When I saw this cake on the cover of the October issue of Country Living, it made me want to buy the magazine….and then it made me want to make the cake.  It’s a beautiful cake to make for Halloween….double layered, orange frosting with a chocolate ganache glaze…..if nothing else, make it just to look at!  Before I made this cake, I told a friend that I was going to make it and she advised against it – said she had already tried it and that her family didn’t like it but as we talked she said the cake was okay but the frosting was too soft.  I used a different frosting than the original recipe and it worked great – it’s the only thing I changed.  (My friend was right about their frosting – I made it first and it was WAY too soft – so I scraped it all off and came up with the frosting below….much better!)  So, armed with the knowledge that I might be making a cake that no one would eat, and believe me, I was armed with nothing else…..I decided to give it a try anyway.  And I loved the results – I would definitely make this again but I will tell you that most of the children I served this to didn’t like it – (so my friend’s family was not taste-challenged!) because it’s not a traditional chocolate cake and I think that’s what they expected when they bit into it.  The adults who ate it loved it – because their pallet can appreciate the subtle “autumn” flavors….at least that’s the theory I’m going with!  There is cinnamon in the frosting and the cake itself is very rich, it almost has a fudge-like texture because it’s so moist.  Try it….I’m pretty sure you’ll like it!

Chocolate Pumpkin Cake

1 1/2 cups flour

2/3 cup cocoa

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup buttermilk

1 cup canned pumpkin

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

3/4 cup butter, softened

1 cup dark brown sugar

1 cup granulated sugar

3 large eggs, plus one yolk


8 oz. cream cheese, softened

2 sticks unsalted butter, softened

2 cups powdered sugar

1/4 to 1/2 cup cream or milk

3 teaspoons cocoa

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

34/ teaspoon vanilla extract

pinch of salt

orange food coloring

Heat oven to 375 degrees.  Line the bottoms of two 8-inch cake pans with parchment paper and lightly butter.  Sift the flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together.  Stir the buttermilk, pumpkin, and vanilla extract together in a small bowl.  Beat the butter and sugars together using an electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy.  Beat in the eggs and yolk, one at a time.  Reduce mixer speed to low and alternately beat in the flour and buttermilk mixtures in thirds.  Pour the batter into the prepared pans.  Bake until a tester, inserted in the center, comes out clean – about 35 minutes.  Cool layers completely before icing. 


In the bowl of electric mixer, blend cream cheese and butter on medium-high speed until fluffy.  Add in 2 cups of powdered sugar, cocoa, cinnamon, vanilla, salt and 1/4 of the cream or milk.  Beat on medium-high speed until smooth.  If frosting is too thick, add in more cream, until desired consistency is reached.  If it’s too thin add in more powdered sugar.  Add in food coloring until desired color is reached.  Mix well. 

Spread a generous amount of the frosting between the two layers and use the remaining frosting to ice the top and sides of the cake.  Chill 30 minutes and then put the glaze on.


Place 4 ounces of chopped bittersweet chocolate (chop into really small pieces,) 1 tablespoon cold unsalted butter, and 3 tablespoons corn syrup in a medium heatproof bowl.  Bring 1/2 cup heavy cream to a boil, pour it over the chocolate, and let sit for 3 minutes.  Gently stir, using a whisk, until smooth.  Let sit for 3 to 5 minutes, until the glaze thickens slightly.  Pour the glaze onto the center of the frosted cake and smooth out to the edges to allow the glaze to drip over the sides.  Makes 1 cup.