*Disclaimer - I was sent products from Handi-Foil to facilitate my review and recipe. All opinions and experiences are my own.
This is the time of year when I see recipes and craft ideas at every turn. Grocery end-caps advertise the fun treats to be made with their products and Pinterest, well, I try not to spend too much time on Pinterest right now. I do enjoy making some fun treats, but I usually have a hard time deciding which ones to make.
My son brings home classroom and school announcements every Wednesday from Kindergarten. A call for baked sale goodies and cake walk items for the upcoming school carnival got me thinking. What in the world would be fast and easy to make, but appealing to school kids?
I tried out the Handi-Foil Pumpkin Pans & Lids with a Chocolate and Pumpkin cake. Sorry, I don't do plain or ordinary. I love the idea of a rich mixture of chocolate and pumpkin though. To the frosting I added just a hint of cinnamon along with vanilla bean paste. The resulting cake was moist and flavorful. The frosting is a real winner, not heavy like other cream cheese frosting, but still worthy of licking the beaters for.
These pans are just too cute! I love the idea of baking my cake in the same pan that I can also transport it in. That saves me time and hassle. It also means that I can save some money not buying a special pumpkin cake pan. I own far too many specialty pans as it is. How many times will I really be baking a 3-dimensional choo-choo train or pumpkin, for that matter.
I also love the idea of filling these pans with candy or other ghoulishly-good treats for Halloween.
This cake recipe isn't difficult. It does call for buttermilk, but you can always sour a bit of regular milk with a splash of vinegar, or use buttermilk powder and water. The cake itself is enough for one regular 13"x 9" pan, or two of these cute pumpkin pans.
The recipe is simple and another great place for me to use up my daily bounty of fresh eggs.
These cakes baked up well. Visually the center shouldn't move or be concave, a toothpick should come out clean when inserted in the middle. Also be sure to allow for ample time for the cakes to cool completely before frosting.
Yeah, don't harm the frosting...
Cream cheese frosting is just so good, but this batch uses less cream cheese and folds in whipped cream. The result is all the flavor without the thick consistency. The frosting has just a hint of cocoa added and a little cinnamon for added depth.
I colored most of my frosting orange, and then reserved a small portion to dye green for the stem and leaves. The cocoa powder kept the colors from being too bright. I was going for a more natural shade of orange and green.
I broke out the Wilton tips to add some leaves and tendrils to the top of my pumpkin cakes. I also used some melted semi-sweet chocolate fr accents. I was going for simple and my daughter asked me why the pumpkin didn't have a face.
So, I made a jack-o-lantern out of the second cake for my daughter.
Chocolate Pumpkin Cake with Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting
You Will Need:
- 1 1/2 c. flour
- 2/3 c. Dutch processed cocoa
- 2 tsp. baking powder
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- 1 tsp. espresso powder
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/2 c. buttermilk
- 1 c. pumpkin puree
- 1 tsp. vanilla bean paste
- 3/4 c. butter, unsalted, softened
- 1 c. dark brown sugar
- 1 c. sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 1 egg yolk
For the Cream Cheese Frosting
- 6 oz. softened cream cheese
- 2 1/4 c. powdered sugar
- 2 tsp. Dutch processed cocoa
- 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp. vanilla bean paste
- 1 1/2 c. heavy cream
- orange and green food coloring gel
- melted semi-sweet chocolate for decorating
Spray the two pumpkin pans with non-stick spray. Set aside. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, espresso powder and salt. In a small bowl, whisk together the pumpkin puree, buttermilk and vanilla bean paste. Cream together the butter and sugars in a stand mixer, then beat in one egg at a time. Then alternate adding the flour mixture and the pumpkin mixture. Divide the batter in half between the two pans and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out of the center clean.
Let the cakes cool completely before frosting.
To make the frosting, beat the cream cheese, 1 1/2 c. powdered sugar, cocoa, cinnamon and vanilla bean paste till fluffy. In a separate bowl, beat the heavy cream and 3/4 c. powdered sugar. Gently fold the whipped cream mixture into the cream cheese mixture. Reserve a small amount of frosting to color green and color the rest orange with food coloring.
Frost the cakes with the orange frosting and chill for at least 30 minutes before adding any details. With the green frosting, I used a Wilton tip #4 for the tendrils and #352 for the leaves. Then I melted some semi-sweet chocolate and drizzled it over the pumpkin to accent lines or make the jack-o-lantern face.
Refrigerate the cake until serving.
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