Pumpkin & Chocolate Layer Cake

Here we are, back to snowy weather! I’ve come to learn that the weather outside has a big effect on my day. I am all about sunshine and bright colors, and when it’s gray and gloomy outside, I would just rather cozy up with my dog and not do any adulting that day. What can I say? I’m a California girl and I’ll always want sunshine. I am so excited to announce details of my new book, it’s coming really soon! Don’t worry, my subscribers will hear about it FIRST! I recently was able to see some of the design photos and book cover and oh my god you guys!! It’s a thing of beauty, I cannot wait to share it with you all.

For now, you’ll just have to make due with this pumpkin layered cake all decked out in a Halloween theme JUST IN TIME for the holiday this week. I know we’re still in a pandemic and there’s not a whole lot to do for Halloween this year, so why not stay home, get dressed up, and BAKE? Trust me, this cake is not hard to make. It’s three layers of the most delicious *moist* cake (I know a lot of people hate that word but I LIKE IT! fight me!), layered with some chocolate fudge frosting on the inside. It’s then coated in an orange-colored cream cheese frosting, and chocolate sauce is dripped down the sides. I used some store-bought black fondant to make the face, and that’s it! I love pairing chocolate and pumpkin together. It takes me back to my favorite fall cookie: the pumpkin chocolate chip cookie. I have that recipe here if you’d like to take a look. 

This time of year is for getting together with family. Since this year is a little different, it’s important to find things to entertain ourselves in our own home, and baking is a perfect example. I urge you just to try this cake out, even if you’re just making it for your co-workers or neighbors! Baking is truly therapeutic for me, and this cake was a lot of fun.

Pumpkin & Chocolate Layer Cake

Pumpkin Cake

Yield 3 8-inch cakes

Flour 2 ½ cups

Baking soda 1 ½ tsp

Baking Powder 1 ½ tsp

Sugar 1 ¾ cup

Butter, Soft ½ cup

Canola Oil ½ cup

Cinnamon 1 tsp

Ginger ½ tsp

Cloves ¼ tsp

Cardamom ¼ tsp

Salt 1 tsp

Eggs 3

Pumpkin Puree 1 ½ cups (about 1 ½ cans)

Chocolate Fudge Frosting

Butter 1 cup

Chocolate Chips ½ cup

Cocoa Powder ½ cup

Salt ¼ tsp

Powdered Sugar 1 cup

Orange Cream Cheese Frosting

Cream cheese, soft 1 cup

Butter ½ cup

Powdered Sugar 1 cup

Vanilla 1 tsp

Orange Food Gel

Green Food Gel 1 drop (optional)

Chocolate Sauce

Cocoa powder ¼ cup

Sugar 1/3 cup

Cream ¼ cup

Water 1/3 cup

Black Fondant

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Spray and line 3 8-inch cake pans with parchment paper.

In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine soft butter, oil, and sugar. Cream together until smooth. Add in eggs, then flour, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, cardamom, and salt. Add in pumpkin last and mix until very smooth. Divide batter between 3 cake pans. Bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Let cakes cool down for 10 minutes then invert onto plastic wrap. Wrap each cake and chill in the refrigerator for 4+ hours or overnight.

To make the chocolate drip sauce, combine cream, water, sugar, and cocoa powder in a small sauce pan. Whisk together and turn heat onto medium high. Stir until cocoa powder and sugar have dissolved, and boil until thick, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and transfer to a small bowl until needed.

To make the chocolate fudge frosting, melt chocolate chips in the microwave in 30 second increments until fully melted. In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream butter, cocoa powder, and powdered sugar together until really smooth. Add in salt and melted chocolate, scrape down sides and mix until very smooth.

Build cake by placing first cake layer on a cake board or serving dish. Pipe or scoop out 1/3 of the chocolate fudge frosting on the first layer. Smooth it out evenly with an offset spatula. Place another cake layer on top, followed by another 1/3 of the frosting in an even layer. Place the third cake layer on top. Transfer the remaining frosting to a piping back (no tip required). Pipe frosting in the gaps between cake layers. Smooth it out with an offset spatula, giving the sides of the cake an even crumb coat. Chill cake for 4+ hours to get the chocolate frosting nice and set before coating in orange frosting.

To make the orange cream cheese frosting, combine cream cheese, butter and powdered sugar in a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix until very smooth, scrape down sides as needed. Add in vanilla and orange food gel to your liking. I added in 1 drop of green to give the orange color a little deeper orange hue, to avoid it being a neon orange.

Cover cake with an even coat of orange cream cheese frosting. Use an offset spatula to go over and over to make it as smooth as possible. Chill cake in the refrigerator.

Roll out black fondant on a clean worksurface. You should not need to use flour or anything, but if it is sticky, use some cocoa powder or powdered sugar to roll out with. Roll out to a very thin even layer, about 1/8-1/16 inch thickness. Use a triangular cookie cutter or a razor blade to cut out shapes. I used a small triangular shape to cut the eyes and nose, and then I cut the mouth out freehand with a razor blade. Stick pieces onto the cake however you like.

For the chocolate drip, heat up the chocolate sauce for about 20 seconds until it is nice and loose. I used a piping bag so I could control the drip onto the cake, but you can use a spoon as well. Drip around the edges to your liking and fill the rest of the top in with chocolate sauce.

Chill until ready to serve, enjoy!

Pumpkin & Chocolate Layer Cake

Saura Madani
Pumpkin cake layers with chocolate and cream cheese frosting
5 from 1 vote

Ingredients
  

Pumpkin Cake

  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter, soft
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ginger
  • 1/4 tsp cardamom
  • 1/4 tsp cloves
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 1/2 cups pumpkin puree

Chocolate Sauce

  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup cream
  • 1/3 cup water

Chocolate Fudge Frosting

  • 1 cup butter, soft
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips, melted
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup powdered sugar, sifted

Orange Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 1 cup cream cheese, soft
  • 1/2 cup butter, soft
  • 1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • orange food gel to desired color
  • 1 drop green food gel (optional)

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Spray and line 3 8-inchcake pans with parchment paper.
    In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine soft butter, oil, and sugar. Cream together until smooth. Add in eggs, then flour, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, cardamom, and salt. Add in pumpkin last and mix until very smooth. Divide batter between 3 cake pans. Bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Let cakes cool down for 10 minutes then invert onto plastic wrap. Wrap each cake and chill in the refrigerator for4+ hours or overnight.
  • To make the chocolate drip sauce, combine cream, water, sugar, and cocoa powder in a small sauce pan. Whisk together and turn heat onto medium high. Stir until cocoa powder and sugar have dissolved, and boil until thick, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and transfer to a small bowl until needed.
  • To make the chocolate fudge frosting, melt chocolate chips in the microwave in 30 second increments until fully melted. In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream butter, cocoa powder, and powdered sugar together until really smooth. Add in salt and melted chocolate, scrape downsides and mix until very smooth.
  • Build cake by placing first cake layer on a cake board or serving dish. Pipe or scoop out 1/3 of the chocolate fudge frosting on the first layer. Smooth it out evenly with an offset spatula. Place another cake layer on top, followed by another 1/3 of the frosting in an even layer. Place the third cake layer on top. Transfer the remaining frosting to a piping back (no tip required). Pipe frosting in the gaps between cake layers. Smooth it out with an offset spatula, giving the sides of the cake an even crumb coat. Chill cake for 4+ hours to get the chocolate frosting nice and set before coating in orange frosting.
  • To make the orange cream cheese frosting, combine cream cheese, butter and powdered sugar in a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix until very smooth, scrape down sides as needed. Add in vanilla and orange food gel to your liking. I added in 1 drop of green to give the orange color a little deeper orange hue, to avoid it being a neon orange.
  • Cover cake with an even coat of orange cream cheese frosting. Use an offset spatula to go over and over to make it as smooth as possible. Chill cake in the refrigerator.
    Roll out black fondant on a clean worksurface. You should not need to use flour or anything, but if it is sticky, use some cocoa powder or powdered sugar to roll out with. Roll out to a very thin even layer, about1/8-1/16 inch thickness. Use a triangular cookie cutter or a razor blade to cutout shapes. I used a small triangular shape to cut the eyes and nose, and then I cut the mouth out freehand with a razor blade. Stick pieces onto the cake however you like.
  • For the chocolate drip, heat up the chocolate sauce for about 20 seconds until it is nice and loose. I used a piping bag so I could control the drip onto the cake, but you can use a spoon as well. Drip around the edges to your liking and fill the rest of the top in with chocolate sauce.
    Chill until ready to serve, enjoy!

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