Three incredibly tender layers of rich cocoa cake sandwiched between light, fluffy pumpkin buttercream. Then topped with creamy chocolate ganache and crunchy chopped walnuts. When you have an opportunity to drip chocolate ganache over Three Layer Pumpkin Buttercream Cake you take it, right?
Bam. Look at all that melty ganache action going on. 👆 It’s the perfect sweet treat to a fluffy, but a mildly sweet pumpkin buttercream. And this Pumpkin Buttercream? Legit, cloud like softness going on.
This is a safe space right? I like to think that it is. You guys are supportive. Well, I have a confession to make. A tough one with Thanksgiving just a few days away. Welp, the truth of it is…I just don’t like pumpkin pie. Last year, I finally came to terms with pecan pie. This Bourbon Pecan Pie (with Chocolate Crust) to be exact. Shocking, it took adding booze to a tradition recipe to get me to change my mind about it. [If you know me that’s actually not shocking at all.]
There’s no pin pointing why the anti-pumpkin pie stance. It’s part texture…kind of like eating a pie full of grainy yogurt. And I like yogurt, but just not a whole slice of pie textured like it. But everything else pumpkin you can sign me riiiight up.
This Three Layer Pumpkin Buttercream Cake? Signed up. First one on the list. But I’ll let you backsy cut. Even brought an extra plate for you.
The best part about this cake, there are a lot of good parts, but your new favorite thing is going to be how easy it is to make look nice without a whole lot of effort. It can be a little messy. And when you’re in the thick of the holidays, stressing about perfectly smooth edges…ain’t nobody got time for that.
This Pumpkin Buttercream is a combination of softened unsalted butter, pumpkin purée, heavy cream and some confectioner’s sugar. While the butter and pumpkin might start to look curdled during mixing, don’t stress, it will come together after a little more time.
Three Layer Pumpkin Buttercream Cake
Chocolate cake base in three thin layers are the bones for this Three Layer Pumpkin Buttercream Cake. It’s the go to chocolate cake recipe. A ‘mud cake’ recipe that is super forgiving, not too sweet, and loaded with deep chocolate flavor. You can find other versions of this chocolate cake base in this Salted Caramel Pretzel Cake and this Three Layer Chocolate Oreo Cake.
It’s tried and true, like a favorite pair of fall boots – goes with everything, easy to match and you always feel good wearing them. Except you’ll be baking this cake, hopefully not wearing it.
So we’ve got our chocolate layers and then we drape them in fluffy pumpkin buttercream. We’re not stressing about perfectly smooth edges because chocolate ganache is knocking on the door ready to come to the party. The perfect chocolate ganache for me is a 2:1 ratio of chocolate to heavy cream. Simmer the heavy cream in a sauce pan and pour over the chocolate in a heat proof mixing bowl. Let sit for a minute or two then stir until creamy chocolate bliss is achieved.
A squeeze bottle is my favorite way to drip over the cake, but a spoon can work just as well. For a less runny texture, let the ganache cool down a bit before using – about 15 minutes. But if you’re trying to frost a cake, drip ganache and take photos before a two year old realizes there’s cake available, then we get drippy with the ganache.
Chopped walnuts are the perfect crunch on top because sometimes you need a little variation in texture. If nuts are an issue, try roasted pumpkin seeds!
If you’re still thinking about a pumpkin dessert this Thanksgiving, step outside the pie and bake up a Three Layer Pumpkin Buttercream Cake. Especially after a full day – or week – or preparing for a big event like Thanksgiving, it’s nice to have a pretty looking, easy to throw together in advance cake that can sit in the fridge (or the cold New England garage – be honest, you’ve done this).
Thanksgiving means lots of eats and lots of treats. Any lots of family. We’re a cocktails, beer and wine kind of family when it comes to the holidays. This year we will be shaking up these Apple Cinnamon Whiskey Smashes for the pre-meal festivities, but when it comes to enjoying the cake we’re in the mood for something warm and cozy. This Double Chocolate Maple Hot Chocolate from Vintage Kitty is the perfect pairing for your Three Layer Pumpkin Buttercream Cake. If a caffeinated beverage is what your craving after all the indulgent eats, these simple Homemade Flavored Coffee Syrups from The Domestic Dietitian are a nice treat to have stored in the pantry.
No matter what you pair with your Three Layer Pumpkin Buttercream Cake, one thing is for sure. A no stress, pie alternative dessert is just a few steps away!
Three Layer Pumpkin Buttercream Cake
Three rich, moist chocolate layers sandwiched between fluffy pumpkin buttercream and cloaked in sweet, gooey chocolate ganache. A sprinkle of chopped walnuts provides the perfect crunch to top this Three Layer Pumpkin Buttercream Cake!
- Prep Time: 60 minutes
- Cook Time: 25 minutes
- Total Time: 1 hour 25 minutes
- Yield: 10 to 12 servings
- Category: Dessert
Three Layer Chocolate Cake
- 1 3/4 cup all purpose flour
- 2 cup granulated sugar
- 3/4 cup cocoa powder
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 1 cup whole milk
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 tsp espresso powder
- 1 cup boiling water
- 3 sticks unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup pumpkin purée
- 3 cups confectioner’s sugar
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons heavy cream
- 1 cup milk or semi sweet chocolate chips
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
Garnish: 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
Three Layer Chocolate Cake
- Grease and flour (3) 9-inch baking rounds. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- In a mixing bowl add flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder and baking soda. Mix until combined.
- On low speed add eggs, oil, milk, vanilla and espresso powder. Mix on medium speed for 1 to 2 minutes until the wet ingredients are fully incorporated.
- Carefully add the boiling water and mix on low speed for 1 minute, scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl.
- Divide the batter evenly between the three pans. Bake for 20 to 22 minutes, rotating the pans halfway if you are using more than one shelf in your oven. Let cool completely before assembling.
- In a mixing bowl, beat the unsalted butter until pale and fluffy. Add pumpkin purée and beat on medium-high speed for 4 to 5 minutes until combined.¹
- Incorporate confectioners sugar to the mixing bowl in two batches, mixing on medium speed for 1 minute in between.
- Add heavy cream and beat on high speed for 1 to 2 minutes until creamy and fluffy.
- In a medium sauce pan, bring heavy cream to a simmer over low heat. While bringing to a simmer, measure out chocolate and add to a heat proof mixing bowl.
- Once heavy cream comes to a full simmer, remove from heat and pour over chocolate chips. Let sit for two minutes and mix until smooth.
- Let cool 10 to 15 minutes before dripping over the cake.
- Once ganache is dripped over the cake, sprinkle with chopped walnuts.
¹Purée and butter will appeared curdled at first but will smooth once incorporated.