This Pumpkin Snack Cake is studded with dark chocolate chips and has a soft, moist and tender texture. It’s made with whole wheat flour, pumpkin puree and pumpkin spice with a thick chocolate ganache topping. It’s also egg-free and dairy-free!
Who wouldn’t love a rich and chocolatey pumpkin cake for a mid-afternoon pick-me-up?!
This snacking cake pairs nicely with tea, coffee or a pumpkin spice latte, and is the perfect excuse to take a break and soak in some fall coziness!
This cake was inspired by my banana snack cake recipe. It’s vegan, easy to make and incorporates a twist on chocolate ganache to make it dairy-free!
While ganache is just a mix of chocolate and cream, I’ve taken liberties with the recipe to create this dairy-free ganache.
Instead of using cream or milk, or even coconut milk for the typical dairy-free version, I’m using almond butter. This makes the ganache a little thicker and a little less sweet, so the perfect taste and texture for a moist and tender snack cake.
Why you’ll love this pumpkin spice cake recipe
- Pumpkin and chocolate are a perfect combo. The warm pumpkin spice flavour pairs well with the dark chocolate chips and rich chocolate ganache.
- It’s a simple cake recipe. It’s just one layer with 11 ingredients (including the topping) and comes together without an electric mixer.
- The cake is dairy-free and vegan. There’s no egg, butter or milk in the cake or the ganache topping.
What is a snack cake?
Snack cakes or snacking cakes fall into the category of simple cakes that are easy to make with very few ingredients. They’re usually baked in a single layer round or square pan, and are simply meant for snacking. No special occasions required for these cakes!
While I normally add a ganache topping or even frosting to mine, snack cakes are usually unfrosted. They can be served as is or with a light dusting of powdered sugar on top.
Other snack cakes to try
Details on a few ingredients
Pumpkin – This recipe calls for pumpkin puree, or pure pumpkin. You don’t want to use pumpkin pie filling since it’s already sweetened and flavoured with spices.
Pumpkin spice – You’ll need a tablespoon of pumpkin spice or pumpkin pie spice. Feel free to use store-bought or make your own.
Chocolate chips – To keep the recipe vegan, make sure you use vegan dark chocolate chips. You’ll need them to go in the cake and for the ganache.
Nut milk – I normally use unsweetened almond milk, but you can use another type of unsweetened non-dairy milk or use dairy milk for a non-vegan cake.
Coconut sugar – If you don’t have coconut sugar, try using brown sugar. Avoid using granulated sugar as it makes the cake too sweet.
Almond butter – Natural almond butter is melted with dark chocolate chips to create the chocolate ganache topping. If you don’t have almond butter, you can use natural peanut butter. Just make sure it’s smooth and not crunchy so your ganache stays smooth.
How to make a pumpkin snack cake
Line an 8-inch square pan with overhanging parchment paper and preheat the oven to 350F.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, pumpkin spice, baking soda and salt.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the milk, pumpkin, oil and vanilla.
Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and pour in the wet mixture. Stir until just combined.
Gently fold in the chocolate chips. Be careful not to over mix.
Pour the batter into the pan and bake for 25-27 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. Let cool in the pan.
How to make the ganache
Add the chocolate chips and almond butter to a microwave safe bowl, and heat for two 30-second intervals, stirring in between and after until smooth.
Slowly spread the ganache over top of the cooled cake, being careful not to spread it too close to the edge of the cake as it will spill over.
Place in the fridge until the ganache has set. Cut into squares and serve.
Other topping options
- Instead of the ganache, you can top the cake with buttercream frosting or cream cheese frosting. (Make them vegan to keep the cake vegan).
- To keep it chocolatey, this chocolate avocado frosting is rich and fudgy but not overly sweet.
- Keep it simple and serve it with a light dusting of powdered sugar or cocoa powder.
Frequently asked questions
Pumpkin pie filling already has sugar and spices added, so be sure to use pumpkin puree (or pure pumpkin).
This recipe has only been tested with whole wheat flour. The pumpkin makes the cake very soft and moist. As white flour isn’t as absorbent as whole wheat flour, to make the substitution, the ratio of dry and wet ingredients would need to be adjusted.
This recipe was tested in an 8-inch square pan. You can use a 9-inch square pan, but the cake will be much thinner (it will also bake quicker). If you don’t have an 8-inch square pan, I suggest using a 9-inch round pan instead, which is more comparable in size.
I haven’t tested this recipe in a loaf pan, but if you’re looking for a pumpkin bread, try this healthy pumpkin bread recipe.
Since the cake is moist and has a chocolate ganache topping, it stores best in the fridge. If you don’t top it with ganache, you can store it covered at room temperature.
The cake will last for 5-7 days if stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Without the ganache, it will last for 2-3 days at room temperature. You can also store it in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Make ahead instructions
You can make the cake 1-2 days in advance, leave it unfrosted and store it covered at room temperature. A few hours before serving, make the ganache, top the cake and let it set in the fridge.
You can store the unfrosted cake in the freezer for up to 3 months. Just let it cool completely, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and place it in an airtight container or resealable freezer bag before freezing it.
To defrost, keep the cake in the plastic wrap and place it in the refrigerator the day before you want to serve it or leave it at room temperature for a few hours. Once defrosted, make the ganache, top the cake and let it set in the fridge.
Key recipe tips
- Measuring the flour. To ensure you’re adding the correct quantity of flour to the recipe, you’ll want to spoon and level it in your measuring cup.
- Don’t over mix. You’ll want to stir the cake batter until the dry ingredients are just incorporated. If you over mix, the cake may turn out a bit dense.
- Toothpick test. If you’re not sure if the cake is ready to come out of the oven, test for doneness by sticking a toothpick into the centre. If it comes out clean (or with just a few crumbs), the cake is ready.
- Parchment paper. Lightly spray your cake pan with non-stick cooking spray and then line it with overhanging parchment paper. The spray is a good way to make sure the parchment paper doesn’t shift as you pour the cake batter into the pan. It’s also an easy way to lift the cake out of the pan when it’s ready to slice and serve.
- Ganache topping. When spreading the ganache on top of the cake, do so slowly, making sure not to go right to the edge of the cake as it may run over the sides. If the ganache seems too runny, pop it in the fridge for a few minutes.
- Double the recipe. This recipe makes a single layer cake. For a double layer cake, just double the recipe.
Other pumpkin recipes
If you make this recipe, I’d love to hear what you think in the comments below!
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Pumpkin Snack Cake
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cooling Time: 2 hours
- Cook Time: 27 minutes
- Total Time: 2 hours 42 minutes
- Yield: 16 pieces
- Category: Dessert
- Method: Bake
- Cuisine: American
- Diet: Vegan
This easy, vegan Pumpkin Snack Cake has a soft and tender crumb with dark chocolate chips and a rich chocolate ganache topping!
For the cake:
- 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour, spooned and levelled
- 1/2 cup coconut sugar
- 1 tablespoon pumpkin spice
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup unsweetened almond milk (or milk of choice)
- 1/2 cup pumpkin puree or pure pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup vegan dark chocolate chips
For the ganache:
- 3/4 cup vegan dark chocolate chips
- 1/2 cup natural smooth almond butter (or peanut butter)
- Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease an 8-inch square pan and line it with overhanging parchment paper.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, pumpkin spice, baking soda and salt.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the milk, pumpkin, oil, and vanilla.
- Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients and pour in the wet mixture. Stir until dry ingredients are incorporated. Don’t over mix the batter.
- Gently fold in the chocolate chips.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 25-27 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.
- Place on a wire rack and let cool completely in the pan.
- To make the ganache, add the chocolate chips and almond butter to a microwave safe bowl, and heat for two 30-second intervals, stirring in between and after until smooth.
- Slowly spread the ganache over top of the cooled cake, being careful not to spread too closely to the edge as it will spill over the side.
- Place in the refrigerator until the ganache is set.
- Using the parchment paper, lift the cake out of the pan and transfer to a cutting board. Cut into 16 pieces.
- Store in a single layer in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 5-7 days, or store in the freezer for up to 3 months.
- If you don’t need the cake to be vegan, you can use regular dark chocolate chips.
- You can substitute another type of unsweetened non-dairy milk for the almond milk, or use dairy milk for a non-vegan cake.
- Brown sugar can be used as a substitute for coconut sugar.
- Be sure to check out the other sections above the recipe card for more detailed advice and suggestions for making this recipe.
Keywords: pumpkin spice cake, vegan pumpkin cake
Ben | Havocinthekitchen says
This pumpkin cake looks terrific – wonderful texture and gorgeous colour!