A Tasty Experiment

I’m Sarah, and I like to bake desserts.

And I especially like to eat them.

Growing up, my mom was always baking desserts – for family, for friends, and especially for her annual dessert party in December that attracted about 50 guests, even in a blizzard. I suppose I was raised to love baking, sharing and enjoying desserts.

But, despite having mastered almost 100 different dessert recipes, I can never seem to get a new recipe right on the first try.

So, I’ve decided to start an experimental baking blog, where I try new recipes, document my successes and failures and (hopefully) learn a lot along the way. I hope that you will find this blog helpful and relatable, and give some of these recipes a try yourself!

When I set out to find this week’s recipe, I knew it had to involve one thing: pumpkin.

For me, pumpkin and fall go hand-in-hand, and it’s definitely been feeling like fall here. (That’s my nice way of saying the weather is basically gross). What could be a better antidote to the dreary fall weather than baking in a warm kitchen and enjoying the pumpkin aroma wafting from the oven?

So, I typed “pumpkin” into my Pinterest search bar, and immediately this recipe from the blog Dessert for Two stood out.

Gooey? Yes. Butter? Yes. Cake? Yes. Pumpkin? Yes, yes, yes!

Making this recipe even more perfect is that Christina Lane, author of Dessert for Two, provides her recipes in downsized portions for two people. Living with just my husband, I understand the peril of having ¾ of a cake sitting in the fridge when I’m trying to eat a healthy breakfast.

This recipe yields about two servings each for two people. To make the full recipe, quadruple the ingredients and bake in a 9×13” pan.

Pumpkin Gooey Butter Cake, Step-by-Step Photos

Preheat your oven to 350, and have a metal bread loaf pan ready. I used my Mom’s hand-me-down loaf pan that may have been non-stick in the 80s, but certainly isn’t anymore, sprayed with Pam.

To prepare the crust, add ½ cup of sugar to a medium bowl (I used my Kitchen Aid mixing bowl).


Add ½ cup + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour.


Then, add 1/8 teaspoon salt.


Add ½ teaspoon baking powder and combine the dry ingredients.


Separate one large egg, and add the yolk to the bowl (save the white for later).


Add 1 tablespoon of milk.


Then, add 2 tablespoons of melted, unsalted butter.


Stir until a wet dough forms. My dough was on the dry side, so I added about a tablespoon of water.


Press the dough mixture evenly into the bottom of the loaf pan.


Next, in the same bowl, prepare the pumpkin filling. Start with 3 ounces of softened cream cheese. (I like cream cheese and may have added a little extra – you never know, some of it might get stuck in the wrapper, okay?!)


Add the remaining egg white.


Add ¼ teaspoon of vanilla.


Add 2 tablespoons of melted, unsalted butter.


Add 1 cup powdered sugar.


Add ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon.


Add ¼ teaspoon nutmeg.


And, finally, add 1/3 cup pumpkin puree.


Beat the ingredients on low speed until well-blended, about 1 minute.


I had trouble getting my cream cheese fully blended, and ended up with little specks in my mixture. According to the Food52 Hotline, this could be a result of stabilizers in the brand of cream cheese I used (Philadelphia), not allowing the cream cheese to soften enough (which I am probably guilty of), or not ensuring that the rest of my ingredients were room temperature. I have used Philadelphia many times, so I am going with option #2.

Pour the mixture over the crust.


Bake for 35-40 minutes, until the cake is brown on the edges but soft and sunken in the middle.


Let cool completely. I refrigerated mine for 4 hours prior to serving.

Dust with powdered sugar, and eat up!




Okay, so that last step wasn’t so easy for me. My light spray of Pam wasn’t enough to keep the cake from sticking to the ancient (sorry, Mom!) loaf pan. I didn’t end up with the most glamorous result, but one of my favorite things about desserts is that it’s hard to make them taste bad, even when they don’t look so pretty.

This cake was perfectly pumpkin-y, with a rich, buttery crust and delightful mix of textures. I may have eaten both of my servings in one sitting.


Pumpkin Gooey Butter Cake Recipe


For the crust:

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 large egg yolk, egg white reserved for the filling
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

For the gooey part:

  • 3 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1 large egg white
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/3 cup canned pumpkin puree

1. Preheat the oven to 350. Have ready a metal bread loaf pan that measures 5×9.”

2. First, make the crust: In a medium bowl, combine the sugar, flour, salt and baking powder. Add the egg yolk, milk and melted butter. Stir until a wet dough forms, then press the mixture evenly into the bottom of the bread loaf pan.

3. Next, make the gooey butter filling: In the same bowl you used to make the crust, add all of the filling ingredients. Beat together on low speed until well blended, about 1 minute. Pour the filling over the crust.

4. Bake the gooey butter cake for 35-40 minutes. It will be browned on the edges, but slightly jiggly and sunken in the middle. Let it cool completely before serving.

5. Serve with extra powdered sugar dusted on top.


If you try this recipe, leave a comment!

Thank you to Dessert for Two for this recipe!


2 thoughts on “A Tasty Experiment

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