Pumpkin Chocolate Swirl Cake With Orange Zest Icing

Chocolate seems to pair with anything: salt, caramel, peanut butter, or liquor. But your first instinct probably doesn’t combine chocolate with the flavors of pumpkin and orange. But somehow this Pumpkin Chocolate Swirl Cake With Orange Zest Icing perfectly melds these flavors into one delicious dessert.

My mother and my mother-in-law both enjoy baking sweet treats for family gatherings, which is where I tasted my first bite of this cake. It looks lovely on a platter, a loaf-shaped mound. Once sliced, the inside is a groovy swirl design, which ensures that every bite offers a bit of the chocolate and the pumpkin flavor. 

But the real star of the show is the icing. The bits of orange zest appear as sprinkles; the white glaze drips over the edges; the topping puddles on the platter beside the cake.

The recipe is lengthy, but it’s actually quite simple. Like most cakes, you first combine the dry ingredients in one bowl and the wet ingredients in a separate bowl, then you mix the two together. 

At this point, you split the batter in half. One half remains the orange pumpkin cake. To the other half you add melted chocolate and cocoa powder to make a moist chocolate cake. 

If you’ve made a swirl cake before, you know the drill. Alternately layer the batter into the loaf pan. Then take a knife and gently swirl enough to overlap the colors but not to completely mix together. Bake as normal. 

Once cool, drizzle the 3 ingredient icing over the loaf. Slice, serve, and be prepared to not have any leftover for tomorrow!

Yield: 1 loaf, 12 slices

Pumpkin Chocolate Swirl Cake With Orange Zest Icing

Pumpkin Chocolate Swirl Cake With Orange Zest Icing

A moist pumpkin cake swirled together with a mild chocolate cake, topped with a delicate orange icing.

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 55 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 25 minutes


In a large bowl

  • 1 ¾ cup all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt

In a medium bowl

  • 2 eggs
  • 1 ¼ cup sugar
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin

To make the chocolate batter

  • 3 oz dark chocolate, melted
  • 2 Tbsp cocoa powder, unsweetened

To make the icing

  • 1 ½ cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp orange zest
  • 2-3 Tbsp milk


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat a 9x5 loaf pan with parchment paper, then spray with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs and sugar. Gradually add in the melted butter, buttermilk, and vanilla. Once combined, fold in the pumpkin.
  4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and gently whisk together until all lumps are gone.
  5. Divide the batter in half (leave half in the large bowl, and place half in the medium bowl). 
  6. Add the melted chocolate and the cocoa powder to one bowl. Stir to combine.
  7. Alternately add each batter to the loaf pan, making layers. Then run a knife through the batter to create a swirl.
  8. Bake at 350°F for 55-65 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. The cake should have a crack down the middle as well.
  9. Let cool in the pan for 20 minutes, then invert onto a cooling rack.
  10. For the icing: stir together the powdered sugar, orange zest, and milk. Drizzle over the cake after it has cooled.

Nutrition Information:

Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 337Total Fat: 11gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 53mgSodium: 211mgCarbohydrates: 56gFiber: 2gSugar: 39gProtein: 4g

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