Pumpkin Pie Cake
Yield: 12-16 servings
Pumpkin pie meets coffee cake in this crowd-pleasing, easy-to-make dessert. Coconut complements the pumpkin beautifully without tasting “coconutty,” although there are options for those who wish to omit it.


  • 1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
  • 1½ cups (12 ounces) canned coconut milk (see notes for details and substitution)
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup (192 grams) granulated sugar
  • 4 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 (15.25-ounce) package yellow cake mix (may substitute spice cake mix; your favorite 15-ounce gluten-free cake mix may also be used)
  • 1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts (or a mix of both—use 1½ cups if you like lots of nuts)
  • ½ cup unsweetened grated coconut, optional
  • ¾ cup (1½ sticks/12 tablespoons) butter, melted
  • Optional for serving: vanilla ice cream or whipped cream


  1. Preheat the oven to 350℉, and grease a 9×13-inch baking pan.
  2. In a large bowl, beat the pumpkin puree, canned milk, eggs, sugar, pumpkin pie spice, and salt until smooth. (You may use an electric stand mixer, hand beater, or simply whisk well by hand.)
  3. Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking dish. (It will be soupy.)
  4. Wash and dry the bowl, and then add the cake mix, nuts, and optional coconut. Drizzle the melted butter over all, and stir to thoroughly mix. (The consistency will be like a thick paste.)
  5. Use clean hand to break the cake mixture into little pieces and sprinkle it evenly over the pumpkin mixture. It will partially sink, but do not stir. (You may wonder, “Am I doing this right?” because this is not like a normal cake. Rest assured, you are!)
  6. Bake for 40-50 minutes or until the center feels just firm.
  7. For serving: You may serve right away, although I prefer this cake once it has cooled completely. Serve with ice cream or whipped cream, if desired. The cake can sit at room temperature for the first day—cover and refrigerate beyond that. Prior to serving, return the cake to room temperature or enjoy cold.


* As an option to the coconut milk, one 12-ounce can of evaporated milk (not sweetened condensed milk) may be used. When using canned coconut milk, full fat or light may be used. Tip: Whenever using, stir coconut milk well to integrate the coconut water into the thick cream that tends to separate and rise to the top of the can.

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