We’ll admit it—we have a crush on pumpkin. From carving jack-o-lanterns to eating pumpkin pie to drinking pumpkin-flavored lattes, pumpkin season is synonymous with fall. When the weather starts cooling off, the holiday demand for desserts starts heating up, and a pumpkin dump cake is the perfect thing to kick off a season full of celebrations. Save the sifting, beating and complex recipes for your Christmas cookies—this yummy fall cake is almost unbelievably easy.
Everything you need for this autumnal dump cake keeps well in your pantry, so you can toss one together in a few minutes and have it out of the oven and ready to serve in under an hour. That’ll leave you time to put together centerpieces or hostess gifts, or to curl up with a glass of wine and a book.
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To make any dump cake, start by “dumping” pie filling in the bottom of a casserole dish, sprinkling cake mix over that, and adding pats of butter on top. In the oven, it all melds together to create a warm, delicious cake that comes together so quickly it feels magical.
Begin your pumpkin dump cake by buying canned pumpkin pie filling. Add eggs and milk required by the cake mix here as well, but use evaporated milk so your cake doesn’t have too much liquid. Next, add the cake mix evenly on top of the pumpkin (you can sprinkle it or just dump it in and shake the pan to cover), and don’t forget the evenly distribute pats of butter over the top. Be liberal with your butter, because the cake will need it in order to brown—adding chopped or crushed pecans to the top of the cake at this stage isn’t necessary, but the nuts will add a lot to the presentation and taste without adding much effort.
Pop your pumpkin dump cake into a 350-degree oven, and start checking for doneness after 40 minutes or so, although it may need as long as an hour. The cake is done when it’s firm—give it a little shake or test with a toothpick if you’re not sure.
Serve as-is or top with ice cream or whipped cream. And feel free to keep the secret of this simple showstopper to yourself—we won’t tell!