It was happy days when I learned that Sarah Leah Chase had a new cookbook coming out, the New England Open-House Cookbook. She is the author of Cold-Weather Cooking, one of my absolute favourite older cookbooks. This recipe is a riff on one in her new book.
Every year I go on a hunt for more pumpkin recipes – pumpkin has always been one of my favourite things. This is a pumpkin/chocolate/coconut/pecan extravaganza, all in one cake. The crushed pineapple and oats are unusual additions but you won’t even notice they’re there. The icing is an irresistible caramel concoction and a little scoop of vanilla ice cream will have people asking for seconds. It’s the sort of cake that I remember my mom making when we would be expecting lots of company – a 9×13-inch pan makes enough to serve a small crowd.
This year Halloween falls on a Saturday so I’m guessing there will be even more parties than usual. Skip the Halloween candy and satisfy your sweet tooth with this over-the-top cake (the kids will be happy not to have to share their candy stash this year).
Halloween Pumpkin Spice Cake with Coconut Pecan Frosting
Serves 12 or more.
For the Cake:
2 cups (500 mL) all-purpose flour
2/3 cup (160 mL) cocoa powder
1 cup (250 mL) quick-cooking oats
2 tsp (10 mL) baking powder
1 tsp (5 mL) baking soda
¼ tsp (1 mL) fine sea salt
1 Tbsp (15 mL) ground cinnamon
½ tsp (2 mL) ground cloves
1 cup (250 mL) butter, at room temperature
2 cups (500 mL) granulated sugar
1 – 15 ounce (450 mL) can pure pumpkin puree or 2 cups fresh pumpkin puree
1 – 8 ounce (250 mL) crushed pineapple with the juice
½ cup (125 mL) dark chocolate chips
1 tsp (5 mL) pure vanilla extract
For the Coconut Pecan Frosting:
½ cup butter
1 cup dark brown sugar
½ cup cream
1 ½ cups sweetened flaked coconut
1 ½ cups pecan halves
Preheat the oven to 350 F. Lightly butter and flour a 13×9-inch baking pan.
Mix the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and cloves together in a large mixing bowl. Set aside.
Beat 1 cup butter and granulated sugar together in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Beat in the pumpkin, pineapple, chocolate chips and vanilla until thoroughly combined (the mixture will look curdled at this point but it’s fine). Add the dry ingredients and beat on low speed just until it is fully incorporated. Spread the batter evenly in the prepared pan.
Bake for about 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean.
While the cake is baking, melt the ½ cup butter in a medium-sized saucepan over low heat. Add the brown sugar and cream; stir until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture is smooth. Stir in the coconut and pecans and remove from the heat.
Once the cake is out of the oven, position an oven rack 4-5 inches under the heat source and preheat the broiler to high. Spread the icing evenly over the warm cake. Place the cake under the broiler and broil until the icing is golden and bubbling, 3 or 4 minutes. Move the cake around if the edges aren’t getting enough heat. Let the cake cool to room temperature before cutting. The cake will keep for 3-4 days in an airtight container.