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Making Gluten Free Memories: Pumpkin Gooey Cake Squares

Posted on November 6, 2012

With November here, most of us are making final holiday plans and thinking about our own family traditions and comfort food memories … grandmother’s pumpkin pies, the family-favorite green bean casserole, turkey with stuffing.

As a gluten-free girl who is also a Southern girl, I often struggle with the favorite foods of my childhood and the nutritional demands of celiac disease.  All my favorites are mostly off-limits … fried chicken, biscuits (like a knife to the heart!), dressing (what you all call stuffing), and all the delicious cakes and treats my grandmother and aunts would make for Sunday dinners and family holiday gatherings.

Growing up, I never met a gooey butter cake I didn’t like.  And what’s not to like … buttery crust, a sweet gooey middle, and crunchy crumble topping.  Years ago, I found a new version of this recipe.  Williams-Sonoma called them pumpkin squares, but to me they were a delicious version of my childhood favorite.  Pumpkin Gooey Cake Squares!

And how to make it gluten-free?  Where there’s a motivated gluten-free Southern girl and Sweet Ali’s, there’s a way!

So, please allow me to share a gluten-free, seasonal twist on one of my favorite comfort food memories.  The pumpkin butter can be found at Marcel’s Culinary Experience in downtown Glen Ellyn.  Coincidentally, next week they will also carry Sweet Ali’s cake mixes and all purpose flour!


Pumpkin Gooey Cake Squares

1 bag of Sweet Ali’s Yellow Cake Mix

½ cup butter, melted

¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon Sweet Ali’s All Purpose Flour

3 eggs

1 jar Muirhead Pumpkin Pecan Butter (found at Williams-Sonoma or Marcel’s Culinary Experience)

¼ cup sugar

¼ cup butter, softened

3 tablespoons milk

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Reserve 1¼ cup of Sweet Ali’s yellow cake mix and set aside.

3. Sift together remaining cake mix with ¼ cup of Sweet Ali’s gluten-free flour, then add ½ cup melted butter and 1 egg to dry mixture.  Press lightly into bottom of a 9” x 13” glass baking dish.

4. Mix one jar of pumpkin pecan butter with 2 eggs and milk, and pour over cake mixture in baking dish.

5. Mix remaining 1¼ cup cake mix with 1 tablespoon flour, ¼ cup sugar, ¼ cup softened butter, and cinnamon.  Crumble over the top of pumpkin layer.

6. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until golden (Baker’s note: My grandmother always told me, “If you can smell it, it’s pretty much ready.”)

7. Cool to room temperature (if you can wait!) and serve.


Pumpkin Gooey Cake Squares are the perfect treat for easing yourself into the holidays.  Make a batch and have a square (or two) as you make that grocery list.  You might just be making a new gluten-free memory.

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