Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Streusel Cake
If pumpkin desserts are your thing, you’re going to love this super moist, ultra delicious pumpkin chocolate chip streusel cake. Perfect as small bars OR served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream!
It’s officially mid-October, and the cool, crisp weather, leaves piling up in my yard, and cans of pumpkin lining grocery aisles everywhere are screaming at me to post a new pumpkin recipe already.
This will definitely not be the last new pumpkin recipe to hit the ol’ blog this fall, but at the risk of making other pumpkin recipes jealous, it might be my favorite new pumpkin recipe this year.
It is incredible. And it’s 100% guaranteed to make your October worth it.
It’s pumpkin chocolate chip streusel cake. And it is amazing.
Maybe the streusel makes that an obvious statement? I don’t know about you, but I’ve never had the thought to streusel-ize something and have it turn out badly. Wait, I take that back. Green beans and streusel do not mix. Just take my word on that one.
But streusel on almost any dessert? You’ve got my attention.
It was high time that a really fantastic, really easy, really moist and really delicious pumpkin cake got some streusel. And a few extra chocolate chips.
I took one of my favorite pumpkin recipes EVER (these easy pumpkin blondies that often get overlooked in my ancient archives) and kicked it up a notch.
Not only does it get a boost of buttery, sweet streusel scattered atop, but I couldn’t help myself, and another 1/2 cup of chocolate chips or so ended up as a finishing touch as well. I have no regrets.
Chocolate chips dotted throughout the moist, tender pumpkin cake and chocolate chips on top of the streusel…yes, this is a very fine October indeed.
And even though I happen to err on the side of never putting nuts in my desserts hardly ever, I actually think some toasted pecans would be fabulous tossed on there, too, as an extra bit of nutty, crunchy texture.
Try it and let me know what you think, pretty please?
I prefer using a straight-sided metal pan for baking this pumpkin chocolate chip streusel cake, but I’m guessing any type of 9X13-inch pan will work pretty well. Keep in mind that it often helps to reduce the oven temperature by 25 degrees if using a glass pan.
Baked and cooled, this little cake transitions well to being cut into smaller squares, offered as finger food, and being called “bars” instead of “cake.”
But don’t dismiss the idea of serving a gigantic square of this streuselly pumpkin chocolate chip cake ever so slightly warm with a scoop (or two) of ice cream. Vanilla ice cream always comes to mind first, but typing out loud here, what about a really delicious pumpkin caramel ice cream (Trader Joe’s has a flavor like that I think??) or a caramel crunch ice cream.
Be still my heart.
If you’re thinking this loaded pumpkin chocolate chip cake is a bit of a showoff, you are right. It deserves every single bit of attention it gets.
Hello, October and heellllloooo pumpkin desserts. It’s a great time to be alive.
One Year Ago: Instant Pot Cheesy Potato Soup
Two Years Ago: Light and Fluffy Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls
Three Years Ago: Cheesy Bacon and Garlic Butter Smashed Red Potatoes
Four Years Ago: Stir-Fried Chicken and Vegetable Lo Mein
Five Years Ago: Green Lentil Soup with Curried Brown Butter
Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Streusel Cake
- 2 ⅓ cups (331 g) all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice (see note)
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup (113 g) salted butter, softened to room temperature
- ½ cup (113 g) unsweetened applesauce
- ¾ cup (159 g) granulated sugar
- ¾ cup (159 g) packed light brown sugar
- 1 large egg
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin, (about 2 cups)
- 1 ½ cups (255 g) semisweet chocolate chips
- 1 cup (142 g) all-purpose flour
- ¾ cup (159 g) packed light brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Pinch of salt
- ½ cup (113 g) salted butter, cut into tablespoon-size pieces and softened to room temperature
- ½ cup (85 g) semisweet chocolate chips
- ½ cup (57 g) toasted pecans (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a 9X13-inch metal baking pan with nonstick cooking spray (or you can line with parchment or foil and then grease for easy cleanup).
- In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt; set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer or in a large bowl using a handheld electric mixer, cream the butter, applesauce, granulated sugar and brown sugar on medium-high speed until smooth. Beat in egg and vanilla until combined. Add canned pumpkin and mix until combined. It’s ok if the mixture looks curdled.
- Mix in the dry ingredients, stirring just until combined. Fold in the chocolate chips.
- Spread the batter evenly in the prepared pan.
- For the streusel, in a small bowl, whisk together the flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Add the butter and mix with a pastry blender or your fingers until the streusel is evenly combined and forms small clumps.
- Sprinkle the streusel mixture over the pumpkin bars followed by the 1/2 cup chocolate chips and toasted pecans (if using).
- Bake until the edges begin to pull away from the sides of the pan and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean or with just a few moist crumbs attached, 35 to 40 minutes. Cool completely in the pan before serving. These bars are delicious at room temp or warm (and super tasty with a scoop of vanilla ice cream!).
Recipe Source: a streuselized version of this favorite pumpkin blondie recipe
71 Comments on “Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Streusel Cake”
I would like to make this gluten free. Has anyone tried this recipe with gluten free flour? It sounds so delicious!
I am part of a fun little chocolate critics club that meets once a month. I wanted to make something for the month of November that had pumpkin in it and decided to try this. It was an absolute hit! Everyone ranted and raved over it and all wanted the recipe. Sooooo good! This will be a new staple for the fall months!
(Thank you Covid.) A couple of years ago I baked a ton of pumpkin desserts from various bloggers/sites. This by far is my family’s favorite. Next is your white chocolate pumpkin cheesecake. Thanks for sharing your talent!
These were absolutely divine!! Everyone in my family loved them. A piece just slightly cooled out of the oven was incredible and the next day they were still so yummy – just much denser, almost like a bar. I didn’t have applesauce on hand so I replaced it with half a banana and an extra egg. I also cut the white sugar by 1/4-1/2 cup and think it was plenty sweet.
This cake was amazing! Everything you want in a pumpkin chocolate cake. We did not have an applesauce in the house, so I put in an extra egg…perfect!
In the oven as I type.
I used all my chocolate chips for the batter. so on top I used half chocolate chunks and half caramel chips.
Can’t wait to try it
Hi Mel! Thank you for all you do! I don’t have a metal 9×13 but do have a glass pan. Any suggestions on how to make this work? Btw thank you for the pumpkin roll recipe! My mom used to make it every holiday and now I can too! Happy New Year & best wishes to your lovely family!!
Hi Heather! I usually recommend to lower the baking temperature by 25 degrees if using a glass pan. Hope that helps!
Mine didn’t rise as high but it was still delicious! I did cut back on the sugar by about 1/2 cup and still found it to be plenty sweet.
Anyone made this as cupcakes? I need a dessert for my ward party and this cake is to die for.
Very delicious and stays moist. I tried it a week ago and plan on baking it again for Thanksgiving. Thanks for a yummy new favorite!
Since my son doesn’t like chocolate, I split the batter, putting the plain in an 7″x7″ metal pan with unchocolated (?) strudel, and the n other batter I mixed with 60% cacao dark chocolate morsels – figured it would offset the sweetness. I added those same morsels to the streusel. Really great cake, dense, moist.
Another winning recipe from your site! I made this tonight and it was a hit. Even my husband who is not a big fan of anything pumpkin loved it and requested that I make it again for his family on Thanksgiving. Thank you so much for your website. I have loved everything that I’ve tried so far!
Thank you so much, Amber!
Just making sure this cake is delicious on day two??? Zero chance I can make this the day of…so would need to make the day before.
I think the day before will be fine, but two days might be pushing it.
It was amazzzzzzzzing! Hope you and your family had a fantastic holiday. Thank you for making ours super tasty.
Thank you so much, Bryn! Hope your Thanksgiving was fantastic, too.
Absolutely delicious! I actually used mini chips as I was out of regular size. It worked out great. This cake will definitely be on my Thanksgiving menu. I’m thinking of trying it with milk chocolate chips.
I made this for my family on our pumpkin carving night, but with all the chaos I forgot to pay attention to the time when I popped it in the oven. The outside was great when I took it out, but the middle was way undercooked, but it was still so delicious and tasted like yummy cookie dough. By the next day though it had miraculously set up somehow! So we’re big fans of this recipe—cooked or less than cooked! I’ll definitely make this one again!
That’s awesome to know!! Happy Halloween!
As soon as I saw this recipe I knew I had to try it. I made it this week for a meeting at school and it got rave reviews from everyone. I had several requests for the recipe. Of course, I gave credit where credit is due and directed them to you, Mel, and your amazing blog. Thank you for another great recipe. I feel sure you will have many more followers thanks to this delicious cake.
Thank you so much, Bobbie! So happy this was a hit at the school!
Amazing does not say enough!! I love pumpkin pie but I have not jumped on the all things pumpkin bandwagon. Then I have one kid who loves all things pumpkin and the other who can’t run away from pumpkin fast enough (but loves streusel). When I saw this recipe pop up in my email, I decided to be daring and try it during the next mommy/kid baking session. HUGE SUCCESS!! Everyone loved it at home and I was able to bring half into work to become my colleagues BFF that day!! Thanks again Mel for another perfect recipe!!
Did even your run-away-from-pumpkin kid love this??
Yes she did!! Amazing I tell you!!
Made this for my book club last night and it was a huge it! My family loved it too! luckily it makes quite a bit. Not too pumpkiny and lots of chocolate! Moist and the streusel on top really is delicious!! Do you get tired of people singing your praises all day every day? I hope not cause I am joining the choir! You really deliver on your promise of ROCKSTAR status! We love 99 percent of what we try from your blog! Thanks so much for all your efforts. I finally feel like i can say that I am a good cook! It is all because of you!
Haha…thanks, Erin! So happy you loved this recipe!
Made this ridiculously delish cake yesterday.
I can’t stop eating it. It is a perfect fall dessert! I am pretty sure it is going to be made again for Thanksgiving . Thanks for the great recipe.
This cake was AMAZING. It was so moist and the flavor was just perfect with that delicious streusal on top. We just finished it off and all I can think about is how badly I want to make more! I liked it best warmed up a bit with vanilla ice cream on the side.
Delicious! I put walnuts in the streusel, of which there was like, a tooon. But I love streusel so that just made it extra yummy.
I made this and it was delicious! However, my cake ended up turning a greenish brown color instead of being orange. I think it was some type of reaction with the pumpkin but I am unsure what caused it and how to keep it from happening again. Any advice?
I think I’ve heard before it can happen if the pumpkin reacts with the leavening agent (baking soda or baking powder) but I’ve never personally had it happen so I don’t know 100% why it occurs (and when). Sorry I’m not more help!
This has happened to me too, though not with this particular recipe. Unfortunately it makes a delicious dessert look quite unappetizing! My experience has been that the brand of pumpkin I buy matters. Success with Libby and the great value brand from Walmart but the cheap brand I bought at another store turned everything green-brown. ♀️
Hi! Do you think this would work in a Bundt pan or long Jelly Roll Pan? Thank you!
Could certainly try! I don’t know how the quantities match up with those pans, but as long as the pan isn’t overfilled, it should be fine.
Woah!!! This recipe is amazing. Even my kids who don’t like pumpkin loved it. They begged for it the next morning for breakfast:) This is a keeper!
So happy to hear that, Kimberly. Thank you!
Hey Mel, betcha a scoop of cinnamon ice cream would be awesome on this cake! What do you think??
Made this for our family night treat! It was delicious!! Thanks for the recipe 🙂
Yay, Rose! So happy to hear that!
Uh-oh, I keep meaning to make your pumpkin Blondies (I even purchased all of the ingredients) but haven’t gotten around to it yet. What to do, what to do? What a good dilemma, thanks Mel!
Oh, and in a sidenote, if anybody had leftover pumpkin and a dog or two, that’s a really good combination. I freeze pumpkin (the straight stuff, not pumpkin pie mix) in cute little heart shaped ice cube molds, ’cause that’s what I have, and dole them out to my dogs every now and then. They love pumpkin!
Thanks for the tip, Lori! I remember hearing that a long time ago but forgot until you mentioned it in your comment!
OMG! The smell of this cooking is crazy !! LOL! Love me some pumpkin and chocolate. Can’t wait for it to cool. 🙂
Hope you love the finished product, Cathy!!
I could have used this recipe last night! I had some pumpkin that needed to be used, and I ended up trying a recipe for pumpkin protein muffins, which turned out to be spongy and a little weird. I definitely would have preferred cake! Adding this to the lineup now!
Oh my this does sound amazing, here in Australia, we don’t cook a lot of sweet things with pumpkin so I guess that is why we don’t have access to canned pumpkin. Do you just steam the pumpkin and then mash it? Such a silly question but I’ve always wanted to know. And what is the difference between pumpkin pie filling and canned pumpkin? Thanks
Hi Fiona! Here in America, pumpkin pie filling has added sugar, spices, salt, and “flavor”. Canned pumpkin is only pumpkin, although our FDA is not very stringent on what constitutes pumpkin, so a variety of less stringy, sweeter squash are often in there as well. All that being said, I have chopped up a raw pumpkin, scraped out the strings and seeds, and roasted it; once cooled, scrape the flesh out, and puree, cube or anything else you desire. I hope this helps 🙂
Great questions, Fiona. Pumpkin pie filling has a lot of added ingredients so you can just pour it into a pie shell and bake it like pumpkin pie. Canned pumpkin is cooked and mashed pumpkin (just the flesh, not the skin). You can roast the pumpkin in the oven, scoop out the flesh and blend or mash really well. I also have an instant pot method to make pumpkin puree: https://www.melskitchencafe.com/pressure-cooker-pumpkin-puree/
Because I’m an entirely altruistic individual (ha!), I tried this right away. You know, for moral support for Mel 🙂
This was the perfect fall dessert! So, so delicious. And the buttery streusel topping really sets it apart.
I did half the amount of spices called for (call me a pumpkin-spice heretic but I am fond of the taste of pumpkin itself to be at the forefront while the flavor of spices as a more subtle accompaniment). I loved it at half strength but that’s me. If you’re a pumpkin spice die-hard, I’m sure you’d be thrilled with the stated amount.
I also may choose to cut down the sugar in the base by a few ounces next time and see how that goes. It’s great as is but worth a shot to experiment.
At first bite, I was afraid the cake was a little gummy/fudgy as it wasn’t a fluffy light sponge, which is what I default think of when I hear “cake.” But then I realized that it is the exact cross between the texture of a traditional sponge cake and pumpkin pie! I probably should have been tipped off when I noticed the thickness of the batter (which was like really thick sweet quick bread batter).
It took me about 45 minutes of prep time for this first go around– from assembly to oven.
I baked it in a glass 9×13 lined with foil and greased at 325° and it took 1 hr and 14 minutes for a toothpick to come out clean.
This is an autumn must-try!
Thanks for the feedback, Chelsea! So happy you made it so fast and I always love your detailed comments. 🙂
Can you use vegan butter or a butter alternative?
I haven’t tried that but you could experiment.
We have dairy allergies in our household…I made it with Earth Balance sticks and Wegmans chocolate chips..it is dairy free and delicious!
So funny, I have your pumpkin chocolate chip bread in the oven right now. And I love those pumpkin blondies so much!!! Can’t wait to try this one, Mel.
Hope you love it, Teresa! I bet your house smells amazing with that pumpkin bread baking. Yum.
Can I ask what your rule is for subbing fresh puréed pumpkin vs the canned? I’m not opposed to canned at all but happen to have 6c of puréed pumpkin starring at me this morning…
Great question, Meghan! I usually sub fresh pumpkin cup for cup, but I make sure to drain as much excess liquid off the fresh pumpkin as possible. It tends to be wetter than the canned stuff.
Oh my goodness. This looks like the most amazing cake ever! That topping! Mmmmm!
Ok….yum! Can’t wait to try this! I made your pumpkin chocolate chip bread last week, added streusel to the top aaaand…. It didn’t work. The streusel sank and it was kinda a fail. So! This is next on my pumpkin baking list!
Oh, and I take all the blame for the fail part! I ADORE that recipe as-is!
Oh darn it! Although you now have me wondering how to streusel-ize that pumpkin bread!
Thank you for making it use the WHOLE can of pumpkin. Gonna make this later this week. Yum!
Haha, yes! Love recipes that use the whole dang can, because despite my best efforts, leftover pumpkin does NOT taste good in breakfast smoothies.