This chocolate pumpkin cake is unlike any cake you’ve had! It has a deep, rich chocolate flavour with hints of pumpkin spice. Topped with a thick layer of fluffy coconut whipping cream, this decadent cake is perfect for the holidays.
This cake is the perfect dessert to serve at a holiday gathering. The pumpkin puree in the cake makes it extremely moist and dense, almost like a chocolate pie. The thick fluffy whipped cream on top creates a an indulgent, show-stopping dessert.
How to make chocolate pumpkin cake
This chocolate pumpkin cake recipe is as simple as it gets! Before you begin, prepare your 8 inch round cake pan. The easiest way to do this is to grease the sides of the pan with cooking spray, then cut out a piece of parchment paper that will fit in the bottom of the pan. Place the parchment paper in the pan then lightly dust the sides of the pan with a little bit of flour.
Whisk together all the dry ingredients and set them aside for later. Then, in the bowl of a standing mixer with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugars, then add in the pumpkin puree. Add in the eggs and mix again. Pour in the milk and mix until incorporated.
Add in all the dry ingredients and mix, scraping the sides and bottom of the bowl every so often until the batter is smooth. Pour the batter into the pan and bake the cake until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out almost clean. There shouldn’t be wet batter on the toothpick, but if there is a tiny bit of colour on the toothpick it’s ready. This cake has a lot of moisture from the pumpkin puree and not much flour (that’s what makes it so rich, dense, and delicious), so it takes a little longer to bake than your average cake!
Let the cake cool completely before adding whipped cream.
Coconut Whipped Cream
This cake is extremely flavourful and rich on it’s own. Because of this, I like to pair it with something light and not too sweet, like whipped cream. You can buy coconut whipped cream pre-made at the store or you can make your own. You can also use regular whipped cream or a whipped topping of your choice!
A common misconception with coconut whipped cream is that it tastes strongly of coconut, but it actually doesn’t! The flavour is very subtle, so when you pair it with the rich cake you will barely taste the coconut!
How to make coconut whipped Cream
The trickiest part about making coconut whipped cream from scratch is remembering to refrigerate the canned coconut milk! Canned coconut milk must be chilled for at least 8 hours or overnight so that the coconut cream can harden and separate from the coconut water in the can. The whipped cream absolutely won’t work if you skip this step! TIP: Keep a couple cans of coconut milk in the fridge at all times so you always have some ready.
When buying canned coconut milk, it’s important to pay attention to a few key things: look for the brand with as few ingredients in it as possible, the first ingredient should not be water, and make sure you get the full-fat kind! This is the kind I use, because it checks all those boxes. For more tips on how to properly choose the right canned coconut milk for whipped cream, read here.
10 minutes before you start making the whipped cream, place a large mixing bowl in the freezer to chill.
Remove the bowl from the freezer and the cans of coconut milk from the fridge (careful not to tip the cans or shake them up). Scoop the hard coconut cream out into your mixing bowl, leaving behind the liquid.
Begin whipping the coconut cream on medium-high speed until smooth. Add in the powdered sugar and vanilla. You can add additional powdered sugar 1 tbsp at a time until it reaches your desired sweetness level. Continue whipping the cream until stiff peaks form. This can take around 5 minutes or more, and when it’s ready it should be the consistency of whipped cream.
Assembling the cake
To tell when the cake has cooled enough, touch the sides and bottom of the cake pan – they should not be warm at all. Leave the cake in the pan until you are sure the cake has cooled! Before removing the cake from the pan, carefully run a butterknife around the edge of the cake a couple times to ensure that it has loosed away from the edges.
Place the cake on a serving plate and scoop the coconut whipped cream onto the cake. Spread it evenly over the top of the cake then top with dark chocolate shavings.
Can I make this recipe into chocolate pumpkin cupcakes instead?
Absolutely! This recipe makes 12 cupcakes. Fill the cupcake tins to 2/3 full then bake them for 20-27 minutes. They will be done when a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
Can I use buttercream instead of whipped cream?
This cake has a bold chocolate flavour and isn’t too sweet, so it pairs beautifully with a thick layer of slightly sweetened whipped cream. Whipped cream is light and so it balances out the richness of the cake really well. However, if you are looking for something sweeter, the options are endless! I’ve included a few suggestions below:
- Vanilla Buttercream (to make vanilla buttercream, ditch the shredded coconut and replace the coconut extract with vanilla extract in this buttercream recipe)
- Vanilla Ice Cream (dairy free or regular)
- Pumpkin Buttercream (for the major pumpkin lovers!)
How to store chocolate pumpkin cake
This cake should be kept in the fridge, covered for up to 4 days. If you want to make the cake ahead of time, you can also freeze it (unfrosted). To do this, wait for the cake to cool completely, then wrap it tightly in plastic wrap. Then wrap it in tin foil and place in the freezer.
24 hours before serving, remove the cake from the freezer and let it thaw in the fridge before adding the whipped cream.
MORE RECIPES YOU’LL LOVE
- Apple Loaf with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Glaze (Dairy Free)
- Pumpkin Banana Muffins (Dairy Free)
- Best Fudgy Brownies (Dairy Free)
If you make this recipe, let me know how it went in the comments, I’d love to hear from you! You can also tag me on Instagram @cookiedoughdiaries so I can check it out! If you want to save this recipe for later, you can pin it using the Pinterest button below.
Chocolate Pumpkin Cake (Dairy Free)
Chocolate Pumpkin Cake
- ¼ cup vegan butter (or butter of choice)
- 1 ¾ cup granulated sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup pumpkin puree
- 2 tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp baking soda
- 1 tbsp pumpkin pie spice*
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- ¼ tsp salt
- ½ cup cocoa powder
- ¼ cup + 2 tbsp unsweetened plant based milk (or other milk of choice)
Coconut Whipped Cream
- 2 cans full-fat coconut milk (chilled in the fridge overnight)** OR 2 cups whipped topping of choice (14 oz cans)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- ¼ cup powdered sugar
Dark Chocolate Shavings
- 1 tbsp dairy free dark chocolate (or regular)
- If you will be using coconut whipped cream made from scratch, the canned coconut milk must be refrigerated for at least 8 hours, or overnight.
Chocolate Pumpkin Cake
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease an 8 inch round cake pan with cooking spray and place a sheet of parchment paper in the bottom of the pan.
- Whisk together the flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, and pumpkin pie spice in a medium bowl and set aside.
- In a large bowl of a standing or handheld mixer, beat together vegan butter and sugars. Add in the pumpkin puree and mix again.
- Add in eggs and beat for another 30 seconds or so, scraping the sides of the bowl with a spatula. Pour in the milk and continue mixing.
- Slowly add the dry ingredients into the bowl of the standing mixer and mix until combined.
- Pour the cake batter into the prepared pan and bake for between 45-55 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean, or almost clean. There shouldn't be any wet batter on the toothpick but its okay if the cake leaves a bit of colour on it.
- Leave the cake in the pan until cooled completely.
Coconut Whipped Cream
- Place a large mixing bowl into the freezer for 10-15 minutes to chill.
- After the bowl has chilled, remove the cans of coconut milk from the fridge (do not shake them). Scoop out the thick coconut cream from the top and place it in the bowl, leaving behind the liquid.
- Whip the coconut cream for one minute, then add in the vanilla and powdered sugar. Scrape the sides of the bowl until the powdered sugar and vanilla are fully incorporated.
- Whip the cream on medium high until stiff peaks form and the consistency is similar to that of whipped cream. This could take around 5 minutes.
- Spread the whipped cream on top of the cake in an even layer.
Dark Chocolate Shavings
- Use a grater of any size (it can be a cheese grater) to carefully grate the dark chocolate into a bowl. Sprinkle on top of the whipped cream. Enjoy!
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