Adapted from John Down, Christopher Norman Chocolates Time: 1 1/2 hours plus cooling
20 tablespoons (2 1/2 sticks) soft unsalted butter, more for greasing
2 cups flour, more for dusting
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 1/2 cup plain pumpkin purée, canned, frozen or fresh
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup chopped pecans
2 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
10 ounces unsweetened chocolate, preferably 99 or 100 percent, melted and cooled to room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract.
- Heat oven to 350 degrees. Use a little butter to grease two 9-inch round cake pans. Line bottoms with parchment paper. Butter and flour the paper. In a large bowl, whisk flour, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, allspice, baking soda, baking powder and salt together.
- Using an electric mixer, cream 8 tablespoons butter and the granulated sugar together until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in eggs one at a time. Stir in pumpkin purée. Mixture may look slightly curdled. Stir in flour mixture about half a cup at a time until smooth. Fold in chocolate chips and pecans.
- Divide batter into pans and bake in middle of oven until springy to the touch and a tester inserted in center comes out clean, about 35 minutes. Cool cakes in pans for 10 minutes, run a knife around edges, invert onto racks and peel off paper. Let cakes cool completely.
- In a large bowl, blend remaining 12 tablespoons butter and confectioners’ sugar together. Blend in chocolate and vanilla extract and beat until smooth.
- Place one cake layer, smooth side up, on a platter. Ice top. Place second layer, smooth side down, on top; ice top and sides of cake.
Yield: 8 to 12 servings.
To make ahead: For fully frosted cake, put in freezer unwrapped; when frozen hard, wrap in plastic, then foil. Remove wrapping before defrosting.
Unfrosted cake layers out of their pans can be wrapped first, then frozen up to three weeks.
Frosting can be made up to 24 hours ahead and refrigerated, then brought to room temperature for at least one hour.