Monday, October 11, 2010

Chocolate and Pumpkin in Cake....Oh My!

Julia Child once said "Whatever happens in the kitchen, never apologize." This was my mantra today, as I made mistakes over and over again with a fantastic recipe. That it turned out fantastic anyway is a real tribute to its creator.

A few weeks ago, my husband saw a recipe for a cake in one of my cooking magazines--Amanda's 4 Layer Chocolate Dappled Pumpkin Cake. He has been wanting me to make it ever since, and being that it is his birthday week, I decided to give it a whirl.

First, I hunted down Amanda, who has a fantastic blog. Before I even begin to show you what I made, let me give you the link to the recipe and blog post that started it all: Amanda's 4 Layer Chocolate Dappled Pumpkin Cake

Let me tell you, I know that the first rule of following any recipe is to read it through to the end first. And I did. A few days ago. Shoot, I had all the ingredients. Well, except that I had chocolate chips instead of a bar of semi-sweet chocolate, but I could make that work. So, I commenced with the recipe.

As with all basic cake recipes, I whisked together the dry ingredients, flour, baking powder, baking soda, cocoa.

Oops, almost forgot the cinnamon, allspice and salt.

Of course, next we beat together the wet ingredients. Here we start with sugar, oil and applesauce. Then we add 4 eggs, one at a time. Then the pumpkin. Oh, and 3 1/2 teaspoons of vanilla. Seems like kind of a lot. Hmm. That's because it is. 2 1/2 teaspoons are supposed to be used later. Good thing I have lots of vanilla.

I did OK with the next few steps. Parchment paper in the pans. Lightly grease and flour (I used that canned stuff with the flour already in it--love it).

I got the batter in the pans and sprinkled it with some chopped chocolate....chopping chocolate chips in the food processor wasn't ideal. It would have been better to chop a bar of chocolate with a knife. But, hey, it worked.

So far so good. I baked them for 30 minutes at 350 degrees. Pretty standard. I took them out of the oven and let them cool for ten minutes and then I turned one upside down to release it from the pan. Huh. That stuff in the can is pretty slick. That cake flew out and broke in half. I was a little more careful with the second cake.

A little softened cream cheese and some powder sugar. Oh yeah. 2 1/2 teaspoons of vanilla. ;)

I couldn't quite figure out why there wasn't enough filling to spread to the ends. Kind of chintzy. But, I managed to put the layers together, carefully gluing my broken pieces. Then I read the rest of the paragraph. Oh Oh. The whipping cream. It wasn't for the ganache at the end. It was to blend in with the cream cheese. Duh. i will not apologize. i will not apologize. You know, I think I might just be able to use the whipping cream in the ganache instead of the butter. So here is where I put my touch into the recipe. I heated 3/4 cup whipping cream until it just came to a boil. Then I added it to 6oz of chopped bittersweet chocolate (and a tablespoon of whisky) and blended it until it was smooth. I drizzled this over the cake, letting it run down the sides (and covering up my little faux pas).

Seriously, it's looking good.

I made Pete wait until I took pictures before he could get a piece.

The sun was starting to go down. I'm always having lighting issues. I balanced the cake on the railing of the back steps. Then the phone rang. We are very lucky the squirrels weren't paying attention.

My 88 year old  mother-in-law proclaimed this to be the best cake she has ever eaten. Imagine, if I had made it correctly.....

Seriously, I'll be making this again. And I can't wait to get that filling right. Thanks, Amanda.


  1. love your creative frosting fix.

    PS i love the SOUND the knife makes when is cuts through chocolate...

  2. It's beautiful mistake or no! and I want a piece, PLEASE! I commend you for these tutorial posts, dang they're a lot of work and I'm kinda lazy!
    Great hearing from you again!

  3. What a great birthday acke, I love that blog too!

  4. Hi Cathy! What an awesome post, and thank you so much for the compliments! :) :) Your cake turned out fabulous, even with some bumps in the road (which are to be expected, it's a pretty long recipe LOL) You have me smiling from ear to ear, so thank you so much for making my night!

  5. What a beautiful cake. it sounds as though it was a great hit with your family.

  6. I thought you were going to say it went over the railing, Cathy, and waited with bated breath!! Thank goodness the squirrels didn't get into it. What a gorgeous cake, and if I ever get around to making it, I will let you know how it went. Thanks again!

  7. i do that all the time -- substitute things, leave things out we don't like. Usually it turns out fairly well like yours did.