Have you ever seen the movie Meet Me in St. Louis with Judy Garland? It's one of my all-time favorite movies. I just love the beautiful depictions of turn-of-the-century life in St. Louis around the time of the World's Fair. I have been watching the movie since I was a kid and always sing along with it and wish we still wore those beautiful dresses. I love the scene at Halloween when the younger children come in from trick-or-treating and the family gathers in the dining room to eat this massive and elaborate cake that Katie the housekeeper has prepared for Halloween. I always drool over that cake every time I watch the movie and wonder what it is and wish I had the recipe. :)
I decided to make my own massive Halloween cake although its not quite as elaborate as Katie's. It is, however, both chocolaty and spicy with a touch of sweet creamy orange frosting and VERY delicious. If you want to make a treat for your family to gather around after the Halloween festivities are over like in Meet Me in St. Louis, I'm offering up this delightful cake.
Chocolate Pumpkin Cake with Orange Cream Cheese Frosting
Note: You can also make this recipe into cupcakes if you prefer. Line 2-12 cup muffin pans with cupcake liners instead of using cake pans.
2 1/2 cups + 2 tbs. all-purpose flour
1 cup + 2 tbs. good-quality cocoa
1 tbs. baking powder
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
2 1/4 ground cinnamon
3/4 tsp. fresh grated nutmeg (or 1/2 tsp. nutmeg)
3/4 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 1/4 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups (firmly packed) dark brown sugar (I used light brown and it worked fine)
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
5 large eggs
1. Prepare cake pans: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease 3 8-inch cake pans and line the bottoms with a circle of parchment paper. Lightly grease the parchment paper. Note: It is VERY important to use the parchment paper for this cake. It is very moist and dense and the first time I made this cake I only used grease and flour for my pans and the cake stuck! When I used the parchment paper, the cake came out perfectly.
2. Make the batter: Sift the flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a large bowl and set aside. Combine the buttermilk, pumpkin, and vanilla in a medium bowl and set aside. Beat the butter and sugar together in a large bowl with an electric mixer set on medium speed, until fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition, until the mixture is smooth and light. Alternately add the flour mixture and buttermilk mixture, blending well after each addition.
3. Bake the cake: Divide the batter among the pans and bake until a wooden skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean-- about 35 minutes. Cool the cakes in the pan for 20 minutes. Remove cakes and cool (For cupcakes: Heat oven to 375 degrees F. Place cupcake liners in standard cupcake tins and fill each with 1/4 cup of batter. Bake for 22 minutes.)
4. Assemble the cake: Trim each of the layers so that they are smooth. Place one layer on a cake plate and top with one third of the frosting. Repeat with the second and third layers. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Orange Cream Cheese Frosting
1 8 oz. package cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 tbs. fresh orange juice
1 tsp. grated orange zest
1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
4 cups powdered sugar
orange food coloring (I used Americolor gel coloring)
Blend the cream cheese, butter, orange juice, orange zest, and vanilla in a large bowl, using an electric mixer at medium speed, until smooth.
Add the sugar and continue to beat until light and creamy-- about 3 more minutes. Add the food coloring and gently stir until the color is uniform.
Chill the frosting until ready to ice the cupcakes or cake.
Recipe from Country Living