Chocolate-Pumpkin Marble Cake with Cream Cheese Glaze

Chocolate-Pumpkin Marble Cake with Cream Cheese Glaze

I am officially addicted to pumpkin. Maybe I’m just trying to make up for all the lost years of not eating it, but I’ve been making myself a pumpkin spice latte every morning and it’s pretty much the only thing I’m interested in baking with lately. And did you hear? The canned pumpkin shortage is over, so it shouldn’t be so hard to find it this year! I’ve already stocked up.

When I was going though my recipe archives for last week’s Fall round-up post and remembered the Double Chocolate Pumpkin Cupcakes, I knew I wanted to make something else with pumpkin and chocolate and since we’ve already established that I love any kind of marbled dessert, I decided a marbled chocolate and pumpkin cake would be perfect.

Chocolate-Pumpkin Marble Cake with Cream Cheese Glaze Chocolate-Pumpkin Marble Cake with Cream Cheese Glaze

I found a marbled pound cake recipe that looked good, but it had very high fat/calories, so I found a different recipe for a lighter pumpkin pound cake. This pound cake is a combination of those two recipes, plus I added a cream cheese glaze on top. I wouldn’t call this recipe low fat, but it’s a bit lighter than your average cake (assuming you use low-fat buttermilk and cream cheese, which you don’t have to). Not that you can taste a difference!

Thanks to the pumpkin and buttermilk, it’s an extremely moist cake. It’s dense like a pound cake should be, but it’s not heavy. You need to make sure to follow the directions carefully, though. It’s important the cream the butter and sugar as specified as well as to drain the liquid out of the pumpkin puree. Doing all that will help keep the cake light, you don’t want to end up with a brick! And be sure to use Dutch-processed cocoa to get a really dark and distinctive chocolate flavor, it’s almost like mocha.

Chocolate-Pumpkin Marble Cake with Cream Cheese Glaze

The cream cheese glaze goes perfectly with the pumpkin and chocolate and gives the cake an extra punch of flavor. I’m not even sure it should be called a glaze since it’s a lot thicker than what I normally think of as a glaze, but it’s too thin to be called a frosting. (I may add a bit more milk next time to thin it out even more.) Whatever you want to call it, it’s delicious.

This would be a great cake to make for a Halloween party or anytime in the fall. I love the orange and brown batters swirled together, it’s so pretty! I’d love to make it in a bundt pan next time because I think the shape is much prettier than a tube pan. Now I have a good excuse to buy one!


Site note: I wanted to mention a new plugin I just added to the site. Now you can save all of your favorite recipes to your own private Recipe Box so that you can come back later to view or print them out. Just click on the “Add to Recipe Box” link on any post and you can visit your recipe box anytime by clicking on the link on the right side of the page under Interact. You don’t have to be registered to save recipes, but it is recommended (more info about this is on the Recipe Box page). I hope you’ll check it out!

Chocolate-Pumpkin Marble Cake with Cream Cheese Glaze

Chocolate-Pumpkin Marble Cake with Cream Cheese Glaze

adapted from My

Dessert | Servings: 12-16
Prep time: 35 min | Cook time: 55 min | Total time: 1 hour 30 min



  • 1 1/4 cups pumpkin puree
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, softened*
  • 5 large eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 3/4 cups cake flour, divided
  • 3 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 tsp. baking powder, divided
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda, divided
  • 1 tsp. salt, divided
  • 3/4 cup Dutch-processed unsweetened cocoa
  • 1 1/3 cup regular or low-fat buttermilk, divided

Cream Cheese Glaze:

  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 4 oz. (1/2 cup) regular or low-fat cream cheese
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 3-4 tbsp. milk (or more if you want a thinner glaze)


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees (F). Rub a 10 inch tube pan or 12-cup bundt pan with butter (or spritz with cooking spray) and dust with 1 tbsp. flour until the interior is covered. Tap lightly to shake loose extra flour. Set aside.
  2. Spread pumpkin puree over two layers of paper towels and press two more layers on top. Let sit for 10 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, in a large mixer bowl cream butter until light. Add both sugars in a steady stream and mix on medium for about 5 minutes.
  4. Add eggs, one at time, mixing well after each. Add in vanilla.
  5. Transfer half of the mixture into another large bowl (another mixer bowl would be helpful, but any large bowl will work). Set aside.
  6. Scape the pumpkin off of the paper towel and add it to the first bowl. Mix well.
  7. In a smaller bowl combine 1 3/4 cup flour, pumpkin pie spice, 1/2 tsp. baking soda, 1/4 tsp. baking powder and 1/2 tsp. salt.
  8. Add half of the flour mixture to the pumpkin mixture and mix well. Mix in 1/3 cup buttermilk. Then add the remaining flour and mix until combined. Set aside.
  9. In the smaller bowl combine 1 cup flour, 3/4 cup cocoa, 1/2 tsp. baking soda, 1/4 tsp. baking powder and 1/2 tsp. salt.
  10. Add half of the flour/cocoa mixture to the other large bowl and mix well with a whisk or your mixer. Mix in 1 cup of buttermilk. Then add the remaining flour and mix until combined.
  11. Spoon 1/3 of the pumpkin batter into your prepared pan. Drop heaping spoonfuls of the chocolate batter around the pan (not completely covering all the pumpkin). Spoon in the remaining pumpkin and chocolate batters. Gently swirl a knife around the pan several times.
  12. Bake for 45-55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few moist crumbs (make sure you’re checking in both the pumpkin and chocolate parts, I noticed large chocolate sections needed a few additional minutes). Cool in pan for 10 minutes, then remove from pan and cool for another 10 minutes on a rack.
  13. Meanwhile, to make the glaze, mix powdered sugar and cream cheese until well blended. Beat in vanilla and milk, 1 tbsp. at time. Drizzle on the warm cake. Let cake cool completely.

Recipe Notes:

After I initially posted this recipe I decided the cake was coming out a bit too dry so I increased the amount of butter and sugars. If you’d prefer to make a healthier version of this cake (and you don’t mind if it’s a bit on the dry side) you can reduce these ingredients to their original amounts: reduce both sugars to 3/4 cup and the butter to 1 cup.

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  1. This cake is nothing short of stunning.

  2. wow, the marbling looks fantastic! what an amazing contrast of colors. Great job!

  3. Yum! That would be perfect for breakfast right about now.

  4. I found you via Foodgawker tonight, and I’ve already made this. Well, the non-chocolate-ified version, and as cupcakes. Anyway. I’m your newest fan! Thanks for sharing this awesome recipe. Your site looks great, I look forward to digging in to your archives soon. 😀

    • Wow, you’re fast! I’m so glad you liked it. I definitely agree it would be great without the chocolate, too. I just love the combo of pumpkin and chocolate together!

  5. OVER the top! This cake looks and sounds amazing!

  6. This is perfect for Halloween! This is going to be perfect and the kids will love this. Thanks for this idea.

  7. This looks delightful. And I am glad to hear that the shortage is over..however I did buy about 10 cans last year when I spotted them in fear of not being able to find it!

  8. Dad gansie

    Wow. Beats the normal pump pie

    Really ready to try it

    Is cake flour that critical?? Can corn starch be mixed with all purpose flour ??
    I thought I heard corn starch is like cake flour, or was I not listening all the way??

    Happy holidays to all. Good cooking tooooo

    • I read that cake flour was important to make a good pound cake, so that’s why I used it, but the original recipe just uses all-purpose flour, so I’m sure that would be fine, too. And you are correct about using corn starch to make cake flour, but I’ve also read that you can just use 2 tbsp. less per cup of AP flour. Both methods are explained here.

  9. I made this tonight, following your recipe this time (the cupcakes turned out awesome!)… you don’t say when to add the spices. 🙁 I didn’t realize this until I already had the batter all layered into my pan. So I sprinkled it on top and mixed it in, but I don’t think it’s going to be a marble cake anymore… 🙁

    • Sorry about that Suzi! The spice goes into the pumpkin batter. I just edited the recipe to reflect that. Thanks for letting me know.

  10. Gorgeous space you have here! Glad to have discovered you 🙂
    Keep up the good work n I promise to come back again!

  11. What a fun treat! That would be the perfect entry for our Halloween Recipe Contest! You can read all about it here. I hope you decide to enter it!

  12. This is truly a grand cake! I think that is now first on my list!

  13. I was SO excited to make this cake after seeing your beautiful pictures! But then I just tried it and it completely sank! It rose in the oven…then fell. The resulting cake is really dense and eggy…I used cake flour and followed the recipe and I have no idea why this happened! Did you try the recipe a few times before you made it?

    • Well, to be honest, I don’t feel the need to test most recipes that I adapt from a magazine or cookbook more than once because I don’t think they’d be published unless they were extensively tested. That said, I’ve been doing some research on baking soda and baking powder lately and I believe I miscalculated when adapting those amounts. I had removed the baking soda and increased the baking powder, but you need soda to neutralize the acid in buttermilk and if you use too much leavening (and I think 1 tsp. of powder was too much for half the batter) the cake might rise and then collapse in on itself, which seems to be what happened to you. I’ve adjusted the recipe, reducing the powder by half and adding in a little bit of soda. I think that will be much more successful!

      The original recipe I based it off, which did have the correct ratio of powder/soda, had a few comments from people saying theirs had turned out really dense as well, so I think it also has to do with how you make it. Pounds cakes can be finicky and you really have to pay attention to things like making sure the butter and sugar are very light when creaming them. Plus since this cake has the pumpkin puree, that can make it dense if there’s too much moisture, which is why you have to drain it on paper towels first.

  14. April Montgomery

    Cakes are some of the nicest meals to prepare. We can use all sorts of ingredients and there still is some way of making it all work in the end and result in something delicious. The combination of chocolate and pumpkin is no exception, as the pictures show. The creme also looks really good there.

  15. Wow!! I’m adding this to my “must try” baked goods list. Thanks!

  16. I made this yesterday (I doubled it and split between two pans and it was a LOT of batter!)I don’t know if I cooked it slightly too long, but it came out a little dry. I was wondering…do you think using part oil/part butter would help that? What do you think I did wrong because your pics look really dense and fudgy whereas mine was definitely more cake-like?

    • When I made it, I found the chocolate part to be a bit dryer than the pumpkin, so when I posted the recipe I increased the amount of buttermilk thinking that would be enough to fix it. It’s possible adding some more buttermilk would help, but honestly I think the cake just needs more butter. I was trying to keep the fat/calories down, but if it makes the cake too dry it’s not really worth it! I used 3/4 cup originally, but next time I’d definitely bump it up to 1 cup (maybe even 1 1/2 cups) and probably add another egg, too. I’m going to make this cake again soon so I will play with the amounts to try to get it as moist as possible.

      • Thanks for the speedy response! I can’t believe you found the chocolate part to be dry because it looks so eggy, dense and delicious in your pics! Yes, definitely let me know how it works with the changes. The concept of the cake is too delicious for me not to try to make it again (plus, my boyfriend still gave it rave reviews!) 🙂

      • I bet adding some chocolate pudding mix to your chocolate section would help balance the moisture of the two flavors. Or throw in some chocolate chips

  17. Omg this looks amazing!! LOVE, LOVE your site! YUM!

  18. @happyeeyore82 This looks deadly…. we should make it!

  19. Spreading the pumpkin puree over the paper towels – is this step necessary? I’m just thinking about it sticking to the paper towels and making a huge mess. Or even soaking into the paper towels?

    • Hi Katie,

      Having the pumpkin soak into the paper towels is actually the point of that step. You’re trying to remove some of the moisture from the pumpkin before adding it to the cake. You could try skipping that step, but I can’t vouch for the results. The cake would most certainly have a different texture but it might still be ok.

  20. In the mood for fall sweets? Try this Chocolate-Pumpkin Marble Cake with Cream Cheese Glaze.

  21. This cake looks amazing!!

  22. Best pumpkin cake!

  23. Thank you so much for the lovely recipe! I made it for Thanksgiving dinner (Canada), and it was a huge success. Honestly there wasn’t even enough to go around because everyone wanted a little extra 🙂

    I changed the baking powder to 3/4 tsp for each batch (pumpkin and chocolate) and 1/4 tsp of soda each. I live very high above sea level and it rose very well.

    Also I added a 1/4 cup of butter and 1/2 tsp of vanilla to the glaze recipe, I needed that buttery goodness!!!

    Thanks again, I am making this again for another party tonight. I only wish that I had two bowls for my mixer!

    This recipe is definitely a keeper, and will stay in my recipe box for years to come!

  24. Chocolate-Pumpkin Marble Cake Recipe

  25. I’m actually in the middle of making this recipe and it looks like there is some confusion with your recipe. The baking powder and baking soda amounts seem to be conflicting- The first part is copied from the ingredients. The second is copied from the instructions. The instructions would have you have 1tsp baking soda and 1/2 tsp baking powder unlike the ingredient list.

    1 tsp. baking powder, divided
    1/2 tsp. baking soda, divided

    In a smaller bowl combine 1 3/4 cup flour, pumpkin pie spice, 1/2 tsp. baking soda, 1/4 tsp. baking powder and 1/2 tsp. salt.

    In the smaller bowl combine 1 cup flour, 3/4 cup cocoa, 1/2 tsp. baking soda, 1/4 tsp. baking powder and 1/2 tsp. salt.

    • Oh yeah, the ingredients lists the correct amounts but I had them transposed in the instructions. Sorry about that. I just fixed it! Thanks for letting me know.

  26. Kim Adams

    Is canned pumpkin the same thing as pumpkine puree?

    • Yep, you can use canned or fresh pumpkin, it’s all the same. Just make sure it’s 100% pure pumpkin, not pumpkin pie filling. The pie filling has a bunch of added ingredients so it won’t work.

  27. Amber Zenner

    Very good recipe- mine came out slightly more cake-like and less dense-looking than the pics, but still very flavorful and not dry. Was a hit at the family gathering!

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  30. Hi! I just made this tonight to share with my family at Thanksgiving tomorrow. It turned out exactly like your pictures and I’m so excited to taste it! The recipe was easy to follow and I felt like a pro when it came out of the pan – it’s so much fun when a recipe turns out just right. Thank you so much for sharing your recipe – I know it’s going to be a favorite at our house. P.s. It made my house smell gorgeous as it baked.