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Pumpkin and Chocolate Layer Cake

Posted By Nicole On September 30, 2009 @ 2:01 pm In Cakes,Cakes - Frosting,Chocolate,Halloween,Holidays,Recipes | 41 Comments

Pumpkin and Chocolate Layer Cake

It’s just not fall without some kind of pumpkin dessert. How can you not think of pumpkins when the stores are filled with them and people put them out on their porches as decorations? Getting in the spirit of pumpkin desserts, as well as the Halloween season that prompts their presence, I used pumpkin in this beautiful orange and black Pumpkin and Chocolate Layer Cake. The cake is moist and satisfying, as well as spicy and chocolaty. I topped it off with a cream cheese frosting that blends in well with all of the flavor in the dessert. As if the flavor weren’t enough, this cake looks very dramatic and makes a great centerpiece for a seasonal party.

The cake has four layers, two each of pumpkin and chocolate. These layers come from two cakes that are split and stacked. Both the pumpkin and the chocolate cake start with the same basic recipe and both use pumpkin puree. The difference between them is that one includes a bunch of pumpkin-friendly spices, such as cinnamon and nutmeg, with the other has cocoa powder and bittersweet chocolate mixed in. Both types of cake have very different flavors, but they have just about the exact same texture and consistency, so they work together in the finished cake perfectly.

I recommend mixing up the batter for these two cakes at the same time so that they can be baked side by side in the oven. This way, the cakes are done at the same time and you can assemble the finished cake that much more quickly. Otherwise, prepare the second cake while the first is in the oven. You won’t have that much of a time difference when cooling the cakes and the oven will already be preheated and ready to go. The cakes, for the record, can be made a day in advance and wrapped in plastic wrap before slicing and frosting.

I kept the top of my cake plain, but if you want to dress up the presentation, you could garnish it with some pumpkin-shaped candy corn (a.k.a. mellowcremes) to give people a hint as to what is inside of the cake before you cut into it.

Pumpkin and Chocolate Layer Cake
Pumpkin Cake Layer
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/4 tsp salt
2 large eggs
1/4 cup vegetable or olive oil
1/4 cup butter, melted and cooled
3/4 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla extract

Chocolate Cake Layer
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 tbsp cocoa powder
2 large eggs
1/4 cup vegetable or olive oil
1/4 cup butter, melted and cooled
3/4 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
2-oz dark or bittersweet chocolate, melted

Preheat oven to 350F. Line two 8-inch round cake pans with parchment paper and lightly grease the bottom and sides of both.
Set up two large mixing bowls so that the batter for both cakes can be prepared at the same time.

For the pumpkin cake:
In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugars, baking powder, baking soda, spices and salt.
In a large measuring cup, or a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, vegetable oil, melted butter, pumpkin puree, milk and vanilla extract until all ingredients are well combined.
Pour pumpkin mixture into dry ingredients and stir until no streaks of flour remain visible. Pour into a prepared pan.

For the chocolate cake:
In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugars, baking powder, baking soda, spices and salt. Sift in cocoa powder and whisk to combine.
In a large measuring cup, or a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, vegetable oil, melted butter, pumpkin puree, milk and vanilla extract until all ingredients are well combined. Whisk in melted chocolate.
Pour pumpkin mixture into dry ingredients and stir until no streaks of flour remain visible. Pour into a prepared pan.

Bake the cakes for 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean and the cake springs back when lightly pressed. The baking time is the same for one cake as it is for two cakes in the oven at the same time.
Turn cakes out of their pan and onto wire racks to cool completely before frosting.

Maple Cream Cheese Frosting
2 8-oz packages cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/3 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
3-4 cups confectioners’ sugar

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and beat at high speed until smooth, gradually adding the confectioners’ sugar until a thick and spreadable consistency is reached. Additional confectioners sugar may need to be added to thicken frosting, especially if humidity is high in your area.

To assemble the cake, slice both the pumpkin cake and the chocolate cake in half horizontally. Place a chocolate round on a cake stand or serving platter, spread with a thin layer of cream cheese icing, and place a pumpkin layer on top. Make sure to spread the frosting all the way to the edges of the cake rounds. Spread the pumpkin layer with frosting and repeat with remaining chocolate and pumpkin layers.
Use remaining frosting to cover the top and sides of the cake.

Serves 12-16


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