Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Chocolate Pumpkin Delight Cake

Chocolate Pumpkin Cake with Caramel Frosting

Ta-da!  Today I'm sharing the cake I made for the annual clambake we go to (in its 19th year!) and always hosted on Labor Day weekend.  This is a must go to affair that is a great way to end the summer.  Our hosts prepare the main course (clam chowder, steamed clams, chicken, sweet potatoes, sweet corn and a fun drink called River Madness).  The guests are asked to bring dessert or additional beverages.  I'm always signed up for desserts and each year I try to come up with something new that steps up my game!

This cake - I'm also calling Death by Deb (or maybe Death of Deb).   I'll explain... the cake turned out fine, the ganache and caramel frosting turned out fine... the assembly gave me grief!  The cake is 3 layers and as I was assembling them, it was going well until I got to the top layer - it cracked in half and looked like an earthquake was occurring; each half heading off the sides!  Luckily the DIY guy was around and we managed to hold it together and get it refrigerated for a bit so it stopped sliding and the ganache set up... still had a crack but was able to spackle it with more ganache - having a handy man around sure helped!

Chocolate Pumpkin Delight Cake | Cooking on the Front Burner

The cake was a big hit along with the two other desserts - a raspberry cream pie and key lime pie.  Though I may have 'topped' out on this one.... I have no idea how I can step it up next year but I'm sure I will try.  I love a good challenge!

Chocolate Pumpkin Delight Cake

by Deb Attinella
Prep Time: 40 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients (serves 8-10)
    For the cake
    • 2 1/2 cups flour
    • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa
    • 1 tablespoon baking powder
    • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
    • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
    • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg (grated fresh)
    • 3/4 cup buttermilk
    • 1 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla
    • 2 1/4 stick unsalted butter (soft)
    • 1 1/2 cups dark brown sugar (packed)
    • 1 1/2 cups sugar
    • 5 large eggs
    For the frosting
    • 1 lb cream cheese softened
    • 2 oz unsalted butter softened
    • 8 oz. caramel sauce
    • 4 cups confectioners sugar
    For the Ganache
    • 7 oz dark chocolate bar chopped
    • 8 oz heavy cream
    For finishing
    • about 1 1/2 cups chopped pecans and/or walnuts
    • whole halved pecans
    For the cake
    1. Preheat oven to 350. Lightly butter (3) 8" pans and then line each with parchment paper that is also lightly buttered (please note you will have extra batter so you can make cupcakes or make a fourth layer to use another time)
    2. Sift the dry ingredients (flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and nutmeg) and set aside. In another bowl combine the pumpkin, buttermilk and vanilla. In a large bowl or mixer, beat the sugars and butter until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time and beat well after each addition. Lastly alternate adding the dry ingredients with the pumpkin mixture blending well after each addition.
    3. Place batter in the pans about 3/4 full (remember you will have extra). Bake until a toothpick comes out clean - about 25 to 30 minutes. Cool in pans 10 minutes then remove and cool on racks. I found the cake did not need to be trimmed on the top - they came out flat but if yours are domed be sure to trim off.
    For the frosting
    1. Beat the soft butter and cream cheese then add caramel sauce. Mix well then add in confectioners sugar a bit at a time and mix well. I placed mine in the refrigerator for 20 minutes to set up a bit
    For the ganache
    1. Place chopped chocolate in a bowl. Heat heavy cream until it simmers then pour over chocolate. Let it sit for a few minutes then stir to combine until smooth.
    To assemble
    Place one cake layer on a serving dish (place pieces of wax paper tucked around cake) and top with about 1/3 of ganache. Let it set up a bit (but do not let the rest of the mixture get hard - kind of tricky). Top with about 1/4 of the caramel frosting... repeat layers ending with ganache only. Let this set up in the refrigerator. Your sides will look bad but you fix it later! Lastly frost the sides of the cake with the caramel frosting. Take handfuls of chopped nuts and press on side of cake... start with a handful at bottom of cake and press upwards. Place halved pecans on top of cake... I saved a bit of ganache to glue them in place. Remove the wax paper around bottom of cake. Keep this in the refrigerator covered.
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    The yummy clams - are you a fan?  The first year I ate (tried) 4 and now I am up to 2 dozen!

    MJ has a pretty flower garden--- see if you can spot a visitor in the last picture

    Thanks David and MJ for another successful clambake!


    1. Holy wowzers, Deb! My jaw just hit the floor! ;) Yum!

    2. I imagine it was a big hit, that cake is gorgeous Deb!!! I get so intimidated by baking layer cakes-for that very reason! Mine crack or slide or I cut the layers lopsided! I may have to give it another go, this cake is amazing!

    3. Gorgeous pictures! That cake looks so impressive, good work!

    4. This looks like so much fun Deb!! The cake is gorgeous and how awesome is a clam bake?! Ganache is like magic cake putty -- I had a dense buttercream crack in transport once and the ganache saved me!! Anyway-- chocolate and pumpkin are soooo rich and delicious! Pinned!

    5. Wow...that is a gorgeous cake Deb! Well worth the grief. I'm sure it was delicious :)

    6. That cake is so pretty, Deb! So are the other photos especially those flowers! Pinning this beautiful cake!

    7. You are my new best friend! ;-) Oh this cake looks FAB-U-LOUS! I just printed the recipe and will give it a go. Thanks so much for sharing! Oh...I feel your pain about the top layer cracking. Grrrr...happens to often. Definitely am following your lovely blog!

    8. Gorgeous, Deb! I'm way too weary to make this myself. Can you please bring me one? ;)

    9. Oh my goodness, Deb, this cake is simply stunning!!!! Trying to get caught after vacation and so glad I didn't miss this! Pinning and sharing on FB today - have a fantastic Thursday!

    10. Wow, I would love to have a slice of this cake. gorgeous!!!

    11. That cake looks fantastic, I'd love have a slice. I came across your blog on grown your blog networking party and am now following you. Your blog looks great Deb :)

    12. A clam bake sounds like a ton of fun! Beautiful cake. I can't wait to go buy some pumpkin now so I can make it too. Guarantee mine won't look quite as nice as yours though :) Thank you for sharing on Foodie Friday

    13. The cake looks amazing! You'd have never guessed it had a big crack in it. Isn't it amazing what you can do with frosting? lol Hope your week is awesome!

    14. Your cake is amazing!!! Looks delicious@@

    15. What a BEAUTIFUL cake!!!! It sounds so good with the frosting and the ganache........ amazing!!!

    16. This cake is gorgeous Deb! Totally worth the 'quake' episode, if you ask me. Thanks for sharing at Wednesday Whatsits!

    17. Hi Deb, just popping back over to tell you that I am featuring your amazing cake tonight at Best of the Weekend! Thank you so much for sharing it with us last week - it is stunning! :)

    18. This cake is beautiful!!! The recipes look amazing- I love how you sued pumpkin, caramel, chocolate, and nuts- and it's design is gorgeous!

    19. It's a gorgeous cake!!
      And I just love your recipe :) It must be delicious

    20. Just wanted you to know that your recipe is being featured in a pumpkin dessert round up today on Simple Living and Eating. I will be pinning and tweeting it this week.

    21. The pictures of this cake look absolutely delightful. So Yummy. I've pinned it twice (to one of my chocolate boards and my pumpkin board!)

    22. deb! Your photos are amazing!!! That cake looks SOOO good! You've been featured today at Nap-Time Creations!!! I've shared it on all my social media... please feel free to reshare or tweet :o) thanks for linking up to Tasteful Tuesdays! Emily

    23. This looks amazing! I shared your recipe in my latest post about Thanksgiving cakes. I hope you don't mind! : )

    24. G'day! Interesting combination! Great photo!
      Thanks for sharing at the Foodie Friends Friday Best of 2013 Party!
      Cheers! Joanne

    25. This is a show stopper! Perfect for fall....I love the pumpkin chocolate combo!

    26. I just got these out of the oven! They look wonderful! I'm making them for our dessert tonight after dinner!

    27. Mmmm, these look so indulgent and yet good for you! Thanks for sharing. :)

    28. This is one of the most amazingly deliciously designed cakes I've ever seen.


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