Chocolate Pumpkin Cake

This is a moist cake with a nice texture that is not too dense. Perfect for the holiday season, it is primarily chocolate in flavor and slightly spiced. The pumpkin makes the cake moist and doesn't impact the taste much. Bake this cake very early in the day or the night before serving.
Based on a recipe from Maida Heatter's Book of Great Chocolate Desserts, Maida Heatter, Alfred A. Knopf, 1984, p 120.
Cook Time1 hour 20 minutes
Course: Desserts - Cakes
Servings: 14 servings
Author: Catherine Christiano



  • 2 3/4 cups sifted unbleached flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened Dutch process cocoa powder
  • 1/2 pound butter
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 pound canned solid-pack pumpkin this is a scant 2 cups (don't use pumpkin pie filling)
  • 1 1/2 cups walnuts cut into medium-size pieces


  • confectioners sugar


  • Place oven rack 1/3 up from bottom and preheat to 325°F. Butter a 10 inch Bundt pan or any fancy-shaped tube pan that has 3-quart capacity. Dust with fine, dry plain bread crumbs, tapping out excess.
  • In medium bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, nutmeg, and cocoa. Set aside.
  • In large bowl of stand mixer, cream butter. Add vanilla and sugar; beat well. Add eggs, one at a time, scraping sides of bowl after each addition. Beat until incorporated. On low speed, add half dry ingredients, then pumpkin, then remaining dry ingredients. Scrape bowl with spatula after each addition and beat only until ingredients are incorporated. Stir in nuts.
  • Turn batter into prepared pan. Smooth top.
  • Bake 1 hr 20 min or until cake tester inserted into center comes out clean. Remove from oven and let stand 15 minutes. Invert onto wire rack, remove pan. Let cool completely before serving. Dust generously with confectioners sugar using a fine strainer just before serving.


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