This Gluten-free Pumpkin Chocolate Cake has the perfect balance of cocoa and pumpkin spice -and is nothing short of amazing! Made with pumpkin puree and cleaned-up ingredients, this is the perfect healthy dessert for fall.
Is it just me or does everyone have a go-to dessert they make during the holidays -and is it just me, or does that dessert always involve chocolate? It's hard to go wrong with chocolate-flavored desserts because chocolate is life, but do you know what else is life? Pumpkin spice. This chocolate cake made with pumpkin puree combines the best of both worlds!
The inspiration for this cozy pumpkin chocolate cake came from a recipe I stumbled upon on the Whole Foods website. I modified the ingredients so my husband could indulge. He has a gluten sensitivity, so I adapted what I needed to in order to make a moist and tender pumpkin chocolate cake just as amazing as the original.
Flavored with rich cocoa and warm and cozy cinnamon and pumpkin spice, this homemade gluten-free pumpkin chocolate cake is the perfect way to and an amazing holiday meal.
Why You'll Love This Recipe
- This recipe makes a moist and tender chocolate cake with gluten-free ingredients.
- It's super easy to make!
- Perfect for Thanksgiving and the holiday season!
- You can decorate this simple sheet pan pumpkin cake as simply or as festively as you like.
Ingredients You'll Need For Gluten-Free Pumpkin Chocolate Cake
- Land O' Lakes Olive Oil Butter Blend Stick (melted): adds richness and moisture. You can also use regular butter.
- All-purpose Gluten-free Flour: Measure for Measure King Arther brand recommended. If gluten is of no concern, you can swap the gluten-free flour with regular unbleached all-purpose flour. *Using a different gluten-free flour blend can affect the results.
- Cocoa Powder: adds deep dark chocolate flavor.
- Cinnamon & Pumpkin Pie Spice: bring the perfect balance of warming fall flavors to this cake.
- Leavening Agents: You will need both baking powder and baking soda to help the cake rise and become soft and tender.
- Salt: enhances the sweet and spiced flavors.
- Sweetener: Instead of granulated sugar, this cake is made with coconut sugar and pure maple syrup. Feel free to swap the coconut sugar maple syrup blend with 1 cup of sugar if that's what you have on hand.
- Eggs: add moisture and density to the cake.
- Kefir (plain unsweetened): Using kefir in baked goods is a great way to make moist gluten-free baked goods without adding heavy oils or shortening.
- Canned Pumpkin Puree: makes this gluten-free cake dangerously rich and delicious. Not to mention, the nutrients it adds.
- Vanilla Extract: enhances the pleasantly sweet flavors.
- Optional: Powdered sugar for dusting.
How To Make Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake with Canned Pumpkin
Step 1: Preheat oven and prepare pan:
Preheat the oven to 350°F and grease an 8" square baking pan with oil. Dust with a sprinkle of gluten-free flour and set aside.
Step 2: Mix dry ingredients:
In a large mixing bowl, add flour, cocoa powder, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Whisk well to combine.
Step 3: Mix wet ingredients:
In a separate large mixing bowl, add melted butter, coconut sugar, maple syrup, kefir, eggs, canned pumpkin, and vanilla. Whisk well to combine.
Step 4: Mix everything together:
Whisk the flour mixture into the pumpkin mixture until a smooth cake batter forms. Do not overmix.
Step 5: Bake:
Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan and bake in preheated oven for 35-40 minutes or until the cake begins to pull away from the sides of the pan and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Step 6: Let cool and decorate:
Set the cake aside to let cool completely before cutting into squares. Optional; dust each square with powdered sugar or top with whipped cream or frosting.
- There is a difference between pumpkin puree and pumpkin pie filling. Make sure you're using puree as it is just pumpkin. Pumpkin pie filling has added flavor and sweeteners.
- Be sure to measure the ingredients carefully and use room-temperature eggs to get the flavor and texture of this gluten-free cake just right.
- Feel free to add more cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice to the batter for a stronger warm and spiced flavor.
- Make this gluten-free pumpkin chocolate cake even more amazing by topping each square with a dollop of homemade whipped cream.
- I love to add a little vanilla, sugar, and cinnamon when whipping the heavy cream for whipped cream.
- Another tasty option is frosting the cake with maple cream cheese frosting. Simply heaven.
- If you want to keep things simple, I promise you this cake is amazing all by itself with just a light dusting of powdered sugar.
- Or how about a cup of fresh brewed coffee to go with a warm slice of this moist gluten-free cake?
Storing & Freezing
Storing: To keep the cake from drying out, it's best it be stored covered at room temperature and enjoyed within 2 to 3 days.
Freezing: A gluten-free chocolate cake can be frozen just like a regular cake. Make sure the cake has cooled completely to room temperature and then wrap the sheet cake in several layers of plastic wrap and store in a sealed bag in the freezer for up to 2 months. You can freeze single slices the same way.
All pure cocoa powders should inherently be gluten-free but always double-check the label.
Generally, yes. Gluten-free baked goods brown quicker so for the best results gluten-free cakes should be baked at a lower temper temperature for a longer period of time.
No. Pumpkin pie filling contains added flavors and sugars. The two can not be used interchangeably.
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Gluten-Free Pumpkin Chocolate Cake
- 1 cup King Arthur measure for measure all-purpose gluten-free flour using a different gluten-free flour blend can affect the results. You can also use regular all-purpose flour if gluten is not a concern.
- ⅓ cup cocoa powder
- 1 ½ teaspoons cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ cup butter melted
- ¾ cup coconut sugar *see notes for sweetener swaps
- ¼ cup pure maple syrup
- 2 eggs room temperature
- ¼ cup Kefir plain unsweetened
- 15 oz can pumpkin purée
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Powdered sugar for dusting (optional)
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease an (8-inch) square baking pan with oil, dust with a little extra flour and set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together melted butter, coconut sugar, maple syrup, kefir, eggs, pumpkin and vanilla.
- Whisk flour mixture into pumpkin mixture until well combined then transfer batter to prepared pan. Bake 35-40 minutes or until the cakes pulls away from the sides of the pan and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Set aside to let cool then cut into squares and dust with powdered sugar, or top with whipped cream or frosting.
*This post was originally published November 9, 2017 and has been updated throughout.
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This chocolate pumpkin cake looks delicious! I was just talking with my boys about what kind of pumpkin treats we should bake this holiday weekend!
Thank you Meredith! What did you decide? 🙂
Carol S Beck
I used to have pumpkin pie or carrot cake on my birthday but since this recipe was first posted it became my favorite cake to have on my birthday. It is moist and so yummy.
This recipe is listed as requiring only one cup of flour. Could this be a typo?
Hi Elaine! Yes, you need one cup of gluten-free all-purpose flour. I recommend the King Arthur brand for best results.