Chocolate Pumpkin Spice Latte Cake
Everyone who knows me well, knows that I am an admitted Starbucks addict. It is not a hidden secret. If the company offered stock for their best customers, I would be one of their top share holders. When we lived in Santa Monica for a year, our apartment was on top of a Starbucks, which fueled my addiction. It became very apparent that I had a problem when my then, 2 year old daughter, could order my drink verbatim. My coffee habits have become the butt of many jokes in my family and each of our daughters can down an entire latte themselves, if allowed. Admittedly so, each child can tell a barista what mommy drinks with no coaching whatsoever. And my expensive habit becomes almost a daily, morning adventure when the littles are back in school. Unfortunately, the Starbucks on my school drop-off route offers a drive-thru which makes it all too easy to get my fix. I am your usual iced vanilla latte drinker, but come fall the minute pumpkin spice becomes available count me in!
My family eats pumpkin year round, it isn’t just savored for the fall and winter months because, my goodness, it is just way too good to eat half of the year! Anything pumpkin is eaten within a day or two, so I must make a double batch. I am very happy to say, that the little ladies are big fans of pumpkin desserts. Taking into account my family LOVES pumpkin, LOVES chocolate, and LOVES coffee, I decided to create this awesome cake for dessert tonight! It is the perfect combination of chocolate and pumpkin spice. The light and fluffy coffee buttercream gives this cake the familiarity of a Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte. My creation is heaven for that coffee lover. I promise you the work that goes into this cake is worth every waking minute. Now, you will probably think, I have to make two different cakes from scratch?! Yes, but each recipe is fairly simple and you can place any extras in the freezer for months. So, on a rainy day, when your children start school, or for that special someone’s birthday… This cake is worth the effort, I promise.
Chocolate Pumpkin Spice Latte Cake has 2 layers of my moist chocolate cake, a layer of pumpkin spice cake, and coffee buttercream. It is topped with a semisweet ganache, crumbled pumpkin spice cake and coffee beans for that picture perfect look. Now, I would have preferred to dress this pretty lady in those wonderful chocolate covered espresso beans, but I didn’t have any on hand (because they disappear very quickly in our house). So just be aware, you should probably pick up a box of those delightful chocolate covered espresso beans when buying ingredients for this cake because they are fabulous. I knew that this cake would be a winner in our house, so instead of making my typical 4″ mini cakes, I upped the size to a 6 inch. These cake recipes make a bunch of cake. My plans for desserts the next few weeks will use these base cakes. I hope y’all will find yourself doing the same. Remember, my cakes are awesome when left “naked” and frozen for a couple of months. You will have a nice supply of “naked” cakes from this recipe and just plan on stashing the ones you will not use in the freezer for a dessert later on in the week! Let’s get baking.
Chocolate Pumpkin Spice Latte Cake
For the chocolate cake
Yields: 4-6″ cakes
2 cups granulated sugar
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup instant chocolate pudding mix (one box)
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup chocolate milk
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 cup coffee, cooled
For more pictures on prep of the chocolate cake refer to the post Please Give Me A Simple Chocolate Cupcake.
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Prepare cake pans with nonstick baking spray.
2. Measure AP flour (no presifting), baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Place in a sifter and sift into a dry ingredients bowl. Set aside for later use.
3. Microwave water and add instant coffee set aside for later use.
4. In an electric mixer, add sugar, cocoa powder, and instant pudding. Stir until mixed well.
5. Add in vegetable oil and chocolate milk. Combine well.
6. Next add eggs and vanilla.
7. Add a little of the dry ingredients at a time (mixer should be on lowest setting). Then alternate with the warm coffee mixture. Be sure to scrap sides in between.
8. End with the dry ingredients. When no flour is visible, turn off mixer and stir by hand to ensure bottom is well incorporate. We do not want to over mix. Remember it will cause gluten and your cakes will shrink and have issues. NEVER MIX CAKE BATTER ON HIGH AFTER FLOUR IS ADDED!
9. Fill prepared cake pans with 1 1/4 cups of batter.
10. Bake 20-25 minutes until tops are domed and will spring back when gently pushed.
11. Allow to cool about 5 minutes in the pan. Then remove and place on cooling racks until no longer warm.
12. When mostly cooled, wrap tightly in plastic wrap and place in freezer so it will make assembly easier. Prepare pumpkin spice cake.
For the pumpkin spice cake
Yields: 5-6″ cakes
1 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs, room temp.
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup instant vanilla pudding (or if you have Jello’s instant pumpkin spice pudding mix)
1 cup canned 100% pumpkin, not pumpkin pie mix!
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 tbsp cinnamon
1/2 tbsp nutmeg
2 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1. Preheat oven 350 degrees. Prepare cake pans with nonstick baking spray
2. Use a sifter over a dry ingredients bowl. Measure and place ap flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
3. In an electric mixer, mix sugars and oil.
4. Add in instant pudding.
5. Next add eggs and combine well.
6. Stir in vanilla extract, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
7. Mix in pumpkin.
8. On lowest setting, add a small amount of dry ingredients at a time. Do not over mix. As soon as dry ingredients are mostly combined, turn off mixer and thoroughly mix by hand.
9. Put 1 cup of batter in each cake pan. Bake 28-32 minutes until center rises and springs back after touching. Or toothpick method and it comes out clean.
10. Allow to cool 5 minutes in pan, then move to a cooling rack.
11. Wrap well in plastic wrap and place in freezer for easy assembly. If storing the extra cake in freezer for longer period of time, wrap in plastic wrap and then place in air tight container to ensure protection from freezer burn.
12. Prepare coffee buttercream while cakes are freezing.
1 cup salted butter, softened
1 cup solid vegetable shortening
1 tsp instant coffee powder (I use one sleeve of Starbucks VIA*)
1/2 tbsp clear imitation vanilla
1/2 tsp cinnamon
5 cups powdered sugar
1. In an electric mixer, beat butter and shortening until smooth and creamy.
2. Add in coffee powder and cinnamon.
3. Mix in vanilla.
4. Slowly mix in powdered sugar one cup at a time and be sure to mix on lowest setting so it doesn’t create a sugar cloud.
5. After all is combined well, mix on medium high about 2 minutes to make frosting fluffy.
6. Place in a piping bag with a tip or use a ziplock bag and snip off end.
7. You can make double this batch if you plan on using all of the cakes in one sitting. This is enough to layer and frost 1.5 3-layer cakes.
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 1/2 cups semi sweet chocolate chips
1. Heat heavy cream until almost boiling in a microwave safe bowl.
2. Remove from microwave and add chocolate chips immediately. Stir well until smooth. Allow to cool until warm and place in a piping bag or air tight container.
1. Remove 2 chocolate cakes and 1 pumpkin spice cake from freezer. We will be working quickly so they don’t thaw all the way.
2. With a serrated knife or cake layer cutter (from a cake supply store) remove the top dome of the cake. Set aside the pumpkin spice dome (we will use for a garnish).
3. I like to use thick cardboard cake boards, which you can also pick up at local cake supply shops. Dampen a paper towel with water and lay on a lazy suzan. Place cake board on top of wet paper towel.
4. Place a dollop of coffee frosting in the center of cake board and place bottom layer on top. Using a piping bag and leaving 1/2″ outer circle bare, fill with frosting in a circular motion.
5. Add the pumpkin spice cake on top of the filled chocolate base cake.
6. Pipe and fill the coffee buttercream on top of the pumpkin cake. Add the other chocolate layer with the cut off dome side down (so frosting the top will be easier).
7. Crumb coat the cake in a thin layer of coffee buttercream. This will prevent cake crumbs from showing through your next buttercream layer.
8. Place the crumb coated cake back in freezer 15-30 minutes to make frosting it easier.
9. Frost the frozen cake with a thicker layer of coffee buttercream. I love using a plastic bench scrap tool for frosting, it helps align the sides and smooths frosting nicely.
10. Be sure to clean the knife or bench scrap often by wiping the excess on the sides of the frosting bowl. This will help keep frosting smooth.
11. Using a straight frosting knife, start on the top edge of cake and move inwards. Rotate the cake 1/4th of the way and repeat. This will help even the top of the cake.
12. When you are satisfied with your frosted look, heavily drizzle your warm ganache so it will drip down the sides.
13. Take your sliced-off dome of the pumpkin spice cake and crumble it on top of the ganache.
14. I piled a bunch of whole coffee beans in the center for an added look, but as I said before chocolate covered espresso beans would be the best!
Yes, this cake does have a few more steps because of the extra flavor layer added in, but I promise you it is absolutely phenomenal. It is probably on my top 5 favorite flavors of all time. When you find yourself tired of the same old vanilla or chocolate cake then give my Chocolate Pumpkin Spice Latte Cake a try, your family will thank you!