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Paula Deen’s Pumpkin Gooey Butter Cake [+Video]

21 Reviews

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 square piece of pumpkin gooey butter cake with a swirl of whipped cream on top. A fork with a bite of cake is laying on the plate and a white cup and white plate with a piece of pumpkin cake are 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. 

Two pieces of pumpkin gooey butter cake, stacked on top of each other.

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 dessert plate with a slice of pumpkin gooey butter cake topped with whipped cream and sprinkled with cinnamon. In the background is a glass container of cinnamon, a cork top and a wooden spoon with a little cinnamon in it. There are pieces of pumpkin cake too.

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

A piece of pumpkin gooey butter cake topped with whipped cream and sprinkled with cinnamon, sitting on a dessert plate. A fork lays beside the plate and another piece of cake with whipped cream and a white mug are in the background.

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.

Two pieces of pumpkin cake stacked on top of each other. A fork is piercing the top of one piece. there are two cinnamon sticks and two whole nutmegs laying on the plate next to the cake. A plate of pumpkin cake and and white cup are in the background.

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. 


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



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A square piece of pumpkin gooey butter cake with a swirl of whipped cream on top. A fork with a bite of cake is laying on the plate and a white cup and white plate with a piece of pumpkin cake are in the background.

Paula Deen's Pumpkin Gooey Butter Cake

4.24 from 21 votes
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Servings: 8
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
  • 2 Large Eggs
  • 3/4 Cup Butter melted


  • 8 Ounces Cream Cheese softened, see note
  • 3 Large Eggs
  • 1 Can Canned Pumpkin Puree 15 ounces
  • 1 Teaspoon Vanilla
  • 1/4 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.
  • In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese until smooth.
  • Add the pumpkin and beat again 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 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.
Nutrition Facts
Paula Deen's Pumpkin Gooey Butter Cake
Amount Per Serving (1 slice)
Calories 570 Calories from Fat 315
% Daily Value*
Fat 35g54%
Saturated Fat 21g131%
Cholesterol 119mg40%
Sodium 777mg34%
Potassium 189mg5%
Carbohydrates 59g20%
Fiber 3g13%
Sugar 31g34%
Protein 6g12%
Vitamin A 9396IU188%
Vitamin C 2mg2%
Calcium 191mg19%
Iron 2mg11%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.


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A square piece of pumpkin gooey butter cake with a swirl of whipped cream on top. A fork with a bite of cake is laying on the plate and a white cup and white plate with a piece of pumpkin cake are in the background.

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About the authors

carrian feik cheney oh sweet basil

Cade and Carrian have three children and love to spend time together whether it’s vacationing or snuggled up on the couch for a good movie.

And this family especially loves to eat.

They love everything from the keep you fit and healthy to the get out your sweat pants indulgent and everything in between.

But most of all, they love the memories made, shared and treasured and it’s all thanks to a meal shared together with loved ones.

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Recipe Rating


  • Recipe is wrong. It says 3/4 cup of butter. That’s 1 1/4 sticks. It should only be 1 stick. My cake batter was not thick enough. Turned out ok but will make it the correct way next time.

    • Reply
    • Hi Rebecca! The 3/4 cup is the correct amount of butter. It is 1.5 sticks of melted butter for this recipe.

      • Reply
  • Love the idea of the recipe but there is way too much sugar in it. I put only 1 cup of sugar in the pumpkin filling instead of 3.5 and I still find it way too sweet, I imagine 3 cups would have been inedible.

    • Reply
    • It is a very sweet, rich dessert. I’m just doing what Paula tells me to in this recipe haha…we love it!

      • Reply

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