This is the BEST cake to serve this time of year (or any other time of the year, actually). It’s a good chocolate cake-a very, very good chocolate cake; it’s moist, and nicely chocolate-y, and made richer with some pumpkin puree added. The cake doesn’t taste of pumpkin, it just tastes well-rounded and delicious and the frosting tastes like Fall because there is a touch of cinnamon in it–and then the ganache topping smoothed over the top and then tippling down the sides sends the cake into the realm of one of the best cakes EVER! My daughter Abby has been making this cake since she was in high school. Her friends would ask for it for their birthdays (even for Summer birthdays).
It goes without saying that this cake takes a bit of time to make and decorate, but if you are thinking of making this cake then you are thinking of making it for a special occasion, right? The time and effort are worth it (and there’s nothing complex or confusing about making this cake, it’s pretty straightforward)…and you won’t be serving up a box and can of chemicals to your friends and family.
Your cake is going to look a bit different, since this cake was decorated for my witch themed Halloween party. Abby used candy, cupcake toppers, and Pinterest inspiration to decorate the cake in the picture for my Halloween party last year. Isn’t it cute?
The original recipe came from a Good Housekeeping magazine, ohhhhh 20 years ago? I still see pictures from that recipe dancing around. Don’t believe them! For some reason in the picture the frosting under the ganache is orange. I tried to do that and there is no way that I know of to turn a cocoa powder frosting bright orange. I tried. Many times. It. Can’t.Be.Done.
Not all recipes printed in magazines, cookbooks, newspapers, and on the Internet work. Mine do. I post only recipes that work and taste delicious. Most of them, like this Pumpkin-Chocolate Cake, I have made time and time again. You can do it! Make it once for Halloween, and again for your Thanksgiving potlucks.
|1 1/2 c. flour
2/3 c. unsweetened cocoa powder (Hershey’s Special Dark is good)
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 (15 oz.) can pumpkin
|1/2 c. buttermilk
2 tsp. vanilla
3/4 c. butter, softened
1 c. dark brown sugar
1 c. sugar
3 eggs plus one egg yolk
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line the bottoms of 2 9-inch cake pans with parchment paper and lightly butter (or spray with Pam for Baking). Sift flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt together. In another bowl stir together the pumpkin, buttermilk, and vanilla. In the bowl of an electric mixer beat together the butter and the sugars until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition, and then the egg yolk. Reduce speed to low and beat in 1/3 flour mixture, and then 1/3 pumpkin mixture. Repeat until all ingredients are used. Pour batter into prepared pans. Bake until cake passes the toothpick test, about 35 minutes. Cool, frost and glaze as directed below.
|6 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
3/4 stick butter, softened
1 (16-oz.) box powdered sugar
3 T. cocoa powder
|1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. vanilla
2 – 3 T. cream (or milk)
orange food coloring, optional
Beat cream cheese and butter together until well blended. Stir in powdered sugar, cinnamon, vanilla, and enough cream to make a stiff spreading consistency. The original recipe colored the frosting bright orange for a fall/Halloween effect. The picture looked terrific, so if you want fall or Halloween themed cake, add orange food coloring. Spread 1 cup frosting between the two layers, and use the remaining frosting for the tops and sides. Chill cake for a minimum of 30 minutes before glazing.
For Chocolate Glaze
|4 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 T. butter
|3 T. corn syrup
1/2 c. heavy cream
Place chopped chocolate, butter, and corn syrup in a small bowl. Heat heavy cream until boiling. Pour hot cream over chocolate mixture in bowl. Let sit for 3 minutes then blend with whisk until smooth. Let glaze sit for 5 minutes to thicken slightly. Then pour the glaze on top of the chilled and frosted cake. Smooth out glaze to edges, and then let drip down the sides. Refrigerate to set glaze.