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Pumpkin Crack Cake

Pumpkin Crack Cake

Made with a homemade or store bought gluten free vanilla cake mix, this gluten free pumpkin crack cake is always the first dessert to go at a fall party. You won’t believe just how easy it is.

Gluten Free Pumpkin "Crack" Cake

This embarrassingly good, frighteningly easy, deliciously inexpensive cake, known affectionately as Gluten Free Pumpkin “Crack” Cake. And why, yes, that is an inappropriate play on the fact that it’s so good you’ll not be able to control yourself around this stuff.

Gluten Free Pumpkin "Crack" Cake, Step by Step

Here’s what you’re gonna do. Pour in the pumpkin, sweetened condensed milk, eggs, sugar, and pumpkin pie spice. Sprinkle some of the cake mix. Swirl the two together. Spread the rest of the cake mix on top. Spread on the melted and cooled butter next, then sprinkle the chips evenly on top. Cover the cake, bake for a bit, uncover the cake and finish baking it. That’s all. The center is soft and pudding-like, and the outside is crumbly and almost crunchy, like a coffee cake crumble. Make your own DIY gluten free vanilla cake mix, or buy a box. What could be easier?

Prep time: Cook time: Yield: 1 cake

Ingredients

7 1/2 ounces canned pumpkin puree

7 ounces sweetened condensed milk

2 eggs (100 g, weighed out of shell) at room temperature, beaten

1/2 cup (100 g) granulated sugar

2 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice

1 16-ounce gluten-free yellow cake mix (DIY or boxed)

8 tablespoons (112 g) unsalted butter, melted and cooled

1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (or chopped pecans)

Directions

  • Preheat the oven to 350° F. Grease a 9-inch square or round baking pan and set it aside.

  • In a medium-sized bowl, place the pumpkin, condensed milk, eggs, sugar and pumpkin pie spice, and beat until well-combined. Pour the pumpkin mixture into the prepared pan. Sprinkle about 1/3 of the dry cake mix over the top and swirl it into the wet ingredients with a knife. Sprinkle the rest of the dry cake mix on top, and smooth carefully until it covers evenly. Pour the melted butter evenly on top of the cake, then sprinkle evenly with chips. Cover the top of the pan with foil.

  • Place the cake in the center of the preheated oven, and bake for 25 minutes. Uncover, and bake until the cake has begun to brown around edges (about 20 minutes more). Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely before slicing into squares or wedges and serving.

Love,
Nicole

 

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Comments are closed.

  • Cindy
    September 14, 2012 at 12:33 AM

    Oops – forgot that condensed milk is in the recipe – anyone know of a good dairy-free substitute?  Thx.

  • Cindy
    September 14, 2012 at 12:30 AM

    Hi – wondering if the gluten-free cake mix tastes “funny” to non -gluten-free people – is there a brand you recommend?  Also, would margarine instead of butter be bad (needs to be dairy-free too)?  Thanks!

  • […] making bars instead of a pie (like these pumpkins streusel bars, made with a GF cake mix, or this “pumpkin crack cake”). There are also numerous recipes out there for gluten free cookies, and most of them are easy to […]

  • Michelle
    November 5, 2011 at 5:09 PM

    I just made this today. It is amazing, thanks for sharing. Yumtastic.

    • Nicole
      November 6, 2011 at 3:04 PM

      Love yumtastic, Michelle! So glad you enjoyed. :)
      xoxo Nicole

  • cecilia
    November 3, 2011 at 4:08 PM

    I baked this last night. Absolutely delicious! I used walnuts rather than chocolate chips this time. Shared it with a couple friends, and they all loved it. Even my husband really liked it, and he isn’t a huge pumpkin fan. I did double the recipe, because I would not know what to do with half a can of pumokin, or half a can of condensed milk. Expensive if you think in terms of home dessert. But, I always imagine what it would cost in a restaurant for a treat. Per serving, this is cheaper, and tips aren’t necessary.

  • Janet
    November 2, 2011 at 6:14 PM

    Hi Nicole! Just wanted to tell you GFboy says “yum! and thank you!”

  • Darlene
    November 1, 2011 at 7:49 PM

    Two things I’ve noticed since finally admitting I need readers.. 1) I’m the typo queen on my itty bitty phone and laptop and 2) you have the cutest little smiley face at the bottom left of your page! Or is that the sticker I forgot to peel off my glasses?

    • Nicole
      November 1, 2011 at 8:01 PM

      I am freakishly fast and accurate on my iPhone keypad. I have long considered that a gift. I hope I don’t find out differently at some point in my (bespectacled) future.
      Not sure if your glasses have a sticker or not, but there is an adorable little :) at the bottom of the page. It’s not mine, sadly. It’s something to do with the blog theme template or some such. I see it here and there on the Internet, and I adore it. Sometimes I think it’s a figment of my imagination.
      xoxo Nicole

  • Darlene
    November 1, 2011 at 5:52 PM

    Reading the comments make me sooo thankful that I’m only sensitive to gluten. I’d just chewing on toothpicks and drinking water. I’d be skinny tho.
    Thanks for another wonderful recipe!

    • Nicole
      November 1, 2011 at 6:37 PM

      Hey, Darlene,
      Always good to hear from you. Believe you me, I often think the same thing. We were dairy-free for a while, and it wasn’t easy. Not by a mile. Skinny isn’t a bad side effect, I bet, but not quite worth it. :)
      xoxo Nicole

  • November 1, 2011 at 4:53 PM

    instead of buying a mix would it work to use your recipe on p 181?

    • Nicole
      November 1, 2011 at 6:35 PM

      Hi, Melissa,
      That’s an imperfect sub, but not a terrible one. I would say try adding some whey powder or nonfat dry milk powder to the dry ingredients in that recipe, and you will be closer. Good idea. :)
      xoxo Nicole

  • Tiffany
    November 1, 2011 at 2:38 PM

    Thank you so much! I can’t wait to try this. We’re also DF here and will try the condensed milk sub soon. That being said, can Earth Balance or Nucoa margarine (DF options), be sub. for the butter ok?

    • Nicole
      November 1, 2011 at 2:44 PM

      Hi, Tiffany,
      I have never heard of Nucoa margarine. Does it melt like butter? I would think that Earth Balance would be good, and potentially Nucoa, depending upon how it melts. Oh, and you’re welcome!
      xoxo Nicole

  • Angie
    November 1, 2011 at 2:29 PM

    Hi Nicole, I’ve been reading your blog for awhile now and love your recipes! I’m planning to try this one tonight but want to double the recipe and make a 9×13-inch pan. If I double it, would I need 2 sticks of butter with the 1 box of cake mix? Or still just use 1 stick of butter?

    • Nicole
      November 1, 2011 at 2:45 PM

      Hi, Angie,
      *gulp* yes. You will need 2 sticks of butter! But if you prefer, try diailing it back to 1 1/2 sticks butter. It doesn’t react with the other ingredients that much, so it should be fine. I know! It’s a lot of butter! But it’s sooooooo good. :)
      xoxo Nicole

    • Angie
      November 3, 2011 at 2:15 PM

      I used 2 sticks of butter and it turned out great! I noticed someone else asked about using Earth Balance or something similar… I used the Earth Balance sticks for this and it worked just fine. Not quite as good as real butter but close enough to still taste good :).

    • Nicole
      November 3, 2011 at 2:18 PM

      Thanks so much, Angie, for following up! That sort of info is super helpful. So glad you enjoyed!
      xoxo Nicole

  • chris
    November 1, 2011 at 8:11 AM

    Nicole, you are an evil genius…and I love it! I have made a recipe similar to this with the pumpkin filling on the bottom and the cake mix/melted butter on top, but it didn’t call for swirling part of the cake mix into the pumpkin! It also didn’t call for choc chips on top! We loved the other recipe so I can’t wait to try this! I’m positive it will be our new favorite. Thank you, thank you for everything <3

    • Nicole
      November 1, 2011 at 10:19 AM

      Hi, Chris,
      This cake and others like it have probably been around as long as anything else. I’m not surprised at all that you already have a lot of experience with it!
      xoxo Nicole

  • November 1, 2011 at 6:41 AM

    I can’t wait to get a “boxed cake mix substitute” as we have soy allergies at my house, and nut.. and boxed mix doesn’t work for us either… because this sounds GREAT!!

    • Nicole
      November 1, 2011 at 10:26 AM

      Come Fall 2012, when my next cookbook is published, it’ll be all yours, Beth! :)
      xoxo Nicole

  • Peggy
    November 1, 2011 at 12:49 AM

    I had to chuckle when I saw today’s recipe. I have been making another version of this recipe since my son was about 2…he is 38. However, I made up a pumpkin pie mixture, poured into a 9×13 pan, sprinkled a spiced cake mix on top & topped it with melted butter. Once I went GF, I substituted a gf yellow cake mix to which I had added my own pumpkin spices & topped with butter. My son called it pum-cake because he couldn’t say pumpkin pie cake which was what we called it. I know your recipe would taste better just because of the condensed milk you use…mine calls for regular mile.

    • Nicole
      November 1, 2011 at 10:18 AM

      Hi, Peggy,
      Funny – and so cute. Sweetened condensed milk is the nectar of the gods. Otherwise, your recipe sounds nearly the same! That’s a lot of years of experience making this cake, though. :)
      xoxo Nicole

    • Peggy
      November 1, 2011 at 9:49 PM

      My son loves, loves, loves pumpkin pie so I needed to come up with a different way to make pumpkin pie & this was the outcome & was one of his favorites. Maybe I’ll surprise him at Thanksgiving & make one for him. My daughter says my gf version which she had while I was living in Colorado is even better than the original. I’m going to substitute the sweentened condense milk when I make it. Sounds so rich & sinful!!! My kind of dessert!

    • Nicole
      November 2, 2011 at 7:45 AM

      I love it, Peggy! You’re such a good and thoughtful mom.
      xoxo Nicole

  • Vicky
    October 31, 2011 at 3:42 PM

    I have gf flours, (cause I like to make everything from scratch) but no box of yellow gf cake mix. What can I sub for the box of cake mix?

    • Nicole
      October 31, 2011 at 4:15 PM

      Hi, Vicky,
      Oooh that’s a good one. I have make-your-own-cake-mix recipes that I’m developing for my next book, but I can’t share them now/here. I would say you’re best off waiting until you can get a hold of a mix. I’m so sorry I don’t have a better answer for now!
      xoxo Nicole

    • Vicky
      October 31, 2011 at 4:46 PM

      That is good, let me know! I cannot afford this expensive cake mixes in the stores. I’m always sub-ing mixes with what I have in the home.

    • Nicole
      October 31, 2011 at 5:11 PM

      I usually buy them on sale, Vicky. I agree, they can be pretty expensive. :)
      xoxo Nicole

    • Jennifer
      November 2, 2011 at 1:57 AM

      Ha! That was my question, but I decided to read through the replies before I asked – and glad I did! I was hoping you had a yellow/white cake mix recipe somewhere up your sleeve, I’ve been wanting it for a few other things. Yay, I’m glad to hear it’s coming! This recipe looks amazing. Sweetened condensed milk, pumpkin, cake mix…? Really, it’s amazing already!

    • Nicole
      November 2, 2011 at 7:44 AM

      Hi, Jennifer,
      Yup. It’s coming. You’ll have to wait until Fall 2012, but at least it’s coming… And rest assured that’s not the only thing up my sleeve. :)
      xoxo Nicole

    • Jennifer
      November 2, 2011 at 11:31 AM

      Sweet! I love your sleeve! :) I wish there were anything I could do to help. In the meantime I guess I’ll just keep stuffing myself on the amazing stuff you already do!

    • Nicole
      November 2, 2011 at 1:45 PM

      Hi, Jennifer,
      It’s a good sleeve. I have to keep filling it, since I keep pulling things out of it, though. ;)
      xoxo Nicole

  • Jessica
    October 31, 2011 at 1:50 PM

    I’d love to find an all purpose flour mix that does not use rice, soy or nut flours. Is there a recipe on this site or does anybody have one that they’d like to share? I’d especially like to use it in place of the boxed yellow cake mix in this recipe.

    • Nicole
      October 31, 2011 at 2:30 PM

      Hi, Jessica,
      Take a look at the comments section of the Dark Chocolate Truffle Tart post. In it, I quote Naomi Poe of Better Batter regarding how to create your own all-purpose flour blend. I don’t know of any flour blend that is free of soy, rice, and nut flours, but if you follow Naomi’s formula, you should be able to make your own. I hope that’s helpful!
      xoxo Nicole

  • Marian
    October 31, 2011 at 1:48 PM

    I made the pumpkin granola breakfast cookies this morning as a special Halloween treat for my kiddos (oh, they’re awesome), and now I have a perfect use for the rest of the pumpkin! And I made up my own flour mix using built-up stock I had on hand from previous experiments with GF baking, while waiting for the next box of Better Batter to arrive, and it WORKS! I’m learning so much from your website, thanks! (And I’m happy to share the flour mix proportions if anyone is interested).

    • Nicole
      October 31, 2011 at 2:27 PM

      Hi, Marian,
      I’m so glad you were success with the breakfast cookies. I’m really glad you used a flour mix of your own making, and it turned out well. That’s great. Just be sure not to assume automatically that the same mix will work for all recipes, especially breads, which tend to have very different requirements. It might work, but it might not. You really seem to be feeling confident, which is really more than half the battle in the kitchen!
      xoxo Nicole

    • Marian
      October 31, 2011 at 2:44 PM

      Ah, I should have mentioned, I already made several other recipes with my rogue mixture, including your cookbook’s sandwich bread, which turned out perfectly!Still, Better Batter is easier. Open laptop, clickety-click, order, done! :)

    • Nicole
      October 31, 2011 at 3:01 PM

      Wow, Marian,
      You were able to make the White Sandwich Bread with your rogue mixture? Tell us what it is! That’s fabulous. Thanks for clarifying. :)
      xoxo Nicole

    • Marian
      November 1, 2011 at 9:40 AM

      4 c each white rice flour, tapioca starch, corn starch. 2 c potato starch, 2 packets unflavored gelatin, 5 T. xanthan gum. The White Sandwich Bread turned out perfectly. As did the Blueberry Banana muffins from your book, the apple fritters, and the pumpkin granola breakfast cookies. I had all this stuff on hand from when I was using more complicated recipes, and I didn’t want it to go to waste so started to experiment with mixing flours that I could use like the Better Batter. It’s not gone yet so I’m going to try pizza crust too.

    • Marian
      November 1, 2011 at 9:42 AM

      Also, it doesn’t have that terrible smell. Does anyone else smell that terrible smell when using GF flour mixes? Metallic, maybe? Makes me want to gag.

    • Nicole
      November 1, 2011 at 10:21 AM

      That smell is particular to the bean flours. Beans are not supposed to be bread. Or cake. Or cookies. That smell is vile.
      xoxo Nicole

    • Nicole
      November 1, 2011 at 10:20 AM

      Hi, Marian,
      Interesting mix. I’m curious to see how it works with pizza crust, since it has lots of gelatin in it. Thanks for posting it!
      xoxo Nicole

  • October 31, 2011 at 12:21 PM

    Let’s just not beat around the bush and call it anything else Nicole -it’s crack, pure and simple – and that’s why I bake your recipes.

  • Jessica Rosman on Facebook
    October 31, 2011 at 12:12 PM

    At Ashley, I <3 you! ;-)

  • Laura
    October 31, 2011 at 11:46 AM

    This looks so awesome, I may try it tomorrow. I’ve been experimenting with the Trader Joe’s pumpkin cream cheese and making lots of pumpkin baked goodies! So fun!

    • Nicole
      October 31, 2011 at 12:21 PM

      Hi, Laura,
      Ooooh pumpkin cream cheese sounds amazing. I love Trader Joe’s. Total gluten-free life-line!
      xoxo Nicole

  • Pamela G
    October 31, 2011 at 11:21 AM

    Pumpkin Crack…you’re SUCH a card!
    I’m sure this cake and a coffee cloch would have us roaring!!
    Honestly, Nicole…I swear…you muct read my mind, because I was in the freezer yesterday and said “I have to use the last of this pumpkin up soon….” and Voila!!!

    • Nicole
      October 31, 2011 at 11:28 AM

      Hi, Pamela,
      So nice to hear from you. :)
      I do read your mind. It’s quite a useful skill, actually. :)
      There are so many lovely ways to use pumpkin puree. I’m so glad you’re all not sick of pumpkin yet!
      xoxo Nicole

    • Pamela G
      November 2, 2011 at 9:43 AM

      SICK OF PUMPKIN?!!!????!!!
      Never! :)

  • Susan Plocher
    October 31, 2011 at 11:14 AM

    Hi,
    This looks so wonderful – my mouth is watering. However, I’m hoping there is a Dairy Free alternative to sweetened condensed milk. Can full-fat coconut milk be used in some sort of fashion? I know there are ways to make SCM but they are very time consuming and I would rather be baking than watching milk turn thick. :-)

    • Susan Plocher
      October 31, 2011 at 11:16 AM

      OOPS…sorry. Didn’t see that you had already answered. Thought I had to repost the question. EEK.

    • Nicole
      October 31, 2011 at 11:27 AM

      No problem, Susan.
      The nondairy sweetened condensed milk doesn’t really take very long at all, actually. And the results are completely worth it. Plain full fat coconut milk doesn’t really cut it at all. I would suggest you make a bunch, and freeze it in portions. I bet that would work well. :)
      xoxo Nicole

  • October 31, 2011 at 11:04 AM

    Making it tonight! Y.U.M.!

    • Nicole
      October 31, 2011 at 11:10 AM

      Hi, Jennifer,
      So glad you’re excited. :)
      xoxo Nicole

  • October 31, 2011 at 10:57 AM

    This look SO good but I can’t do sweetened condensed milk. Got any other suggestions to substitute for those of us who are dairy free? Can full-fat coconut milk be used in some fashion?

    • Nicole
      October 31, 2011 at 11:12 AM

      Hi, Susan,
      See this recipe for Dairy-Free Fudge for how to make nondairy sweetened condensed milk. It works perfectly.
      xoxo Nicole

    • Susan Plocher
      October 31, 2011 at 11:18 AM

      SWEET! (Literally!) This will open up so many options for me! YEA! You are the best. I admit I hadn’t looked at the fudge recipe b/c (gasp!) I’m not a fudge fan. See what happens when I skip a lesson??? Thanks so much!

    • Nicole
      October 31, 2011 at 11:26 AM

      Hi, Susan,
      So glad your sense of possibility has been renewed! I’ve been trying to do more dairy-free recipe development and testing lately, since it seems to be a problem for so many, and I want to have a well-stocked war chest so that I can respond well when I get asked the substitution questions. I’m still working hard on an all-purpose nondairy sub for dry milk powder and/or whey powder. That’s a big one, too! I’ll keep going until I find something, though.
      xoxo Nicole

    • Susan Plocher
      October 31, 2011 at 11:35 AM

      I use non-dairy creamer for my dry milk substitute. I’m always interested in new ideas but for me it works fine. I make a dry cream soup base recipe that I can just add water, mushrooms, celery or whatever when I need a can of condensed soup. I’m sure you’ll come up with something better (you usually do) but for now, it works pretty well.

    • Nicole
      October 31, 2011 at 12:22 PM

      Hi, Susan,
      Non-dairy creamers often have so many other ingredients added to them, so they don’t usually work for me in everything. But I’m really glad it hasn’t been a sticking point for you. :)
      xoxo Nicole

    • Kadren
      October 31, 2011 at 10:45 PM

      Question for you, can I use a different milk to make the sweetened Cond, milk? One of my daughter’s can’t tolerate coconut. All 4 kids can have flax milk. Thanks!

    • Nicole
      November 1, 2011 at 10:17 AM

      Hi, Kadren,
      That is a tough one. I don’t know of any other milk that is as high in fat and as thick as coconut milk. Have you ever tried MimicCreme? It’s a mix of almond and cashew milks. If you can tolerate that, that would work great.
      xoxo Nicole

    • Jessica
      November 1, 2011 at 11:46 AM

      IME, any product with 5g of fat will do the trick. I make everything out of Coconut Milk, even buttermilk and it works perfectly. Soy, rice or nut milks w/ at least 5g of fat will probably work just as well. Maybe you’d need a thickener. I say give it a try!

    • Kadren
      November 1, 2011 at 1:50 PM

      I’ll have to try the flax milk. The oldest can have goat’s milk which has 10 g of fat per cup, but the younger ones can’t. And the oldest can’t have the cashew/almond mix. Worst thing that can happen is that it won’t work! lol Thanks, Nicole and Jessica! I’ll let you know!

  • Paula Kurth on Facebook
    October 31, 2011 at 10:11 AM

    This is the PERFECT holiday recipe for me because it is a) easy, b) gluten free and c) egg free (I just recently was given a wonderful new son-in-law who has an egg allergy, so I try to only have egg-free desserts – this is even harder to do than gluten-free, I have found!)

    • Nicole
      October 31, 2011 at 11:14 AM

      Hi, Paula,
      I agree that egg-free can be a real challenge, especially in baking. Dairy-free, too. You’re a nice mother-in-law. :)
      xoxo Nicole

    • Jessica
      October 31, 2011 at 12:33 PM

      I also have an egg allergy. There are a lot of good (but fairly expensive) egg replacers on the market that you can get. I’m allergic to the yolk and not the whites so I can eat Egg Beaters as a cooked ingredient in other foods, just not too much of it. Or if I can get away with it I just use the whites.

    • Nicole
      October 31, 2011 at 12:53 PM

      Hi, Jessica,
      That’s really interesting. Thank you for posting about your experience. I often use egg whites as a stabilizer in gluten-free baking, so that should work well for you. I know that many people are not terribly happy with Ener-G Egg Replacer, and prefer to use a flax seed/hot water slurry as an egg replacer, but I don’t have a lot of experience with that. If you have any particular non-egg egg-replacer products that you really like, I’m sure it would help other readers to know. Thanks again!
      xoxo Nicole

    • Jessica
      October 31, 2011 at 1:18 PM

      I’m allergic to ALA too so I can’t do the flax seed/hot water slurry. So far I’ve only tried Ener G’s egg replacer, you can get other brands from Europe or Australia but the shipping costs can sometimes be insane. People I know who have used them seem to be happy with them. Most of the time, if I can, I just use the whites or see if the recipe can use apple sauce or something like that instead. So far cooked apples haven’t bothered me but I’m allergic to raw apples.

    • Nicole
      October 31, 2011 at 1:39 PM

      Thanks, Jessica. Egg-replacement in baking remains quite a challenge.
      xoxo Nicole

    • Kadren
      October 31, 2011 at 10:40 PM

      Egg free desserts aren’t hard at all! You can buy Ener-G Egg replacer. It is a powder that you use to substitute for the eggs in recipes. To make it work the best, double the powder in the same amount of water. I use it all the time when our ducks quit laying in the winter.

  • Jessica Rosman on Facebook
    October 31, 2011 at 9:55 AM

    Any ideas what can be used to replace the dairy?

    • Nicole
      October 31, 2011 at 11:13 AM

      Hi, Jessica,
      See the link in my reply to Susan’s comment below. :)
      xoxo Nicole

  • October 31, 2011 at 9:49 AM

    this looks sooo good. I have quite a few gfree cake mixes on hand, and plenty of pumpkin. I’ll have to whip this up!

    • Nicole
      October 31, 2011 at 10:02 AM

      Hi, Nicole,
      So glad you are all ready! Let me know how it turns out…
      xoxo Nicole

  • Colleen Whitington on Facebook
    October 31, 2011 at 9:26 AM

    this sounds awesome. can’t wait to try it. we have church homecoming coming up so I have to get as many gluten free dishes as possible ready to take. I like a little variety when I go to things like this but with the whole gluten free thing, I usually can only eat what I bring. Good thing I have several great gf cooks on my fb friends list. Thans GfoaS!

  • Ashley Laschon on Facebook
    October 31, 2011 at 9:08 AM

    perfect!! I’m gonna make that for the holidays, thanks! Also, if you get the condensed milk from the mexican/ethnic aisle, it’s corn free and dye free!

    • Nicole
      October 31, 2011 at 11:13 AM

      Good to know. Thanks, Ashley!
      xoxo Nicole

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