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Pumpkin Cake with Mocha Buttercream

I put it off as long as I could. People told me to hold off. I tried to listen. I tried to be strong. I tried to wait. But I just couldn’t. I caved. What can I say? When it comes to pumpkin I’m weak. My calendar says September so obviously, my mind says PUMPKIN ALL THE THINGS. This scrumptious Pumpkin Cake with Mocha Buttercream is the first of the pumpkin deliciousness I’ve made this year. And it’s perfect for all you pumpkin coffee lovers out there.

I mentioned in this Malted Mocha Chocolate Chip Ice Cream post that I just recently started drinking coffee. I also mentioned that I now like to get it pretty much any way I can. So it should really come as no shock that I’ve made yet another dessert with it.

I may not have been a regular coffee drinker for long but every year, at least once, I always make sure to get myself a pumpkin spice latte. It’s kind of my way to start of the fall season. It’s because of this that I just knew that I would love the combination of pumpkin and coffee together. And because of this Pumpkin Cake with Chocolate Ganache, I knew that I also love pumpkin and chocolate together. Therefore, it only seemed logical that I would love Pumpkin Cake with Mocha Buttercream right?


And boy do I.

The cake itself is so tender. Which is one of my favorite things about pumpkin cakes. The pumpkin seems to always add just the right amount of moisture. The cinnamon and ginger in this cake add just the right amount of spice without totally overpowering it.

And then of course we’ve got the Mocha Buttercream.

Ohhh the buttercream. It is so decadent. So rich. Yet it is also light and fluffy. It’s full of chocolate coffee goodness and it is the perfect frosting for this pumpkin cake.

So whether you’re on the pumpkin in September band wagon, or not, I’m pretty sure you need to make this cake. Pronto.

Pumpkin Cake with Mocha Buttercream

A scrumptious pumpkin cake with a decadent mocha buttercream frosting. Perfect for all the pumpkin coffee lovers out there!
Prep Time 1 hr 20 mins
Cook Time 35 mins
Total Time 1 hr 55 mins
Course Desserts
Cuisine American
Servings 8 Servings


Pumpkin Cake Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup softened butter
  • 3 eggs room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon espresso powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree

Mocha Buttercream

  • 1 cup unsalted butter softened
  • 3 - 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoons brewed coffee


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour two 8-inch round cake pans.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar until fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, being sure to scrape down the edges after adding each egg. Beat in the vanilla.
  • In another bowl, combine flour, espresso powder, cinnamon, ginger, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Slowly beat the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Once mixed, turn the mixer off and gently fold in the pumpkin puree.
  • Scoop batter equally into the cake pans and level with a knife. Bake in preheated oven for 30 - 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from oven and allow to cool for several minutes. Gently remove the cake from the pans and place on a cooling rack to cool completely, about an hour.
  • To make frosting cream together butter and 3 cups of powdered sugar. Add in cocoa powder, vanilla and coffee. Continue beating until a stiff spreadable mixture forms. If frosting is too thin, add the remaining powdered sugar.
  • Once cake has cooled, place one layer on a serving plater and spread 1/3 of the frosting on top. Place the second layer on top and frost whole cake with remaining frosting. Slice and serve.
  • If you store it in the refrigerator, allow to set at room temperature for at least an hour before serving.


Tried this recipe?Mention @lifesambrosia or tag #lifesambrosia!
Keywords: buttercream, cake, chocolate, coffee, mocha, pumpkin

Leave a Comment

Recipe Rating

  • Reply
    Anissa Colaço Souza
    September 12, 2015 at 12:04 pm

    I really want to make this it looks amazing, I have one query though, do you roast the pumpkin first or is it raw??

  • Reply
    cathy- Noble Pig
    September 10, 2015 at 8:33 am

    Oh my gosh friend, you’ve outdone yourself!! I just did some brownies in this type of flavor and yeah it’s the bomb as a combo!

  • Reply
    September 9, 2015 at 9:46 pm

    Amazeballs..that is all!

  • Reply
    Andi G.
    September 9, 2015 at 9:28 pm

    Ooh it’s like a pumpkin latte but a cake. I want!

  • Reply
    Allie R Taylor
    September 9, 2015 at 6:26 pm

    Hey Des – Gorgeous cake! I need this in my life stat!!! That and the mocha Buttercream!

  • Reply
    Cate @ Chez CateyLou
    September 9, 2015 at 1:05 pm

    We wrote pretty much the same blog post today…pumpkin is just too hard to resist! I love your first pumpkin recipe of the season!! And since there is coffee, this is breakfast right?? Yum!!!

  • Reply
    Lora CakeDuchess
    September 9, 2015 at 11:02 am

    This cake is the way to ring in pumpkin baking season! This is just gorgeous!

  • Reply
    Emily |
    September 9, 2015 at 10:14 am

    A pumpkin spice latte does seem like a good way of kicking off the fall season… followed by this dessert of course! You can tell by your picture how moist this cake is, it would be great for a Thanksgiving/Friendsgiving dessert!

  • Reply
    Florian @ContentednessCooking
    September 9, 2015 at 8:59 am

    Looks amazing! Just in time for fall!

  • Reply
    September 9, 2015 at 7:36 am

    Love it! Chocolate and pumpkin are so fantastic together!

  • Reply
    September 9, 2015 at 6:35 am

    We dig pumpkin all year long. This looks delicious. Pinned and Yummed for later.

  • Reply
    Shashi @ RunninSrilankan
    September 9, 2015 at 6:08 am

    OH MY GAWSH!!! I am so glad you didn’t wait any longer – this is one GORGEOUS slice of pumpkin cake! So tender and moist and luscious!

  • Reply
    Dorothy at ShockinglyDelicious
    September 9, 2015 at 5:49 am

    You went there, and we are so glad you did!

  • Reply
    Kristen (amindfullmom)
    September 9, 2015 at 4:57 am

    Thanks for NOT waiting, this looks incredible! So ready for full blown fall!!

  • Reply
    Chicago Jogger
    September 9, 2015 at 4:38 am

    Once it hits September, anything pumpkin is on the table! This cake looks insanely good. Pinning for later :)

  • Reply
    marye audet
    September 9, 2015 at 4:34 am

    This cake sounds amazing! I am going to save this for future baking!

  • Reply
    Rebecca P.
    September 9, 2015 at 4:29 am

    If pumpkin can be added…DO IT!

  • Reply
    Katie @ Recipe for Perfection
    September 9, 2015 at 3:28 am

    Eek! The pumpkin avalanche has begun! Just kidding- it looks delicious! :)

  • Reply
    Lady Gourmet
    September 9, 2015 at 3:26 am

    Dear Des, what a beautiful cake! I love the combination of mocha and pumpkin…I have to give this a try this season. xo, Catherine

  • Des

    Hey! I'm Des!

    Welcome to Life’s Ambrosia where Dinner is served and memories are made. Here you will find over 1000 tried and true recipes for every possible occasion. In the last 10 years, this blog has helped millions of families put dinner on the table and create food memories. Let me help you too.

    Read more »

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