You are going to love today’s Chocolate Pumpkin Cake! It is a tender and moist chocolate cake with an unbelievable frosting and you can’t tell there is pumpkin in it, so it is a great way to get extra veggies into your kids!
Here in Oregon, we are getting glimpses of spring weather but I still have my sweaters and jacket at hand for the chilly, wet days. I am looking forward to a warm summer but in the meantime my mind is still on comfort foods.
I love a perfect chocolate cake, especially when there is a creative spin to it. Today’s recipe’s special ingredient that adds moisture and tenderness, while cutting the calories is … pumpkin!
I love the idea of using pumpkin (or applesauce) in cakes to replace a portion of the butter and add a healthy element that no one can taste. Especially in chocolate cakes – you can’t taste it at all and kids will never know they are eating vegetables, LOL! This recipe also uses buttermilk for a slight tanginess that balances the sweetness of the frosting.
This is a decadently rich, moist, tender cake, but still fairly light. You can enjoy a piece of this cake even after a huge, heavy meal. I could have eaten half this cake all on my own, but it was better to let The Artist help me with it, LOL!
I have a secret for you … are you ready? The Artist does not like cream cheese or cream cheese frosting. Can you imagine? Yep, I know, he is probably the only person on the planet that doesn’t love this frosting. BUT, when I blended it with some mascarpone, added a touch of cocoa powder, and lightened it with whipped cream, it suddenly became something he enjoyed. Eureka! We have a winner!
This frosting is really lovely. Light and fluffy, it complements without overpowering the cake. You get the flavor of the cream cheese in a much easier to work with frosting. You can do swirls, swoops, or anything you want to make your cake beautiful. If you want it firmer for more detailed work, just refrigerate after beating. This may well be my new favorite frosting!
You can enjoy this moist and tender Chocolate Pumpkin Cake all year long! It is so delicious everyone will be begging for a second piece.
Did you enjoy this recipe? Let me know in the comments, I love hearing from you!
How to make Chocolate Pumpkin Cake with Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting:
- To make the cake, combine the dry ingredients in a bowl
- In another bowl whisk together the pumpkin, buttermilk and vanilla
- Beat the butter with both sugars then add the eggs, one at a time
- Add the dry ingredients alternately with the pumpkin mixture
- Pour into the pan and rest 15 minutes, then bake 35 to 40 minutes
- Cool completely before frosting
- To make the frosting, beat the cream cheese, mascarpone and some of the powdered sugar, the cocoa powder, and vanilla together
- In another bowl whisk the cream until frothy, add remaining sugar and vanilla; beat to firm peaks
- Fold half the whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture, then fold remaining cream in
- Spread frosting over the cake and make decorative swirls if desired
- Keep the cake, covered, in the refrigerator
Did you know there is a difference between canned pumpkin pie filling and pure pumpkin puree?
The titles seem almost identical which can make it more confusing. Each year when it is time for people to bake Thanksgiving desserts, there is often some who pick up the wrong kind of pumpkin. There’s a wrong kind? Yep, the number one seller in the U.S. is Libby’s and they sell both a “Pure Pumpkin Puree” and “Pumpkin Pie Filling”. The pure puree is unsweetened, pure squash pulp. The pie filling is already seasoned and sweetened. They are not interchangeable!
Key Ingredients for this Recipe
- Gluten-free flour blend or all-purpose flour
- Cocoa powder
- Pumpkin puree
- Butter, softened
- Brown sugar
- White sugar
- Cream cheese
- Mascarpone, or more cream cheese
- Powdered sugar
- Heavy cream
Use gel food coloring instead of liquid because you will need a lot to get an intense color. Gels are more in-depth without adding liquid which can change the texture and flavor of your baked goods and frostings. If the only coloring you have is liquid, then leave out the cocoa powder and you can use less.
Kitchen Tools I Use to Make This Recipe
Other Chocolate Cake Recipes You May Enjoy:
- Luscious Dark Chocolate Cake with Raspberry Sauce (GF)
- Upside Down German Chocolate Cake (GF)
- Depression Era Chocolate Cake with Caramel Maple Frosting (GF)
- Mimi’s Chocolate Cake and Butterscotch Frosting (GF)
- Root Beer Chocolate Cake with Root Beer Glaze (GF)
- Deep Chocolate Cake with Peanut Butter Frosting (GF)
Make sure you use gluten-free versions of all your ingredients and double check the labels. If you have any questions, contact the manufacturer for more details.
You can adjust any recipe to gluten-free by using 120 grams per cup of my favorite gluten-free flour blend. If you are using another brand of gluten-free flour, whisk the mix, spoon it lightly into a measuring cup until mounded, level off the top with a straight edge, and weigh the flour left in the cup. Use that weight as your standard per cup of that specific flour. Do this for each flour blend you use. Commercial blends such as Pamela’s, Bob’s Red Mill 1-to-1, or King Arthur Measure for Measure are all good choices.
- 1-1/2 cups (180g) gluten-free flour blend or all-purpose flour
- (If your GF blend does not have xanthan gum in it, add 1/4 tsp)
- 2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 tsp baking powder, gluten-free if needed
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp espresso powder or instant coffee (not ground coffee), optional
- 1/2 tsp kosher or fine sea salt
- 1/2 cup buttermilk (low-fat is fine)
- 1 cup pure pumpkin purée (NOT pumpkin pie filling!)
- 1 tsp vanilla bean paste or extract
- 3 large eggs
- 1 egg yolk
- 3/4 cup butter (1-1/2 sticks), softened to room temperature
- 1 cup light or dark brown sugar
- 1 cup granulated sugar
Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting
- 3 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
- 3 oz mascarpone cheese (or more cream cheese)
- 1-1/2 + 3/4 cups powdered sugar, divided
- 2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste or extract
- 1-1/2 cups heavy cream
- 1 tsp vanilla bean paste or extract
- Butter a 9x13inch baking pan. Set aside. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Prepare the Cake: In a medium bowl, combine the flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, espresso powder and salt. Add xanthan gum if needed for gluten-free version (see note above). Whisk until thoroughly and evenly combined.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the pumpkin puree, buttermilk and vanilla until smooth. Set beside your mixer.
- In a measuring cup with a pouring spout, place the eggs and extra yolk. (This kind of cup makes adding the eggs one at a time a lot easier.)
- Beat together the butter with both sugars until it comes together and cleans the sides of the bowl. Add one egg at a time, beating until completely incorporated before adding the next one. Then alternate adding the flour mixture and the pumpkin mixture, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients and beating until fully incorporated between each addition.
- Turn off the mixer and scrape down the bowl and beater. Be sure there are no hidden pockets of dry ingredients, especially in the center of the bowl. If you find any, beat the batter until incorporated.
- Pour the batter into the 9-x13-inch pan. Gluten-free batters don’t flow as smoothly as regular batters, they are thicker and a bit gluey; use a spatula to push it into the corners. Let rest 15 minutes on the counter before baking – this helps the flours fully absorb the liquids.
- Place in the oven and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove pan from the oven and set on a wire cooling rack. Let the cake cool completely before frosting.
- Make the Frosting: Beat the cream cheese, mascarpone, 1-1/2 cup of the powdered sugar, cocoa, cinnamon and vanilla bean paste till fluffy.
- In a separate bowl, in a mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the heavy cream until frothy. Add remaining 3/4 cup powdered sugar and the second vanilla. Starting on low, mix until sugar is moistened, then slowly increase the speed to high and beat to firm peaks.
- Gently fold half the whipped cream mixture into the cream cheese mixture until there are no streaks. Add remaining whipped cream and fold in until thoroughly blended with no streaks remaining.
- Decorate Cake: For a simple presentation, spread the frosting over the cake and make swoops or swirls to decorate. Refrigerate the cake until serving. Store, covered, in the refrigerator.
Adapted from Adventures in All Things Food
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 640Total Fat: 34gSaturated Fat: 20gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 10gCholesterol: 154mgSodium: 579mgCarbohydrates: 77gFiber: 2gSugar: 48gProtein: 9g
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