It's time for the explosion of pumpkin recipes again! I couldn't be left out of the fun, especially since pumpkin baked goods are some of my very favorites. So when I saw this cake on the blog of my Secret Recipe Club assignment this month, it was a no-brainer.
Deb blogs over at Cooking on the Front Burner, and let me tell you, she takes some of the most beautiful food photos! I just couldn't stop looking at everything and admiring how tempting everything looks.
Raspberry Peach Cobbler, Strawberry Bruschetta, and Grilled Pork with Chile Lime Sauce were just a few of the options that caught my eye, but I just kept coming back to that cake. I mean, chocolate and pumpkin, with a caramel cream cheese frosting???? How could I resist that??
Now Deb's cake is absolutely fabulous with chopped nuts pressed into the sides and garnished with pecan halves on the top. But seeing as I'm the only person in my family who likes nuts with baked goods (boo), that was really out of the question. Also, she made hers in 8" pans and had leftover batter - I just used 9" pans and used it all. I ended up modifying her recipe a little to increase the frosting so I would be sure to have enough and used less ganache inside the cake. I didn't want it to overpower the salted caramel frosting.
Oh, and I made my own caramel sauce - using this recipe. It's a fantastic sauce and very simple - and one batch of it makes exactly enough for the frosting. (And if you happen to make a batch that ended up not cooking quite long enough to get that perfect color, you can always save it in the fridge and add it to your coffee. YUM.)
This cake is really big, so be sure you have a crowd to feed! But it lasts well in the fridge for several days as well, so don't sweat it if you have leftovers. They're just as delicious!
Chocolate Pumpkin Delight Cake
from Rebekah's Family, Food, and Fun
For the Cake:
2 1/4 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups dark brown sugar, packed
1 1/2 cups sugar
5 large eggs
3/4 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree
1 tsp. vanilla
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup cocoa powder
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
For the Frosting
3 (8 oz) packages cream cheese, softened
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
8 oz. caramel sauce (homemade or store-bought)
5 cups powdered sugar, sifted
For the Ganache
4 oz dark chocolate bar4 oz (1/2 cup) heavy cream
Preheat oven to 350°. Lightly butter (3) 9" cake pans and line each with parchment paper. Set aside.
In a large bowl or mixer, beat the butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time and beat well after each addition.
In a separate bowl, combine the buttermilk, pumpkin, and vanilla. In another bowl, sift the dry ingredients (flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and nutmeg). Alternating adding the dry ingredients and the pumpkin mixture to the large mixing bowl, blending well after each addition.
Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans. Bake until a toothpick comes out clean, about 25-30 minutes. Cool in pans 10 minutes, then remove and cool on racks.
To make the frosting, beat the cream cheese and butter together until smooth, then add the caramel sauce. Mix well and add the powdered sugar a cup at a time and mix until fluffy.
To make the ganache, chop the chocolate bar into small bits and place in a bowl. Heat the cream in a small saucepan until bubbles form around the edges, then remove from heat and pour over the chocolate. Let sit for a few minutes, then stir until smooth.
To assemble the cake, place one cake layer on a serving dish or cake stand (I prefer to put it on a small board so I can put it in the fridge easier). Place pieces of wax paper tucked around the cake to help with the mess factor. Put about a cup of frosting on top of the cake and spread within a half inch of the edges. Drizzle some ganache on top and spread thinly.
Repeat layers until you get to the last one. Spread frosting around the top and sides of the cake, smoothing as desired. Drizzle or spread the remaining ganache over the top and allow to drip down the sides. Use an offset spatula to blend the edges in with the frosting if desired.
Remove wax paper from the bottom of the cake. Store covered in the refrigerator.
Source: Adapted slightly from Cooking on the Front Burner