Chocolate-Pumpkin (Not) Layer Cake With(out) Chocolate Frosting

A few weeks ago I saw a recipe in the New York Times that I filed away in the back of my head to make on a future date. The recipe appeared with an article on make-ahead desserts aimed at addressing the problem of not having enough time or oven space on Thanksgiving; it provided detailed advice on freezing and thawing baked goods. I am often asked about freezing baked goods, or if a specific recipe freezes well. I wouldn't know. I have never in my life made baked goods and frozen them. I always make baked goods when they're needed; if I'm short on time, it just means less sleep or taking some time off from work. If there are leftovers, I give them away.

Anyway, I was intrigued by the combination of pumpkin, pecans, and chocolate in the Chocolate-Pumpkin Layer Cake recipe, so I decided to give it a try last night.

The cake batter was very thick, and baked up dense and moist; all of the mix-ins remained suspended instead of sinking to the bottom as often happens with thinner batters. I made it in a 9 x 13 inch pan instead of two round cake pans. However, the frosting was a total loss. I melted the chocolate in a double boiler and set it aside to cool. While the chocolate was cooling, I got distracted by some other tasks and by the time I got back to it more than a hour later, some of it had re-solidified. So I briefly put the chocolate back on the double boiler and mixed up the frosting. The frosting was extremely stiff, and I saw bits of unsweetened chocolate solidified in it (even though the chocolate was completely liquid when I added it). It tasted terrible and did not in any way resemble buttercream. I whipped in some milk, hoping to get it more spreadable, but it didn't help. So I decided to just call it quits and I threw the entire batch of frosting away.

Fortunately, the cake it still tasty without it (although I have to admit, it probably would be improved with some chocolate frosting). The large bits of chocolate chips and pecans add great texture and terrific bursts of flavor. I think I'll have to try the recipe again and see if I can get the frosting to work out.

Recipe: Chocolate-Pumpkin Layer Cake from the New York Times, November 12, 2008.


bd20009 said…
did you see the recipe in today's NYT for whiskey soaked chocolate bundt cake? :) hint, hint