined with parchment, one to keep and one to give away (caking time will also be shorter). Or one loaf pan and make 4-6 muffins with the rest of the batter.
If you want to try an amazing pumpkin recipe that doubles as an edible history lesson and a centerpiece dessert, you must try "The Original Pumpkin Pie".
Back on the first Thanksgiving, its said that there was not flour. So the original pumpkin pies were basically custard made inside of a pumpkin and then cooked over the fire. It's delicious!!
Other recipes to try
- Nantucket Pie (amazing for Thanksgiving and Christmas!)
- Cranberry Soda Bread - SO festive, sweet-tart and moist!
- Pumpkin Biscotti - different & delicious!
Hope you love this!!
Originally published 2014, updated 2022
Pumpkin Crunch Cake
- 1 ½ cups sugar
- 4 oz butter melted and cooled
- 2 cups fresh roasted pumpkin or a 15 oz can of pumpkin puree (pure pumpkin NOT pumpkin pie filling)
- ¼ cup vanilla yogurt
- 1 TBS vanilla
- 2 eggs
- 2 cups flour
- 1 ½ TBS pumpkin pie spice
- 1 TBS baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- Crunch Topping Mixture
- ¾ cup toffee bits
- ¾ cup cinnamon chips
- ½ cup Quaker Oats Oatmeal
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- 4 TBS butter
- In your mixing bowl, combine sugar, butter, pumpkin, yogurt & vanilla and mix until blended. Add in the eggs and mix until incorporated. In a small bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients, then pour them into your wet mixture and mix until fully incorporated. Set aside.
- In a small mixing bowl, combine toffee bits (made by Heath), cinnamon chips (made by Hershey's), oatmeal and brown sugar. Work it together with your fingertips, then add in the butter and mix it in with a pastry cutter or your fingertips until its crumbly and worked in.
- Spray/grease a springform pan and place half the batter in it, scatter ½ of the crunch mixture over-top. Place the rest of the batter in and repeat with the remaining crumb mixture.
- Bake at 350 degrees 50-65 minutes or until a tester inserted comes out clean and dry. Cover your cake lightly with foil after 30 minutes.
- Colleen's Notes: My favorite way to make the topping was by using 2 packets of an organic snicker doodle oatmeal I had on-hand instead of straight up oatmeal. Feel free to try something like that if you have packets of some sort you feel will go well in your pantry. If not the oatmeal works just fine.
- IF you can not find the cinnamon chips or toffee chips, don't worry just combine 1 ½ cups plain uncooked oatmeal (I use Quaker Oats), ½ cup brown sugar, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, ¼ teaspoon nutmeg, a pinch or 2 of salt and 6 TBS butter and mix with a pastry cutter, fork or your fingers until crumbly, coat the top of the cake mixture with that and pop it into the oven.
- If you want a less dense cake (however I think this is what makes this cake so good), only use 8 oz of pumpkin. If you need to make Pumpkin Pie Spice, my Little Chef shows you how to here. If you need to know how to roast a pumpkin, again my 9 year old has your back!