Cream Cheese Swirl Pumpkin Bundt Cake
How do you make pumpkin bread even better? By turning in into a cinnamon cream cheese swirled, chocolate ganache covered, Pumpkin Bundt Cake! Perfect for brunch or dessert, this sky-high bundt cake is just waiting for all your fall celebrations.
You had to know this was coming. A year long series on bundt cakes. October. A pumpkin bundt cake is the only obvious choice, right?!
In a sea of pumpkin bread recipes (including my favorite chocolate chip pumpkin bread and nutella swirled pumpkin bread), how do we make a pumpkin bundt cake stand out? We want something a little different and unique compared to the dime-a-dozen pumpkin bread recipes.
We make it stand out by adding an extra cinnamon-y cream cheese swirl and covering it with a layer of chocolate ganache, of course! Plus, the bundt cake makes the outsides all nice and crispy and the inside is soft and extra moist and… well… you’ll just have to try it yourself!
This cream cheese swirl pumpkin bundt cake is basically all the best flavors of fall, rolled into one.
Pumpkin, cinnamon, nutmeg, cream cheese, and chocolate. (Okay, those last two flavors are year round. But they all work so well together!)
So, let’s get baking!
Ingredients and Substitutions
- Cream Cheese: Use full-fat cream cheese for the best flavor and texture.
- Heavy Cream
- Vanilla Extract
- Canola Oil: Substitute any neutral-flavored oil, like vegetable or grapeseed.
- Pumpkin Puree: Use pumpkin puree, either canned or homemade – not pumpkin pie filling!
- Flour: The recipe is written for all-purpose flour, but to make a gluten-free version of this pumpkin bundt cake, substitute in an equal amount of a 1:1 all-purpose gluten-free baking mix which includes xanthan gum.
- Baking Soda
- Dark Chocolate: If you don’t love dark chocolate, substitute in milk chocolate or semi-sweet chocolate for the ganache.
- Light Corn Syrup: This makes the ganache glaze extra shiny, but if you don’t have corn syrup on hand, you can omit it. The glaze will still be delicious – it will just look more matte once it cools.
Easy Pumpkin Bundt Cake Recipe
I am all about minimizing dishes in the kitchen, so one of my favorite things about this cake is reusing the mixing bowl. Beat together the cream cheese swirl ingredients, transfer to another bowl, and then mix the batter for the cake. If you have a stand mixer with one bowl, no need to wash in between. Winner!
The cake itself is simple: a standard oil-based cake, with pumpkin added into the batter. You could whisk this by hand, but I always like to use a mixer (stand or hand mixer) to ensure the pumpkin is fully incorporated in the batter.
To get the swirl to run through the middle of the cake, pour in half the batter, spread the cheesecake layer across the batter with a knife, and scoop in the rest of the batter.
Cinnamon Cream Cheese Swirl
Long-time readers know I’m not a cream cheese dessert kind of a person. No cheesecake, no cream cheese frosting, no cream cheese swirls. I still wanted to enjoy a slice of this cake, however, so I kept the cream cheese swirl as a slight accent (i.e., easy to eat around).
If you’re all about the cream cheese, though, feel free to double the swirl. And then invite my husband over for a slice, because his complaint about my cheesecake layer and cream cheese swirl desserts is always exactly the same: that the layer isn’t big enough.
Refrigerate Cakes with Cream Cheese
I get so many questions about refrigerating desserts which include cream cheese. To answer this, we need a little of my favorite subject… kitchen chemistry!
Sugar acts as a preservative. Sugar is hygroscopic, meaning it absorbs water. It can draw the water out of dairy, thus reducing the amount of water available for the growth of bacteria. Butter, cream, and cream cheese are stabilized by all the sugar, and thus safe to store at room temperature for up to three days if the sugar content is sufficient.
Cream cheese is roughly 33% fat and up to 55% water. You’d need (roughly) one pound (4 cups) of sugar half-pound (8 ounces) of cream cheese to stabilize the cheesecake layer enough to let it sit out at room temperature.
Of course, these are baked, which does dry out some excess moisture. But there is still not nearly enough sugar (1/2 cup) to account for all the liquid in the cream cheese swirl (10 ounces) to safely store these without refrigeration. So the answer then is: yes! This cream cheese swirl pumpkin bundt cake should be stored in the refrigerator after the first day.
Recommended Tools to Make Pumpkin Bundt Cake
- Bundt Pan: Use a 12-cup capacity metal bundt pan. Metal is the best conductor of heat, and this makes a BIG bundt cake – you need at least a 12-cup size bundt pan.
- Stand Mixer: Either a stand mixer or hand mixer will work to make this cake, but my stand mixer is my most used kitchen appliance!
- Cooling Rack: This rack is sturdy enough to support a big bundt cake still in the pan, but folds down flat for easy storage.
- Mixing Bowls: This set of mixing bowls is my favorite – and microwave-safe, perfect for making the ganache.
Tips for Baking the Best Bundt Cake
- Perfect Bundt Cake Tips: Worried that your bundt cake will fall apart? Do you sometimes have issues with doming, where the batter puffs up too far in the middle of the pan instead of having a flat, level bottom? Fret not, and click here for all my essential bundt baking tips. You’ll be a bundt cake master in no time at all.
- Room Temperature Ingredients: Make sure your eggs and cream cheese are at room temperature. Room temperature ingredients incorporate together more easily, preventing over-mixing.
- Cream Cheese Swirl: To create the perfect cream cheese swirl, make sure the cream cheese is soft and beat it until smooth and creamy. If you love cream cheese, double the ingredients for a thicker cream cheese swirl!
- Layering the Batter: Start by adding a layer of pumpkin batter to the bundt pan, followed by a layer of the cream cheese mixture, and then repeat. This layering technique helps to create a distinct swirl pattern.
- Cool Completely: Allow the cake to cool in the pan for 10 minutes before turning it out onto a wire rack. This helps the cake set and prevents it from falling apart. (But don’t wait too long or the cake is more likely to stick to the pan!)
- Proper Storage: If you’re serving the cake the day it is made, the cake can stay at room temperature. But longer than a day and the cake should be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week. The cake can also be frozen for up to 3 months.
More Pumpkin Desserts:
- Nutella Swirled Pumpkin Pie
- Pumpkin Cheesecake Brownies
- Nutella Pumpkin Bread
- Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread
- Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bundt Cake
- Salted Caramel Pumpkin Bread
- Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Babka
2017 Bundt Cake of the Month Series
For the Cream Cheese Swrl:
- 12 ounces (340 grams) cream cheese, softened
- 1/2 cup (99 grams) granulated sugar
- 1 large egg
- 2 tablespoons heavy cream
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons cinnamon
For the Pumpkin Bundt Cake:
- 2 cups (396 grams) sugar
- 1 cup (198 grams) canola oil
- 3 large eggs
- 15 ounces (425 grams) pumpkin puree
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 cups (240 grams) all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 tablespoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
FOR THE CHOCOLATE GANACHE:
- 8 ounces (227 grams) dark chocolate, chopped
- 3/4 cup (170 grams) heavy cream
- 1/4 cup (78 grams) light corn syrup
- Preheat the oven to 350 °F. Grease a 12-cup capacity metal bundt pan.
- To make the cream cheese swirl, combine the cream cheese, sugar, and egg in the bowl of an electric mixer. Beat until well combined and cream cheese is soft and fluffy. Slowly add in the heavy cream, followed by the vanilla extract and cinnamon. Scrape the cream cheese mixture out of the bowl and set aside; wipe the bowl clean with a paper towel.
- Add the sugar, oil, eggs, pumpkin puree, and vanilla extract to the wiped-clean bowl of the mixer. Beat on low speed for 2 to 3 minutes, until ingredients are well combined. Slowly add in the dry ingredients, continuing to mix on low until fully incorporated and no streaks of flour remain.
- Pour two-thirds of the cake batter into the prepared bundt pan, smoothing the top with a spatula. Drop spoonfuls of the cream cheese mixture on top of the batter, spreading into an even layer with a knife. Top with the rest of the cake batter.
- Bake for 60-70 minutes, or until a tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out with a few moist crumbs. Cool in the bundt pan for 15 minutes, then invert onto a wire rack and cool completely.
- Once cake is cooled, make the chocolate ganache. Combine the dark chocolate, heavy cream, and corn syrup in a medium sized microwaveable bowl. Microwave for 60 seconds on 50% power, stirring well. Continue to microwave in 30 second increments on 50% power, until chocolate is fully melted and smooth. Cool ganache mixture for 20 minutes until thicker, then pour overtop of the cooled bundt cake.
- Let the cake set in the refrigerator for 30 minutes before slicing. Cake can be stored at room temperature for one day, refrigerated for up to a week, or frozen for 3 months.