Friday, November 2, 2012

Pumkin Gooey Butter Cake

Continuing with my apparent theme of fall flavors, pumpkin gooey butter cake had been on my mind for awhile.  Several years ago I made Paula Deen’s version; but given that I haven’t purchased cake mix in over four years, I needed a new recipe.  While I was in the process of trying to come up with my own “cake mix” recipe, my friend, Tracie, found this recipe for from scratch pumpkin gooey butter cake for me.  Did I follow it?  Not exactly, of course.

Perhaps it’s because of my alterations, perhaps it’s because I didn’t use a box of cake mix and a pound of powdered sugar, but this pumpkin gooey butter cake is a little more like pumpkin cheesecake on a cakey-cookie crust.  Not bad by any means, but not exactly what I was aiming for.  The people I work with had no complaints, however. 

The recipe below is exactly as I made it.  Some of my alterations/substitutions were based on using ingredients I had on hand instead of going to the grocery store.  (I completely avoid shopping during the first week of the month.)  The small amount of whipped cream cheese is simply because I didn’t have enough ricotta.  You could use any proportion of ricotta and cream cheese, or just one or the other.  If you want to use all cream cheese, I would recommend the regular versus whipped variety though.  The maple-glazed walnuts are totally optional, but totally worth it!

(I've add the volume measurements for those who haven't jumped on the measure by weight bandwagon.  They're approximate, but should yield perfectly acceptable results.)

Pumpkin Gooey Butter Cake with Maple Glazed Pecans
267 g (2-1/4 cups) cake flour
158 g (3/4 cup) granulated sugar
7 g (2 tsp) baking powder
1/2 tsp kosher salt
31 g (1/4 cup) dry milk powder*
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 large egg
113 g (1/2 cup) salted butter, melted

180 g (3/4 cup) whole milk ricotta cheese, room temperature
55 g (1/4 cup) whipped cream cheese
425 g (1 can) pumpkin puree
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 large eggs
113 g (1/2 cup) salted butter, melted
360 g  (1-3/4 cup) granulated sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg

Glazed Pecans:
175 g (1-1/2 cups) pecan halves and pieces
35 g (2 Tbs) pure maple syrup

Preheat the oven to 350°F.  Line a 9” x 13” baking pan with parchment paper.

For the crust:  Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and milk powder in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.  Mix on low to combine.  With the mixer on low, add the vanilla extract, egg and butter; mix until combined and crumbly.  Pour the mixture into the baking pan, distribute evenly and pat down.

For the filling:  Using the same mixing bowl and whisk attachment, combine the ricotta, cream cheese, pumpkin and vanilla.  Whisk until smooth.  Add the eggs one at a time and mix well on medium speed.  Scrape the sides of the bowl and add the sugar and spices.  Mix on medium speed for three to four minutes.

Assembly:  Pour the filling mixture over the prepared crust and spread evenly.  Bake the cake for 50 minutes on the center rack of the even.  While the cake is baking, combine the pecans and maple syrup in a medium bowl and stir gently to combine.  Make sure all of the pecans are evenly coated with the syrup.  Pour onto a parchment lined baking sheet.  Toast the pecans in the oven on the lower rack for eight minutes (while the cake is baking).  Remove and let cool while the cake finishes baking.

After 50 minutes, remove the cake from the oven and distribute (as evenly as possible) the pecans on top.  Leave them where they fall – trying to rearrange them will make a mess.  Return the cake to the oven for 10 minutes.  After 10 minutes, remove the cake from the oven and set on a wire rack.  Cool for at least an hour before cutting.  Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days.

*A note about milk powder:  if you use the standard, grocery store non-fat dry milk it’s usually granulated so you’ll need to process it in a food processor or crush it in a mortar and pestle until powdery and fine.  If you have King Arthur Flour’s milk powder, you won’t need to do this.  Or you can leave it out completely if you like.


  1. Ooh, this sounds like a real treat! I love the idea of a butter cake that tastes more like cheesecake. I think this version would be my preference no matter what! I think those maple glazed pecans would be totally worth it too! What lucky new coworkers you have!

    1. This will probably be my new Thanksgiving dessert instead of traditional pumpkin pie - just as tasty and so much easier! I think the pecans could be an awesome appetizer with the addition of a pinch of spices. I'll be trying that soon!

  2. Translation for those of us who don't use metrics? LOL How many grams in a cup????

    1. I've added volume measurements - but I highly recommended getting a scale! :) There really is no one-size-fits-all grams to cup conversion, but an approximation would be 226 grams per cup.

  3. Yum- That sounds great! I love the idea of the pecans as a snack for the holidays, too! I've never heard of a pumpkin butter gooey cake, btw. Glad you clued me in. ; )

    1. There's something about falling leaves and cooler weather that inspires within me a yearning to put pumpking in just about everything. (I'm planning a brown rice, pumpkin and kale risotto for dinner tomorrow.) And as good as I thought the cake was with the pumpkin, the pecans were my favorite part!

  4. I am not a great fan of pumkin,but I think i will take this one. For one i like the texture, it is not too fluffy as u said more like a cookie crust - That really caught my eye !! I really want to taste this one. It might make me change my mind about pumkins :)

    hows your new schedule coming along ?

    1. Simi, I think this recipe would also be really good with puree of sweet potato or winter squash instead of pumpkin. Seriously, my coworkers have given me so many compliments on this recipe - it's totally worth trying!

      The schedule is still challenging - I'm still working on getting five days worth of tasks fit into a two-day weekend! I certainly don't have as much time for baking as I would like, but on the plus side - I've dropped a few pounds. Thanks for asking!


What do you think?