I have a recurring fascination with pumpkin. Some varieties can grow to be huge. And the smallest varieties are just plain cute. I have been to local fall festivals where tons of post-Halloween pumpkins that have been thrown away get to participate in the annual “pumpkin drop” and “pumpkin toss.” Statistics from the USDA show that in 2016, about 1.4 billion pounds of pumpkins were produced in the United States, most of which came out of Illinois. Interesting also is the fact that most states (except Illinois) produce pumpkins for ornamental purposes. Pumpkins may be our favorite ornamental fall fixture these days, but they actually have been grown as a food crop in North America for thousands of years. Given this fact, I am determined to incorporate more pumpkin into my cooking. Yet, something about the taste and texture draws me away . . . unless I add sugar and spices and turn it into a dessert.
Rather than figuring out a good pumpkin stew or soup, here I am again thinking about baking with pumpkin and again thinking about baking a Bundt cake. It’s the best, low-key cake that can be pulled off without a thick layer of frosting and that still looks good. But I was also thinking about chocolate, as I frequently do. Pairing something I could eat morning, noon, and night (chocolate) with pumpkin seemed like the right thing to do. In comes the pumpkin Bundt cake with some marbling of chocolate.
And with a chocolate glaze instead of a dusting of confectioner’s sugar.
First, I did my usual thing of combining flour with the spices to get that out of the way. Then I got the wet ingredients mixed, including the pumpkin, and added in the flour mixture.
I could have made the batter without the pumpkin and spices, reserved some of the batter to mix in some chocolate, and then put in the pumpkin and spices to the remaining batter to achieve distinct pumpkin and chocolate flavors. Instead, this time, I wanted to know what chocolate flavored pumpkin would taste like, so I added cocoa and chocolate chips straight into some of the pumpkin-spice mixture.
I had two different batters and layered them in such a way so as to create a nice effect inside the cake.
Out came the cake from the oven. The top ended up looking interesting. Too bad, because the top would become the bottom.
The bottom didn’t look like much and was pleading for a covering of chocolate. I made a chocolate ganache glaze by mixing hot cream into chocolate chips, but I was a little too skimpy on the cream. The glaze ended up being too thick and didn’t easily flow down the sides of the cake. Oops–a blunder in the kitchen.
Nothing a spatula couldn’t cure to a somewhat acceptable degree.
The ultimate goal in this instance was taste and the cool design inside the cake.
Upon tasting, this cake gets a big thumbs up. The cocoa and chocolate chips add a subtle layer of flavor and texture to the cake. Next time, I need to try separating out the chocolate flavor from the pumpkin flavor to see what difference that will make. Meanwhile, I don’t mind sticking to this version.