21/2 cups pumpkin purée
1 cup evaporated milk
2 large eggs
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
Seeds scraped from 1/4 vanilla bean (or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract)
2 cups yellow cake mix
1 cup chopped pecans
10 tablespoons melted butter, 1 1/4 sticks
WHIPPED CREAM TOPPING
1 cup heavy whipping cream
3 tablespoons sugar
2 drops vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 375 degrees (or a convection oven to 325 degrees). Line bottom of a 9-inch round cake pan with parchment; grease sides.
Combine pumpkin, milk, eggs, sugar and spices. Pour into prepared pan. Sprinkle with 1 cup cake mix, then nuts, then remaining cake mix. Pour butter over all. Bake 45 minutes, or until crust is golden and filling is set and no longer jiggles.
Cool in pan, then refrigerate several hours.
To make topping: Beat whipping cream until fluffy; add sugar and vanilla; beat until well combined (do not overbeat or solids and liquids in cream will separate).
To unmold pumpkin crunch: Loosen edges, then invert pan over a serving plate. Tap lightly to unmold (don’t tap too hard or you’ll damage the custard). Peel off parchment. Top with whipped cream and dust lightly with cinnamon.
Variation: To bake in a 9-by-13-inch pan, use a 29-ounce can of pumpkin purée, a 12-ounce can evaporated milk and a full box of cake mix. Increase all other ingredient quantities by 1/2. Increase baking time to 55 minutes.