Pumpkin Cake with Chocolate Hazelnut Ganache

pumpkin chocolate <span class=
Pumpkin Cake with Chocolate Hazelnut Ganache

I love looking forward to seasonal treats like clementines, Meyer lemons, and Honeycrisp apples. After a long summer, I light up when these old friends appear in the grocery store. And then there are the fall traditions I've created - cozy, comforting dishes like golden crusted vegetable pot pie, chicken noodle soup with homemade egg noodles, massaman curry, black bean chili and cornbread, and my favorite - an incredibly moist pumpkin layer cake, faintly scented with rich coffee and coated with a thick layer of toasted hazelnuts and chocolate ganache. These foods help diminish my stubborn lust for warm weather and replace it with an ambitious fervor for baking. When it's cold outside, I get the overwhelming urge to stock up on rib-sticking provisions and hunker down in a pile of blankets on the living room floor for four months with this man and two dogs of mine.

I bake this cake only once a year. I covet it! I dream about it. But I'd hate for it's novelty to wane, so I save it for the right time, for the perfect occasion when the air is crisp and the leaves are falling. This year, I've entered it in Bon Appetit's Blog Envy Bake-Off. Would you, could you vote for me? To vote, you must click the link and register. By casting your vote, you are also entered to win an epicurean adventure in the U.S. city of your choice or a Pandigital Kitchen Technology Center!!!

Around this time last year, Kurt and I began sharing a bed. I baked this cake partly to impress him. We ate half of it after dinner and the other half sat beneath a cake dome on the kitchen table. That night, around 3 AM, Kurt rose from the bed, sleepwalking, I assumed. When he did not return, I got up to spy on him. I peered around the corner and found him in the living room, standing in his underwear, eating a handful of cake like it was an apple. He was sleepily hovering over one of those LED candles, blowing crumbs, trying his best to extinguish the faux flame between bites of cake. I ushered him back to bed and to this day, I'm still convinced he was only half conscious that night, eating while dreaming.

This recipe was adapted from the Millennium Cookbook (Pumpkin Cake with Chocolate-Hazelnut Ganache and Cinnamon Coffee-sauce, p. 194) I used my own pumpkin cake recipe, and altered the ingredients for the ganache. Go here for Millennium Cookbook's VEGAN version.


3 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 3/4 teaspoons ground allspice
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
4 large eggs
1 15-ounce can pure pumpkin

Cinnamon-Coffee Sauce:
1/2 cup fresh black coffee
1 tsp. cinnamon
3 tbsp raw sugar

Chocolate Hazelnut Ganache:
1 1/2 cup chopped hazelnuts, toasted
1 lb semi-sweet chocolate, melted
2 cups heavy cream

Bake the cake:
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Butter and flour two 9" cake pans.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, spices and salt.
  • Using an electric mixer, beat together sugars and oil. Add eggs one at a time. Add pumpkin and stir until well blended.
  • Gradually mix in flour mixture and beat just until incorporated.
  • Divide batter between two pans, smoothly the tops with the back of a spatula.
  • Bake for 45 minutes of until toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool on a wire rack.
  • Run a knife around the edge of the cake pans to loosen cakes. Invert on a cooling rack and turn top-side up. With a serrated knife, carefully trim the rounded tops off of the cakes to make level.
Make the icing:
  • Melt chocolate in a double boiler.
  • Gently stir in cream until well blended.
  • Refrigerate for 4-6 hours until firm.
Make the Cinnamon-Coffee Sauce:
  • Whisk together fresh coffee, cinnamon and raw sugar. Allow to cool.
To assemble:

Place one cake layer on a cake plate. Drizzle with half of the cinnamon coffee sauce and spread on 1/3 of the ganache. (If the ganache is not firm enough to spread, place in the freezer for a few minutes. If the ganache is too hard to spread, place in a warm water bath for a few minutes.) Sprinkle with half of the chopped hazelnuts. Place the second layer on top of the ganache layer. Drizzle with remaining coffee sauce. Spread remaining ganache on top of cake and sides. Garnish the top with remaining hazelnuts. Refrigerate cake for one hour before serving.


  1. That is beautiful!!! I want to make this this weekend!!!

  2. I voted!! And that cake looks amazing...I'll have to try it one of these cold weather days.


Speak your mind.