A pumpkin chocolate cake recipe filled with chocolate ganache and topped with a sweet caramel buttercream!
This seasonal dessert will have you wishing it was Fall all year long!
You’re going to love this chocolate pumpkin cake! While this cake does take some time to make and prepare, it’s worth it! Every step of the way this cake is made from scratch, from the pumpkin chocolate cake to the chocolate ganache and the caramel buttercream frosting on top. Every bite is a sweet and harmonious blend of flavors perfect for Fall.
Chocolate Cake with Caramel Buttercream Frosting
The pumpkin cake with chocolate ganache is definitely more of a chocolate cake with the pumpkin flavor hanging out in the background. The texture is spot on. Just what a cake should look like, it only has a few crumbs, and the cake bounces back when touched. Once the layers cool, cut off the dome with a serrated knife. Then prepare your ganache. From here you will do quite a bit of layering and refrigerating. That is truly the hardest part. Hard only because you have to wait when all you want to do is finish the darn cake so you can start stuffing your face! Once you have your layers filled and stacked, all that’s left to do is crown the top with the silkiest caramel frosting you’ve ever tasted! Don’t worry about frosting the sides of this one, the layers are a work of art!
For the Cake, you will need:
- All-purpose flour
- Cocoa powder
- Baking powder
- Baking soda
- Ground cinnamon
- Pumpkin puree
- Vanilla extract
- Brown sugar
- Granulated sugar
- Whole eggs
For the Ganache, you will need:
- Heavy cream
- Semi-sweet chocolate chips
For the Caramel Buttercream, you will need:
- Cream cheese
- Vanilla extract
- Kosher salt
- Powdered sugar
- Vanilla caramels
For the exact amounts needed, please see the recipe card below.
How to Make Pumpkin Chocolate Cake Recipe
Make the cake
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F and lightly spray the inside of (3) 8-inch round cake pans. Set them aside.
- In a small bowl, combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon. Set aside.
- In another bowl stir together the buttermilk, pumpkin puree, and vanilla extract. Set aside.
- In a mixer bowl, cream together the butter and both sugars until light and fluffy.
- Add in the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
- Add in the flour and pumpkin mixture alternating between the two. Start and end with the flour.
- Beat together until the batter is smooth.
- Divide the batter between the three cake pans.
- Bake in the oven for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick can be inserted and come out clean.
- Cool the cake in the pans for 20 minutes before removing it to a wire rack and cool completely.
Make the Ganache
- In a saucepan, heat the heavy cream until bubbles begin to form around the edge of the pan.
- Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in your chocolate chips.
- Continue to whisk together until the chocolate has melted and the mixture is smooth.
- Place into the fridge to chill for 30-60 minutes. You want the ganache to be thick, but still spreadable.
Make the Buttercream
- Microwave the caramels and two tablespoons of milk in a microwave-safe bowl. Do it in 30 seconds internal, stirring well between each until melted.
- Allow the caramel to cool.
- In the bowl of your mixer, cream together the butter and cream cheese on medium speed until creamy.
- Mix in the salt and vanilla.
- Slowly mix in the powdered sugar, one cup at a time, adding in a little milk as necessary.
- Continue to beat together until the buttercream is smooth.
- Carefully beat in the melted caramel.
- Remove your ganache from the fridge and allow it to rest at room temperature for 5 minutes before using.
- Place the bottom cake layer onto a serving place and use a serrated knife to cut off the dome on top of the cake. Discard it.
- Place about 1/2 cup of ganache onto the cake in the center and then smooth it out towards the edges using an offset spatula. Place the cake into the fridge and allow the ganache to set for 10-20 minutes.
- Remove and then top with one cup of buttercream.
- Spread the buttercream onto the cake starting from the center and working your way out towards the edges.
- Cut the top off the second cake layer and place it onto the buttercream layer.
- Repeat the process and continue until all of the cakes have been made and stacked.
- Place the remaining frosting on the top.
- Place the cake into the fridge until ready to serve.
- Before covering the top layer of the cake with frosting make sure to place 3 or 4 wooden skewers throughout the cake to keep the layers in place. Add enough frosting to hide the skewers.
After you finish leveling the tops of your cakes, you will be left with pieces of the cut cake. What you do with that part is your business. Crumble it over ice cream, make mini cakes, or do what I did and just eat it.
You can add a sprinkling of coarse salt to the buttercream for a salted caramel flavor.
You will want to use those soft caramel squares for this buttercream so make sure to buy a bag and have the kids unwrap them all because it’s a pretty tedious task.
How long is chocolate cake with caramel buttercream frosting good for?
This cake can be kept stored in the fridge for about 4 or 5 days. I recommend letting the cake chill for a few hours before loosely covering it in plastic wrap. The few hours of rest will allow the frosting to “crust” making it much easier to cover with plastic and not become squished looking.
Can I make this cake in advance?
You can prep the cake layers in advance and keep them leveled and wrapped in plastic wrap in the freezer for up to 3 months. then make the buttercream and ganache and assemble closer to the time you actually want to serve it. You can assemble the cake while the layers are still frozen but the ganache will set pretty quickly on the cold cakes, so work fast.
Need more delicious chocolate cake recipes? Check out these tasty suggestions!
- Double Chocolate Sweet Potato Bundt Cake
- Irish Coffee Chocolate Cake
- 3-Ingredient Chocolate Cake With Sprinkles
- Guinness Chocolate Cake
- Cabernet Dark Chocolate Cake
- Mint Chocolate Cake
Pumpkin Chocolate Cake Recipe
A pumpkin chocolate cake recipe filled with chocolate ganache and topped with a sweet caramel buttercream!
- 2 1/2 cups flour + 2 tablespoons
- 1 cup cocoa powder + 2 tablespoons
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
- 2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 3/4 cup buttermilk
- 1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree
- 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 1/4 sticks butter, softened
- 1 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 5 whole eggs
- 2 1/2 cups heavy cream
- 3 cups semi sweet chocolate chips
- 1 cup butter softened
- 4 oz cream cheese, softened
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 4 1/2 cups powdered sugar
- 5 tablespoons milk, divided
- 1 11oz package vanilla caramels
- Heat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly spray three 8 inch round cake pans, set aside.
- In a small bowl, combine flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon; set aside. In a separate bowl, stir together the buttermilk, pumpkin and vanilla. Set that aside. In a mixer beat together butter and both sugars until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time beating well after each addition. Add flour and pumpkin mixture, alternating between the two. Blend well after each addition. Beat until batter is smooth.
- Divide the batter between the three pans. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in pans on a wire rack for 20 minutes. Remove cakes and continue to cool completely on your wire rack.
- Meanwhile prepare your ganache. In a saucepan heat heavy cream until bubbles form around the edge. Remove from heat and whisk in chocolate chips. Continue to whisk until chocolate has melted and mixture is smooth. Refrigerate for 30-60 minutes. You want the ganache to be thick but spreadable. Prepare buttercream
- In a microwave safe bowl. Melt caramels and 2 tablespoons of milk in 30-second intervals until melted. Allow caramels to cool.
- For the buttercream, combine butter and cream cheese in the bowl of your mixer. Beat on medium speed until creamy. Mix in salt and vanilla. Slowly mix in powdered sugar one cup at a time adding milk as necessary. Continue to beat until buttercream is smooth. Carefully beat in cooled caramel.
- Remove ganache from refrigerator and allow ganache to stand for 5 minutes before spreading.
- Place bottom cake layer on your serving plate. Using a serrated knife, cut dome off of the top of the cake. Discard. Place about a half a cup of ganache on cake in the center and smooth out towards edges with an offset spatula. Place cake in refrigerator. Allow ganache to set for 10- 20 minutes. Remove and top with one cup of buttercream. Spread buttercream starting from the center and working towards edges.
- Cut top of second cake layer. Place layer over buttercream layer. Repeat process. Continue until all three layers have been stacked. Place remaining frosting on the top. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
- *Before covering top layer with frosting. Place 3-4 wooden skewers through the cake to keep layers in place. Frost over top to hide the skewers.
Amount Per Serving Calories 865Total Fat 47gSaturated Fat 28gTrans Fat 1gUnsaturated Fat 15gCholesterol 154mgSodium 470mgCarbohydrates 100gFiber 4gSugar 79gProtein 8g
This is my kind of cake! YUMMY!!
heather @french press says
Stella cried on her first day as well, and the many that followed 🙁 it broke my heart each day. Hopefully your little one is getting used to things, but this cake would pretty much bring a smile to anyone’s face
Kelli @ The Corner Kitchen says
This cake is totally gorgeous! Love the chocolate & pumpkin combo! Pinned!
Heather @ Sugar Dish Me says
My gawd, woman. What kind of cake witchcraft are you working over there? This looks AMAZING!!! I am so sad that you AND your baby cried! You guys are so cute. And cake dries all tears.
Erin @ Simple Sweet & Savory says
Nothing gets me more excited for Fall than a delicious pumpkin recipe! This cake looks out-of-this-world amazing. You can’t go wrong with chocolate and pumpkin IMO. I gotta try this!
Nope, cannot go wrong with chocolate and pumpkin!! Thanks Erin!
WOW…work of art is right!! Holy moly Tanya, that looks so amazing! I think I need to bake myself a cake…pronto! 🙂
You are too kind Lisa! Thank you!
Whoa, we are on the same page. I am posting a chocolate pumpkin layer cake tonight! I love the fudgy layer. This cake looks fantastic!
Marla Meridith says
Such a great looking layer cake!
Thank you Marla!
what a wonderful fall recipe perfect for get togethers
come see us at https://shopannies.blogspot.com
Thank you Angie!
Your cake looks absolutely beautiful, and it sounds so delicious. That caramel buttercream sounds AMAZING!
I was one of the kids who cried when I first started kindergarten. My mom took me to school and I wailed like a big baby when I got to the classroom for at least a week. I’m not sure why I did that when I started kindergarten. I went to a pre-school type place when I was four and I didn’t cry about that. But I think it was only for 3-4 hours per day. Who knows.
What I do know is that this cake looks phenomenal. Seriously, I’d totally devour maybe all of it right now for breakfast. Just give me a cup of coffee and I’ll be good to go!
I cried too! Kindergarten is just different, it’s harder somehow.
This is my kind of cake:) It looks soooo good! Thanks for sharing!
This sounds like a great Fall cake. I’m going to try splitting the batter so either 1/3 or 2/3’s is chocolate. I also like nuts with my pumpkin, anything, so might see how I can work that into the mix.
I like the half and half idea! Let me know how it turns out for you Dave!
Theresa @DearCreatives says
I love the idea of the pumpkin flavor in the background. I’m not a huge pumpkin pie fan inserts sad face but, this is a great alternative to a holiday dessert for me 😉
Megan @ Our Pinteresting Family says
This looks so delicious. It also looks like it was worth the time to make it. 🙂 Hope your little one is off to a great start in Kindergarden. 🙂
The cake looks absolutely amazing!
Did you really use 2 1/4 cups of butter or did you mean 2 1/4 sticks?
Yes! You are correct, it has been changed.
Natasha of Natashaskitchen.com says
My oh my your cake looks incredible! Pinning 🙂
Benazir's Kitchen says
It was perfect the first time. I learn so much from you as well! Keep it up great post.