Pumpkin Crunch Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

What is Fall and Thanksgiving time without a little pumpkin? This time of year just screams for warm apple cider or hot chocolate, bulky sweaters,  seeing your breath in the early morning air and pumpkin recipes.

I am a beach girl, born and bred, and have never grown a thing in my life but secretly I have always wanted to grow some pumpkins.  And this year my dream came true.  Our neighbors directly behind us planted pumpkins and one rogue pumpkin slipped under the fence and grew in our backyard!   I was thrilled when my husband found it while mowing our yard.  So for weeks we watched it grow.  And grow. And grow.  After cutting it from the vine, my husband estimated that this pumpkin grew to weigh in excess of  SEVENTY POUNDS!  Holy Moly!

We started to feel guilty that we were planning on keeping this pumpkin since it was on our side of the fence, so we ended up calling our neighbor and asked him if he would like it back.  He responded that they ended up with a ton of pumpkins and this one must have meant to be ours since it broke free into our yard.   So I brought it down to Phoenix to my two little grandsons and here is the littlest grandson standing up against it.

Now I don’t know about you but I think that I prefer a pumpkin roll or a pumpkin cake over some pumpkin pie.  Call me un-American but there ya go.  If you feel the same way, then you are going love today’s recipe for Pumpkin Crunch Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting pinned from Ask Chef Dennis.

Chef Dennis states that when he gave out slices of this cake out to his neighbors, he ended up getting a marriage proposal.  I mean, any man that can cook this good is a keeper, right?

While I didn’t receive any offers of marriage, I did receive rave reviews of this Pumpkin Crunch Cake.  Each layer has a crunchy topping and combined with the cream cheese frosting, it makes for a decadent result.

If you are happily married, be careful who you share this cake with.  If you are single, you might want to be prepared for some professions of love and a marriage proposal.  Either way, this Pumpkin Crunch Cake should be on your Thanksgiving Menu!

My seventy pound pumpkin and I agree that This Pin Rocks!

Pumpkin Crunch Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
Recipe type: Dessert
Crunch Topping
  • 3 Cups finely chopped walnuts
  • 3 Cups vanilla wafers, I used the whole box
  • 3 Cups brown sugar
  • 8 oz butter
Pumpkin Crunch Cake
  • 1¼ cup sugar
  • 6 oz softened butter
  • 1 15 oz can solid pack pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix)
  • 2½ Cups flour
  • ½ Cup Greek yogurt
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla
  • 1 Tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 2¼ Teaspoons baking powder
  • ¾ Teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ Teaspoon Salt
  • 4 Large Eggs
Cream Cheese Frosting
  • 3 bricks of cream cheese (24oz)
  • 8 oz softened butter
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla
  1. In a food processor, pulse your vanilla wafer cookies into a fine crumb. Also pulse your walnuts into a fine chop. Mix together until well blended. Next, mix in your brown sugar and mix well again. Now melt your butter and add to this mix and stir until well coated and mixture is crumbly.
  2. Take one very full cup of crumb mixture and pour into a coated cake pan (I used 9″) pressing into the bottom and spreading it evenly into the cake pans. Keep about 2 cups of the mixture which will be baked and used on the sides of the cake.
  3. Set aside and start preparing the cake mix.
  4. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
  5. Beat the sugar and butter until light and fluffy.
  6. Add in all the rest of the ingredients, except the eggs. Mix until well blended.
  7. Add in the eggs, one at a time until just blended.
  8. Pour your batter equally into your four prepared cake pans.
  9. Place remaining crunch mixture in another cake pan or pie dish and allow to bake for the same amount of time as the cakes.
  10. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes. If using 8″ cake pans, increase cooking time to 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  11. Also remove the extra crunch mixture from the oven and break up any chunks that might have occurred while cooking.
  12. Allow pans to cool about 10 minutes, then put them onto wire racks and allow to cool completely.
  13. Whip the cream cheese and butter until smooth.
  14. Slowly add in your powdered sugar and mix until well blended.
  15. Add your vanilla until also well blended.
  16. After your cake is cooled – begin frosting the layers and putting the cake together.
  17. After putting together all of the layers with some frosting in between them, spread the remaining frosting on the sides and top.
  18. If desired, add the extra crunch mixture to the top and sides of the cake.




For some other great pumpkin recipes, take a look at these!

Pumpkin Pie Crumb Bars

Pumpkin Pie Crumb Bars. madefrompinterest.net

3 Ingredient Pumpkin Cookies



Pumpkin Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting



  1. I love the “Debbie, the oldest” as that is how I am always introduced by my parents to anyone…I’m “Wendy, the oldest” Mom’s 83, Dad’s 79….and I am the oldest of 3….it never get’s old!

    • Hi Wendy! Yeah…we never lose that title do we? So glad you stopped by and I have a new “oldest” friend! Deb – The Oldest Sister :o}

  2. You and I must be on the same wavelength…I just made this cake the other day. It’s delicious!

  3. Just tried the Pumpkin Crunch Cake yesterday and served to dinner guests last night. It was a HUGE hit and I’m happy to have the recipe in my iPad cookbook.

    I do have a question, however, on the order of the ingredients. Normally after butter/sugar is combined, eggs are added in at that time. Then dry ingredients mixed together and added alternately with wet ingredients. In this recipe the eggs are added last. Is there a reason for this?

    Also, I used one less package of cream cheese for the frosting and a whole box of powdered sugar–it was great!

    Okay, I’m off to have lunch and then a piece of this marvelous cake! Yum!

    • Hi Ann! Well, great minds think alike. I wondered about that too but wanted to follow the recipe exactly and mine turned out just fine so I have no idea why the eggs are included in that order. The original author of this recipe never called me to ask my opinion about it. Can you believe that? RUDE! haha So glad you liked it! Deb – The Oldest Sister

      • The next time I make the cake I’m going to do it in the way I would normally make a cake and see if there is a difference. The biggest problem now is trying to figure out a way to freeze the rest of the cake as the two of us just can’t eat it all fast enough to keep it from getting stale. I want to slice it in individual pieces and then freeze so I only have to thaw what we’ll use. I’ve tempted my son with a picture of the cake to come visit this weekend so we’ll see how that works out.

        I wonder how this cake would work in a large rectangular pan so that pieces of it could be cut into smaller pieces?

        • hmmmm….What if you put the crunch part at the bottom, then cake and then frosting? I think it might work! I too have kids come for the weekend when they know I’m making a big Sunday dinner! I love it.

  4. I love your website! Thanks for stopping by my very first Link Up party. I have pinned, tweeted, etc. Its so nice to meet you!

  5. Has anyone made this cake 2 or 3 days in advance of serving? I am wondering how long the crunchy part will stay crunchy or If it gets soggy after a couple of days. Also, I made my own mascarpone & will use that as in the original recipe. It was easy to make & very smooth & creamy. It will be interesting to see if it has a better flavor/texture than all cream cheese frosting.Thanks for your help.

    • Hi Pam! I did have some of this cake the next day and thought it was better than the first. It still had a crunch but I can’t really say how it would be 2-3 days ahead of time. Sure hope you like it! Deb – The Oldest Sister


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  6. […] I’m so blue-hoohoohoo. Actually, I am really happy. Last night I got email from my son who is on a mission for our church and hearing from made my day! We were able to email back and forth for an hour. After making this Blueberry Balsamic Glazed Slow Cooker Pork Tenderloin, it had me thinking about how when he was little he and his sister loved Madame Blueberry from Veggie Tales. She was so blue because she didn’t have all the latest and greatest things. Eventually she learned that things did not bring her joy, that when she was grateful for the things she had, she was happier, and her relationships with people she loves are the most important things to have. Great message as we approach Thanksgiving. I love this holiday because no matter what religion, culture, or llifestyle you live, in America, we all celebrate Thanksgiving. And a season of giving thanks before all the Christmas shopping is a good reminder of what is most important. I like that. Plus, the food is good. Food like Sweet Potato Souffle and Pumpkin Crunch Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting. […]

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