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Halloween Chocolate Pumpkin Cake with Orange Cream Cheese Frosting

Halloween Chocolate Pumpkin Cake

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5 from 2 reviews

  • Author: Adapted from Danni Rosenfeldt
  • Total Time: 2 hours 35 minutes
  • Yield: 1 8 inch, 3 layer cake 1x


The perfect All Hallows Eve spooky soiree centerpiece! This fun, festive, deliciously moist three layer Halloween chocolate pumpkin cake with orange cream cheese frosting will be the talk of the town.


Units Scale

For the Cake

  • 2 1/2 cups + 2 teaspoons all purpose flour
  • 1 cup + 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoons nutmeg
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups dark brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated white sugar
  • 1 1/8 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 5 large eggs, room temperature

For the Frosting*

  • 8 oz cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 3 tablespoons orange juice
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 cups confectioners' sugar

For the Chocolate Glaze

  • 4 ounces dark chocolate, broken into pieces
  • 3/4 cup heavy whipping cream


  1. Preheat oven to 350˚F. Grease three 8-inch cake pans and fit each bottom with parchment paper. Grease the parchment paper. Set aside.
  2. Sift the flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and nutmeg together in a large bowl and set aside.
  3. Combine the buttermilk, pumpkin, and vanilla in a medium bowl and set aside.
  4. Beat the butter and sugar together in a large bowl, with an electric mixer set on medium speed, until fluffy.
  5. Add the eggs to the butter and sugar mixture, one at a time, beating well after each addition, until the mixture is smooth and light.
  6. Alternately add the flour mixture and buttermilk mixture to the egg mixture, blending well after each addition until completely combined
  7. Evenly divide the batter among the pans and bake for 35 minutes. Cool in the pans on a wire rack for 20 minutes. Remove from pans and allow to cool completely, at least 2 hours, or wrap up in two layers of plastic wrap and let cool over night.
  8. Make the Frosting: Using an electric mixer, blend the cream cheese, butter, orange juice, orange zest and vanilla in a medium bowl until smooth. Sift in the confectioners' sugar and continue mixing until light and creamy - about 3 minutes.
  9. Assemble the cake: When the cake layers are cooled, carefully cut and trim the rounded tops of the cake layers with a long, serrated knife to make them flat. Place one of the cake layers with the trimmed side up on a plate or cake stand. With an offset spatula, spread the top with frosting. Place the second layer on top of this frosted layer, again trimmed side up, and spread frosting. Add on the final layer, trimmed side down to make the cake even, and top with remaining frosting, evenly spreading on the top and sides of the cake. Place in the refrigerator to chill for 30 minutes to an hour, until frosting is set.
  10. When the frosting is set, make the chocolate glaze: In a microwave, melt chocolate and cream in 30 second increments, whisking together until thoroughly combined. The glaze should be warm and drizzly in consistency, but not steaming hot. If it is steaming hot, let it cool a bit or it will melt the frosting off the cake.
  11. Remove the cake from the refrigerator. Using a spoon, drizzle the chocolate glaze around the edges of the cake to create the drips on the sides of the cake, adding a little more or less to each drip to make them different lengths. Fill in the middle of the top of the cake, using an offset spatula to even out the glaze. Chill for 10 minutes before adding any sprinkles, candies, or toppings you desire.


*This amount of frosting ingredients will give you enough to frost the tops of each 3 layers and do a crumb layer for the rustic "naked cake" look. If you want to fully frost the cake, double the ingredients for the frosting to ensure you have enough.

  • Prep Time: 1 hour
  • Cooling Time: 1 hour
  • Cook Time: 35 mins
  • Category: Cake
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American