Pumpkin Crunch Cake


Rather than multiple layers of cake sandwiching a rich frosting, this Pumpkin Crunch Cake takes a simpler approach—one thick layer of moist cake is covered in a hefty slathering of pumpkin cream cheese frosting and sprinkled with a spiced cookie crumble with toasted pumpkin seeds. Just three components without any decorative fuss, our Pumpkin Crunch Cake boasts an exceptionally tender cake with just the right hints of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves. The oil-based cake is just as moist as a velvety piece of pumpkin bread, but the tangy cream cheese frosting and the salty pumpkin seed crumble complement the straightforward sweetness of the cake, making for a slice that's nearly irresistible in its sweet-salty, soft-crunchy, rich-tangy combination of textures and tastes. In addition to taste, it is all whisked together in a bowl and poured into a springform pan, meaning you won't have to pull out the mixer or dirty multiple cake pans. This mess-free recipe will cut your normal clean-up in half while leaving your friends and loved ones asking for more.

Pumpkin Crunch Cake
Photo: Micah A. Leal
Active Time:
1 hrs
Total Time:
3 hrs 15 mins


Pumpkin Seed Crumble

  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar

  • 3/4 tablespoons light brown sugar

  • 1/4 + 2 tablespoons cake flour

  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder

  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

  • 1/4 teaspoon ginger

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 1/3 cup pumpkin seeds, roughly chopped

Pumpkin Cake

  • 3 cups cake flour

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

  • 2 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

  • 3 large eggs

  • 1 (15-oz.) can pure pumpkin

  • 1 3/4 cups sugar

  • 1 1/4 cups vegetable oil

Pumpkin Frosting

  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter

  • 6 ounces cream cheese

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 1/3 cup pure pumpkin

  • 1 1/4 cups powdered sugar


  1. Make Crumble: Preheat oven to 300°F. In a bowl, stir together all Crumble ingredients except the pumpkin seeds with a mixing spoon until a crumbly dough forms, about 2 minutes. Scatter dough across a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes, stirring the crumble halfway through baking. Add pumpkin seeds, stir to combine, and return to oven for an additional 10 minutes, stirring again halfway through baking. Set aside to cool.

  2. Make Cake: Increase oven temperature to 350°F. Grease a 10-inch springform pan with cooking spray and line the bottom with parchment paper. Set aside. In a bowl, whisk together flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and spices. Set aside. In a separate large mixing bowl, whisk together eggs, pumpkin, sugar, and oil until eggs are fully combined into liquid mixture. Whisk in half of the dry ingredients until well combined. Add remaining dry and whisk until no pockets of dry ingredients remain. Pour batter into prepared pan, spread evenly inside pan, and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 1 hour and 15 minutes. Allow to cool to room temperature before removing cake from pan, about 1 hour.

  3. Make Frosting: Beat butter and cream cheese on medium-high until fully incorporated, about 3 minutes. Add vanilla, salt, and canned pumpkin; mix on medium-high until well combined, about 2 minutes. Add powdered sugar and mix on low to incorporate. Scrape down sides of bowl and increase speed to medium-high, beating Frosting for an additional 3 minutes until lightened and airy.

  4. Assemble Cake: Use a serrated knife to remove the dome of the cake and make a level surface. Spread Frosting on top of Cake. Sprinkle Crumble evenly across Frosting.

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