We’re taking the fall favorite pumpkin spice and jazzing it up a little. This cake is layers of moist pumpkin spice cake with chocolate chips, covered in dark chocolate buttercream. Not your usual fall pumpkin recipe, but delicious for sure.
As I was deciding my fall recipes, of course pumpkin was at the top of the list. Initially I was going to go with something like pumpkin muffins or chocolate chip pumpkin cookies, but ultimately landed in this layer cake. I know I want to bring you guys more layer cake flavor combinations, so this seemed like a perfect start. The cake comes together very easily. I used the cake from my Pumpkin Spice Cake and a simple dark chocolate buttercream.
Key Ingredient Tips
- Pumpkin puree: When I made my pumpkin spice cake last year, I had a lot of people ask if it was better to use canned pumpkin or homemade. I’ll be honest here, it doesn’t really matter, lol. If you go the homemade route, finding a great pumpkin can yield a really good result. But it’s a lot of work, (maybe I’ll do a post later explaining the process.) Canned pumpkin is just as good and the results are consistent. Unless I’m in the mood to be a little extra, I use the reliable favorite Libby canned pumpkin. I always get a great final product.
- Chocolate Chips: Between the cake and the buttercream I use 2 types of chocolate chips. For my cakes I use Ghiradelli semi-sweet chocolate chips. I typically go for darker chocolate, however I found the the sweetness of the semi-sweet chocolate chips compliment the pumpkin cake a little better. That slight sweetness helps cut through the pumpkin spice, so the chocolate flavor shines a little more than dark chocolate would.
The second type of chocolate chip is my go to dark chocolate since I’m using American buttercream. I think I’ve mentioned how much I don’t love American buttercream because it can be extremely sweet. The dark chocolate helps cut that sweetness. I also used the dark chocolate for my ganache drip.
I am making my cake with three 6-inch layers. You could also make it with two 8-inch layers. If you, just remember you baking time may need to be adjusted.
To stack the cake:
- Cut the domed tops off of each cake. Make sure they are level.
- Pipe a layer of buttercream between each layer of cake. At this point if I feel like my layer are shifting at all I’ll refrigerate the cake for about 10 minutes to let the buttercream layers firm up.
- Cover the entire cake with a thin layer of buttercream to crumb coat. Let it chill for 10 minutes. This step isn’t entirely necessary, but it makes your final product look better. This steps seals in any crumbs from the cake, so they won’t show in the final layer of buttercream.
- Cover with a final thicker layer of buttercream.
- *Optional add ganache drip
Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Layer Cake
Pumpkin Spice Cake
- 1 c unsalted butter room temperature
- ⅔ c light brown sugar
- ⅔ c granulated sugar
- 3 large eggs room temperature
- 2⅓ c all purpose flour
- 1½ tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp baking soda
- 1½ tsp gound cinnamon
- ¾ tsp ground nutmeg
- ¼ tsp ground cloves
- ¼ tsp ground ginger
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 c pumpkin puree
Dark Chocolate Buttercream
- 4 c confectioner's sugar
- 1½ c unsalted butter room temperature
- 10 oz dark chocolate chips
- ¼ tsp salt
Dark Chocolate Ganache Drip
- 1 c dark chocolate chips
- ½ c heavy cream
Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Cake
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Prepare baking pans with non-stick spray, or other pan release method.In a large bowl, whisk together dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, baking soda, spices, salt). Set aside.
- Using a stand mixer (with paddle attachment) or a handheld mixer, cream butter and sugar on high speed until light and creamy. This should take about 3 minutes.Add eggs, and vanilla extract. Mix on high speed for about 2 minutes.
- Add dry ingredients, mix on low speed until just barely combined.
- Add pumpkin puree, mix on low speed until batter has come together. Using a spatula, fold in chocolate chips.
- Divide batter evenly into cake pans. Bake for about 40-45 minutes. *Bake time will vary if using cake pans other than those listed above. Your cakes are done if the middles spring back when you press them, or if a toothpick can be inserted and comes out clean.
- Allow cakes pans to cool for about 5 minutes before removing cake. After removing cakes from pan allow to cool completely before frosting.
Dark Chocolate Buttercream
- Melt dark chocolate chips using a double boiler or in short bursts in the microwave. Set aside.
- Using a stand mixer with paddle attachment or a handheld mixer, cream butter until light and creamy. I usually mix for about 5 minutes
- Add confectioner's sugar, and salt. Mix on very slow speed. You may want to use a towel to cover you mixer to prevent sugar spraying out. Once the sugar has combined, add cooled melted chocolate. Increase speed to high and mix for 2-3 minutes.
- If you buttercream is too thin, let it chill in the refrigerator for about 10 minutes to firm up.
Dark Chocolate Ganache Drip
- Heat heavy cream in microwave (for about a minute). Don't let it boil.
- Pour cream over chocolate chips and let sit for about 5 minutes.
- Stir gently until the cream and chocolate come together.
- Let ganache cool for 5-10 minutes before adding drips to cake. Test the ganche before adding to the cake using the side of your bowl or a glass. If the ganache is too runny, let it cool longer. If it's too thick heat it in the microwave for a few seconds.