Chocolate Pumpkin Mousse Cake

Chocolate Pumpkin Mousse Cake

The days are getting cooler here in the Midwest, and the ubiquitous pumpkin spice season is upon us.  Okay, I did choose the pumpkin pancakes when we went to the diner for Saturday breakfast, but all the same, a little pumpkin spice goes a long way.

Despite my natural culinary cynicism, I did make a variation on this cake for the Mathematicians Potluck.  Judging by the speed of consumption, it turned out rather well!

By the way, I adapted this recipe from a paleo-diet site;  they suggested ground Brazil nuts and almond flour held together with maple syrup, without oil or butter.  I kept it vegan, but created something closer to a gluten-free pastry for the bottom crust.  The cake takes about 15 minutes to make, 30 minutes to bake the crust, and 50 minutes to bake the cake — which is more like a cheesecake or possibly a flourless torte than a typical flour+eggs cake.  This quantity serves 8, or up to 12 if you can restrain yourself.

Chocolate Pumpkin Mousse Cake

This recipe is lusciously vegan, and serves 8-10.


For the crust:

  • ¾ cup raw hazelnuts, ground fine in a food processor
  • ¾ cup gluten-free flour
  • ¾ stick (3 oz) vegan baking stick (I use Earth Balance)
  • 1-2 Tbsp maple syrup

For the filling:

  • 1 x 15oz tin of organic pumpkin purée
  • 1 cup dates, pitted
  • ½ cup raw cacao powder
  • 1 Tbsp pumpkin pie spice, or preferred combination of cinnamon, cloves, ginger, allspice
  • 2 cups coconut milk (or combined almond and coconut milk)

For the chocolate glaze:

  • ½ cup cacao butter or coconut oil
  • ½ cup raw cacao powder — I used 6 oz 72% Belgian block chocolate
  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup
  • A good pinch of sea salt


  • 4-6 oz 72% Belgian block chocolate
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup plant milk to thin the glaze so it to doesn’t get too hard when cool
  • A good pinch of sea salt


1.   Preheat oven to 350°F.  Oil an 8-inch spring-form pan and line with parchment paper – including the sides, if possible.

2.   In a food processor, pulse the ground nuts, gluten-free flour, and vegan baking stick until the mixture looks like porridge oats. Add the syrup and pulse again.  Distribute the crust evenly into the bottom of the pan; pat down lightly.  Bake for 25 minutes.

3.   While baking the crust, add all filling ingredients to the food processor and blend until smooth.  When the crust looks just done — opaque rather than translucent — pour the filling onto the blind baked crust, smoothing out the top with a spatula.  Bake for 50-60 minutes at 350°F.  It’s done when the outside is stiff, and the top is still a little yielding.  Remove from the oven and let it cool (in the pan) on a rack.

4.   For the chocolate glaze:  melt the cacao butter or coconut oil in a bowl over a pot of boiling water.  Once melted remove from heat.  Mix in the cacao powder, maple syrup, and sea salt and stir until very smooth.  (If using block chocolate, melt coconut oil and chocolate together with salt;  stir until completely smooth.  Add plant milk in several batches, each time stirring until smooth.  Set aside to cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally.)

5.   Remove the cake from the pan, and stand on a rack with foil underneath.  Pour the glaze over the cake, allowing some to drip down the sides.  Remove to a serving platter, ideally with a cover.  (Lick the leftover drops off the foil!)

6.   Refrigerate overnight.  If desired, decorate with sliced almonds, shaved chocolate, crystallized ginger, and/or whipped coconut cream.

7.   Serve chilled, in thin wedges.  I like to pass a bowl of whipped cream, as well.

As ever, there is a printable .pdf file:  Chocolate-Pumpkin Mousse Cake.