Pumpkin Chocolate Layer Cake

This Chocolate Pumpkin Cake is made with pumpkin cake layers and topped with a milk chocolate frosting and chocolate ganache drip. Perfect for Halloween!

This post is sponsored by Lifeway Kefir. As always, all thoughts and opinions are 100% my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that help make Taste of Genevieve possible!

Just when you thought you didn’t need another pumpkin recipe, in walks this chocolate pumpkin cake. ​​It’s super moist, perfectly spiced and the chocolate frosting and dark chocolate ganache are a match made in heaven.

The Pumpkin Cake Layers

This cake is made with a pumpkin cake recipe. It makes three, perfectly sized six inch cake layers. You can also bake the cake layers one day in advance (which is what I did). Wrap each layer tightly in plastic wrap and store them in the refrigerator until you’re ready to assemble the cake. 

The recipe includes Kefir, which makes the cake layers moist and tender. Lifeway Kefir is a tart and tangy cultured milk smoothie that is high in protein, calcium and vitamin D. I love using it in my baked goods as a replacement for sour cream, greek yogurt, or milk! Plus it’s healthy and delicious — what’s not to love?!

Why I love this Cake

This deliciously moist pumpkin cake is a fall favorite for so many reasons. 

  • Makes your kitchen smell like a bakery
  • Super moist and full of flavor 
  • Full of cozy fall flavors
  • Perfectly pumpkin-y but not too sweet

Tips for Making the Best Pumpkin Cake

  • Properly measure your flour (spoon into the cup measure, then level) or use a kitchen scale.
  • Use Kefir to really pack your cake layers with flavor!
  • Make sure your frosting is the right consistency. This will help give your cake proper structure and make it easier to decorate.
  • Make sure your ingredients are at room temperature to help them mix together better.
  • Don’t over-mix your batter, stir until the flour is just incorporated.
  • Don’t level your cake layers until they have completely cooled to room temperature.

Chocolate Pumpkin Layer Cake


  • 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour 
  • 1 ½ tsp baking powder
  • 1 ½ tsp baking soda
  • 1 3/4 cups granulated sugar 
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature 
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp cardamom
  • ¼ tsp nutmeg
  • ½ tsp pumpkin spice
  • 3 eggs room temperature
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 Cups (12 oz) canned pumpkin puree
  • 1 cup plain Lifeway Kefir, room temperature 

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

  • 1 cup softened, unsalted butter
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 ¼ cup powdered sugar
  • ½ cup Dutch process cocoa powder
  • ¼ cup tablespoon Kefir (plain)

Chocolate Ganache

  • 8 ounces good semi sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon instant coffee granules


  1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF and prepare three 6-inch with cooking spray and placing a parchment paper circle into the bottom of each one. 
  2. Measure the flour by spooning into your measuring cup and leveling it. Place it into a medium sized bowl and add the baking powder, baking soda, salt, ground cinnamon, pumpkin spice, nutmeg, and cardamom. Whisk together and set aside.
  3. In the bowl of your stand mixer (a handheld mixer works fine too!), cream the butter on high for two minutes until it’s light and fluffy. 
  4. Add in sugar and continue to mix on high for another two minutes, scraping down the bowl and paddle as needed. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing thoroughly after each addition. Add pumpkin puree and vanilla and mix for one minute on medium-high, scraping down the bowl and paddle once more. 
  5. With the mixer on low speed, add in the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Add the Kefir in a steady stream and mix until just incorporated. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl and give it a few stirs to make sure there are no lumps. Batter will be slightly thick.
  6. Pour batter evenly between the cake pans (fill them no more than ⅔ full) and bake for 30-35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool the cakes in the pan for ten minutes before removing and continuing to cool on a wire rack or flat surface.

For the Chocolate Frosting

  1. Mix softened butter in a stand mixer on high speed for about 3 minutes. 
  2. Add cocoa powder and powdered sugar to the bowl. 
  3. Add in salt and Kefir and mix until smooth.

For the Chocolate Ganache

  1. Cook the chocolate chips, heavy cream, and instant coffee in the top of a double boiler over simmering water.
  2. Stir until smooth and warm.

Assembling the Cake

  1. Place a cake layer on a serving platter, fill the center with a smooth layer of buttercream. Add another cake layer and repeat. Frost the entire cake and refrigerate for 20 minutes.
  2. Once cooled, add chocolate ganache drip. Refrigerate.

For more fall dessert favorites, check out these recipes:

Apple Crumb Cake

Salted Caramel Apple Pie

If you make this recipe, please let me know! Leave a comment, send me a photo, rate it and don’t forget to tag me @taste_of_genevieve on Instagram. I’d love to see what’s cooking up in your kitchen. Cheers!

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