Forget about the other things you have planned for this weekend. You need to make this New York Times Chocolate-Pumpkin Layer Cake. You’re probably already buying a pumpkin or two for carving. Add a good eating pumpkin to your cart, check out my pumpkin puree instructions here, and you’ll be well on your way to the perfect October dessert.
This recipe is easy and works as written. First prepare your cake pans. Parchment tutorial is here. Then sift together the dry ingredients.
Cream together the butter and sugar until they are light and fluffy. The recipe says to mix for 3 minutes, but this is a variable amount of time, depending on the softness of your butter. It usually takes me more than 3 minutes to get any combination of butter and sugar to be light and fluffy.
With the mixer running on low, beat in the eggs one at a time. Allow the eggs to mix between additions so that the mixture comes back together. Add the pumpkin puree (Libby’s works too, but fresh puree is amazing). At this point the mixture will look curdled, but that’s okay.
Add flour in three additions and mix just until it is incorporated. Do not overmix the flour into the batter or your cake will end up rubbery. Mix in the chocolate chips and pecans just until they are incorporated.
Bake at 350°F until the cakes spring back to the touch and a skewer comes out clean. Cool, and prepare the icing.
Melt the chocolate in a bowl over a water bath. Because I did not have unsweetened chocolate, I used semi-sweet chocolate and cut out 1/2 cup of the powdered sugar. However, I felt the frosting was overly sweet, and recommend following the directions for unsweetened chocolate. While the chocolate is melting, beat together the butter and powdered sugar, then add the melted chocolate and vanilla.
To frost the cakes, place one layer bottom-side down on your plate or cake board. Spread 1/3 of frosting over the top, then place the second cake upside-down on top of that frosting, so that the bottom (flat side) of that cake is now on top. Spread next 1/3 of frosting on top of the top cake layer. Then spread remaining frosting around the sides of the cake.
You’ll now probably have a mess of excess frosting hanging off the top edge of the cake. Smooth the sides the way you want them, then going around the cake, make one short pass over the top edge of the cake and remove the excess frosting. You’ll make one pass along one edge of the cake, scrape the excess frosting back into the frosting bowl, then turn the cake and do it again. Repeat this until you have gone around the whole cake, and you should now have a smooth top.
To pipe a design without a piping bag or tips: use a Ziploc sandwich bag. Take the excess frosting that you just scraped off the top edge of the cake and put it in a Ziploc sandwich bag.
Snip a 1/4″ hole out of the corner of the bag, and you can now pipe along the top and bottom of the cake.
Now cut, eat and enjoy!