Have you ever seen that Food Network show “The Best Thing I Ever Ate”? Each episode focuses on a different category of lusty foods that network stars and chefs eat on their days off. Anyone who obsesses over food like I do will appreciate the passion that oozes from their mouths with every tasty word. Well, Paula Deen’s Pumpkin Gooey Cake is the best pumpkin dessert I ever ate. If you’re not familiar with this yummy recipe, you really should be. And you know, while I’m all about preserving family food traditions, be forewarned. This dessert could very well replace the lowly old pumpkin pie on your Thanksgiving buffet just like it did on mine.
The recipe begins by transforming an ordinary box of yellow cake mix into a sweet and chewy crust that’s firm enough to hold with your fingers, like a bar cookie. The texture is perfect. And the raw dough can hold its own against any chocolate chip cookie recipe. Just ask my girls! The easiest way to form the crust in the pan is to press the dough down with your hands. Your body heat will help it spread faster and more evenly. The second part of the recipe, the filling, is just as dreamy as the first. How can it not be with a combination of pumpkin, cream cheese and, in true Paula Deen fashion, butter? Whip it up. Pour it in. Bake. Cut. Eat.
This is a great make-ahead turkey day recipe. It travels well, tastes great at room temperature and can be eaten with your hands. That means this one recipe can save you from the common Thanksgiving stressors of last minute food prep, messy car spills, competing for oven space and rushing to the sink between dinner and dessert to clean dirty silverware. Oh, and it makes 24 servings. Pumpkin pie can’t do all that! So make room on your Thanksgiving table for this quick and easy dessert.
Pumpkin Gooey Cake Recipe
1 18.25-ounce package yellow cake mix
1 stick butter melted
1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
1 15-ounce can pumpkin
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 stick butter, melted
1 16-ounce box powdered sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, combine the cake mix, butter and egg; mix well with an electric mixer. Pat the mixture into the bottom of a lightly greased 13x9x2 inch baking dish. In another medium bowl (or quickly wash out the one you just used), prepare the filling by beating the cream cheese and pumpkin with an electric mixer until well blended and smooth. Add the eggs, vanilla and butter. Beat until thoroughly combined. In a separate bowl, combine the powdered sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg. Gradually add the powdered sugar mixture to the pumpkin mixture. Beat with electric mixer on low until well blended. Spread pumpkin mixture over crust batter; bake for 40 to 50 minutes, or until almost set. Serve with a dusting of powdered sugar or a dollop of whipped cream. Makes 24 2-inch squares.