Fall So Hard

PSA: If you’re looking for a winning Thanksgiving dessert, THIS IS IT. 

I’m back, after a month and a half hiatus. Although I’ve baked a handful of times in the past few weeks, I didn’t think any of it was really blog-worthy. WELL, let me present to you a truly blog-worthy recipe. It’s called Pumpkin Gooey Butter Cake and it will change your life (or at least your Thanksgiving).

Pumpkin Gooey Butter Cake - STARTED FROM THE BATTER

Let me back up a bit. About 6 months ago I went to the Smorgasburg food market in Brooklyn (if you live in NY and you haven’t been, GO) and I tasted gooey butter cake for the first time. It’s an incredibly sweet and rich cake, with a bottom layer of dense yellow cake and a top layer of gooey, buttery, cream cheesey goodness. I tried both the traditional one and a chocolate version, and both were phenomenal. It was so good that I went home and Googled it immediately, only to find out that it’s actually a traditional St. Louis cake that millions of people already know and love.* Not only that, but there are an endless number of recipes online, the most popular belonging to butter goddess Paula Deen.

Since that life changing day back in May, GBC has become one of my go-to desserts. Although the chocolate version is great, there’s something special about the traditional yellow cake version. You can find Paula Deen’s recipe (the one I use) here.

Then one day I had an epiphany; what’s the only thing that could be better than GBC? Pumpkin GBC! Go ahead and call me basic, that’s fine. The important thing is that I was right, because I finally made PGBC this past weekend and my family LOVED IT. I thought I was being original when I came up with the idea, but Paula Deen obviously already had a PGBC recipe so I just followed hers. The bottom layer is the same as the traditional GBC but the top has a can of pumpkin mixed in. It’s less pumpkiny than pumpkin pie, not as crazy sweet as traditional GBC, and pretty much perfect. If you love your family, you will make this for them this Thanksgiving.

*This must be how people from the Midwest feel when they come to New York and try black and white cookies for the first time.

Pumpkin Gooey Butter Cake - STARTED FROM THE BATTER

First, make the bottom layer by combining cake mix, melted butter, and one egg.

Pumpkin Gooey Butter Cake - STARTED FROM THE BATTER

Then press the cake mixture into the bottom of a lightly greased 9×13″ baking dish. The consistency should be much closer to that of cookie dough than cake batter, and the layer will be very thin.

Pumpkin Gooey Butter Cake - STARTED FROM THE BATTER

Next, beat together softened cream cheese and pumpkin. Beat until smooth, and then add 3 eggs, vanilla, and melted butter. Once combined, add powdered sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg.

Pumpkin Gooey Butter Cake - STARTED FROM THE BATTER

Finally, pour pumpkin mixture over the cake layer and bake for approximately 50 minutes.

Pumpkin Gooey Butter Cake - STARTED FROM THE BATTER

The consistency of the finished cake will be a dense bottom layer with the top layer just firm enough that it is not a runny mess. You want it to hold together so that pieces can be cut, but beware it is still extremely wet and pieces should be handled from the bottom when serving. Enjoy!!

Pumpkin Gooey Butter Cake

  • Servings: 24
  • Print

Pumpkin Gooey Butter Cake


  • 1 package yellow cake mix (approximately 16.5oz)
  • 4 eggs
  • 16 tablespoons salted butter, divided and melted
  • 1 (15oz) can of pumpkin
  • 1 (8oz) package of cream cheese, softened
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3.75-4 cups confectioner’s sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9×13″ baking dish. Combine cake mix, 1 stick of melted butter, and 1 egg and mix well. Pat the mixture into the bottom of the baking dish, making sure it’s an even layer.
  2. In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese and butter on medium-high until smooth (2-3 minutes). Add 3 eggs, vanilla, and 1 stick of melted butter and mix well.
  3. Add the powdered sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg and mix well. Pour pumpkin mixture over cake layer and bake for approximately 50 minutes. The center of the finished cake should be very gooey but just done enough that your finger doesn’t go right through when you touch it lightly. The outer edges of the cake should be firm but not crisp.
  4. Slice with a sharp knife and carefully lift pieces out. The top layer will be very wet but should hold together fine. Serve plain, sprinkled with confectioner’s sugar, or topped with whipped cream.

(recipe by Paula Deen)

**I have no idea how or why, but on Paula Deen’s recipe it says that this makes 6-8 servings. I would bow down if you and 5 other people were able to finish this in one sitting.

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