Paula Deen’s Pumpkin Gooey Butter Cake is a yellow cake crust topped with a creamy pumpkin layer and the most popular pumpkin dessert at our Thanksgiving table.

This is the very first recipe I had ever made from the Food Network. Paula Deen inspired something in Cade and I and that is the only reason this blog exists.

a photo of a square piece of gooey pumpkin butter cake with dollop of whipped cream on top with several pieces sitting in the background.

Cade’s from the South and as super poor newlyweds we didn’t have much entertainment that didn’t cost money and since cable was free in our apartment we would watch Paula cook up delicious foods and I got to learn about Cade’s Southern side.

It was so fun to surprise him with classic southern dishes like, Fried Chicken, Southern Macaroni and Cheese, Perfect Pecan Pie and Tomato Basil Pie. But then we saw a few pumpkin recipes using pumpkin puree like, pumpkin cake, pumpkin gooey butter cake and other pumpkin dessert recipes.

We just knew Thanksgiving was going to be extra special.

a photo of several square pieces of gooey pumpkin butter cake all topped with dollops of whipped cream sitting on a circular white serving tray.

Our First Thanksgiving Home as Newlyweds

Cade and I had been married for just shy of a year and we had gone home to Washington for the holidays. It felt so special to finally be a married couple enjoying the time with family. We had been thinking up pumpkin ideas for weeks.

I can’t remember why I was making pumpkin recipes, it must have been that we decided to not do pumpkin pie or something but either way this gooey butter cake ended up being what I chose and my whole family has been hooked on Paula Deen’s Gooey Butter Cake recipe ever since.

A table holding three bowls containing cake mix, melted butter, and an egg removed from the shell.

Now, I’ve waited this whole time, choosing to not post any Food Network recipes because I totally get how hard those chefs work, but after almost 12 years I decided that:

  • it’s one of our favorites
  • it’s already all over the web
  • you want to know the recipes that people are obsessed with so you can make it a family favorite too!

What Ingredients for Pumpkin Gooey Butter Cake Crust

  • Egg
  • Butter
  • Cake Mix

Start off by making the crust with the above ingredients. You’re not making the cake with the ingredients listed on the box, instead you’re making it into a crust.

That golden crust is actually one of my favorite parts. It’s almost like the topping of a cobbler. You know those cake mix cobblers you just can’t stop eating?

Ingredients for pumpkin gooey butter cake. Bowls of cake mix, melted butter, cinnamon, vanilla, three brown eggs, a can of pumpkin, and

This is a really easy gooey butter cake to make and one of the best pumpkin dessert recipes I’ve ever had. It’s so silky, creamy and the spices not only make it taste like the holidays but my goodness, it SMELLS like the holidays!

Here’s what you need for our easy pumpkin cake recipe.

Ingredients for Pumpkin Gooey Butter Cake

  • Pumpkin puree
  • Cream Cheese
  • Eggs
  • Butter
  • Spices

Pumpkin mixture being poured over yellow cake mix crust.

How do you Make Pumpkin Gooey Butter Cake

As mentioned above, start your gooey butter cake by making the crust using a yellow cake mix. A white or spice cake will work as well.

  1. Press the crust into the bottom of the pan.
  2. Combine the canned pumpkin puree, cream cheese, eggs, butter and spices until smooth.
  3. Pour the pumpkin over the top of the crust.
  4. Bake to perfection, but never over-bake the pumpkin cake, the center should be just set!

a photo of several pieces of pumpkin butter cake cut into squares and topped with dollops of whipped cream and sprinkled with cinnamon.

Other Gooey Butter Cake Ideas

There are a lot of options out there for dessert but before moving on I think you should introduce your family to more ooey gooey butter cake recipes. Maybe let the kids think up some fun combinations like:

  • Chocolate
  • Snickerdoodle
  • Vanilla
  • Banana
  • Lemon

Can You Use Winter Squash Instead Of Pumpkin?

Yes, if you do not have pumpkin, you can use equal amounts of another type of winter squash in place of pumpkin, but then it will taste like butternut squash or whatever flavor you use so I don’t recommend it.

 What Can You Substitute For Cream Cheese?

You can use Neufchatel cream cheese, which has lower fat.

You can also use equal parts of ricotta cheese plus plain, full-fat yogurt.

Or, you can use lower fat cottage cheese plus 1/2 cup margarine.

a photo of several pieces of gooey pumpkin butter cake sitting on a circular serving tray with each piece being topped with a dollop of whipped cream.

Oh Sweet Basil Pro Tip

The biggest issue I see with people making a gooey butter cake, especially the pumpkin version comes from the cream cheese being combined with the pumpkin.

  • Always soften your cream cheese to room temperature.
  • Beat the cream cheese alone in the bowl until smooth.
  • Carefully beat in the pumpkin, going from a low to a high speed to remove any bumps.

What Makes Cake Dry?

Dry cake can be a result of over-baking. This is incredibly easy to do with a gooey butter cake so please don’t over-bake.

How Long Will Pumpkin Gooey Butter Cake Keep?

Covered in the fridge a gooey butter cake will last for about a week. Never top with powdered sugar or whipped topping until serving to help preserve the cake.

If butter is involved, then you can count me in! This pumpkin gooey butter cake melts in your mouth. That cake mix crust is so simple yet heavenly, and the pumpkin cake is perfectly spiced and creamy. Skip the pumpkin pie this Thanksgiving and make this cake instead!

More Pumpkin Recipes

Check out our entire Thanksgiving Recipes Section for more ideas. 

Check out the VIDEO on How to Make Pumpkin Gooey Butter Cake

Paula Deen's Pumpkin Gooey Butter Cake

4.29 from 69 votes
Servings: 12
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes


A delicious combination of a cake mix crust, deliciously sweet and silky pumpkin filling and a dollop of whipped cream make this gooey butter cake a possible threat to the traditional pumpkin pie.


  • 1 Package Yellow Cake Mix, or spice
  • 1 Large Eggs
  • 1/2 Cup Butter, melted


  • 8 Ounces Cream Cheese, softened, see note
  • 1 Can Canned Pumpkin Puree, 15 ounces
  • 3 Large Eggs
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla
  • 1/2 Cup Butter, melted and cooled
  • 3 1/2 Cups Powdered Sugar, 16 ounces
  • 1 teaspoon Cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon Nutmeg


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  • In a bowl, combine the cake mix, egg, and butter and mix well with a handheld electric mixer. Pat the mixture into the bottom of a lightly greased 13 by 9-inch baking pan.
    1 Package Yellow Cake Mix, 1 Large Eggs, 1/2 Cup Butter
  • In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese until smooth.
    8 Ounces Cream Cheese
  • Add the pumpkin and beat again until smooth.
    1 Can Canned Pumpkin Puree
  • Add the eggs, vanilla, and butter, and beat together. Next, add the powdered sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and mix well.
    3 Large Eggs, 1 teaspoon Vanilla, 1/2 Cup Butter, 3 1/2 Cups Powdered Sugar, 1 teaspoon Cinnamon, 1 teaspoon Nutmeg
  • Spread pumpkin mixture over cake batter and bake for 40 to 45 minutes. Make sure not to over-bake as the center should be a little gooey.
  • Allow to cool for 1 hour.
  • Serve with whipped cream.


If you forgot to set out your cream cheese just fill a bowl or sink with warm water and place the tin foil covered cream cheese in for 5-10 minutes and it will soften. 
This cake will keep for a week when covered and stored in the refrigerator.


Serving: 1sliceCalories: 535kcalCarbohydrates: 75gProtein: 5gFat: 25gSaturated Fat: 15gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 122mgSodium: 521mgPotassium: 148mgFiber: 2gSugar: 55gVitamin A: 6329IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 135mgIron: 2mg
Author: Sweet Basil
Course: 500+ Best Dessert Recipes, Over 300 Christmas Recipes and Ideas to Bring the Christmas Spirit
Cuisine: American

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