Pumpkin Bars Pumpkin Gooey Butter Cakes

Public Service Announcement: My Favorite Pumpkin Dessert

2010 November 24

The internet is all abuzz with Thanksgiving culinary masterpieces, so it is only fair that I join in on the fun and share this recipe.

They are called Pumpkin Gooey Butter Cakes and they make pumpkin pie feel like the third sister-wife of the dessert table.  I figured many of you would be planning your Turkey Day menus in the next 24 hours, so I urge you to include these in your spread.  Would I lead you astray on a day with this much at stake?  Certainly not.

You can tell by the title that this recipe is clearly a Paula Deen creation.  Only she would title a recipe “Gooey Butter Cakes.”  Thanksgiving is her bailiwick.  No contest.

Usually I have a nose for the more nutritionally balanced recipes, but this is a well-worth-it exception.  And if you want to make yourself feel better about the two sticks of butter in this recipe, remember that pumpkin is a vegetable.  Or is it a fruit?  Either way.

Pumpkin Gooey Butter Cakes



  • 1  box yellow cake mix
  • 1 egg
  • 8 tablespoons butter, melted


  • 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • 1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin puree (NOT pumpkin pie filling)
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 8 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 (16-ounce) box powdered sugar – equivalent to 3 3/4 cups (reserve a 3 Tbsp for dusting)
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Combine the bag of cake mix, egg, and butter and mix well with an electric mixer. Pat the mixture into the bottom of a lightly greased 13 by 9-inch baking pan.

To make the filling: In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese and pumpkin until smooth. Add the eggs, vanilla, and butter, and beat together. Next, add the powdered sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and mix well. Spread pumpkin mixture over cake batter and bake for 40 to 50 minutes.  Check on them after about 35 minutes so you make sure not to overbake them. The center should be a little gooey.   Let the pan cool completely before you cut the squares. You could even pop the cooled pan in the fridge before cutting them to get extra clean cuts.  Dust them with powdered sugar to make them extra pretty before serving them.


Please, please trust me on this one.  Tear up that stale pumpkin pie recipe and enjoy this variation.  Just put on your heals and your naughtiest of aprons, and dazzle the people you are most thankful for with this sinful seasonal delight.

Gobble. Gobble.

80 Responses
  1. B McVey permalink
    June 3, 2013

    Is that pumpkin puree? Or pumpkin pie filling? Thanks!

  2. June 4, 2013

    Pumpkin Puree NOT Pumpkin Pie Filling. And I’ll update the recipe so there wont be any confusion. Enjoy!

  3. Suzanne permalink
    October 6, 2013

    I just made these a few nights ago. I was a huge fan of pumpkin pie… until I made these! These are so full of flavor and are light, airy in texture. Pumpkin pie is very dense and the crust bland compared to this recipe. I will never eat pumpkin pie again!

  4. Suzanne permalink
    October 6, 2013

    Oh, and I used pumpkin pie filling, too. 🙂

  5. Kristi permalink
    October 15, 2013

    Any suggestions if I am unable to use cream cheese 🙁

  6. Stacy permalink
    October 28, 2013

    These are amazing! I have made them for several parties and events and they are always a huge hit. I could eat the entire pan myself! I usually only use about 3/4 of the cake batter dough because I like the crust to be a little thinner. Seriously amazing with a dollop of whipping cream. I actually have some baking right now for my mom’s birthday tomorrow instead of cake. She is going to be so excited!

  7. Melinda permalink
    November 2, 2013

    I was born and raised in St. Louis so gooey butter cake is a staple at our house. Pumpkin pie has always been my favorite dessert so this was a had to make- no brainer!! Lol it’s in the oven and we are already salivating!! Thanks so much for sharing!!

  8. November 4, 2013

    You could try “Tofutti Better Than Cream Cheese” but I can’t vouch for the results since I’ve never tried it. If you do try it, let me know how it turns out!

  9. Judy permalink
    September 17, 2014

    Just made this, omg it is just as fantastic and you said! I will definitely use this as my thanksgiving dessert! Can’t wait for my family to try it tonight. Thank you for posting!

  10. Carol Richmond permalink
    November 9, 2014

    Do you think this would work just as well with Gluten free cake mix?

  11. Carol Richmond permalink
    November 9, 2014

    Would this work with Gluten Free Cake mix?

  12. Cori permalink
    October 12, 2015

    yes my family loved it…but I’m wondering what the least amount of sugar I could use for the recipe to work, would be. It is too sweet for my liking. Wondering if anyone has used less sugar and if the consistency remained the same yet sweet enough to enjoy without a major sugar headache.

  13. Lisa permalink
    October 22, 2015

    Cake mix is nothing more than flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt (plus a lot of chemicals), so why not start from scratch?

  14. October 22, 2015

    I would start by cutting back a half a cup or a cup and seeing how that goes. I’m sure it would be just as tasty. Please let me know how it is with the modification!

  15. October 22, 2015

    You could totally start from scratch, lisa. I usually just use the box because it makes this recipe SUPER easy. Let me know if you try it with a homemade mix. I’m sure it would be extra delicious!

  16. November 9, 2015

    I’ve never tried it but I’m sure it would turn out great! If you do try it with gluten free mix, please let me know how it turns out.

  17. October 1, 2016

    Hi. I made this the other day, as a farewell to a friend, and it was magnificent! I’ve never really cared for pumpkin pie, I really dislike the texture, and after trying this cake, I’ll never make another pie. I loved this cake!
    My question is this whether or not this recipe will work as cupcakes; have you ever tried making cupcakes with this recipe?
    Thank you!

  18. kristina permalink
    October 8, 2016

    look so good

  19. Magdalena permalink
    October 8, 2016

    Hi , I just made it , and it’s delicious , just wondering if I can substitute cream cheese with mascarpone cheese

  20. October 10, 2016

    Hi, I made this last week, and it was a huge hit. Huge!! Do you think it will work as cupcakes?

  21. October 12, 2016

    I am so glad it was a hit! I have never tried it as cupcakes, but that sounds delish. I would definitely reduce the baking time. Please let me know how it goes if you try it!

  22. October 12, 2016

    I have never tried it so I am not sure whether or not marscapone would be a adequate substitution for the cream cheese. I’m thinking the cream cheese gives the top pumpkin layer a bit of stability that the less dense mascarpone may not provide–but it is definitely worth a try. Mascarpone is delicious. Please report back if you do try it!

  23. stephanie permalink
    November 19, 2016

    Do you need to keep in the refrigerator?

  24. Cherie permalink
    November 18, 2018

    How far in advance can I make this dessert, or how long will it keep?

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