kruizing with kikukat

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Thanksgiving Memories: Pumpkin Crunch Cake

I didn't do much this past Thanksgiving, but I had a great day.  The Help picked up a ready-to-heat turkey meal from Foodland, which was unbelievably delicious.  Now I'm thinking that given the sheer ease of throwing a meal like that together, its just unbelievably time-consuming (and not exponentially better tasting) to make your own food.  One thing we both enjoyed was the absence of the mound of oily dishes from roasting the bird and cooking all the trimmings.

The dessert which came with the meal was a small pumpkin pie.  While I'm not against pumpkin, I am definitely not a fan of pumpkin (and custard) pie.  I like the taste of the filling, but to me, pumpkin pie is so boring.  In the past, I've made a few kick-ass pumpkin desserts (fresh pumpkin cake, pumpkin roll, pumpkin and cream cheese layered dessert), but I just didn't feel excited about eating any of those things this year.  The Help told me he saw a dessert at Moonstruck Patisserie called "Pumpkin Crunch", but when asked to describe what it was, The Help was at a loss for words.  But he insisted it sounded good.

In search of the perfect Pumpkin Crunch recipe, no easy task for someone who never tasted it, I looked through about a dozen cookbooks before I found one.  In fact, the identical recipe appeared in several cookbooks.  The universal appeal is that it uses whole-package amounts of purchased ingredients (8 oz. Cool Whip, 8 oz. cream cheese, etc.).  A few recipes called for odd amounts of these ingredients.  I mean, really, what would I do with an 8 oz. container of Cool Whip after a cup of it has been removed?

To make a long story short, Pumpkin Crunch Cake (not really a cake in my book, and, I'm sure Melissa would agree. . .I KNOW cake), was a huge hit, in spite of it being unknown in my home before November.  Then my friend Harvey told me its one of his favorite desserts.  A few days later, I tried to get cousin Kent to take some home (when he came for a consultation to look at D1's bruised black big toe), but he politely declined and said he and his wife had been eating it for over five days past Thanksgiving.

click on recipe title for printable recipe
Pumpkin Crunch Cake

     1 can (29 oz) pumpkin
     1 can (13 oz) evaporated milk
     1 c sugar
     3 eggs
     1 tsp cinnamon
     1 box (abut 18 oz) Duncan Hines yellow cake mix*
     1 c pecans, chopped
     1 c butter, melted
     8 oz cream cheese, softened
     8 oz Cool Whip
     1 c sifted powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease a 9 x 13" pan, and line the bottom with parchment or waxed paper.  Grease paper.  In a large mixing bowl, combine pumpkin, evaporated milk, sugar, eggs, and cinnamon.  Pour into prepared pan.  Sprinkle dry cake mix over pumpkin mixture.  Sprinkle nuts evenly over cake mix.  Carefully pour melted butter over nuts and cake mix.  Bake for 1 hour.  When completely cool, invert pan over serving tray.  Peel off paper.  Combine cream cheese, Cool Whip and powdered sugar.  Beat with mixer until well combined.  Frost top (pumpkin layer) of cake.  Store in refrigerator.
*If you are using a new cake mix with less than 18 oz (about 15 oz.), add 6 tbsp flour to cake mix before proceeding with recipe.

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