Chocolate Pumpkin Cake (Dairy-Free)

Soft moist layers of pumpkin cake are stacked and slathered with a rich, decadent, and fudgy dark chocolate buttercream frosting. Now that’s what I call a cake cacophony! Fall has truly fallen and as I watch the leaves slowly turn color, my cake craving turns from fresh summer fruit to warm autumn spices and everything pumpkin. This dairy-free chocolate pumpkin cake is like a warm and cozy autumn sweater for the tummy.

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The inside shot of a cake covered in chocolate frosting and six layers of pumpkin cake.


Dairy-Free Chocolate Pumpkin Cake

Pumpkin cake layers that are pillow soft and perfectly moist make up the base of this delicious dairy-free chocolate pumpkin cake. Stacked and covered in a dreamy whipped dark chocolate buttercream frosting. An autumn dessert delight, this chocolate pumpkin cake will wow a crowd and be the perfect Thanksgiving dessert centerpiece!

The top view of a chocolate cake covered in green pumpkin seeds and pieces of dark chocolate.

Pumpkin Puree: Homemade or Store-Bought

Have you ever baked with pumpkin? Because you really should. It’s like Mother Nature’s healthy butter alternative. One time I even decided to go super-healthy and make my own pumpkin puree. Well 4 hours, approximately 3000 dishes, and a whole lot of work later I had successfully pureed my own pumpkin, and let me tell you…So.Not.Worth.It. I’ll be sticking with the store-bought canned pumpkin puree from now on…k, thanks.


How To Make Dairy-Free Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

I wanted this dreamy dairy-free chocolate buttercream frosting to be the star of the show so I used both cocoa powder and melted dark chocolate. Both sources of chocolate really amp up the richness and depth of the dark chocolate flavor and serve as a bold hit of yum. This buttercream is smooth, fudgy, and so totally chocolate.

A close up picture of a chocolate cake slice sitting on a plate with a fork sticking straight up in it.

Fall Baking Ideas

Looking for a few other cozy autumn recipes? Give these ones a try:
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Chocolate Pumpkin Cake (Dairy-Free)

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5 from 6 reviews

  • Author: Katie
  • Total Time: 2 Hrs 30 Min
  • Yield: 10 Slices 1x
  • Diet: Low Lactose


Six moist layers of dairy-free pumpkin cake filled and covered in fudgy dark chocolate whipped buttercream frosting. The perfect fall dessert or Thanksgiving treat!



Pumpkin Cake

  • 1 cup all-vegetable or canola oil

  • 2 cups pumpkin puree

  • 3 large eggs, room temperature

  • 1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed

  • 1 cup white sugar

  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted

  • 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice

  • 2 teaspoons. baking powder

  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt

Dark Chocolate Buttercream

  • 2 cups dairy-free salted butter, room temperature *I used Becel plant-based brick

  • 6 cups icing sugar

  • ½ cup cocoa powder

  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt

  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

  • ½ cup dairy-free dark chocolate, melted * I used Enjoy Life dark chocolate morsels

  • ⅛ cup dairy-free milk, room temperature

  • optional: Pumpkin seeds for decor

  • optional: BarkThins dark chocolate (this is not dairy-free)

Chocolate Ganache Drip

  • ½ cup dairy-free dark chocolate * I used Enjoy Life dark chocolate morsels

  • 2 tablespoons dairy-free milk


Pumpkin Cake

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and prepare three 6-inch round cake pans with non-stick baking spray and parchment paper.

  2. Add all the wet ingredients, brown sugar, and white sugar to the stand mixer and whisk together until fully incorporated.

  3. Add in all the dry ingredients and mix until combined. Be careful not to overmix the batter.

  4. Divide batter between the cake pans and bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out with a few crumbs.

  5. Cool in the pans for 10 minutes and then invert on a cooling rack to fully cool.

  6. Once fully cool, using a cake level cut each cake layer in half to create 6 layers total if desired.

Dark Chocolate Buttercream

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer beat the butter on high speed with the paddle attachment until light and fluffy. This should take approximately 5-10 minutes.

  2. Add the icing sugar, cocoa powder, salt, vanilla extract, and milk and mix on low until combined.

  3. In a microwave-safe bowl, heat the chocolate chips until fully melted in 30-second intervals stirring between each interval.

  4. With the mixer on low, slowly pour in the melted chocolate.

  5. Turn the mixer up to high and let mix for 5 minutes until smooth and creamy. Scrape the sides of the bowl when necessary.

Chocolate Ganache Drip

  1. In a microwave-safe bowl heat the chocolate and milk in 30-second intervals until fully melted and smooth stirring between each interval.

  2. Depending on the kind of milk, the drip may require a touch more milk to thin or a few more pieces of chocolate to thicken. *I always test my chocolate ganache drips over the edge of the kitchen sink before applying to a cake to check the consistency.


  1. Place one leveled layer of pumpkin cake on a cake board or plate. Top with approximately ¾ cup of buttercream.

  2. Repeat with the remaining layers and apply a thin coat of buttercream all over the cake. Refrigerate for 20 minutes.

  3. Cover the cake with another layer of buttercream and smooth sides using the Wilton cake comb.

  4. On a well-chilled cake, with a spoon or a piping bag, drip the warm chocolate ganache over the edges of the cake and put it back in the refrigerator to set.

  5. Decorate as you please. I used chopped-up pieces of BarkThins and pumpkin seeds to decorate around the top edges to make a border. Enjoy!

  • Prep Time: 2 Hrs
  • Cook Time: 30 Min
  • Category: Cake
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American


  • Serving Size: 1 Slice
  • Calories: 720
  • Sugar: 45 Grams
  • Sodium: 142 Miligrams
  • Fat: 39 Grams
  • Saturated Fat: 23 Grams
  • Unsaturated Fat: 11 Grams
  • Trans Fat: 2 Grams
  • Carbohydrates: 67 Grams
  • Fiber: 2 Grams
  • Protein: 6 Grams
  • Cholesterol: 122 Miligrams

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    1. Drips are one of those things that take a bit of practice to get the hang of. Keep at it and you’ll be rocking it soon!

  1. I need to make a cake for an Octoberfest. I would love to add some crunch to this cake. How do you think pecans and mini choco chips would taste in this cake.

    1. I got one word for you Theresa…AMAZING! I think it would taste phenomenal. If you do it, you gotta let me know!

  2. I thought this was a recipe for a chocolate/pumpkin cake, but I don’t see any cocoa or chocolate in the recipe for the cake. Is the cake supposed to be just pumpkin and the chocolate is only in the frosting and ganache? Just checking to be sure I’m not overlooking something. Thanks! Can’t wait to try it either way.

    1. Hi Julia! Yes, the chocolate part is the frosting. If you want more chocolate, I bet some chocolate chips in the pumpkin batter would be pretty amazing!

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