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Love pumpkin and chocolate? This easy chocolate pumpkin bundt cake will make you swoon. Using a cake mix will save you time, and cooking in an Instant pot ensures it is moist and never dried out like some bundt cakes.
This marble cake features a chocolate cake batter with butterscotch morsels swirled with a pumpkin puree batter that is loaded with Oreos and pumpkin pie spice. All that and it still uses just one basic yellow box cake mix.
Did you know you can use your Instant Pot to make cakes? With the proper bundt pan and the right recipe, pressure cooker baked cakes are every bit as delicious as a cake made in the oven. This pumpkin chocolate cake recipe is just the ticket!
🥮 Chocolate Pumpkin Cake
It's no secret that I bake a lot with pumpkin in the fall. I love classic pumpkin desserts like molasses pumpkin pie, or pumpkin pie spice loaf cake slathered with easy homemade pumpkin frosting. This time though I was in the mood for a pumpkin cake that's a little, well, extra.
I wanted toppings and layers and all kinds of indulgently good add-ins. And, yes, I wanted Oreos to be involved.
This cake ended up being all of that and so much more! It starts by using cake mix and a can of pumpkin. Although I love a cake from scratch, this cake benefits from the time savings of a box mix. Layers of chocolate and pumpkin cake are mixed with crushed Oreos and butterscotch, then glazed with caramel sauce. No fancy frosting needed!
I've experimented with both classic chocolate Oreos and golden vanilla Oreos and both are a hit. If you want more chocolate flavor, use the classic. For my son that will begrudgingly eat a chocolate dessert as long as it's not the most powerful flavor, the golden Oreos were a better bet.
One slice of this rich cake satisfied my sweet tooth--for a little bit at least, then I was back for another piece. If you want a pumpkin cake that differs from the usual spice heavy cakes, this is the recipe for you!
There are all kinds of reasons my Instant Pot is one of my most used kitchen appliances. It lets me make FAST home cooked meals, it cooks perfect soup and it doesn't heat up the entire house in the process. In Texas this is a very big deal.
It's also handy for baking when your oven is out of commission or occupied by other dishes. When I'm preparing for a big holiday meal like Thanksgiving or any party, oven space is always in high demand. Instant Pot baking means I can have a turkey, pie, or rolls in the oven while something else cooks in the Instant Pot.
This season, that "something" is going to be Chocolate Pumpkin Cake!
🥣 How to make the cake batters
This cake takes just about one hour from start to finish. 1 hour
Here are a few helpful tips on making the two cake batters (it is easier than it sounds). For full instructions see the recipe card at the end of the post. As always, if you have any questions or love the recipe, please leave a comment! Although they sound complicated, the cake batters are quick to make since you are using cake mix.
- Divide the yellow cake mix evenly between two mixing bowls
Also note the oil, water and egg measurements for each batter.
- To make the chocolate batter:
Add cocoa powder, eggs, oil, and water to one of the bowls, whisk well to get the flour lumps out. Then sprinkle in some of the butterscotch chips in, holding some back to use to top the cake later. Using cocoa powder gives it the chocolate flavor needed in this batter. If you'd like a deeper darker color for a Halloween treat, use black cocoa powder.
- To make the pumpkin puree batter:
In the other bowl, add the remaining egg, oil, water, cinnamon, pumpkin spice, brown sugar, and pumpkin puree. Whisk well and then fold in most of the crushed Oreos, saving the rest for decoration later.
- Verify the size of your bundt pan:
This recipe calls for a 6 cup capacity bundt pan which is typically sized around 7 inches or so in diameter. If you are unsure if your bundt pan holds 6 cups, simply add 6 cups of water to the pan. If it spills out, it's too full. It should fill it about two thirds to three fourths full. Remember you'll want room for the cake to rise.
The most important part is ensuring that the bundt pan will fit in your Instant Pot. I prefer a silicone pan because it does have a bit of flexibility. If you've made the batters and it doesn't fit - never fear, I'll list oven directions in the notes of the recipe card for you.
- Swirling the batters together in the bundt pan:
Spray the bundt pan with non-stick baking spray. Pour half of the chocolate cake mixture into the bundt pan. Pour the pumpkin mixture into the bundt pan over the chocolate batter.
Pour the remaining chocolate mixture into the pan and use a knife to swirl it with the pumpkin. Place a paper towel on top and cover with foil.
- Baking the cake in the instant pot:
Add 1 cup of water to your Instant Pot. Place the bundt pan on a trivet and lower pan into the Instant Pot.
Secure the lid and make sure the valve on top is set to "SEALING." Select High Pressure, for a cook time of 35 minutes. After cooking, allow the pressure to naturally release for about 15 minutes.
Carefully remove pan from instant pot using the trivet and let the cake cool for 10 minutes.
- Inverting and decorating ideas for the cake:
Invert the bundt pan on a cake plate and gently slide the cake out of the pan. If it won't budge give it a few taps on the top to try and break the suction seal. If that fails, carefully run a knife around the edges.
Once the cake has fully cooled, drizzle with caramel sauce, the rest of the butterscotch chips, and Oreos. Slice, serve and enjoy!
📋 Tips for making a cake in a pressure cooker
- Using a pressure cooker and utilizing steam makes for a luscious, moist crumb. Bundt cakes take time to cook in the oven and can easily dry out. That is why you see things like buttermilk often in the recipes since it prevents this. Using the Instant Pot means no sour cream and no buttermilk.
- A must-do major trick is to use a paper towel underneath the foil covering. The paper towel will collect any extra moisture and minimize any drops of liquid on the cake.
- The foil keeps the water and steam away from the cake batter. If you didn't put it on, the steam collecting in the lid would drip down and ruin your cake.
- If you are worried about tipping the foil and spilling water into the bundt pan after cooking, I recommend the long handled trivets. They are the best for making sure you can squeeze a hot pan out of the insert and keep your hands safe from burns.
- A major advantage of using a pressure cooker is that it frees up your oven for other things as well as prevents heating up your kitchen on hot days.
- A wider Instant Pot works better for fitting a bundt pan, but test your pan BEFORE you make the mix. There are lots of pans available for all sizes of pressure cookers. This pumpkin chocolate cake calls for one that holds 6 cups.
💭 My #1 tip when making this cake in the Instant Pot....
Do not allow the pressure cooker to naturally release. If you do this your cake will continue to cook and it will dry out. First-hand experience here! You will want the cake to sit and rest for 15-20 minutes and then you will manually release the pressure left.
Remove the cake from the insert and place on a cooling rack for 10 minutes. Then you will invert the cake from the bundt pan and allow it to cool completely.
🍽 Storage Tips:
Store any leftover cake pieces in the refrigerator to keep the pieces from drying out. You can either wrap the leftover portions with cling film or place them in a glass or plastic container. Eat within 3 days.
Can you freeze chocolate pumpkin cake?
Yes, you can make this in advance and then freeze it for later! If you're making this cake in advance, I recommend covering it with cling film after it is completely cooled and then storing un-decorated.
Freeze the cake without the toppings and be sure to wrap it well. You can wrap it in plastic wrap after it is completely cooled, then foil. You can then place in a large freezer bag or an airtight container which will help prevent it from becoming squished.
When you're ready to enjoy Pumpkin Oreo Cake, let the frozen cake thaw on the counter then decorate with toppings as desired. If planning ahead you can also thaw the night before in the refrigerator.
I sometimes freeze cake in single slices so I can defrost just what I need for a quick and delicious dessert!
Wait to add the caramel glaze, butterscotch chips, and Oreo toppings until right before serving for best taste and texture.
🔪More tips and tricks
- Crush Oreos by placing them in a Ziploc bag and running over it a few times with a rolling pin, applying gentle pressure. You want them to still resemble cookies, not turn into total crumbs.
- Don't just stop at classic chocolate Oreos! Golden Oreos work well, and I can't wait to try the new hazelnut flavor in this cake!
- You can substitute butterscotch sauce for the caramel drizzle.
- The cake tastes fabulous topped with simple whipped cream! Better yet, chocolate whipped cream!
- Not a fan of butterscotch? You could leave out the butterscotch chips or substitute chocolate morsels instead.
- If you're having trouble removing the cake from the pan, try lightly tapping the bottom of the bundt pan with a wooden spoon or spatula to loosen the cake.
- There are some good gluten free cake box mixes, so it should be no issue to substitute them if you have someone who is gluten intolerant in your life. Oreo now has a gluten free line, although I prefer the Glutino brand. The other items are typically gluten free but always double check.
Have some leftover pumpkin puree after using this recipe? Don't let it go to waste! Use the extra in one of these recipes!
Chocolate Pumpkin Bundt Cake
- 1 box box yellow cake mix
- ¼ cup pumpkin purée
- 3 tablespoon cocoa powder
- 3 large eggs
- ½ cup vegetable oil divided
- ½ cup crushed Oreos
- 1 cup water divided
- ¼ cup butterscotch chips
- ½ tablespoon cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon pumpkin spice
- ½ tablespoon brown sugar
- ¼ cup caramel sauce for topping
Making the cake batters:
- Divide yellow cake mix into 2 bowls to make the two batters. Also note that the oil, water and eggs are divided. It helps to put them next to the bowl of the batter they will go with ahead of time.
To make the chocolate Oreo batter:
- In one bowl, add cocoa powder, 2 eggs, ¼ cup oil, and ½ cup of water. Mix well removing any lumps of flour. Add butterscotch chips, saving a small amount of the chips for topping later.
Making the pumpkin batter:
- In the other bowl, add pumpkin purée, the remaining egg, ¼ cup of oil, ½ cup water, cinnamon, pumpkin spice, and brown sugar. Mix well, removing any lumps or bits of flour. Fold in Oreo pieces. Save a small amount of Oreos for topping. Mix well.
Swirling the batters together in the bundt pan:
- Spray a 6 cup bundt pan with non-stick baking spray.
- Pour ½ of chocolate mixture into bundt pan. Allow to level, use a small offset knife to smooth it level if needed.
- Pour pumpkin mixture slowly into bundt pan over the chocolate batter trying not to move it.
- Pour the remaining chocolate mixture into the pan. Use a knife to swirl together. It helps to keep the knife vertical and to use a zig zag motion. I usually pass through the circle twice. Don't do too much or you will blend the mixtures to one color rather than getting the swirl effect you are after.
- Place a paper towel on top and cover with foil. I find a portion of foil going horizontally followed with a portion of foil going vertical helps make sure it is entirely covered. Try to get the foil tucked under the lip of the bundt pan. This can be harder with a silicone mold. You just don't want any holes where steam or can escape or get in.
Baking the cake in an Instant Pot
- Add 1 cup of water to instant pot. Place the bundt pan on a trivet and lower pan into instant pot. If it doesn't fit, see instructions for oven baking in the notes section.
- Secure the lid and make sure the valve on top is set to "SEALING." Select High Pressure, for a cook time of 35 minutes.
- When cook time ends, allow to rest and start to naturally release pressure for 15-20 minutes. At this point let out any left over pressure. Do NOT let the cake go past this time, or it will dry out. Be sure to remove from the insert at this time.
- Carefully remove pan from instant pot and place on a wire cooling rack. Remove foil and paper towel and cool 10 minutes.
- Invert bundt pan on a cake plate. Top with caramel. Finish with the leftover Oreo pieces and butterscotch chips.