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Layered Pumpkin Cake with hazelnut buttercream and chocolate ganache makes the best fall dessert.

Thefrosted layered pumpkin cake being sliced
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This pumpkin layered cake is a little more complicated than some of your favorite fall recipes, but it is easier than it seems and you will impress all your friends.

This recipe can also be used to make delicious muffins. (When it really comes down to it, there isn’t much difference between a pumpkin muffin and a eggnog cupcake, don’tcha think?).

How to make this recipe:

Don’t let all the steps to the recipe fool you. This cake really is super easy to make.

  1. This layered pumpkin cake is very forgiving (photo 1). The secret is to use bread flour in the recipe because it holds the moisture from the pumpkin.
  2. The final cooked cake was so easy to work with. I used a large serrated edge knife to cut each layer in half creating four thin layers. (photo 2)
  3. Next step is to add the chocolate ganache and the hazelnut frosting in between the cake layers (photo 3).
  4. I decided to put a thin layer of frosting on the outside to give it a nice crumb coat. Then I used the remaining frosting to frost the entire outside of the cake.
  5. I made cute little marzipan pumpkins (photo 5) and then sliced it up! (photo 6)
step by step directions on how to make layered pumpkin cake

What makes this cake unique:

  • The ganache spreads beautifully when its just the right temperature. You want it to be smooth enough to spread but not so hot that it sinks into or off of the cake. The buttercream is incredibly light and fluffy and smooths out perfectly over each ganache and cake layer.
  • The buttercream may seem intimidating, but as long as you have a thermometer to get the melted sugar to the right temperature, its actually tons of fun to watch it to come together.
  • This buttercream, especially with the hazelnut butter added for texture and taste, are an incredible addition to this cake.
  • Aren’t those little marzipan pumpkins the cutest! They only took me a few minutes to make and made the final cake so pretty!
  • Chocolate ganache only takes a few minutes to make. The smiles you will get from the people who enjoy this cake will make it all worth it.
 frosted layered pumpkin cake covered with marzipan pumpkins

Love pumpkin recipes?

You’ll definitely want to try these favorites:

sliced layered pumpkin cake showing chocolate ganache and buttercream frosting

Layered Pumpkin Cake

Prep30 minutes
Cook30 minutes
Total1 hour
Servings 16 servings
The best delicious fall dessert is this moist homemade Layered Pumpkin Cake with hazelnut buttercream, drunken chocolate ganache, and marzipan pumpkins!



hazelnut buttercream:

  • 4 cups buttercream frosting see link in notes
  • 1/2 cup hazelnut butter

drunken ganache:

  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 8 oz. Dark chocolate chopped or chips
  • 2 tablespoons corn syrup
  • pinch salt
  • 3 Tablespoons rum we prefer Myer’s Dark
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

marzipan pumpkins:

  • 5 ounces marzipan
  • 2-4 drops yellow food coloring
  • 2-4 drops red food coloring
  • 7 whole cloves


To make the cake batter:

  • Combine all dry ingredients (flour, sugar, baking soda & powder, salt, and spices) in a stand mixer with a paddle attachment on speed 1.
  • Add all remaining ingredients and mix until combines, scraping the bowl to ensure a homogeneous mixture.
  • Divide the batter evenly between two 9 inch pans lined with pan spray and parchment. Bake 28-35 minutes at 350F. The cakes are done when a toothpick comes out cleanly when poked in the center of the cake. Allow time to fully cool on a cooling rack.

To make the frosting:

To make the ganache:

  • Cald the cream in a small saucepan or microwave. Pour over combined chocolate and corn syrup, stir with a whisk until smooth and homogeneous. Stir in rum and cinnamon, allow the mixture to set in a shallow pan or plate at room temperature before using (at least 30 minutes). If the mixture sets to a point where it’s no longer spreadable, simply microwave it and stir it for very small intervals (5 seconds at time in the microwave).

Assemble the cake:

  • Cut each round into two thin layers, if desired. Divide the rum ganache in three portions and spread evenly to the tops of three of the four layers of cake. Plop about 3/4 cup of the hazelnut frosting on top of each spread ganache layer, and spread evenly as well. Stack all four layers of the cake, the one that has no ganache or hazelnut frosting will be the top layer. Spread the remaining hazelnut frosting over the top and sides of the cake. If desired, you can do a very thin layer of frosting, then refrigerate, then add remaining frosting to avoid crumbs in your top layer. !To make the marzipan pumpkins:
  • Add the food coloring to the marzipan and mix well with hands like it was play dough until all of the color is even. Divide the dough into 9 equal sized portions. Use hands to roll each portion into a ball and then use butter knife to indent grooves down the side to make it look like a pumpkin. Insert a whole clove into the top for the stem. Top cake with marzipan pumpkins.


Calories: 626kcal, Carbohydrates: 88g, Protein: 8g, Fat: 27g, Saturated Fat: 9g, Cholesterol: 52mg, Sodium: 383mg, Potassium: 338mg, Fiber: 4g, Sugar: 67g, Vitamin A: 4311IU, Vitamin C: 1mg, Calcium: 66mg, Iron: 3mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Did you make this? Leave me a comment below

This post was originally published in October 2016 and was updated in October 2019 for your reading pleasure.

Hi! I’m Krissy.

I love to create the BEST versions of your favorite recipes. If you love to cook, love to eat, or just have a deep appreciation for good food, you're in the right place! Stick around... I have hundreds of recipes for you to make.

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  1. 5 stars
    I bet that cake flies off the shelf! It’s the perfect Fall cake, I love all the layers and that frosting sounds delicious. Pinning this to make for my Haloween party. Thank you so much for sharing this.

  2. 5 stars
    So tasty and perfect. Thanks for another great recipe Krissy. I cant wait to get into the kitchen and start baking this weekend.