Right before Labor Day, we enjoyed a brief stretch of cool, crisp weather here in D.C. that really put me in a fall state of mind. I was flipping through Zöe Bakes Cakes and the Pumpkin-Mocha Swirl Bundt Cake jumped out at me; it seemed perfect for the season. It's as if the headnote read my mind: "The instant that the first cool breeze blows in after Labor Day, it's time to start gushing about sweater weather and decorative gourds. This cake takes all of the spices that herald the change of season and combines them with rich, creamy pumpkin into a cake that pretty much blows all others out of the water."
You don't need a mixer to make this cake, and it only takes a few minutes before you can have your cake in the oven. You mix together oil, granulated sugar, brown sugar, and eggs; add pumpkin puree, evaporated milk, and vanilla; and incorporate the dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, kosher salt, and pumpkin pie spice). You divide the batter in half between two bowls and add espresso powder and cocoa powder to one bowl. Then you alternately pour the pumpkin batter and cocoa batter into a buttered and cocoa-dusted Bundt pan, in four additions each.
The recipe says to bake the cake for about 75 minutes, but my cake was done when I checked it at an hour, and it probably could have come out of the oven a few minutes sooner. I let it cool before slicing, and I decided to skip the suggested sprinkle of powdered sugar mixed with pumpkin pie spice.
This cake and its warm spices definitely screamed fall, and I enjoyed it. But I couldn't help feeling a little let down because the striped appearance is so fun and exciting and made me expect something a little more than just pumpkin cake. But I suppose I should just look at the swirl as a bonus -- this is a cozy fall cake wrapped up in a beautiful package.
Recipe: "Pumpkin-Mocha Swirl Bundt Cake" from Zöe Bakes Cakes by Zöe François.