by Stephanie Zonis
At least 12 servings
I don't much care for pumpkin pie, so I'm always looking for alternative ways of using pumpkin, especially around Thanksgiving. This is a spiced, nut-and-chocolate filled, moist, dense cake that looks beautiful in its chocolate glaze. It will keep at room temperature for a day or two, or in the refrigerator for a few days, if tightly covered; you can also freeze it.
You'll need solid-pack pumpkin to make this; do not use canned pumpkin pie filling. I usually use walnuts here, but you can certainly substitute pecans if you wish. I believe this thick batter might be too much for a hand-held electric mixer, so I make it with a stand mixer. A small piece goes a long way; this cake is heavy and substantial. I always make this a day or so before serving, as I like to give the flavors a chance to blend.
2-1/2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1-3/4 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. nutmeg, preferably freshly grated
1/8 tsp. ground cloves
1 cup medium-fine-chopped walnuts OR pecans (see Notes)
1 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips
3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1-1/3 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
4 eggs, graded "large"
3/4 cup water
About 1-3/4 cups solid-pack pumpkin
(contents of one 15 ounce can)
8 ounces good-quality semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter,
cut into thin pats
2 Tbsp. hot water
1 Tbsp. light corn syrup
Few grains salt
Adjust rack to center of oven; preheat oven to 350 degrees F. with solid vegetable shortening, grease a 9 by 3-1/2 inch tube pan. Line the bottom with a circle of wax paper cut to fit, then grease the paper. Lightly flour pan, knocking out any excess.
Into medium bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, baking powder, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves. with spoon, stir well to combine. In small bowl, combine nuts and chocolate chips. Place a spoonful of the sifted dry ingredients onto the chips and nuts, then stir thoroughly until both are coated with flour mixture.
In large bowl of electric mixer, combine softened butter, sugars, and vanilla. Beat at medium speed until fluffy and well-combined (a minute or two). (Throughout mixing process, scrape bowl and beater(s) frequently with rubber spatula to ensure a complete blending of ingredients.) At a low speed, add eggs, one at a time; when all eggs have been added, increase speed to medium and beat until well-mixed. Batter may look curdled—OK.
At lowest speed, add about 1/3 of sifted dry ingredients, then gradually add water, mixing after each addition only until smooth. Add about half of remaining dry ingredients at lowest speed, than gradually add all of pumpkin, again beating only until combined. Add remaining dry ingredients, increasing mixer speed slightly if required to combine. Remove from mixer.
Add chip-nut mixture, along with any dry ingredients remaining in bowl. with large rubber spatula, stir and fold in just until evenly distributed. Turn into prepared pan. Level batter, then form a trench by pushing batter higher on sides and tube of pan. Batter will fill pan about 3/4 full—OK.
Bake in preheated oven 55 to 70 minutes. During baking, cake will rise slightly above pan (at least in the center) and cracks will form in the top. If top of cake is becoming too brown during baking, cover loosely with aluminum foil. Switch pan back-to-front once about halfway during baking. Cake is done when toothpick inserted in highest part emerges with a few moist crumbs still clinging to it. Do not overbake. Remove to cooling rack.
Allow to stand 15 to 20 minutes. Gently loosen cake from sides and tube of pan, then invert onto cake rack; re-invert to cool right side up. Cake sides will be a very dark brown—OK. Cool completely before glazing.
In medium heatproof bowl, combine all ingredients. Place over simmering water on low heat (water should not touch bottom of bowl); stir until melted and smooth. Remove from heat and hot water. Allow to stand until cooled to room temperature (test a little on the inside of your wrist)—glaze will thicken slightly while cooling. While glaze cools, place cake on serving plate at least 10 inches in diameter. Cut 6 to 8 strips of wax paper, and gently place them under the outer edges of the cake.
When glaze has cooled, slowly pour it over top of cake; quickly spread evenly, preferably with an offset spatula. You want most of the glaze to stay on the cake top, so don't spread too much onto the sides. Before glaze sets, pull wax paper strips out from bottom.
I prefer to store the glazed cake in the refrigerator, but if you're only going to have the cake around for a day or two, it can be stored at cool room temperature. If stored at room temperature, do not let wrappings touch top of glaze, or glaze will "weep". To serve, cut slices with a sharp, serrated knife; if you have stored the cake in the refrigerator, allow the slices to stand at room temperature, loosely covered, for 20 to 30 minutes before serving.
If you'd like a slightly more decorated appearance, include only 1/2 cup of chopped nuts in the cake. Finely chop the remaining 1/2 cup. After cake is glazed, before glaze sets, sprinkle top of cake with the finely chopped nuts.
Copyright © 2000 Francesca Chocolate Productions. All Rights Reserved.
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This page created November 2000
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