Recipe :: Pumpkin Chocolate Cake

Oct 30, 2011 by

You know you want this.

Even though I’m currently cleansing for the wedding, I’m headed out to a Frock Swap tonight, and I thought I’d bring the assembled ladies a delicious fall treat.  In addition to passing along with love the best of the items I have recently purged from my closet, I look forward to tonight as a chance to spend quality time with quality people before the insanity that begins exactly one week from now when Miles and I arrive in Louisiana for Wedded Blitz Aught 11.

My love for all things pumpkin is well documented.  In fact, the first recipe I ever created was my very own pumpkin cheesecake, years ago before I knew a double boiler from my elbow.  I should post that recipe here.  It still holds up because… I mean… pumpkin + cheesecake = duh.  But that is for another day.  Today I decided that I wanted to make pumpkin and chocolate brownies to celebrate the fact that fall is here in a big, big way.  Miles has been simultaneously making hearty vegetable soup from scratch all day, so our whole apartment smells like the inside of a JCrew Autumn Urban Farmhouse Fashion catalog.  We should seriously be wearing scarves in here and have a log fire burning at perfect snuggling-and-modeling temperature.

This morning I decided I would seek out a pumpkin/chocolate brownie recipe to tweak.  I found the recipes listed at the bottom of this post, and realized halfway through the backing process that the recipe I amalgamated was going to go ahead and tweak itself from brownies to cake.  Upon closer inspection of the comments sections of the original recipes, I found that lots of other bakers had had a similar experience.  So I have cake.  No big.  I’ve sliced it all up and sprinkled powdered sugar on it instead of icing (though I’m sure Maple Icing  or cream cheese frosting would be divine), and we’re good to go.  There’s nothing wrong with this final arrangement, and the individual cake squares do have enough structural integrity to function on their own.

This cake IS pumpkin and chocolate and spices, delicious and portable, and that should be considered a success in anyone’s book.  Best of all, the spicy-sweet taste is bottled autumn.  I’m going to go ahead and have half of one, cleanse be damned.  These are not to be missed.


Pumpkin Chocolate Brownies


Keep wet and dry ingredients separate at first


  • 1 (15oz) can solid pack pumpkin
  • 4 eggs
  • 1.5 sticks (1.5 cups) butter, melted
  • 6 oz semisweet baking chocolate, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose unbleached flour
  • 1.5 cups sugar
  • 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • Optional: chopped nuts and/or powdered sugar for topping


  • Preheat oven to 350˚.  Grease or line an 8”x12” (or similar) baking pan with wax or parchment paper.  Be aware when choosing your pan that the batter will expand upward quite a bit. (Paper-lining is my new favorite trick, because not only do the baked goods pop right out with minimal fuss, you can cut them and put them back into the same baking dish for presentation or transport, without having to wash the dish.  Magic!)
  • Melt chocolate and half the butter in a heat proof bowl or double boiler set over a pan of simmering water, stirring occasionally until smooth.  If you’re not using a double boiler, you MUST not leave the chocolate unattended for any amount of time.  It will burn in a heartbeat.
  • In a mixing bowl, beat pumpkin, eggs, the other half of the butter, and vanilla until well mixed.
  • Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl.  Pour ½ dry ingredients into pumpkin mixture and combine.  Pour the other half of the dry ingredients into the pumpkin mixture and mix well.  Batter will be very thick but should not be lumpy.
  • Pour pumpkin mixture into greased or paper-lined baking dish.
  • Now, there are three ways to do this next step, depending on how you want your cake to look:
    • Pour the melted chocolate over the pumpkin mixture, covering completely.
    • Pour the melted chocolate over the pumpkin mixture, then run a spoon around in the baking dish a few times to mix the layers roughly and bring some of the pumpkin to the surface. (this is what I do)
    • Scoop about 1 cup of the pumpkin mixture back out of the baking dish and mix it with the melted chocolate.  Pour this mixture over the pumpkin layer in the baking dish, then run a butter knife through the layers for fancy marbling. Of course this is how Martha does it.
  • Whichever option you chose, this is the time to sprinkle with nuts if you’re using them.
  • Bake at 350 degrees F for 30-45 minutes or until cake tests done with a knife.  Dust with powdered sugar if using.  Remove paper from pan and cool cake on counter.  Cool almost completely before serving.

Pour into lined baking dish

Remove paper from baking pan and cool on counter.

Ice or sprinkle with powdered sugar before serving

Source Recipes:

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