Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Pumpkin Chocolate Cake

I can't believe this month is almost over!  If you celebrate Thanksgiving, I do hope you all enjoyed yours.  I sure did!  My contribution to Thanksgiving dinner is usually home made mashed potatoes, cheddar biscuits, and a dessert.  I was watching The Chew and had to make Carla Hall's Pumpkin Chocolate Cake for the family.  

Here's the how to....

(with some additions and minor changes)

Pumpkin Cake Ingredients:
1 ¾ cups sugar (I cut down the sugar just a little per the suggestions of some of the reviewers)
1 cup vegetable oil
4 large eggs
2 cups unbleached flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
3 tablespoons pumpkin pie spice
2 cups pumpkin puree (I pressed it a bit to remove excess liquid)

Filling Ingredients:
4 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
1 cup (8 oz tub) mascarpone
1 cup (8 oz tub) whipped cream cheese (can use 2 cups mascarpone but I only had one so substituted the whipped cream cheese)
1 cup pumpkin puree (strained/pressed of excess liquid)
2 teaspoons salt
½ cup toasted crushed walnuts (can omit – but I wanted to add some texture and this worked perfectly)

Ganache Ingredients:
3 tablespoons corn syrup
6 ounces heavy cream
12 ounces dark chocolate – chopped into small bits (I used Ghiradelli dark chocolate chips)
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup toasted crushed walnuts for top of cake (again you can omit – Carla Hall suggests adding crushed ginger snaps but I didn’t have any.)

Instructions for cake: 
1. You will need two 9-inch round layer cake pans.  Spray each cake pan and flour (I used parchment paper cut to fit the bottom of each cake pan instead of using the flour).
2.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
3. In a large bowl mix sugar, vegetable oil, and eggs until combined well. 
4. In another bowl whisk flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, and pumpkin pie spice.
5. Next stir the dry mixture into the wet mixture until just combined.
6. Now fold in the pumpkin puree.
7.  Then divide the batter between the two cake pans and bake for 35 to 40 minutes.  Make sure to rotate half way through cooking.  The cake is done when a toothpick comes out clean after inserted into each cake.
7.  Place cakes on a cooling rack and leave for 5 minutes in cake pans.  You then remove from cake pans and leave cakes on cooling rack.

Instructions for filling: 
1. Using an electric mixer, beat the mascarpone, cream cheese, pumpkin puree until blended. 
2. Add the pumpkin pie spice, salt and powdered sugar and mix until well blended (about 1 minute). 
3.  Once combined add the vanilla and beat for another 30 seconds.
4.  Toast the walnuts in an ungreased skillet for about 5 minutes.  Make sure you stir throughout the time as don’t want to burn them.  Once done and cooled crunch them up and add to the mixture.
5.  I put the mixture in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes to let it set. 

Instructions for the ganache: 
1.  In a small saucepan add the corn syrup and heavy cream and bring to a simmer. 
2.  Add the chocolate and stir until smooth.
3.  Remove from heat and add the vanilla extract.
4.  Toast the rest of the walnuts (see step 4 under “Instructions for filling”) and set aside.
Assemble Cake:
1.  Cut each cake into two using a serrated knife or dental wax (the unflavored kind!)
2.  For each layer of cake spread the filling evenly.
3.  I decided to frost the entire cake – you can do this or just add the filling to each layer
4.  Pour the ganache over the cake.
5.  Add the crushed almonds
6.  Sit down, cut a big slice and eat it! 

Until next time…

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