Look at this picture.
How could you NOT want to make it?!
Of all the recipes at my disposal, this is what I chose to make for my family’s Thanksgiving get-together. You have to understand that everyone in my family is an exceptionally good cook. Which means I had to bring my A-game. Which means I was banking a lot on this recipe to work.
THE RECIPE – Pumpkin Lust Cake
- 1 stick butter, melted (I used margarine)
- 1 cup flour
- 1 cup pecans, crushed
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1 package of cream cheese (8 oz) (I used Neufchatel again)
- 2 containers Cool Whip (8 oz each) (or your generic store-brand version thereof)
- 2 packages of Jell-O Instant Pudding in Pumpkin Spice flavor (NOTE: this is seasonal! Stock up, it’s good stuff. But availability is limited.)
- 3 cups cold milk
- Nutmeg (you’ll sprinkle this on top – no definite measurement)
Layer 1: The Crust
Preheat oven to 375 degrees (Fahrenheit).
Melt the butter. Just zap it in the microwave for a minute or so. It makes this step so much easier.
Combine butter, flour, chopped pecans, and sugar. Press into a 9×13″ baking dish. (I coated mine first, but I don’t know as though you would need to.)
Bake at 375 degrees (Fahrenheit) for 10-15 minutes. Let cool completely.
Layer 2: The Cream Cheese Layer
Beat cream cheese, powdered sugar, and 1 1/2 cups Cool Whip until smooth. (Helpful hint: if you soften the cream cheese in the microwave and let the Cool Whip sit out while you’re doing the first few steps, it will all stir together quite nicely and easily.)
Spread over crust.
Layer 3: The Pumpkin Layer
Mix the two packets of pudding mix with the milk, whisking for several minutes until thoroughly blended. (If you’ve made pudding before – basically, you’re making that. Except a double batch.)
Put it in the fridge and let it set for 5-10 minutes to thicken. Spread over cream cheese layer.
Note: at this point, it would probably be a good idea to put it BACK in the fridge to let that layer set up again. I didn’t. Which didn’t hurt anything, but it was hard to keep the top layer from mixing with this one a bit.
Layer 4: The Whipped Cream Layer
Take the second tub of whipped cream and spread over the pumpkin layer. Sprinkle with nutmeg.
Cut into pieces and serve to your delighted guests. Keep refrigerated.
Guyyyyyyys, this was so good. It was totally worth showing up to Thanksgiving with a piece missing. Everyone seemed to like it (except my sister, who totally noticed when I tried to sneak the pecan crust past her, because she’s got an extra sense for things in her food that she does not like) and it even survived the hour and a half car trip. In theory, I think you’re supposed to cut it into squares… we just left a giant spoon in the pan and scooped ourselves up whatever size portion we wanted. It was glorious.
Can regular people actually make this? Is it easy? It’s really easy. Despite the fact that it has multiple layers, it’s not even that time consuming. You can prepare the top layers while the crust is baking and the assembly comes together pretty quickly.
Did it require any weird gadgetry or or cookware? Not that I can think of. You’ll need a 9×13 pan of some form and a refrigerator and I think three mixing bowls. I didn’t even use a hand mixer on this one. You can stir it all with spatulas and spoons.
How much did the ingredients cost*? Eek, time to guesstimate. Tubs of generic store-brand Cool Whip were about a buck apiece; the boxes of pudding were somewhere between one and two dollars (let’s say two, just for funsies); the bag of pecans set me back about $4.50; cream cheese/Neufchatel was another dollar or so; flour I had on hand as well as the nutmeg. I’d say maybe around $10-11 or so.
*Prices based on cost of goods in the Midwest; may vary by region.
Does it taste as good as it looks? Yes. Just as heavenly and dreamy as the picture would lead you to believe.
Does it only look good because it was so well photographed? Honestly, my first round of pictures were just a blob of fluff because it hadn’t set long enough in the fridge and it still looked amazing.
Final recommendation: After the pumpkin-cream cheese bread, this is my absolute favorite recipe that I’ve tried so far. I give it my full endorsement.