Chocolate Pumpkin Cake

A doctored up box cake mix starts off this chocolate pumpkin cake… but the pumpkin cream cheese frosting and pumpkin spice cake mix make it over the top! This easy layer cake is perfect for Thanksgiving dessert.

chocolate pumpkin cake with pumpkin spice streusel on a cake stand

Chocolate Pumpkin Cake Recipe

A few weeks ago we shared a pumpkin spice cake with chocolate chips in it. Many people in the Facebook world did NOT like chocolate chips and pumpkin. I, however, love it! So I’m sharing with you today this gorgeous chocolate pumpkin cake. Isn’t it a beauty?

A close up of a chocolate cake

Chocolate Pumpkin Cake

This cake has a unique flavor combination of chocolate, pumpkin and coffee. Think of your favorite fall coffee shop drink…in the form of a cake!

We kept this cake easy and used a box cake mix. Don’t add the ingredients on the back of the box. Add the ingredients listed in the recipe below. Blend it all up using a hand mixer until it is nice and smooth.

Next it is time to fill the pans. We used 3 6″ round cake pans so the cake would be tall. If you’d like it to have a bigger diameter, bake the cake in 2 8 or 9″ round pans.

collage on how to make chocolate cake

Pumpkin Spice Cream Cheese Frosting

Cream cheese is one of my favorite frostings…and when you add pumpkin puree, brown sugar and cinnamon? Even better. I find cream cheese frosting one of the easiest frostings to make. Make sure your butter and cream cheese are softened to room temperature, but don’t melt them. If you melt the butter, your frosting will have a strange texture. The brown sugar in the frosting will give the frosting just a little bit of texture, but we think it totally works with the streusel topping. And it deepens the flavor, too!

collage on how to make cream cheese frosting for cake

Pumpkin Spice Streusel

For a little bit of a different look, we made a pumpkin spice streusel. This streusel is a little different because it is baked. Mix all of the ingredients together and spread them on a baking sheet. Bake the streusel, then allow it to cool. If you have any large clumps, break them up. Make sure the streusel is cooled completely before you put it on the cake.

How to Assemble the Cake

We’ve made this into a naked cake which means just a little bit of Frosting. If you are one who likes loads of frosting, I suggest doubling it!

Here are the cake layers:

  • Cake
  • Frosting
  • Streusel
  • Cake
  • Frosting
  • Streusel
  • Cake
  • Frosting all over
  • Streusel

Not hard, right? You’ll obviously need to go easy on the frosting and streusel for the middle layers so that you have enough to cover the sides and top.

This is one close encounter I wouldn’t mind.three layer chocolate pumpkin cake on a plate

How to Store Cake

Cake is safe to store at room temperature for 24 hours. After you’ve cut the cake, you should store it in an airtight container and refrigerate it.

A close up of a piece of cake

Other Pumpkin Cake Recipes


three layer pumpkin cake recipe
three layer pumpkin cake recipe

Chocolate Pumpkin Cake

4.88 from 8 votes
A doctored up box cake mix starts off this chocolate pumpkin cake... but the pumpkin cream cheese frosting and pumpkin spice cake mix make it over the top! This easy layer cake is perfect for Thanksgiving dessert.
Servings 12
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes


For the Cake:

  • 1 box chocolate cake mix
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin puree
  • ½ cup hot coffee
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 tablespoons butter (melted)
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

For the Frosting:

  • 8 ounces cream cheese frosting (softened)
  • ½ cup butter (softened)
  • 1 cup brown sugar (packed)
  • ¼ cup canned pumpkin puree
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

For the Streusel:


Make the Cake:

  • Preheat oven to 350° Fahrenheit. Line 3 5- or 6-inch cake pans with parchment paper and spray with nonstick cooking spray; set aside.
  • Using a hand mixer, mix cake mix, eggs, pumpkin, coffee, butter and cinnamon together in a large bowl until combined.
  • Divide the batter between the prepared pans and bake 27-32 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from the oven and let cool 10 minutes, then remove cakes from pans to a cooling rack to cool completely.

Make the Frosting:

  • Using a mixer, beat together the cream cheese and butter until creamy.
  • Add the brown sugar, pumpkin, and cinnamon and beat until smooth and creamy. Set aside.

Make the Pumpkin Spice Streusel:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and line a baking sheet with parchment.
  • Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl until clumps form. 
  • Spread on parchment lined baking sheet and bake for 5-7 minutes.
  • Cool completely on baking sheet. 
  • Break up any larger chunks if needed.

Assemble the Cake:

  • Trim the domed tops off the cakes as needed. Place one layer of cake on a cake plate.
  • Top with a thin layer of buttercream and a sprinkling of streusel.
  • Repeat with the next 2 layers. The pattern should be: 1st cake, frosting, streusel, 2nd cake, frosting streusel, 3rd cake.
  • Spread a thin crumb coat layer of buttercream over the entire cake, smoothing it out as best as possible.
  • Immediately press some of the streusel on the bottom third of the cake, pressing it into the frosting.
  • Spread the remaining streusel on the top of the cake.
  • Store the cake uncovered at room temperature for up to a day. Refrigerate the cake in an airtight container after it has been cut.


The calories shown are based on the cake being cut into 12 pieces, with 1 serving being 1 slice of cake. Since different brands of ingredients have different nutritional information, the calories shown are just an estimate. **We are not dietitians and recommend you seek a nutritionist for exact nutritional information.**


Calories: 467kcal | Carbohydrates: 75g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Cholesterol: 66mg | Sodium: 348mg | Potassium: 111mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 55g | Vitamin A: 4430IU | Vitamin C: 1.2mg | Calcium: 63mg | Iron: 2.6mg
Author Julie Clark
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Calories 467
Keyword chocolate cake, easy pumpkin cake, pumpkin spice cake, thanksgiving cake, three layer cake

A piece of cake sitting on top of a table

About Julie Clark

We are Julie, Maddie, and Kinslee – a mother and daughter team sharing with you the best cakes to satisfy any need or sweet craving that you may have. Welcome to our family’s kitchen!

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4.88 from 8 votes (8 ratings without comment)
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5 stars
I’m going to try making this cake for my nieces wedding. Wish me luck!

Hey! I don’t have a chocolate cake mix, so could you please lemme know how much flour, cocoa and all that i should use?. Thanks!