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This chocolate pumpkin cake is unlike any cake you've had! It's light, fluffy, and has a rich chocolate flavour with hints of pumpkin spice. This decadent chocolate spice cake is topped with a thick layer of whipped cream, easy to make, and no mixer required!
This recipe was originally published in October, 2020. It has been updated with a new video, step-by-step process photos, and improvements to the recipe.
This chocolate pumpkin cake has a moist texture, almost like a pumpkin pie, with the flavors of chocolate cake mixed in.
I absolutely love making pumpkin desserts, like my pumpkin sheet cake or pumpkin banana muffins, but if you're looking for something unique - this chocolate spice cake is it!
The cake is a fall twist on a classic chocolate cake - it's full of pumpkin pie spice flavor, and pairs perfectly with a cloud of light whipped cream. If you've ever wondered if pumpkin and chocolate go together - I'm here to tell you that they definitely do!
Why This Chocolate Pumpkin Cake Works
- It's easy to make and uses just a few simple ingredients!
- It's like a cross between a chocolate cake and a pumpkin pie so it's the best of both worlds and perfect for the holidays!
- This cake can be made using regular dairy ingredients or it can be made completely dairy free!
- This chocolate spice cake is extremely flavourful and rich on it's own. Because of this, it pairs perfectIy with something light and not too sweet, like whipped cream.
- The pumpkin flavor in this cake isn't too strong, and even people who don't like pumpkin desserts might just love this one 😉
- Pumpkin Puree: please note that this is not the same as pumpkin pie filling. Pumpkin pie filling contains sweetener and spices so it will make the cake too sweet and over-spiced.
- Cocoa powder: I recommend unsweetened dutch processed cocoa powder, but you can use any cocoa powder you have.
- Milk: you can use regular milk or your dairy free milk of choice. I like to use unsweetened almond milk.
- Oil: Use any neutral oil, like canola, grapeseed, or vegetable oil.
- Whipped Topping: You can make your own whipped cream from scratch, or use a store bought version. This can be vegan or regular dairy whipped cream.
Step By Step Instructions
STEP ONE: 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.
STEP TWO: Whisk together all the dry ingredients and set them aside for later. Whisk the pumpkin puree, oil, and sugar together. Mix in the milk and egg.
STEP THREE: Add in all the dry ingredients and mix, scraping the sides and bottom of the bowl every so often until the batter is smooth.
STEP FOUR: Pour the batter into the pan and bake the cake until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out almost clean.
STEP FIVE: Let the cake cool completely then top with coconut whipped cream (homemade or store-bought). You can also top with regular whipped cream if you don't follow a dairy free diet.
FAQs and Expert Tips
Sure! If you don't follow a dairy free diet, you can use regular homemade whipped cream or store-bought whipped cream.
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. And yes, the two pair wonderfully together
You can buy coconut whipped cream at a grocery store or you can make your own.
This chocolate pumpkin 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 Ice Cream (dairy free or regular)
- Properly measure your flour and cocoa powder: I recommend using a $15 kitchen scale to weigh your dry ingredients (metric measurements are in the recipe card below). If you aren't using a scale, use the scoop and level method. Too much flour and cocoa powder will make the cake dry.
- Don't over-mix the cake batter!
- Allow the pumpkin chocolate cake to cool completely before attempting to remove it from the pan! Before removing it from the pan, carefully run a butterknife around the edge of the cake a couple times.
- Top the cake with whipped cream as close as possible to the time that you'll be serving the cake.
Storage and Freezing Instructions
Chocolate spice 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 (without whipped cream). 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 Cake Recipes You'll Love
If you make this recipe, let me know how it went in the comments below, I’d love to hear from you! You can also tag me on Instagram or Facebook so I can check it out!
Chocolate Pumpkin Cake
- Handheld or Standing Mixer
Chocolate Pumpkin Cake
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup pumpkin puree
- ¼ cup canola oil (or vegetable oil, grapeseed oil, or sunflower oil)
- ½ cup milk (regular or vegan)
- 1 egg
- ¼ teaspoon baking powder
- ¾ teaspoon baking soda
- 1 Tablespoon pumpkin pie spice SEE NOTES
- ¾ cup all-purpose flour
- ¼ tsp salt
- ½ cup cocoa powder
Homemade 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 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ cup powdered sugar
Dark Chocolate Shavings
- 1 tablespoon semisweet or dark chocolate, chopped (regular or vegan)
- 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, cocoa powder, salt, baking soda, baking powder, and pumpkin pie spice in a medium bowl and set aside.
- Whisk pumpkin puree, oil, and sugar together in a mixing bowl. Mix in the milk and egg.
- Slowly add the dry ingredients (flour, cocoa powder, salt, spices, baking soda, and baking powder) into the bowl and mix until combined.
- Pour the cake batter into the prepared pan and bake for between 29-39 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean.
- Leave the cake in the pan until cooled completely. Once cooled, top with whipped topping of choice and serve. If making coconut whipped cream from scratch, see instructions below.
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!
The calorie information provided for this recipe is an estimate. The accuracy of the calories listed is not guaranteed.
Very moist and one of the nicest cakes I’ve had in a while without being too rich or chocolatey. Used LF milk and might try almond flour next time to make it GF. I didn’t ice it as my personal effort to try and minimise calories (so that I could enjoy a second slice). I also used all metric measurements with no problems. Would make again.
I am so happy to hear that you loved it! I'm not sure how it will work with almond flour unless you have experience with substituting almond flour (since the ratios aren't 1:1) - but I think it would work well with GF 1-1 all purpose baking flour alternatively.
Tried this recipe yesterday and it was a huge success! Everyone in the family loved it! I found the measurements really correct and the result was excellent! Such a moist delicious cake, not to mention extra nutritious due to the pumpkin! It will certainly be included during Christmas holidays, my friends should have the chance to taste it!
Hi Sofia! I am so happy that the cake was a hit! Thanks so much for the review 🙂
made this today and wasn't sure what to expect but oh my god - this cake is insane. my girlfriend and i can't stop eating it
Hi Sophie! Thank you so much for the review and I'm so glad you both love it!
Do you think avocado oil would work too?
Also, have you tried the recipe with almond flour?
Last question, any vegan milk in particular work better?
Hi Anisia! Avocado oil should be fine. I have not tried the cake with almond flour so I can't recommend any substitution ratios for it. Any vegan milk will work great! I like to make it with soy milk or oat milk usually!
One of the best things I’ve made in 2021. Hands down.
Hi Leah! What a compliment, I'm so glad to hear that! Thanks so much for the review 🙂
Do you use puree of fresh pumpkin? If yes, how is it prepared?
Hi Shweta, I use canned pumpkin puree, but you can use homemade pumpkin puree if you'd like!
The cake was a success! I went ahead and used 3 tbsp of coconut oil and it turned out great! And omg, the coconut whipped cream!? I want it for breakfast, lunch and dinner haha it was so light, airy and tasty! Thank you so much for this recipe 🙂
Hi Keren! I am so thrilled to hear that it worked out with the coconut oil and that you loved the recipe!
Yay for coconut whipped cream! The options are endless with what you can pair it with too 😉 Thanks so much for giving the recipe a try!
Fyi — you dont mention when to add the cocoa powder. I assumed its to be added into the dry mix.
Hi Chanelle! Oops, thanks for catching that! You assumed correctly, it's with the dry ingredients. It's been updated now 🙂
This sounds amazing! I am new to dairy free baking, as my brother and sister are lactose intolerant. I’m curious to see if I can use coconut oil (what I have on hand) instead of vegan butter? Thanks!
Hi Keren! It's so nice to hear that you are baking with your siblings in mind, and I'm so excited for you to try this recipe!
So because I haven't personally tried this recipe using coconut oil, I can't say how it will turn out or how coconut oil will affect the texture of it. However, if you're going to try it, I would suggest only using 3 tbsp coconut oil (instead of 1/4 cup) and use solid coconut oil instead of liquid if possible!
Good luck and please let me know how it turns out! 🙂