This chocolate pumpkin cake is the best pumpkin sheet cake you can make. It is so incredibly fluffy, and the pumpkin cream cheese frosting just takes it over the top! You are going to be SO into this cake all year round!
Pumpkin desserts- either you love em or you hate em. I think that’s because a lot of people group together pumpkin and pumpkin spice as one flavor, and let me tell you they are most definitely not.
I for one am not a fan of pumpkin spice desserts but I like a good pumpkin (no spice) recipe.
Like this chocolate pumpkin cake!!
Last year when I was testing some pumpkin recipes like this pumpkin bread and these pumpkin cookies, I had a hard time with the recipe testing. Because of the moisture content of pumpkin, it was hard to get the recipe right.
Not with this pumpkin cake though! This cake is so incredibly light and fluffy and slices like a dream. I also topped it with a pumpkin cream cheese frosting that I could bathe in if I was allowed.
Sorry you had to picture that. Ok on to the recipe!
You probably have most of the ingredients for this cake at home. The only things to take note of is that you need pumpkin puree, not pumpkin pie filling. Pumpkin pie filling already has all the spices in it and we don’t want that for this cake recipe.
You’ll also need an entire 15oz. can of puree for the cake, plus more for the frosting.
So that means you either have to open another 15oz. can OR buy the bigger size (29 oz.) can of pumpkin puree and measure it out for the cake.
15 oz is just under 2 cups.
You also have the option of not using pumpkin in the frosting but then I would be sad for you. If you have leftovers you can always use them for other recipes like these pumpkin bars!
This cake is also made with buttermilk instead of regular milk.
How to make chocolate pumpkin cake
This cake can be make in a 9×13 pan as a sheet cake, or you can make it into round layers. I tested it in the sheet cake size because I liked how much easier it was to serve versus making a layer cake.
Start by spraying your pan generously with baking spray. My favorite is and always will be Bakers Joy.
In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the dry ingredients- sugar, flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and kosher salt. Give it a little whisk so it all mixes together.
Next add in the 2 eggs, one at a time, mixing until incorporated. The mixture will be dry and crumbly.
In a large measuring cup, measure out the oil and buttermilk. Then add the can of pumpkin puree to it, mixing it all around. Pour it into the dry ingredients and mix with a spatula until and even batter forms.
Pour the batter into the pan and bake for 28-30 mins on 350° F.
The sheet cake is done when the edges start to pull away from the pan and when a toothpick inserted comes out clean!
Make the frosting
This pumpkin cream cheese frosting man- it is silky, sweet, and delicious.
Like I mentioned before you can definitely leave out the pumpkin part if you don’t have or want to open another can but I think it’s the way to go.
In the bowl of a hand or stand mixer, cream the butter, cream cheese, confectioners sugar, pumpkin, and cinnamon on low until it comes together. It should not be lumpy.
- Leave out the pumpkin
- Add in maple syrup (1 tablespoon)
- Add in pumpkin spice (if you’re that kind of person, it’s fine)
Keep the cake in the pan and slather on the frosting. I use the back of a spoon or an offset spatular to spread it. Sprinkle with some more cinnamon on top for garnish.
Making ahead and storing
You can make this cake 2 days in advance and store it in the fridge for up to 5 days. The cake tastes great at room temperature but also amazing straight out of the fridge at midnight. You cant go wrong!
If you want to freeze, just make the cake and wait on the frosting until serving day. Wrap the cake well in plastic wrap and freeze for up to 3 months.
For more pumpkin recipes try these:
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Chocolate Pumpkin Cake
For the cake
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup cocoa powder
- 1/2 tbsp baking soda
- 3/4 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 2 eggs large
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 1/2 cup buttermilk
- 1 can pumpkin puree 15 oz.
For the pumpkin cream cheese frosting
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter softened
- 1 cup cream cheese or 8 oz, softened
- 3 cups confectioners sugar
- 1/3rd cup pumpkin puree
- 1/2-1 tsp ground cinnamon
Bake the cake
- Preheat the oven to 350° F.
- In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer combine the 1 1/2 cups sugar, 1 1/2 cups flour, 3/4 cups cocoa powder, 1/2 tbsp baking soda, 3/4 tsp baking powder and 1/2 tsp salt. Mix lightly until combined. Add in the 2 eggs and mix again. The batter will be dry and crumbly don't worry!
- In a large measuring cup combine the 1/4 cup oil, 1/2 cup buttermilk, and 1, 15 oz. can pumpkin puree. Mix until evenly combined.
- Pour the oil, buttermilk, and pumpkin mixture into the dry ingredients and mix until an even batter forms.
- Pour into a greased or parchment lined 9×13 pan and bake for 28-30 mins. The cake is done when the edges are pulling away from the pan or when a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Let the cake cool before frosting.
Make the frosting
- Combine the 1/2 cup softened butter, 1 cup softened cream cheese, 3 cups of confectioners sugar, 1/3rd cup of pumpkin puree, and 1/2 tsp cinnamon in the bowl of a hand or stand mixer. Mix on low until the frosting forms about 30 seconds. Switch to medium for 1 min to get rid of any lumps.
- Spread the frosting all over the cooled cake. Garnish with more cinnamon and store in the fridge for up to 5 days.
I would love to know if you tried this recipe! If you make it, snap a pic and tag me on instagram! Also I would love it if you left a star rating and a review, thank you so much for being here!!!