Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Chocolate Pumpkin Cake

Okay, so the name is a bit deceptive. Maybe more than a bit. The only thing that's pumpkin about this cake is the color and (kinda) the shape. E's boyfriend asked for a "very moist" chocolate cake for his birthday and he wanted it pumpkin-themed. The cake, not the birthday (though a pumpkin-themed birthday would be pretty sweet--coming from someone who loves carrot cake and pumpkin bread).

Those were his requirements. When E shared this, I immediately started looking up recipes for moist chocolate cake. But I'm skeptical of any recipe that informs me that it's moist. If you need to advertise it, usually I think you're lying. Or at least not being fully honest. Eventually, I fell back to a recipe I've used (and made gluten-free) several times, the vegan chocolate avocado cake on Joy the Baker's website. If you're interested in the gluten-free version, please take a moment to look at those modifications.

At first E seemed skeptical. "Avocado?" she asked from the other end of our dining room table. 

I nodded and she wrote it on her shopping list.

We only made the cake part of Joy the Baker's vegan chocolate avocado cake, and then added (non-vegan) orange frosting to the outside. The orange frosting came from a bag (which was a total revelation to me--I didn't know you could buy frosting mix--and now, after watching E put it together, I'm not sure why you would. To me, it seemed like selling really expensive confectioners sugar and vanilla since we still had to add milk and butter to the mix. The frosting turned out super-thick and in an attempt to make it just a little thinner E added too much milk and made it a bit runny--which was fine, since we had extra confectioners sugar and could thicken it back up some.). We added orange (well, yellow and red) coloring after making up the frosting.

We did decide to make this a layered cake, so I also made a chocolate frosting from cocoa powder, butter, sugar, and non-fat yogurt. I didn't measure ingredients there, so the recipe is approximate and you'll probably have to play with it or wait for me to have another occasion to make chocolate cake and try that recipe again (and this time measure).

To achieve the pumpkin shape, we used a bundt cake pan and, because we only had one pan, baked the two parts of the cake one after the other. If I were to do this again, I probably wouldn't want to do it two batches, but instead make one larger (taller) cake that was less round, but probably equally pumpkin-shaped. For the cocoa, we used Dagoba unsweetened cocoa powder, but any unsweetened dark cocoa will do.

Chocolate Pumpkin Cake

3 cups all-purpose flour
6 Tablespoons unsweetened organic cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 cups granulated sugar
1/4 cup vegetable oil (we used olive oil)
1/2 cup soft avocado, well mashed, about 1 medium avocado
2 cups water
2 Tablespoons white vinegar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Buttercream frosting (see note about this above)
Chocolate wafer cookies

Sift together all of the dry ingredients except the sugar.  Set that aside too. 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease and flour two 8 or 9-inch bundt pans.  Set aside. 

Mix all the wet ingredients together in a bowl, including the super mashed avocado. 

Add sugar into the wet mix and stir. 
Mix the wet with the dry all at once, and beat with a whisk (by hand) until smooth. 
Pour batter into a greased cake tins. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. 
Let cakes cool in pan for 15 minutes, then turn out onto cooling racks to cool completely before frosting.

Cake with Chocolate Yogurtcream Frosting
Chocolate Yogurtcream Frosting
(Strange, but it works! Remember, these proportions are approximate--but if I make it again (when I make it again) I will post updates about quantities.)

1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
1/4 cup Dagoba chocolate powder
1 Tablespoon plain, nonfat yogurt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Cream together the sugar, butter, and cocoa powder . Add the yogurt and vanilla and mix until creamy. If it's too thick, add a touch more yogurt. If it's too thin, add more confectioners sugar.

To assemble the cake:
Once both cakes have cooled, you'll want to have them both with bundt-cake top (the part that was nearer to the rack as it baked) down on the cooling rack. Spread the chocolate yogurtcream frosting on one of the cakes (you probably won't use it all, but maybe it's really thick and you really like chocoalte). Flip the other cake on top, making sure the bundt-cake edges align.
Aim for something more or less like this
Carefully spread on the (orange) buttercream frosting. 
E Spreading frosting

It's best if this is thicker than the pictures show so you can smooth it into the contoured shape of the cakes. 
Our frosting is a bit runny, but so tasty (and super sweet!)
Once you've frosted the cake, carefully insert the chocolate wafer cookies (if you can get a green wafer, more power to you) to create a stem-effect.

Our first attempt at pumpkin shaped cake is complete!

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