Chocolate Pumpkin Cake and Cupcakes

chocolate pumpkin cake

Chocolate Pumpkin Cake and Cupcakes with Vanilla Bean-Swiss Meringue Buttercream


 Yields:  3layer 8″ cake OR 36 standard cupcakes

Baking temp: 300 degrees Fahrenheit
Total time: 2-3 hrs


For the Cakes / Cupcakes:

283 g (1¼ cups) unsalted butter, room temperature, extra for greasing tins

96 g (1 cup) double-dutch dark cocoa (or Dutch-processed), extra for dusting tins

313 g (2½ cups) plain (all-purpose) flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

1½ teaspoons baking soda

¼ teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

¾ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

300 g (1½ cups) golden yellow sugar (light brown sugar), packed

338 g (1½ cups) caster (superfine) sugar

1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

1 teaspoon instant espresso powder

60 ml (¼ cup) freshly brewed espresso

120 ml (½ cup) heavy (whipping) cream, 35%

120 ml (½ cup) applesauce

355 ml (1½ cups) pumpkin purée

5 large eggs

Vanilla Bean-Simple Syrup:

If you would like to soak the cupcakes with simple syrup, use a toothpick to poke holes on the tops of each cupcake.

113 g (½ cup) caster (superfine) sugar

120 ml (½ cup) water

½ vanilla bean, split and seeded

Vanilla Bean-Swiss Meringue Buttercream:

5 large egg whites, room temperature

338 g (1½ cups) caster (superfine) sugar

¼ teaspoon salt

Seeds from 1 vanilla bean

454 g (1 pound or 4 sticks) unsalted butter

Orange gel paste food colouring

chocolate pumpkin cake2


For the Cake / Cupcakes:

  1. Preheat oven to 180° C (350° F). Grease 3 20-cm (8-inch) round baking tins with softened butter. Line the base of the tins with non-stick baking paper. Lightly grease paper. Dust tins with cocoa powder, tapping out any excess. If preparing cupcakes, line three standard muffin tins with paper liners. If preparing 15-cm (6-inch) cakes, prepare three tins as above and fill each tin with 480 ml (2 cups) batter.
  2. Using a fine mesh sieve, sift cocoa powder onto a sheet of non-stick baking paper. Sift again. Then sift together cocoa powder, flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg into a medium bowl. Whisk together to combine well.
  3. In bowl of stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat together brown sugar, caster sugar and butter at low speed until combined; scrape sides, bottom of bowl and paddle attachment. Add the vanilla; increase mixer speed to medium-high and beat, scraping down sides, bottom of bowl and attachment as needed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, dissolve espresso powder in the freshly brewed espresso; cool slightly.
  5. In a medium bowl, whisk together espresso mixture, heavy cream, applesauce, and pumpkin purée.
  6. Reduce mixer speed to medium. Add the eggs, one at-a-time, beating well after each addition, scraping down sides, bottom of bowl and attachment as needed.
  7. Gradually add the flour mixture alternating with the cream mixture (make sure to begin and end with flour), blending well after each addition.
  8. Divide the batter evenly between baking tins or if preparing cupcakes, muffin tins. Gently tap the tins on the countertop to release any air bubbles that may have formed.
  9. Bake, rotating tins halfway through baking time, until a cake tester inserted in the centre comes out with a few moist crumbs attached, about 35 minutes for cakes and 15 to 20 minutes for cupcakes. Start testing the 15-cm (6-inch) cakes at the 25-minute mark.
  10. Remove from oven and transfer to wire rack. Allow the cakes to cool in the tins for 20 minutes. Remove cakes; remove baking paper (cake tins) and return to wire rack. Let stand until cakes are cooled completely.
  11. For layer cakes, if needed, trim top of each cake layer to level.

Vanilla Bean-Simple Syrup:

  1. In a small saucepan bring sugar, water and vanilla bean just to the boil over medium heat, stirring continuously until the sugar is dissolved.
  2. Remove from heat. Let stand until cooled completely.
  3. Remove vanilla bean.

Vanilla Bean-Swiss Meringue Buttercream:

  1. In bowl of stand mixer, whisk egg whites, sugar, salt and vanilla seeds together until combined well.
  2. Set the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water (make sure the bottom of the bowl is not touching the water). Heat and continuously whisk the egg mixture until the sugar is completely dissolved, reaches a temperature of 70° C (160° F) and mixture is milky white, about 3 minutes.
  3. Remove the bowl from the heat and attach to stand mixer fitted with whip attachment. Beat the egg mixture, starting on low speed gradually increasing to medium-high speed until stiff and glossy peaks form, 10 to 12 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, remove the butter from the refrigerator and cut into 1-cm (½-inch) cubes. Let stand at room temperature (it’s important that the butter is cool but not cold).
  5. Add the butter, a few cubes at-a-time, and beat until incorporated after each addition. (Don’t be concerned if the mixture looks like it’s splitting with beating it will become smooth again.)
  6. After all the butter is incorporated remove the whip attachment and attach the paddle. Beat on low speed to eliminate any air pockets that may have formed, 5 minutes.
  7. Add the gel paste, one-drop at-a-time, until the desired colour is achieved.

Assembling and Decorating Layer Cake or Cupcakes:

  • Vanilla Bean Simple Syrup
  1. Brush away crumbs from the top of each cake layer with a pastry brush. Brush the tops of the cakes with simple syrup. Let stand until the tops of cakes are dry to the touch, about 5 minutes. (For best presentation, if you notice any light streaks on the sides of the cake layers, brush with simple syrup.)
  2. Transfer frosting to a large pastry bag fitted with a large decorative tip (Wilton 1M). Using a bowl scraper push the frosting down into the cone. Twist to seal the bag. Squeeze the bag over the frosting bowl until there is a burst of air and frosting comes out of the bag.
  3. Place one cake layer, trimmed side up, on cake plate/stand. Pipe a tight circle in a spiral pattern beginning in the centre of the cake working your way towards the edge.
  4. Carefully place a second cake layer, trimmed side up, on top of the buttercream layer. Repeat piping as above.
  5. Carefully place the last cake layer, trimmed side down, on top of the buttercream layer. This time pipe a tight spiral beginning at the edge of the cake and working your way towards the centre. If desired, pipe a rosette in the centre of the cake.
  6. To decorate cupcakes, hold pastry bag at a 90° angle about 6 mm (¼-inch) above the surface of the cupcake. Pipe three spirals of frosting without stopping working upwards, beginning and the outer edge and working towards the centre.

source:  gracessweetlife


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