Easy Pumpkin Crumble

Remember the time I told you I didn’t like pumpkin pie? Well I still don’t. But I love this. Don’t ask me why. It’s basically pumpkin pie, but it’s surrounded in crumbly-carby goodness. Because let’s face it: crumbly-carby goodness makes everything better. I’ve made this for informal family gatherings as well as for Thanksgiving dessert. It’s quick and easy (and no one has to know!)

Many of you are probably familiar with “Pumpkin Dump Cake” (which by the way is a horribly unappealing name for such a scrumptious treat!) If you’re not then I can give you the recipe in about 4 sentences. Here you go:

1. Get a can of pumpkin (large or small depending on how thick you want it) and follow the instructions on the back of the can to make pie filling. Pour filling into a 9×13 pan.
2. Sprinkle one dry cake mix on top (yellow or vanilla).
3. Drizzle1 1/2 sticks of melted butter over the top.
4. Bake at 350 for about 45-55 minutes or until the top is golden brown.

You can use that trick for any sort of filling. Instead of pumpkin pie on the bottom, you can layer fruit, canned pie filling, etc. Just about anything. Good little trick to know.

Now let me share my version of this quick and easy dessert- just kicked up a notch. First I used part of the cake mix on the bottom of the dessert to create a little bit of a crust. For the filling, I used a recipe I think is much better than the standard back-of-the-can pie filling. Mine uses sweet and condensed milk to make it silky, creamy, and flavorful. And finally on top I added a touch of spice and some toasty pecans. When that all cooks up together it’s one mighty fine dessert. And still incredibly easy! Even pumpkin pie haters like it! This shows up a lot at our table this time of year. It’s a favorite for our weekly “Family Night”. Maybe it will be for you too!

Easy Pumpkin Crumble
Recipe by Our Best Bites

1 boxed yellow or white cake mix
1-2 sticks butter (see notes in instructions), if you have unsalted use it
1 16 oz can pumpkin*
2 eggs
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 t cinnamon
1/2 t pumpkin pie spice
1/4 t ginger
1/8 t cloves
1/8 t nutmeg
1/2 t salt
1/3 C chopped pecans
1/2 t additional cinnamon for topping

*This makes a dessert about an inch thick or less. That’s because I like a high topping-to-pumpkin ratio. If you’d like it thicker, use a large can of pumpkin and double the rest of the filling ingredients (Eggs, sweetened condensed milk, and spices). Leave the rest of the recipe the same.

Preheat oven to 350.

Place 2 C of the cake mix in a bowl. Cut in 3 T chilled butter. Just use your fingers to crumble the butter until it’s in small crumbly pieces. Place mixture in a 9×13 baking dish and press flat with your fingers.

Mix pumpkin, eggs, sweetened condensed milk, and spices until smooth. Pour on top of the cake mixture in the pan.

Now take the rest of the dry cake mix and mix in 1/2 t cinnamon. Sprinkle it all over the top of the pumpkin mixture. Use a measuring cup so you have a rough measurement of how much you’re putting on. Here’s why:

Here’s a little something I learned after making the dump cake a gazillion times. Cake mixes all have different amounts in them! Different brands, different flavors, etc. Each one is slightly different in volume. I found one mix to have almost double the normal amount. Measuring the amount of cake mix you’re sprinkling on top will help you get the perfect topping ratio in the last step.

Next sprinkle on the chopped pecans. You’ll have 3 distinct layers now:

Here’s the trick: For every 1 C of cake mix you sprinkled on top, you’ll need 3 T of melted butter. Drizzle it right on top.

That butter is going to combine with the cake mix and make magic in the oven. Pop it in your 350 degree oven for about 40 minutes or so. A knife should come out without globs of pumpkin on it and the topping should be nice and golden.

You can eat it warm, at room temp, or chilled! My favorite is actually at room temp. Put a dollop of sweetened whipped cream on top. It’s also great with vanilla ice cream.


In the mood for pumpkin? Here’s some pumpkin surprises for you. Click on a link to see!

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Meet The Author

Sara Wells

Sara Wells co-founded Our Best Bites in 2008. She is the author of three Bestselling Cook Books, Best Bites: 150 Family Favorite RecipesSavoring the Seasons with Our Best Bites, and 400 Calories or Less from Our Best Bites. Sara’s work has been featured in many local and national news outlets and publications such as Parenting MagazineBetter Homes & GardensFine CookingThe Rachel Ray Show and the New York Times.

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Questions & Reviews

  1. This was a total hit around our house. Loved it! However, I was really upset when my son decided to add butter flavored popcorn seasoning to 1/4 of the pan before I ran over to stop him. Not a good combination. I guess I'll have to make another one.

  2. We learned about dump cake from a sweet old lady neighbor of ours when I was a kid. It is my family's ultimate favorite cake, especially for birthdays. Here's the version we learned:
    1 can cherry pie filling
    1 can crushed pineapple (including juice)
    1 box yellow cake mix
    1 cup coconut
    1 cup chopped pecans
    1 cup butter, sliced in pieces short-wise and laid out over the cake

    I'm trying your pumpkin version for Thanksgiving dinner with my family. We are really excited!

  3. I understood what you were saying Bonnie, and ya, that works just fine if you don't already have all of the spices on hand! When I made this recipe I did it to taste and when it needed a little extra flavor boost at the end, the addition of the pumpkin pie spice did just the trick without figuring out how much more of each spice to add. (Because they are not always in equal proportion in the pie spice bottle). I'm glad you figured out something that worked for you and liked it- You can't really go wrong with any combination of those spices!

  4. I didn't ask my question clearly. Instead of using pumpkin pie spice at all, why not just increase the proportions of the individual spices rather than having to buy an additional one. I made it an omitted the pumpkin pie spice. I increased the cinnamon to 1 1/4 tsp, the ginger to a heaping 1/4 tsp, the nutmeg to 1/4 tsp. and 1/16 tsp. of allspice. It turned out great!

  5. Oh, and Jana and Kelly- thanks for the nice comments, I'm so happy you liked it!

  6. Heather, you can definitely make it without the nuts. And honestly I can't tell you about specific cake mixes, I've made it a gazillion times so I don't really remember which is which! I do know the last time I fooled around with it I had a Duncan Hines French Vanilla and I'm *thinking* that was the one that had more than normal- but I could be totally wrong.

  7. I just made this last night for a girls night out we're having tonight. I had to try a bite-just to make sure it was okay to serve to them, of course 😉

    Oh my goodness, this is SO good! I think my mouth said, "Hello, Fall!" when I took my first bite. It is exactly what this time of year demands from a dessert! Yum!

  8. Sara,

    I made this today for a ward potluck tonight and just had to sneak a piece ahead of time! This is wonderfu! Thank you for sharing with us!

  9. Yes it is Bonnie, but I wanted more flavor and in different proportions. It's a different flavor result than just adding more pumpkin pie spice.

  10. Why add pumpkin pie spice and then add additional ginger, cloves and nutmeg? Pumpkin pie spice is a blend of cinnamon, cloves, ginger, nutmeg and allspice.

  11. I've always really liked your pumpkin dump cake recipe but I like the idea of adding a bottom crust. I can't wait to try it.

  12. I just read through your version better and caught where you made a bottom crust…nice! I'm gonna try your way next time.

  13. I just made this on Monday but got the recipe from the blog Me and My Pink Mixer. It taste best the next day at room temp.

  14. Yum… looks wonderful! Will have to add this to the must-make list!

  15. Beth Ann-

    If I'm going to have it sit overnight I refrigerate it, but otherwise I just leave it at room temp.

  16. Looks really really good. I plan to make this for our Thanksgiving get-together. One question though, does it have to be refridgerated?

  17. Yum! Our family makes this all the time (the simpler version) except we call it Pumpkin Pie Cake. I'll have to try yours, though I think my husband might consider the addition of pecans akin to blasphemy. And I agree that "Dump Cake" is a horrible, horrible misnomer.

  18. I've always loved the dump cakes and this is so simular. I LUV pumpkin pie so I know I'll have to try this.

  19. YUMMY! I make this every year and LOVE IT!!!!!!!! We no longer serve pumpkin pie at our house!

  20. Paula- I'm sorry. We are constantly having issues with that PrintFriendly button! I just tried it and it works fine for me. If it continues to not work you can always just hit "print selection" in your printer menu and highlight the text you wish to print. Sorry for the problem!

  21. Sara, as I tried to use the 'Print Friendly' link it does not work. I have printed off lots of your recipes but the last few times it just goes to the candy corn cupcakes. My hubby said your link may be broken. Can you see if anyone else cannot copy either?

  22. This looks and sounds so sinfully delicious! I can't wait to make this for Thanksgiving!!!! Thanks for sharing!

  23. I see I have found a fellow pumpkin lover : ) Anytime you have a pumpkin recipe I automatically print it and make it. All of them have been delicious! Thank you!!!!

    1. I am actually having a pumpkin party this week. I’m inviting friends over to share pumpkin treats and recipes. I am even giving a pumpkin quiz with prizes! I have some true pumpkin lovers for friends!

  24. I might be changing my middle name to "crumbly-carby goodness"…I think it fits me well.

    Thanks for yet another great recipe (with tips) girls!

  25. I've been making a dessert like this for years, and it is one of my favorites! I love to see your spin on it!

  26. I have been looking and looking for a recipe like this. I have made the "dump" version for years, but always wanted a little something more. Thanks for the great post!

  27. Mmmmm this looks delicious! And that's saying something considering the fact that I am sick and NOTHING sounds good 🙂