Chocolate Pumpkin Cornbread Cake

by Marla on November 8, 2010 · 54 comments

Follow Me on Pinterest

Chocolate Pumpkin Cornbread Cake on

Cornbread. With pumpkin & chocolate. I think I will need to rename this the pumpkin blog as I can’t get enough of the stuff these days. Cornbread as cake is a fun thing indeed. Cornmeal shows up a lot around here lately in all kinds of cakes, muffins and cookies, pancakes, etc. It has a strong presence in this cake and that is a very happy thing.

Chocolate Pumpkin Cornbread Cake on

Sometimes I am not quite sure how I come up with these recipes. I know that cornbread is supposed to be a side. Something that scoops up gravy and sits beside your turkey dinner. I get that. But let’s face it, cornbread is kind of cake. It is sweet, crumbly and well, cakey. If you are in the mood to actually have your cornbread for dessert or even breakfast, then this might be for you. This cornbread is on the moister side, the pumpkin layer almost has the texture of a cheesecake.

Chocolate Pumpkin Cornbread Cake on

By simply dividing your cornbread batter into three parts, adding pumpkin purée to one, cocoa powder to another and leaving one alone you end up with 3 dreamy layers. Neat huh? I thought the pumpkin layer would have baked up a bit more orange, but the whole wheat pastry flour masks the color. If you tend to use food coloring you could always use a few drops of that. I usually opt for the rustic, au natural approach.

Chocolate Pumpkin Cornbread Cake on

I have been having fun with my piping bag and pastry decorating tips lately.

Chocolate Pumpkin Cornbread Cake on

Some dollops of slightly sweetened homemade pumpkin infused whipped cream always makes everything better.

Chocolate Pumpkin Cornbread Cake on


Chocolate Pumpkin Cornbread Cake

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 35 minutes

Yield: 10-12 servings

Chocolate Pumpkin Cornbread Cake


  • 1 cup medium grind Cornmeal
  • 1/2 cup Corn Flour
  • 1 1/2 cups White Whole Wheat Flour - or Whole Wheat Pastry Flour
  • 4 teaspoons Baking Powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon Salt
  • 1-2 teaspoons Stevia Powder or to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon Pumpkin Pie Spice
  • 1 tablespoon Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
  • 2 large Eggs
  • 2 tbs melted Unsalted Butter
  • 1 1/2 cups fat free Milk (or any milk you prefer)
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • 1 cup canned or fresh unsweetened Pumpkin Purée
  • Topping
  • 1/2 cup freshly Whipped Cream
  • 1/4 cup Pumpkin Purée
  • sweeten with Vanilla Stevia Drops to taste (or your favorite natural sweetener)


  • Pre heat oven to 400 degree F with the rack in the middle. Prepare a 9 X 2 round pan with parchment paper. Sift dry ingredients excluding pumpkin pie spice & cocoa powder in a medium bowl. Combine wet ingredients excluding pumpkin purée in a large bowl. Gently stir the wet and dry ingredients together in the large bowl.
  • Divide the batter into thirds (about 1 1/4 cup batter for the chocolate & cornbread layer & 1 cup in the pumpkin layer as you will be adding the purée to that one.) For pumpkin layer: Combine 1 cup batter with pumpkin purée and pumpkin pie spice. For chocolate layer: Combine 1 1/4 cups batter with cocoa powder. Leave the third 1 1/4 cups batter "cornbread" layer as is. Carefully layer batter in pan, first pumpkin, then chocolate then cornbread. If the batter starts to thicken too much add a splash of milk. Bake for about 20 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean from the center of the cake. Let cake cool on rack before serving.
  • Whipped Cream
  • Whip cold heavy cream in a stand mixer. Gently fold in pumpkin purée and sweetener of choice. Pipe onto cooled cake or frost with an offset spatula. If you want to cover more of the cake with cream, then adjust ingredients accordingly using the same ratios.
  • Notes
  • I used canned pumpkin purée in this recipe. Food For My Family has a great Homemade Pumpkin Purée post.


  • If you want to go a bit lighter use lightly sweetened fat free Thick Greek Yogurt instead of whipped cream.
  • Add some chocolate chips to the batter for a more indulgent treat.
  • Add some chopped, toasted nuts to the batter and the top of the cake before baking for more flavor & some crunch.
  • A handful of chopped dried fruit and/or raisins would be good in this too.

Cornbread Recipe Links

1 Jenny Flake November 8, 2010 at 5:40 am

This cake is totally calling my name today! GORGEOUS!! Love all the fun photos, have a great day girl!

2 Estela @ Weekly Bite November 8, 2010 at 5:42 am

I’m drooling! This looks delicious!

Gorgeous photos too!

3 the urban baker November 8, 2010 at 5:53 am

i love chocolate. i love pumpkin. i love cake. i am going to love this cake!!!!
this time of year brings out such creativity. and this cake is super creative!
bring me a slice, please!

4 Teawench November 8, 2010 at 5:54 am

I didn’t think pumpkin or cornbread could get any better. Putting them together is genius. I’m really glad I found your blog as I’m having so much fun with your recipes!

5 Jessica @ How Sweet November 8, 2010 at 5:56 am

Wow this is SO unique! I love it. And dessert FOR breakfast! :)

6 Monica November 8, 2010 at 6:01 am

This looks delicious. And, I love all of the whole-grain, healthy ingredients. You’ve totally taken the guilt factor out of eating cake. Can’t wait to try this.

7 Marla November 8, 2010 at 6:07 am

Monica: I love to eat my treats anytime of day – with absolutely no guilt. This cake (as does most of my baking) fits the bill. My recipes need to meet the criteria of healthy whole foods meets lots of flavor.

Miss Tea Wench: Always happy when you stop by to leave comments. I am thrilled you are having as much fun with my recipes as I am having creating them 😉

8 The Blue-Eyed Bakers November 8, 2010 at 6:06 am

What a fabulous idea! Chocolate and pumpkin cornbread?! Genius!! And DEFINITELY for breakfast!

9 Maria November 8, 2010 at 6:20 am

Love this cake Marla! Nice work!

10 Deliciously Organic November 8, 2010 at 6:29 am

This looks so wonderful!

11 Rosa November 8, 2010 at 6:48 am

What a great idea! That cake looks so scrumptious.



12 Amy from She Wears Many Hats November 8, 2010 at 7:18 am

My mouth is watering.

This looks fabulous!

13 Roxan November 8, 2010 at 7:48 am

Marla you’re a genius in the kitchen. I’m going to a Southern themed potluck on Thursday and i was planning on making pumpkin cornbread, but this is even better. thank you!

14 FOODESSA November 8, 2010 at 8:10 am

Yes…it is very creative of you to concoct these tasty desserts…and why not for breakfast too ;o)

Have a wonderful day Marla.

Ciao for now,

15 Katrina November 8, 2010 at 8:24 am

I am in love with you. It’s official. I can’t believe this is an original!

16 Angie November 8, 2010 at 8:25 am

I’d love to try this, but even my butternut squash pasta was a thumbs down by hubs yesterday, he is totally sick of pumpkin and any other squash, maybe I’ll just make for me and the little one.

17 Amy November 8, 2010 at 9:19 am

Very Clever. I never would have thought of doing that. And I love bread at every meal!

18 Kristen November 8, 2010 at 11:20 am

What a delicious looking dessert!

19 CookiePie November 8, 2010 at 11:25 am

WOW – what a fantastic and creative idea!! Can I have it for breakfast AND a snack? :)

20 Angie's Recipes November 8, 2010 at 11:26 am

Pumpkin, chocolate, cornbread….all my favourites in one! Marvelous!

21 FoodFitnessFreshair November 8, 2010 at 11:28 am

Interesting. I love homemade cornbread. I’ve never thought of adding chocolate though. I think the pumpkin is a great idea, and would make it super moist! Maybe serve alongside some pumpkin/butternut squash soup I’ve got cooking up.

22 Nutmeg Nanny November 8, 2010 at 11:57 am

What an amazing looking rustic cake! I love it!

23 Georgia @ The Comfort of Cookign November 8, 2010 at 12:42 pm

This is an incredible cake, Marla! Beautiful, delicious and perfect for fall… And, er, perfect for breakfast especially! Thanks for sharing.

24 teresa November 8, 2010 at 1:06 pm

I LOVE it!
You make everything look so FUN!
I know you must GLOW with oodles and ooodles of POSITIVE energy!
I can see your ENERGY in all your recipes!
This cornbread~chocolate~pumpkin cake is FAB~U~LOUS!
I KNOW the texture is so YUMMY!
And I love your little whipped cream dots!
Looks so YUM!
Marla…I do believe you ROCK!!!!!

25 Marla November 8, 2010 at 4:16 pm

Teresa: You crack me up and make me smile! Gotta go take a gander over at your FAB blog & see what gorgeous things you have going on.

Alison: I know, this cake will make you hungry – even when you are not :)

Grace: Yes, the pumpkin layer is extra moist. Probably best kept on the bottom layer.

26 Alison @ Ingredients, Inc. November 8, 2010 at 4:03 pm

This looks fabulous!! My mouth is watering and I’m not even hungry! LOVE!

27 Barbara @ Modern Comfort Food November 8, 2010 at 4:33 pm

I love your enthusiasm about our new world pumpkins, cornbread, and chocolate (count me in on all three!) and the creative way you’ve put them all together here for a perfect fall treat. And then the heart as the “cherry on top” just makes me smile. Such a pretty and delicious looking cake, Marla, and a wonderful post, as always.

28 Joanne November 8, 2010 at 5:32 pm

So I should tell you right now that I lvoe cornbread. And more than that I love pumpkin. And about equal to THAT, I love chocolate. So yeah. I have a lot of love for this cake. Seriously.

29 Cooking with Coley November 8, 2010 at 6:58 pm

I don’t know what’s more impressive – your photography or your healthy and delicious recipes!?

30 Cookin' Canuck November 8, 2010 at 7:42 pm

What a fun cake this is, Marla – a really great twist on cornbread! The chocolate layer in the middle looks so rich and tasty.

31 Chris @nestlefoodie November 8, 2010 at 8:14 pm

Marla – I love how you always find ways to make indulgent treats healthy! This is yet another recipe of yours I must make!

32 Paula November 8, 2010 at 11:55 pm

wow, this cake looks extremally good!

have a nice time,

33 Cherine November 9, 2010 at 12:02 am

This is mouthwatering!

34 Heather @ Multiply Delicious November 9, 2010 at 5:57 am

Love this cake Marla! It’s got two of my favorite ingredients these days…pumpkin and chocolate! YUM! And the chocolate layer looks delicious.

35 Faith November 9, 2010 at 6:09 am

I agree, cornbread is really very cake-like! Love that about it. 😉 Great idea pairing it with chocolate! It doesn’t get any better than starting the day off with a healthy cake, does it? By the way, the whipped cream dots are adorable!

36 Heather @ Get Healthy With Heather November 9, 2010 at 7:13 am

So pretty and creative. Marla you are amazing. I love how you took a simple batter and turned it into 3 different flavors – delicious!

37 Dinetonite November 9, 2010 at 8:07 am

Oh my goodness! These look super yummy. We are so having these this week! :) Thanks for the recipe.

38 Mariko November 9, 2010 at 10:13 am

Holy cornbread pumpkin cow.
I love this recipe. I will never make cornbread the old way again.
I also really love the way the words are on the cake platter there. So so cute.

39 naomi November 9, 2010 at 11:28 am

This looks awesome, Marla! I can totally go for this as breakfast. I think breakfast dessert should be a new term with your cake to kickstart it!

40 Jenna November 9, 2010 at 12:13 pm

Wow, this is so creative! Very nice. I always want sweet things for breakfast, so it would work out perfectly for me.

41 Dorothy at Shockinglydelicious November 9, 2010 at 2:40 pm

Wowser, does THAT look delicious! I want some. Now.
No, I mean RIGHT NOW!
I am a big fan of dessert that can also be a breakfast treat if it isn’t too sweet.
Thank you!

42 bunkycooks November 9, 2010 at 2:45 pm

I am all about using pumpkin this time of year. This cake sounds great with all the other flavors. :)

43 Heather November 9, 2010 at 2:59 pm

I could eat this morning, noon or night! Looks dee-licious! I can always appreciate a better-for-you approach to sweets. Beautifully done. xxoo

44 Marla November 9, 2010 at 7:16 pm

Heather: I am happy you like my “better-for-you” approach to sweets. I have so much fun creating “everyday” choices. These can be munched & you feel great after :)

Dorothy: This cake is not too sweet & you can vary how you sweeten it.

Mariko: “Holy cornbread pumpkin pie” love that girl! Your enthusiasm kills me.

45 Mags@OtherSideof50 November 9, 2010 at 5:05 pm

There are no words for this except YUM!

46 Anna Johnston November 9, 2010 at 7:02 pm

I’ll have a huge big slice of this Marla, or maybe 2. Yep. 2 slices please!!! It looks mouth wateringly wonderful.

47 Daydreamer Desserts November 9, 2010 at 7:27 pm

What a great twist to the traditional cornbread, actually… more like BRILLIANT!

48 Quyen - Kitchen Runway November 9, 2010 at 9:39 pm

What a beautiful cake and so creative!! Way to go Marla – those are some awesome pictures!

49 Jamie November 10, 2010 at 5:06 am

Who doesn’t love a great pumpkin recipe but layering it with chocolate and it only gets that much better! Wow! I am loving this recipe! I get tired of seeing so much pumpkin on food blogs but just love when the recipe is creative and different. Thanks!

50 Barbara Bakes November 10, 2010 at 5:38 am

What a fun idea. Love that you decorated it!

51 Cara November 10, 2010 at 2:21 pm

I agree, cornbread can be dreamy. I love incorporating cornmeal into sweet cakes, it lends such a fun texture.

52 Jessica November 10, 2010 at 5:44 pm

I was so excited to eat this after my house smelled fantastic all afternoon… Alas, huge disappointment! Extremely dry, crunchy texture (med. Cornmeal too much for this recipe) and needs a lot more sugar. Only thing good was the frosting :(

53 Marla November 10, 2010 at 6:29 pm

Jessica: Thank you for sharing your experience. You can try the fine cornmeal, but then that might get too mushy. The medium grind has a stronger flavor & of course a grittier texture. Fun for a change though.
I am wondering what sweetener you used?? I only went with stevia. Our cornbread & chocolate layers were more cakey (drier, but not too dry) & the pumpkin layer was more creamy-pudding like. And yes, the whipped cream topping is dreamy. If you try anything that works, please stop by and share with us.

{ 1 trackback }

Previous post:

Next post: