Chocolate Pumpkin Cake | Midwest Living

Chocolate Pumpkin Cake

Chocolate Pumpkin Cake

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  • Makes: 16 servings
  • Prep 1 hr
  • Bake 35 mins
  • Stand 1 hr to 2 hrs
  • Cool 10 mins

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This utterly unforgettable autumn cake layers moist chocolate-pumpkin cake, luscious milk chocolate ganache and fluffy pumpkin-spice whipped cream. The recipe comes from Minnesota blogger Amanda Rettke (


    Chocolate Pumpkin Cake
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 4 eggs
  • Chocolate curls
  • 4 drinking straws
  • Milk Chocolate Ganache
  • 3/4 cup whippping cream
  • 1 11 1/2 - ounce package milk chocolate pieces
  • Pumpkin Whipped Cream Topping
  • 2 cups whipping cream
  • 3/4 cup canned pumpkin
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 2 cups powdered sugar


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour two 8x8x2-inch square baking pans; set aside. In a small bowl, combine pumpkin and buttermilk; set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla together on medium to high speed until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Alternately add flour mixture and pumpkin mixture, beating on low speed just until combined. Beat on medium to high speed for 20 seconds more. Spread batter into prepared pans.
  3. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted near center comes out clean. Cool layers in pans on wire racks for 10 minutes. Remove layers from pans. Cool thoroughly on wire racks.
  4. Meanwhile, prepare ganache. In a medium sauscepan, bring 3/4 cup cream just to boiling over medium-high heat. Remove from heat. Add chocolate pieces (do not stir). Let stand for 5 minutes. Stir until smooth. Let stand for 1 to 2 hours or until slightly thickened. Pour the ganache over the cool cake layers. (Place a piece of waxed paper under the wire racks to catch drips.) Let stand for 1 to 2 hours, until ganache sets.
  5. Meanwhile, prepare topping. In a chilled large mixing bowl, beat 2 cups cream, 1/2 cup powdered sugar, the cinnamon and allspice until soft peaks form. Fold in 3/4 cup pumpkin and remaining powdered sugar. Beat on medium speed until stiff peaks form. Chill the topping for 1 hour.
  6. To assemble, place one cake layer on serving platter. If you like, insert four drinking straws to help support the top layer. Snip the straws with scissors about 3/4 inch above the ganache. Spread about 2 cups topping over cake layer. Gently place second cake layer on top. Spoon remaining topping into a pastry bag fitted with a large open star tip. Pipe topping on cake in nine large swirls. Garnish with chocolate curls. Serve immediately; chill leftovers.

Nutrition Facts

(Chocolate Pumpkin Cake)

Servings Per Recipe 16, vit. C (mg) 1, Fat, total (g) 32, Thiamin (mg) 0, chol. (mg) 133, sat. fat (g) 20, Riboflavin (mg) 0, carb. (g) 69, Niacin (mg) 1, Potassium (mg) 206, calcium (mg) 134, pro. (g) 6, iron (mg) 2, cal. (kcal) 559, vit. A (IU) 5115, sugar (g) 53, Pyridoxine (Vit. B6) (mg) 0, Monounsaturated fat (g) 7, Folate (µg) 34, Polyunsaturated fat (g) 1, Trans fatty acid (g) 0, Cobalamin (Vit. B12) (µg) 0, fiber (g) 4, sodium (mg) 350

Comments (6)

hfa1224 wrote:
Food editor Hannah here... Can you please clarify which frosting didn't set up? Was it the chocolate ganache or the pumpkin whipped cream? I'm so sorry you had problems! I will be honest, in testing this recipe (which we did extensively) we did have some trouble with finicky ganache. We found it important to let it cool before pouring it over the cake, then let it cool/set a bit longer. The timing will depend on the temperature and humidity in your home. It will always be a bit soft (that's the nature of ganache) but when the surface is matte to the touch, you're safe to continue assembling the cake. If it really isn't setting up, you can pop it in the fridge for about 30 minutes, but we didn't include that tip in the recipe because we found that the ganache was less attractive if we put it in the fridge--it got hard and a bit grainy. Room temp should work in most cases--but I can image that a very hot, humid summer kitchen might be problematic. If you have further questions about this cake, feel free to email me at
thelibrarian6214 wrote:
I made this recipe for our bookgroup and it was wonderful! I baked the cake and frosted it with the ganache the day before serving. The next day, I whipped the cream and let it sit in the frig for several hours before frosting. I was worried that the whipped cream would make the cake slide when cutting (I didn't use the straws) but it was easy to cut and still looked great. The few leftovers I had were even better the next day--lots of requests for the recipe--I definitely will make again. Thanks Midwest Living--love your magazine!
lilcritta2 wrote:
My mother begged me to make this cake (Too much work for her). I made cupcakes, but otherwise followed the recipe exactly. I feel that the whipped cream topping or "frosting" needs a little bit of cream cheese to stabilize it. I make a lot of "whipped" style frostings and they always have just a touch of cream cheese or butter to hold all of the ingredients together. While the topping tastes good, I don't feel like it compliments this type of cake. It's too light. However, the cake itself and the ganache both turned out great with no issues. This cake has great potential!
kyoung213 wrote:
This was the best cake I have EVER MADE! We had family fighting over it! Both of my children have begged me to make it for their birthdays. I could hug the person who created this recipe. This will be one recipe that I will treasure through my life and one that I know will be passed down!
strobel3164709 wrote:
Best cake I've made. I had trouble with the whipped topping, it was a tad runny. I will do it again, cause not a crumb was left! Loved it, thanks for the good work.

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