Rich Chocolate-Pumpkin Cake w/ Pumpkin Frosting

>> Monday, November 30, 2009

What else can you make with your freshly-roasted pumpkin puree? Cake, of couse! Warning: If you're a (never home)maker . . . this recipe is rather time intensive. It's well worth the effort, but it isn't something you'll find yourself making on a Tuesday night.

Now, I make lots of cupcakes and cookies, but only rarely work with cakes. I think it's mostly because at my house, it's only me and my husband. What will the two of us do with an entire cake? Eat it, yes. But, seriously now -- that's a lot of intense dessert to have sitting around the house. When we made this bad boy, we ended up giving a large chunk (perhaps the very part pictured above) of it away to our neighbors.

Aren't we nice?

Not because it was bad, however. In fact, it was wonderful! It's spicy . . . and chocolaty. And dense, but not like a brick by any means. The cake has pumpkin-Nutella frosting on it. I'll provide the recipe for making it, but also the instructions for plain pumpkin frosting, which IS vegan . . . and bright orange like candy corn :)

Rich Chocolate-Pumpkin Swirl Cake

What you'll need . . . for the pumpkin cake part:

  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter substitute
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/6 cup raw sugar (this is a half recipe -- hence the strange measurements)
  • 1/4 cup applesauce
  • 1 cup wheat pastry flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup soy milk
  • 5/8 cup canned pumpkin (1/2 cup plus 1/8 cup -- sorry!)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Method . . .

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Cream together the butter substitute and sugars with an electric mixer on medium speed until fluffy (about 4 minutes).
  3. Add the applesauce to the creamed mixture and beat well.
  4. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, spices, and salt.
  5. Add the dry ingredients to the wet mixture -- alternating with the milk. Mix until completely integrated.
  6. Add the pumpkin and vanilla and beat until smooth
  7. Set aside while you make the chocolate cake batter (below).

What you'll need . . . for the chocolate cake part:

  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter substitute
  • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped chocolate
  • 1/2 cup boiling water
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup raw sugar
  • 1/4 cup soy milk
  • 1 cup wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 cup applesauce

Method . . .

  1. Place the butter substitute and chocolate in a large bowl. Pour boiling water over them and let stand until melted.
  2. Stir to combine. Stir in vanilla and sugar.
  3. Add soy milk and mix on medium speed until fully integrated.
  4. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and baking soda.
  5. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the batter, mixing at medium speed until smooth.
  6. Gently fold in the applesauce.


  1. Take two 9" round cake pans, grease and lightly flour them.
  2. Pour half pumpkin mixture into the middle of each (this mixture is thicker)
  3. Then pour half chocolate cake mixture into each.
  4. Swirl with a knife. As you can tell, I didn't swirl very much. It was just as delicious.
  5. Bake for approx. 30 minutes, and then check every 5 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the cakes comes out clean.
  6. Set aside to cool COMPLETELY (you'll really need to wait until it's cool to the touch) before frosting.

(These "cake" recipes are modified from two found in Crazy About Cupcakes. I use this book ALL the time. Go and buy it now!)

Pumpkin Frosting (created from combining various personal recipes)

What you'll need . . .

  • 1/2 cup butter substitute
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 6 cups vegan confectioner's sugar
  • 1/2 cup canned pumpkin
  • Soy milk
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup Nutella (if you'd like to go that route)

Method . . .

  1. Put all ingredients (except Nutella) into a bowl and start mixing!
  2. I did this by hand with a fork for the first few minutes, and then transferred everything to my stand mixer. You can just start with your stand mixer, if desired.
  3. You may need to add soy milk depending on the consistency. But I didn't need any. Just add it in small doses.
  4. Optional: If you are adding the Nutella, add it at the end. Start with 1/2 cup and add more to taste.


  1. Again, wait until the cakes have cooled completely. Then trace around the edge with the blunt end of a butter knife, turn pan upside down (hope you floured the pans well enough!) to release the cake.
  2. Set one layer of the cake on a plate and top it with frosting. Spread until smooth.
  3. Lay the next layer on top of the frosted one. Then frost on top and move to the sides.
  4. Frosting is always tricky, so I don't have many rules or tricks. Just go slowly. You may find that the frosting does not stay on the sides cake if you didn't wait for it to cool. In this event: Frost the cake, but then put it in the refrigerator and check every two minutes . . . correcting the frosting each time you check until it stays.
  5. I kept my cake refrigerated. You may also wish to do so.

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