Carol’s Pumpkin Crack

The wife of one of Jerri’s nephews brought crack to the family feast we shared recently. At least, that’s what she said it was when I asked. It turned out to be a moist pudding-type cake loaded with flavor.

Here is Carol’s explanation of how she came to make crack.

“I first served this dessert at a church leadership event.  As the meeting went on during the evening, I noticed that several folks kept returning to the buffet to get ‘just a few more bites.’  Someone later joked that it was addictive—once you start, you can’t stop. Thus the name, Pumpkin Crack.  Now I get a lot of requests to bring Crack to our get togethers.  Enjoy!”


1 15 oz. can pumpkin
1 14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
2 large eggs
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ginger
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. allspice
1 box regular yellow cake mix
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 scant cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350º. Grease a nine by thirteen-inch baking pan and set it aside.

Put the pumpkin, condensed milk, eggs, sugar and spices into a mixing bowl. Using a hand or electric mixer, beat the mixture until it is smooth and everything is blended together.

Pour the pumpkin mixture into the pan. Sprinkle about a third of the cake mix over the top. Use a circular motion to swirl the mix into the wet ingredients with a knife. Sprinkle the rest of the dry cake mix on top so it covers the batter evenly. Dribble the melted butter over the mix, and sprinkle the chips over the top.

Cover the pan with foil. Place the cake on a center shelf in the oven, and bake it for twenty-five minutes. Remove the foil and bake for another fifteen to twenty-five minutes, or until it has begun to brown around edges. Stick a toothpick near the middle of the cake. If it comes out clean, the cake is done.

Remove the cake from the oven and allow it to cool completely before cutting and serving. Or you can jab a spoon into it, put it on a kitchen counter or buffet table and let guests take as much as they want. This option makes it easier for people to come back for more.

NOTES: You can substitute two and a half teaspoons of pumpkin pie spice for the individual spices. Use a plain yellow cake mix, not one with pudding in the mix.

Susie’s Cranberry Pumpkin Bread

“I don’t even use a mixer with this one. Quick prep time!” says our niece Susie, and she is right. Making this cranberry pumpkin bread is fast and easy.

With just a little bit of oil and generous amounts of pumpkin and applesauce complemented by the tartness of fresh or frozen cranberries, this bread is moist and delicious. Canned pumpkin, applesauce and cranberries are all excellent sources of fiber too, so this bread is also good for you.

Slice it thick and spread it with unsalted butter for a special treat.


2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. ginger
1 tsp. allspice
2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. salt
2 eggs
2 cups sugar
15 oz. can pumpkin
1/2 cup applesauce
1 T vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups cranberries


Sift the flour, spices, baking powder and salt together into a large mixing bowl. In another mixing bowl beat the eggs until they are lemon colored and stir in the sugar, pumpkin, applesauce and oil.

Preheat the oven to 350º. Grease and flour two 5 x 9 inch loaf pans. Cut the cranberries in half.

Stir the sugar mixture into the dry ingredients until moistened, then fold in the cranberries. Don’t beat the batter, just make sure that everything is moist and mixed together.

Spoon the batter into the loaf pans and bake 55 minutes, then test for doneness. A toothpick will come out clean when the bread is done. If batter sticks to the toothpick, bake another five minutes and test again. If the bread is not too brown on top, bake it an extra couple of minutes after the toothpick test says the bread is done.

Remove the pans to a rack and cool for about twenty minutes. Loosen the loaves and put them on the rack to finish cooling.

NOTES: Susie uses pumpkin pie spice, but we like the spices we use for pumpkin pie. Use whichever you prefer.

Using 5 x 9 inch pans produces loaves that are about 2 1/2 inches high. If you want higher loaves, use 4 x 8 inch pans and adjust the cooking time to make sure that the loaves are done.