The Revealing, Secret Diaries of a Not-So-Secret Foodie

Pumpkin Crunch Cake Bars

pumpkin crunch cakeMy next recipe, Pumpkin Cake Crunch Bars, is one that I make throughout the year, despite featuring pumpkin as its star ingredient. It also happens to be one of my husband’s favorite desserts. So much so, that ever since I have been making his birthday cake, close to fifteen years now, this is the one he chooses. Maybe he feels the same way I do. It would be silly to be thankful only once per year. In much the same way, it would be silly to reserve a dessert this good for just Thanksgiving Day. Sometimes, he even eats a bar or two before dinner.

Originally, I got this recipe from my Aunt who had requested it from a friend. Since then, I have seen a similar recipe called Linda’s Crunch Cake posted on the top of certain brands of eggs year round. They must also know that it is keeper. Slight variations of one another both recipes are a type of “dump” cake.

In my opinion, the addition of freshly grated nutmeg sets this dessert apart. It is a must. So treat yourself to an inexpensive microplane. Then head to Penzey’s or wherever you prefer to buy whole nutmeg. You will be glad you did. Take a moment and indulge yourself in the wonderful fragrance of the freshly grated nutmeg. Be sure to dust the finished bars with fresh shavings of nutmeg just before serving. Its result will be a dessert not only beautiful for the eyes, but an aromatic experience for the nose.


Pumpkin Crunch Cake Bars

1 15-ounce of canned pumpkin

1 cup sugar

1 12-ounce can of evaporated milk

3 eggs

1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon

¼ teaspoon of freshly grated nutmeg

1 box of yellow cake mix

1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts

1 cup butter, melted


1 8-ounce package of cream cheese (The light version is OK, but do not use fat-free)

½ cup powdered sugar

¾ cup Cool Whip (If frozen, be sure to thaw in fridge overnight or on counter for at least 4 hours before using in this recipe.  Do not try to rush the thawing. ) 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line 9×13 pan with a sheet of waxed paper.  Leave enough extra to slightly hang over edge of pan to help you pull cake out of pan later.

Mix pumpkin, evaporated milk, eggs, sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg together.  Pour mixture into lined pan.  Sprinkle entire box of cake mix evenly over top of the pumpkin mixture. Layer the coarsely chapped nuts on top of cake mix.  Spoon melted butter over the nut layer.  Bake at 350 for 55-60 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.  Let cool.  Flip out onto foiled lined baking rack.  Pull off wax paper and discard.  Next beat cream cheese, powdered sugar and cool whip.  Beat with electric mixer until fluffy.  Frost cake (be sure cake is completely cool or frosting will melt).  Cut into bars.  Garnish with freshly grated nutmeg, if desired.

Serves 20.

Photo by suebthefoodie. ©, 2011.
Recipe shared with me by L.C.
  1. Such a simple delicious fall treat! This is easily convertible to those on a Gluten Free diet by substituting Pillsbury Gluten Free cake mix. You are unable to tell that it is GF, such a moist treat! Thank you Sue for sharing such a wonder treat that my whole family can enjoy!

    • Such a treat to find your comment in my inbox. So glad to know that Pumpkin Crunch Bars worked for your crew, especially when sugar was added ;)! Thank you for reporting your results with making it Gluten-free. So much fun sharing keepers with friends. Enjoy the day.

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