Pumpkin-Chocolate Cake + Pumpkin Buttercream

I made three pumpkin pies for Thanksgiving this year but what I want to tell you about today is the pumpkin chocolate cake that didn’t even survive the weekend because it was so! good. I’m almost considering baking another one on this rainy, rather gloomy afternoon because I’ve been thinking about it ever since the last slice was consumed.

First things first: it’s been raining a bit here which has us all quite thrilled. Perhaps November is the rainy season – a year ago around Thanksgiving we had a big rain storm and the past few days it’s been more of the same. This morning we went out on the Wadi Trail and Sierra thoroughly soaked herself as she jumped barefooted into puddles. It was gorgeous and if only we’d had cake to satiate ourselves when we returned … which leads me to second things second: I split a case of organic pumpkin with a friend and the amount of pumpkin muffins, bread, pies, and cake coming out of my oven has been slightly out of control. Yet, ’tis the season yes? Pumpkin desserts are perfectly acceptable and welcome until at least Christmas in my opinion.

Pumpkin and chocolate is a lovely combination, lovelier still when they’re baked into a dense one-layer cake and enrobed in a rich – yet light! – pumpkin buttercream frosting. Initially I thought a cream cheese icing would be just the thing for this cake, but unfortunately cream cheese icing and I don’t get along too well and despite careful measuring and whipping the result was a gloppy mess. No matter. My philosophy is that you very, very rarely can go wrong with a buttercream and as I’m always partial to a not-too-sweet, lightly flavored buttercream frosting I quickly, though not without a pang at the wasted ingredients, tossed my failed icing and reached for the butter, the powdered sugar, a few seasonal spices, and the pumpkin puree.

Lest you think this will result in too much pumpkin flavor never fear: the cake is more of a hint o’ pumpkin, balanced by deep dark chocolate, and the buttercream has just enough warming spice mixed with pumpkin to taste deliciously of fall. In short, it’s my new November/Thanksgiving dessert and I plan to make it each year going forward, even if next year and for several of those following our seasons will be completely turned almost literally upside down. Still and all, we will experience real seasons again and we couldn’t be more excited that Australia will be our home base starting in, gulp, February. As in about two and a half months from now.

Pass the cake, please.

nicole spiridakis © copyright 2023