Posted by Grace Massa Langlois on Friday, 19th October 2012

Chocolate and pumpkin? Who would’ve thought it could taste so good? Definitely not me. I have to admit I’m not a huge pumpkin dessert lover (in fact, I don’t like pumpkin desserts) but this Chocolate Pumpkin Cake changed my mind. Pumpkin isn’t a typical ingredient that I turn to when I’m preparing desserts but since I was in charge of the dessert table for Thanksgiving dinner I thought I should take heed of the tradition.

A close up photo of a Chocolate Cake with Pumpkin decorated with orange-tinted Vanilla Bean-Swiss Meringue Buttercream displayed on a white cake stand.

I decided to prepare the typical dessert fare, deep-dish apple pie (I think I may have gotten a little carried away with the pie – it was huge, towering – what a sight), pecan pie (one of my favourite pies) but I wasn’t too keen about preparing a pumpkin pie.

A photo taken of four Chocolate Cupcakes with Pumpkin decorated with orange-tinted frosting displayed in a row on a black slate board.

Remembering that I had to have a chocolate dessert on the menu (my nephew, Steven never would’ve forgiven me if I didn’t bring a chocolate dessert of some type) I thought why not combine chocolate and pumpkin. Steven isn’t a pumpkin lover either but I thought I might just get away with.

A photo of two Mini Chocolate Pumpkin Cakes layered with orange-tinted Swiss Meringue Buttercream with Vanilla Bean displayed on white dessert plates.

When it was time to cut the cake to say I was nervous is a complete understatement. Of course Steven was the first in line and I was hoping I wouldn’t disappoint. I couldn’t help but stare, it was like watching something in slow motion, it seemed to take forever for his fork to cut into the cake and for it to make it’s way into his mouth. I waited with bated breath for, “I don’t like this cake” – whew…it never came.

A close up photo of a Chocolate Cake with Pumpkin decorated with orange-tinted Vanilla Bean-Swiss Meringue Buttercream taken with cake positioned to one side and displayed on a white cake stand.

In fact, he never made mention of the pumpkin flavour, which only made me more nervous because then I was concerned that the pumpkin lovers would be disappointed. Did the flavour get lost amidst the intense chocolate flavour?

A close up photo of a Chocolate and Pumpkin Cupcake decorated with orange-tinted Vanilla Bean-Swiss Meringue Buttercream.

Well I didn’t have to be concerned for too long, Liana (my daughter) was second in line and she was quick to say, “Mom what did you put in this chocolate cake, it tastes weird!” I can always count on Liana for an honest critique. Her reaction didn’t come as a big surprise; Liana doesn’t enjoy pumpkin in any form.

A photo of Mini Chocolate Pumpkin Cakes and Chocolate Pumpkin Cupcakes.

The cake is extremely moist and not too sweet. I did soak the cakes with a vanilla bean simple syrup, not because it needed it but because for one, I love the taste of vanilla, two, it added a little sweetness to the cake and three, it was a great way to make use of the leftover bean from the frosting.

A photo of a Dark Chocolate Pumpkin Cupcake decorated with orange-tinted Swiss Meringue Buttercream with a small jug of milk with an orange and white striped straw.

I used a combination of cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla to flavour the cake, which paired beautifully with the pumpkin and chocolate. I decided to add a cup of freshly brewed espresso to intensify the chocolate flavour (always a good thing).

A photo of two mini Pumpkin Chocolate Cakes decorated with orange-tinted frosting on white dessert dishes displayed with orange spoons.

I made use of Shirley Corriher’s (author of BakeWise) tip; I added heavy cream to the cake batter, which helped to make the crumb soft and moist. I also added applesauce for added moisture (adding fruit purées to your cake batter will add moisture and also flavour).

A photo of Chocolate Pumpkin Spice Cakes decorated with orange-tinted Vanilla Bean-Swiss Meringue Buttercream and orange and white striped straws.

To add more vanilla flavour, I decided to layer the chocolate pumpkin cake with Vanilla Bean-Swiss Meringue Buttercream. The tiny specks of vanilla dotted throughout the orange-tinted frosting are beautiful and tempting, I had to resist the repeated urge to dive in with my finger.

A photo taken looking down on four Chocolate Cupcakes with Pumpkin decorated with orange-tinted Vanilla Bean frosting.

If you want to wow your guests at your next holiday gathering this cake embodies all the qualities of a good cake – moist crumb, flavourful and it would make a stunning centrepiece for your dessert table.

A photo of a three-layer Chocolate Pumpkin Cake decorated with orange-tinted Vanilla Bean-Swiss Meringue Buttercream.

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Posted in Baking & Pastry, Baking Mise en Place, Basics, Cakes & Cheesecakes, Custards, Creams & Mousses, Fillings, Frostings & Dessert Sauces, Pastry Doughs & Batter, Recipes, Ricette di Base, Torte

Comments (21)

21 Responses to “Chocolate Pumpkin Cake and Cupcakes with Vanilla Bean-Swiss Meringue Buttercream”

  1. Marjorie (Sugar for the Brain) Says:

    Oh my goodness!!! They look divine! Love the contrast dark chocolate and orange <3 So beautiful!!!

  2. Lauren at Keep It Sweet Says:

    What a stunning cake, Grace. I wish I could have been a guest at your Thanksgiving! Your desserts never disappoint!

  3. Barbara Bamber | justasmidgen Says:

    Your cupcakes turned out so beautiful. I think the flavors are exactly the type I would love!

  4. Grace’s Sweet Life Chocolate and Pumpkin | Says:

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  5. Mariam Says:

    Wow this looks great Grace, the combination sounds a little eccentric but i’m sure it’s delicious! The frosting looks so creamy and smooth! Personal request: could you pretty please share your tiramisu recipe on your website? :)

  6. Vera Zecevic – Cupcakes Garden Says:

    Amazing cake.Lovely combo!

  7. Tara Says:

    Oh my stars, gorgeous!! I am going to add this to my Mouth Watering Mondays post this Monday. Come on by to see it at Noshing With The Nolands Cheers, Tara

  8. Grace Says:

    Thank you so much Tara, will definitely stop by for a visit!

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  10. Rachel @ Baked by Rachel Says:

    Stunning! I love the contrast in colors and perfect flavor pairings.

  11. jan Says:

    Wondering if I make these a day ahead of time to I need to store in the fridge? Also, any tips with leftover meringue buttercream… do I have to rewhip? I can’t wait to make this! Looks amazing~

  12. Grace Says:

    Hi Jan, you can store the cupcakes at room temperature, they will be fine overnight, in fact they will be fine for a few days. You can refrigerate or freeze the leftover buttercream in an airtight container. Bring to room temperature and then whip with paddle attachment before using. Are you going to prepare as a cake or cupcakes?

  13. jan Says:

    cupcakes. thanks so much for the tips

  14. meatballs & milkshakes Says:

    Looks so beautiful! Wish I were having a halloween party to justify making them!

  15. Javelin Warrior Says:

    It’s all so amazing, Grace! The cake is such a gorgeous deep hue and the buttercream is just perfection…so silky smooth… I’m featuring this post as part of Food Fetish Friday (with a link-back and attribution) and thanks for making me drool!

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