A spicy chocolate pumpkin cake that is soft and moist, and healthier thanks to canned pumpkin puree instead of oil. This cake is vegan, dairy free and gluten-free as well. It's simple to make, and versatile, serve as a layer cake, a sheet cake or even a loaf.
This soft healthy chocolate pumpkin cake is soft and moist, and healthier thanks to canned pumpkin puree instead of oil. This cake is vegan, dairy free and gluten free as well. The next time you bake, add a little veggie purée, and you won't be sorry.
This delicious chocolate cake with pumpkin is a spicy delight. Like my healthy chocolate cake and my chocolate tuxedo cake, both of which also contain pumpkin puree, this cake has an incredible tender crumb. Make it as a two layer cake, a single layer sheet cake or in a loaf pan and add a fudge frosting or even a simple glaze.
Why You'll Love This
Spicy celebration of chocolate and pumpkin. The flavor is spicy with deep chocolate notes especially if you use darker dutch process cocoa. The resulting texture is a rich devil's food chocolate cake.
Easy to make. Using pumpkin puree instead of eggs and oil is as easy as opening a can of organic pumpkin puree. I frost mine with my favorite fudge frosting that literally tastes like fudge but a white glaze with a dusting of cinnamon also works.
Nutritious for a cake. It's a cake of course, but still healthier than most. It's also lower in fat and calories than traditional chocolate cake, and high in vitamin A thanks to the pumpkin. And it is really high in the antioxidant beta-carotene, the antioxidant that is one of the plant carotenoids that converts to Vitamin A in the body. Vitamin A is essential for healthy, glowing skin, strong eyesight, and our immune system. [source]
Pumpkin puree. I used a can of pumpkin puree that is organic and bpa-free and the ingredients are only pumpkin. Don't use pumpkin pie filling, that has added sugar. This ingredient helps replace eggs and oil.
Organic cane sugar. You can use ordinary cane sugar but I recommend organic because of the flavor.
Aquafaba. This replaces eggs and is the liquid from a can of unsalted chickpeas. Store the rest in ice cube trays and freeze to use for other recipes. Or use the same amount of unsweetened apple sauce instead.
Simple flavors. Cold brewed coffee and vanilla. You won't taste the coffee or embue the cake with caffeine, instead the coffee deepens the chocolate flavor.
Flour. Use all purpose flour or a gluten-free baking flour
Cocoa powder. Use dutch processed for a darker color, or regular cocoa powder.
Milk + Apple Cider Vinegar. This mixture creates an acidic environment that allows the baking soda to react much like an egg would to lift the cake. You can use lemon juice instead of ACV.
Leaveners & Spices. Baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice (cinnamon, ginger nutmeg), salt.
See the recipe card for full information on ingredients and quantities.
- The pumpkin puree can be swapped for canned sweet potato or canned butternut squash, both unsweetened and only the vegetable in the ingredients.
- The apple cider vinegar can be swapped for lemon juice.
Steps to Make
Here are the general steps to make this recipe. Find the detailed measurements in the recipe card at the bottom of the post.
1. Prepare the pans by rubbing inside with coconut oil and dusting with cocoa powder, and preheat the oven to 350F.
2. Add the apple cider vinegar to the milk and set aside to allow it to curdle. Use a hand mixer or spoon to whip up room temperature aquafaba until foamy, just under a minute.
3. Mix up wet ingredients in a large bowl first. Stir until combined.
4. Whisk the dry ingredients in a small bowl then add the dry ingredients to the bowl of wet ingredients. Use a spoon, hand mixer or stand mixer, and don't over mix or you'll release the gluten and create a rubbery texture.
5. Divide the batter evenly between your cake pans and bake.
6. Bake layered pans 30-35 minutes, and a loaf pan 45- 50 minutes.
7. They are done when cracks appear on top and a tester comes out clean.
Make Ahead & Storage
You can make this cake 2 days in advance. Let it cool, and then wrap it tightly in cling wrap. It can remain at room temperature like this for two days, and for 5 days refrigerated, and three months frozen.
Once you frost or cut it, it can be out at room temperature for one day, and refrigerated for one more day but will begin to dry out.
1.Be sure to use pumpkin puree not pumpkin pie filling - they are often side by side in the baker's aisle.
2.Be sure all ingredients, especially aquafaba are at room temperature before use.
3.Dust the cake pans with cocoa, not flour to be sure the finished cake has no white flour patches on it.
4.Measure the flour carefully, mismeasurement is the primary reason a cake recipe is off. I measure with the fluff, spoon and level method. Use a fork to fluff the flour in the bag so it is loose and not packed down. Then loosely spoon the amount you need into metal measuring cups, and use a knife to level off the top. You can also use a scale.
More Pumpkin Recipes
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Chocolate Pumpkin Cake
Put in Measuring Cup
- 1 cup dairy free milk I used almond milk
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
Put in Large Bowl
Put in Small Bowl
- 1 ½ cup all-purpose flour or gluten-free baking flour
- ½ cup cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder (Be sure to use a brand that is aluminum-free or else your cake could taste like metal)
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice (or just ½ teaspoon each of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg)
- ½ teaspoon salt
- Preheat oven to 350F.
- Rub butter or coconut oil on inside of 2 (6-inch) cake round pans.
- Dust with cocoa powder, shake out the excess and set aside.
- Mix the milk and ACV in the measuring cup, and let set for a few minutes to activate.
- Use a hand mixer or spoon to whip up room temperature aquafaba until foamy, just under a minute.
Make the Cake
- Mix up wet ingredients in the large bowl first. Stir until combined.1 cup dairy free milk, 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar, ⅓ cup pumpkin puree, 1 cup organic cane sugar, ¼ cup aquafaba (liquid from a can of unsalted chickpeas), 2 tablespoon cold coffee, 2 teaspoon vanilla
- Mix up the dry ingredients in the small bowl next.1 ½ cup all-purpose flour or gluten-free baking flour, ½ cup cocoa powder, 1 teaspoon baking soda, 1 teaspoon baking powder, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice, ½ teaspoon salt
- Add dry ingredients to the bowl of wet ingredients.Use a hand mixer and combine between each addition, but only just combine. You don't want to over mix.
- Divide batter evenly between your cake pans.
- Bake 35 minutes, or until a test comes out clean. Cool for 30 minutes before removing from pan.
- To cut layers, use the leveler or serrated bread knife. Let the layers cool completely, then slip each into two layers using the leveler that I linked to in ingredients. Frost carefully because the layers have crumbly surfaces.