Pumpkin Cake with Chocolate Ganache and Maple Frosting

Sep 24

Moist pumpkin cake layers with chocolate ganache and maple frosting.

Fall is officially here and I’m so excited about it, especially now that I live in Utah and can truly enjoy the changing colors of the trees (I’m an implant from California, where we had two seasons – spring and summer). I also love fall because it brings with it so many delightful flavors I get to incorporate into my cakes. 

I have a lineup of seasonal cakes I’ll be sharing, starting with this semi-naked pumpkin cake, layered with chocolate ganache and maple cream cheese frosting. The cake itself is slightly adapted from Sweetapolita, who uses it in her Midnight Pumpkin Cake. It’s moist and flavorful and a perfect pairing with chocolate and maple.

Pumpkin Cake with Chocolate Ganache and Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

Yield One 3-layer, 8-inch cake

Pumpkin cake with chocolate ganache filling and maple cream cheese frosting.


For the Pumpkin Cake (adapted from Sweetapolita)

  • 1 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup packed brown light brown sugar
  • 5 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 cups pumpkin purée 
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons baking powder
  • 3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Chocolate Ganache 

  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips (semi or dark) 
  • 2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream 

For the Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup cream cheese, room temperature
  • 4 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup


For the Pumpkin Cake

  1. Preheat 350 degrees F. Spray three 8-inch round cake pans with cooking spray and line the bottoms with parchment paper rounds.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the sugar and eggs together on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the oil and vanilla and beat on medium until combined, about 30 seconds. Add the pumpkin filling and mix until combined, about another 30 seconds. 
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, ground ginger, nutmeg, and salt, and with the mixer on the lowest speed, gradually add to the pumpkin/egg mixture.
  4. Evenly distribute batter into the prepared pans, smooth with a small offset palette knife and place in the center of the middle rack of the oven, about 2 inches apart. Bake until a knife or toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 25 minutes. (Mine took 23).
  5. Let pans cool on a wire rack 10 minutes, and then invert cakes onto rack and cool them completely.

For the Chocolate Ganache

  1. Place the chocolate chips and cream in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave for about 30-60 seconds. Stir until glossy.

For the Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

  1. In an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, stir the butter and cream cheese until light and fluffy, about two minutes.
  2. Gradually add in confectioners' sugar, while mixer is on low speed.
  3. Add vanilla, cinnamon and maple syrup and whip until light and fluffy, about 4-5 minutes.


  1. Level each of your cake layers. Spread about 1/2 cup ganache on the first layer of cake, then pipe on your maple frosting (piping the frosting in each layer helps to ensure you'll get an even amount of frosting distributed across the cake).
  2. Repeat these steps with the second cake layer and then place the third cake layer, bottom -side up, on top and frost with a crumb coat.
  3. Let the cake chill in the freezer for 10 minutes and then add additional frosting.

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