This decadent chocolate cake's secret ingredient makes it gloriously moist and oh-so moreish - it's the perfect sweet treat for any occasion.
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Place pumpkin in a steamer basket over a saucepan of simmering water. Cook, covered, for 8-10 mins or until pumpkin is tender. Transfer to a large bowl and allow steam to evaporate and pumpkin to dry slightly. Use a fork to mash until very smooth.
Preheat oven to 180°C. Grease a 21cm (top measurement) bundt or fluted ring cake pan and dust evenly with cocoa.
Place the flour, extra cocoa, mixed spice and salt into a large bowl. Stir to combine. Add the oil, eggs, buttermilk and vanilla to the pumpkin. Whisk to combine. Add the sugar and whisk to combine. Add flour mixture and fold to combine. Add chocolate and gently fold though. Pour mixture into prepared pan.
Bake for 45 mins or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. Set aside for 5 mins before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
Meanwhile, to make ganache icing, combine the chocolate and cream in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Stir with a metal spoon until chocolate melts and mixture is smooth. Set aside to cool for 15 mins or until thick, stirring occasionally.
Place the cake on a serving platter and pour over the ganache icing. Set aside to set. Sprinkle with grated chocolate and orange zest. Serve with orange segments.
It may seem odd at first, but pumpkin and chocolate are a match made in heaven. Both have similar earthy flavours and, with its natural sweetness, pumpkin is no stranger to desserts, showing up in cheesecakes, strudels and, of course, pumpkin pie. The pumpkin flavour is subtle in this chocolate cake. Instead, its role along with the eggs, oil and buttermilk is to add moisture, tenderising the flour and cocoa mixture. With the lustrous glossy ganache oozing over the side, this chocolate pumpkin cake is elegant enough to serve with a glass of port for dessert, or you can swap the ganache for a cream cheese icing and you have a kid-friendly treat with hidden veg.
Part of the secret to this chocolate cake with pumpkin is using buttermilk in the batter. With its silky texture and serious tang, buttermilk is more acidic than regular milk. When added to self-raising flour (which is alkaline), it creates the carbon dioxide that helps the cake rise.
When making this cake, it’s important that the pumpkin is cut into even pieces to allow them to steam at the same time, and make sure they’re really tender before you mash. There should be no resistance when tested with the tip of a sharp knife. Really stir and mash the pumpkin with a fork to get a smooth puree, you don’t want any lumps disrupting the even crumb of the cake. A useful hack in this recipe is that we dust the pan with cocoa powder instead of the usual plain flour. The cocoa powder prevents the cake from sticking to the pan without leaving floury streaks.
The velvety chocolate ganache is the icing on the cake – literally – for this sweet treat. A simple combination of chocolate melted with cream, ganache can be used as a dip for strawberries, chilled and made into truffles or whipped to use between cake layers. While you can just stir the chocolate and cream in a saucepan over low heat, we like to take the precaution of cooking our ganache in a double boiler. Place the chocolate and cream in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water, don’t let the bowl touch the water as this may scorch the chocolate. Use a metal spoon to stir, as a wooden spoon may contain a bit of moisture and cause the chocolate to seize. The ganache will thicken upon standing. Stir occasionally until it has thickened but is still pourable.
The mild flavour of pumpkin works well in various sweet recipes. From the Australian classic pumpkin scones to the all-American pumpkin pie. Pumpkin pie meets cheesecake in this decadent offering, and pumpkin and caramel are a match made in heaven in our caramel self-saucing pudding.