Spiced Chocolate Pumpkin Cheesecake Cake & Fall Decorating Tutorial

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Hello, and happy fall! Today we’re adding another one to the autumn archives: a delicious spiced chocolate pumpkin cheesecake cake.

Okay, okay – I know that name might be a bit of a mouthful, but, as the kids say, “it just be that way sometimes.” The warm, spiced chocolate sponge is layered with luscious cinnamon pumpkin cream cheese filling and a crunchy graham cracker pie crust. So, there you have it: spiced chocolate pumpkin cheesecake cake. This recipe is definitely a keeper.

Plus, in this tutorial, I’ll show you how to use fondant and buttercream to create charming little pumpkins, cute fall leaves, and colorful autumn florals. This method is so simple, you can make most of the elements with your children!

spiced chocolate pumpkin cheesecake cake fall autumn cake decorating tutorial and recipe

Don’t be intimidated by complicated-looking fall decorations; this cake is perfect for beginners, but looks professionally done! That’s a win-win situation in my book! Check out the video tutorial first, then follow the easy recipe directions below.

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Spiced Chocolate Pumpkin Cheesecake Cake – Video Tutorial

Spiced Chocolate Pumpkin Cheesecake Cake – Recipe

Before starting your cake, gather the following baking and decorating materials. Feel free to use the links below to shop my picks! As an Amazon affiliate, our site makes a commission based on resulting sales, at no additional cost to you. Thanks for helping support my site!

I also used a cake topper gifted to me by a sweet, creative friend over at J. Isabel Designs. She specializes in adorable custom gift boxes and handcrafted wood products. Check out her website or Instagram!

Spiced Chocolate Pumpkin Cheesecake Cake

This deliciously warm, spiced chocolate sponge cake is layered with a luscious cream cheese filling and a crunchy graham cracker crust.
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword autumn, cake, cheesecake, chocolate, fall, pumpkin
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 1 hour
Decorating Time 1 hour
Total Time 3 hours
Servings 18 servings

Ingredients

Spiced Chocolate Cake

  • cups all-purpose flour, plus more for prep
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • ¾ tsp baking soda
  • ¾ tsp salt
  • ¾ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp nutmeg
  • tsp ground cloves
  • ¾ cup (1½ sticks) butter, plus more for prep
  • cups cocoa powder
  • 3 cups white sugar
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 cup brewed coffee, weak or watered down
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 tsp vanilla extract

Graham Cracker Crust

  • 1 sleeve graham crackers
  • 5 tbsp butter, melted
  • cup white sugar
  • 1 tsp salt

Pumpkin Cheesecake Filling

  • 8 oz (1 package) cream cheese, softened
  • 6 tbsp butter, softened
  • ¼ cup canned pumpkin
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp ground ginger
  • ¼ tsp nutmeg

Crusting Buttercream (For Coating Cake & Buttercream Flowers)

  • 1.5 cups (3 sticks) butter, room temp
  • 7 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp heavy cream, room temp
  • tsp salt

Instructions

Spiced Chocolate Cake

  • Coat the insides of your cake pans with butter and flour. Tap out any excess flour over the sink or garbage can. Preheat the oven to 325°F.
  • Sift together the flour, baking powder and soda, salt, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg.
  • In a medium-sized saucepan, melt the butter over medium-low heat. Add the cocoa powder in and combine. Then, remove from the heat and stir in the sugar until dissolved.
  • To the saucepan mixture, add the milk and weak coffee. I usually make one cup of coffee to drink, then reuse the K-Cup for coffee in this recipe. Alternatively, use half water and half normal-strength coffee to create one cup of liquid. Stir until combined.
  • In a separate bowl, beat the eggs lightly. Add the eggs and vanilla to the saucepan mixture, whisking thoroughly. Don't let the mixture sit for too long, otherwise, the eggs could begin to cook.
  • Finally, slowly add the flour mixture to the saucepan, stirring gently with a spatula to combine. You may need to use a whisk to smash out some of the flour lumps, but try not to overmix the batter.
  • Pour the batter evenly into the three prepared cake pans. Bake them in the oven for thirty minutes. Don't open the oven during baking, otherwise, your cakes may sink. However, once the timer is done, check the cakes by inserting a toothpick into the center. If wet batter remains on the toothpick, bake the cakes for a few more minutes, checking again before removing.
  • Let the cakes cool in their pans on a wire rack for five to ten minutes. Then, turn them out to continue cooling. Make sure the cakes have fully reached room temperature before stacking and frosting.

Graham Cracker Crust

  • In a food processor or a plastic bag, crush the graham crackers to a fine consistency.
  • Mix the graham cracker crumbs with the sugar, butter, and salt.
  • Line two of the eight-inch cake pans with parchment paper. Leave some extra parchment paper over the edges to use as "handles" for easy removing later on.
  • Divide the graham cracker mixture among the two lined cake pans. With a bar muddler or the back of a spoon, press the mixture down until it's smooth and even.
  • Bake the graham cracker crusts in the preheated oven for about 10 minutes, or until golden browned on top.
  • Let the graham cracker crusts cool in the pans until you're ready to stack the cakes. Use the extra parchment paper around the edges to gently and evenly lift out the crust from the pan.

Pumpkin Cheesecake Filling

  • In a large bowl, or the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the softened cream cheese and butter. Add the powdered sugar, cup by cup, scraping down the sides of the bowl in between each addition.
  • Finally, mix the vanilla, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg into the cream cheese mixture.

Crusting Buttercream (For Coating Cake & Buttercream Flowers)

  • In a large bowl, or the bowl of your stand mixer, beat the butter together. Add the powdered sugar, cup by cup, scraping down the sides of the bowl in between each addition.
  • To the buttercream mixture, add the vanilla, cream, and salt.

Stacking The Cake

  • Use your cake leveler to cut off any domed part of the cake layers.
  • Start, first, with a layer of cake. Place one of the graham cracker crusts on top, and then use the crusting buttercream to make a ring around the edge. This will make a "dam" to keep the cheesecake filling inside. Pipe or spread a generous amount of filling inside the dam. Then, repeat the process again, ending with the final layer of cake on top.
  • Apply a layer of crusting buttercream to the outside and top of the cake. Use your cake scraper to smooth the frosting, holding the scraper at a tight, close angle to the side of the cake. Once the crumb-coat is smooth, place the cake in the refrigerator for 10-15 minutes, or until the buttercream has hardened to the touch.
  • Set about a cup of the buttercream aside for later, and dye the rest a nice, sky blue color. Apply this sky blue buttercream to the outside of the cake, and smooth it out again. Because of the cream cheese filling, you'll need to store the cake in the refrigerator until you're ready to add the final touches. Add the fondant decorations close to the serving of the cake, as fondant can get a little mushy/wet in the refrigerator.

spiced chocolate pumpkin cheesecake cake fall autumn cake decorating tutorial and recipe

How To Make Fondant Pumpkins & Leaves

To start, knead handfuls of fondant with your food coloring gel to make a lot of orange fondant, some red and yellow fondant, and a small amount of green and brown fondant. Apply a little powdered sugar if your fondant gets too sticky. Remember, always wrap any unused fondant immediately in plastic wrap, otherwise, it will start to dry and crack.

Then, tear off a small ball of orange fondant, and roll it in your hands to create a round, pumpkin shape. Flatten the top and bottom of the “ball” slightly, and then use the edges of your cake scraper or fondant tool to create the indentations of a typical pumpkin. Then, make another small, circular indentation at the top of the pumpkin in which the stem will sit.

Use some green fondant, rolled into a thin tube, and wrapped around a toothpick to create a curly, pumpkin stem vine. Place the edge of the curly vine/toothpick in the pumpkin indentation at the top.

spiced chocolate pumpkin cheesecake cake fall autumn cake decorating tutorial and recipe

Finally, make a tiny ball of brown fondant to create a stem stump, and place that at the top as well. Let the fondant pumpkins sit at room temperature, uncovered, to dry fully. Once the fondant is dry to the touch, then you can carefully remove the toothpick.

Next, roll out a log of fondant, about an inch thick, to sit at the edge of the top of your cake. This will create a form or “crown” to give your leaves movement and the appearance of a “pile” pouring over the edge.

Use the rolling pin to flatten a piece of colored fondant, and cut out leaf shapes with your cookie cutters. Press them into the fondant ring circle, adding vein lines with your scraper or fondant tool. Cover the fondant ring and leaves with plastic wrap in between additions of leaves to keep it pliable and flexible.

You can let the fondant decorations dry at room temperature overnight, if you need. I, however, loosely covered the fondant so it would remain somewhat pliable and avoid cracking when I added it to my cake the next day. 

spiced chocolate pumpkin cheesecake cake fall autumn cake decorating tutorial and recipe

How To Make Buttercream Fall Flowers

First, tint some of the remaining buttercream red, orange, or yellow for your fall foliage. Insert it into a piping bag fitted with the #81 tip.

Then, use some extra buttercream to stick a 2″ x 2″ square of parchment paper to the flower nail. Start piping with short strokes, in to out, to create a large, outside circle of small petals. Be sure to check out my tutorial video above to visually learn the method! It’s easier done than said, in this case. 🙂

Once you complete the outside ring, move inwards, until you reach the center. Carefully slide the parchment paper with the “mum” off of the nail and onto a baking sheet or another flat surface.

spiced chocolate pumpkin cheesecake cake fall autumn cake decorating tutorial and recipe

Continue creating flowers until you are happy with the amount you have. Then, switch to the 102 or 104 tip. Stick another piece of parchment paper to the flower nail, and, with the skinny end of the tip facing up, create a tiny, tight “mountain” of frosting in the center. It should look like a small cone, point facing upward.

Then, moving the tip around the center cone, start piping out small petals of buttercream, this time moving in a side-to-side manner, not in-and-out. Gradually increase the size of the petals as your rose gets larger. Slide the parchment paper and flower off of the nail and repeat the process.

Finally, freeze the entire tray of buttercream flowers. When you’re ready to add the flowers to your cake, remove them from the freezer. Tap a flower gently to make sure it has hardened enough to handle. Peel the flowers carefully from the parchment paper squares, and use a little extra buttercream as a “glue” to adhere the flower to the cake. Work gently but quickly, because the buttercream will become soft again as it comes back to room temperature. 

I published an in-depth tutorial and detailed video on making buttercream flowers last year; check it out by clicking here to learn the process!

spiced chocolate pumpkin cheesecake cake fall autumn cake decorating tutorial and recipe

Voila! Happy Fall!

I hope you enjoyed this spiced chocolate pumpkin cheesecake cake recipe and tutorial!

If you create a recipe inspired by one on my site, feel free to tag me on Instagram so I can see! It’s okay if you’re not big on posting – I still want to connect! Check out my feed and follow along for some inspiration, fun tips, and behind-the-scenes blog photos!

spiced chocolate pumpkin cheesecake cake fall autumn cake decorating tutorial and recipe

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