Pumpkin Spice Chocolate Chip Cake with Nutella Frosting

Ohhh, pumpkin spice. Is there a better fall flavor? I think not. Especially when paired with not just one, but TWO kinds of chocolate–mini semi-sweet chocolate chips and Nutella. This cake is basically gonna rock your socks off. It’s rich and moist [sorry, it is] with a perfect crumb texture that you will not be able to stop eating. Or at least, I couldn’t. The sprinkles on top make it even better!

Pumpkin Spice Chocolate Chip Cake with Nutella Frosting | thepajamachef.com

I think this cake was the first pumpkin recipe I made this fall, and I am so glad it turned out! See, I adapted the recipe from another favorite–Banana Chocolate Chip Cake. Usually improv recipes work out, especially if there aren’t tons of changes, but ya never know.

Pumpkin Spice Chocolate Chip Cake with Nutella Frosting | thepajamachef.com

As I whipped the cake together [literally whipped, this cake takes about two seconds to throw together], I worried that it wouldn’t bake right or something. A few years ago I had a horrible experience with a pumpkin bread recipe I adapted from a banana bread and just didn’t want a repeat of that. I didn’t need to worry though. This cake was just a dream. Perfect warm out of the oven, perfect frosted, perfect as a snack, perfect as breakfast, perfect as dessert. Perfect, perfect, perfect. When can I make it again? Or more importantly… when will you make it?

Pumpkin Spice Chocolate Chip Cake with Nutella Frosting | thepajamachef.com

The flavor of fall and the flavor of chocolate. How can you go wrong? Especially when you add in my new favorite rich and creamy Nutella frosting. You know how smooth Nutella is by the spoonful? Well, adding cream cheese and butter and sugar, milk, and vanilla too makes it even smoother. :) Be really careful when you’re frosting the cake–make sure to save enough for the cake. This frosting has a way of ending up in your mouth instead. It’s really bizarre, I say. But that’s okay–the cake is made with white whole wheat flour and a vegetable, so it’s healthy, right? :)

Pumpkin Spice Chocolate Chip Cake with Nutella Frosting | thepajamachef.com

This is a cake I’d highly recommend if you like cake. Or pumpkin. Or chocolate. Cause it is just darn good. Enjoy those sprinkles too! :)

Pumpkin Spice Chocolate Chip Cake with Nutella Frosting [cake adapted from Banana Chocolate Chip Cake; frosting is a TPC original]
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Ingredients:

for Pumpkin Spice Chocolate Chip Cake

  • 2 cups white whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger
  • 1 15 ounce can pumpkin puree [not pumpkin pie filling]
  • 1/2 cup skim milk
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips

for Nutella Frosting

  • a generous 3/4 cup Nutella
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, softened [regular or Neufchatel]
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar [perhaps more]
  • 2-3 tablespoons milk [perhaps more]

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9×13 inch baking dish and set aside.

Combine the flour, sugars, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, and ginger in the bowl of a stand mixer. Mix on low for a minute to combine. Then add pumpkin, milk, butter, eggs, and vanilla and beat on low until incorporated. Increase to medium speed and beat for 3 minutes. Fold in chocolate chips.

Pour into prepared pan, then bake for 30-35 minutes until golden brown or when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Cool completely, then frost.

To making frosting, whisk together Nutella, cream cheese, butter, and vanilla. Add powdered sugar by the half cup and milk by the tablespoon, whisking well in between incorporations. Add additional powdered sugar and/or milk to reach desired consistency.

Spread on cooled cake, then top with sprinkles or more chocolate chips. Store covered in the refrigerator.

Time: 45 minutes [10 minutes active] + time to cool.

Yield: 16-20 servings, depending how you cut it.

Linked up with: Foodie Friday, Weekend Potluck.

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Autumnal Muffins

So, I used to post once a month on a blog called Today’s Housewife. Last fall, the group decided together to stop posting due the busyness of life and families and such. Though sad, I enjoyed being part of the group. As of early January, the blog was officially taken down. But I don’t want to lose my recipes, so periodically I will be reposting them on here. Enjoy!

~

from November 26, 2010 … I wanted to post these sooner rather than later so that you can enjoy these muffins early on in pumpkin season! :) So just ignore the Christmas talk. Haha. 

Autumnal Muffins | thepajamachef.com

Even though Christmas is just around the corner, fall is still in full swing for another month or so. [Side note: where has 2010 gone?!?] And I am really glad about that, because while I love Christmas baking, I really enjoy fall flavors–pumpkin, apple, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves immensely. Recently I was in the mood for baking, and whipped up a batch of Autumnal Muffins, a creation of mine that combines the wonderful flavors of the season–savory pumpkin, tart cranberries, and sweet, crunchy apples with some amazing spices. These smell absolutely amazing while baking, and they make a healthy, tasty, seasonal treat, perfect for breakfast or a snack.

Autumnal Muffins | thepajamachef.com

Autumnal Muffins
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Ingredients:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon + more for sprinkling
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 cup skim milk + more for mixing
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • about 2 cups pumpkin, canned [I used a 15 ounce can]
  • 1 cup fresh cranberries, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup apple, finely chopped [I used a Granny Smith and didn't peel it]
  • zest and juice of 1 orange

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and line muffin tins with paper cups or grease well with cooking spray. In a large bowl, stir together dry ingredients: flours, sugars, baking powder, baking soda, cloves, ginger, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Grate orange zest over mixture and set aside. In a separate bowl, whisk together wet ingredients: milk, eggs, and pumpkin. Squeeze orange’s juice into bowl and stir to combine. Fold wet ingredients into dry ingredients, then gently mix in apple and cranberries. If mixture needs additional liquid to combine, add extra milk in 1 tablespoon increments. [I used about 2 tablespoons additional milk.] Do not overmix. Spoon batter into lined muffin tins, sprinkle with cinnamon, and bake until golden brown, about 15-20 minutes. Makes approximately 2 1/2 dozen.

Note:

These muffins are not very sweet, so feel free to alter the recipe by increasing the sugar or using sweetened dried cranberries in place of the fresh cranberries for a different taste.

Linked up with: Weekend Potluck, Foodie Friday.

SRC: Pumpkin Coconut Soup

It’s no secret that I love pumpkin, and since it is now September, it is perfectly acceptable to bake and cook with pumpkin as much as humanly possible! Right? :) Though I must say that while I love pumpkin so so much, it’s a bit odd to use when it’s 90 degrees and 90% humidity outside. That’s why I was so excited last month when it started to get a bit chilly. See, I was assigned to Leigh’s refreshing, classy blog, Chit Chat Chomp for this month’s edition of the Secret Recipe Club, and I couldn’t get this Pumpkin Coconut Soup out of my head!

Secret Recipe Club

Leigh writes from Melbourne, Australia and her recipes and photography [and travel accounts!!] are absolutely to die for. I just have to make this Coconut Mint Syrup Cake asap. I actually planned on making it this month as well, but just ran out of time. Alas, this Pumpkin Coconut Soup is totally worth its own post.

Pumpkin Coconut Soup | thepajamachef.com

I’ve made pumpkin soup before, and have even made a pumpkin-based stew, but this soup is so unique! Aside from the usual suspects like garlic and onion, this pumpkin soup is spiced with fresh ginger, coconut milk, and shredded coconut for some warm notes. The soup is kinda Thai-reminiscent, and though it is simple and comes together in less than 20 minutes, is very sophisticated. Leigh calls it “luxurious” and I would have to agree.

Pumpkin Coconut Soup | thepajamachef.com

I should note that I took these photos before pureeing the soup with my immersion blender. At first I didn’t think that step was necessary, but after trying a few bites, realized it really was… I think it was the shredded coconut that did it. No matter though–this soup is a wonderful gateway to fall. Be sure to come back to The Pajama Chef often… more pumpkin recipes are in the works! :) Thanks, Leigh, for the first pumpkin recipe of the season. :) Absolutely delicious!

one year ago… Iced Tea with Ginger-Mint Simple Syrup
two years ago… Pumpkin Granola
three years ago… Tropical Granola

Pumpkin Coconut Soup [from Chit Chat Chomp]
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Ingredients:

  • 29 ounces pumpkin puree [or 3 cups fresh pumpkin, diced]
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 walnut sized piece fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped or grated
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut
  • 32 ounces vegetable or chicken stock
  • 15 ounces lite coconut milk
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Directions:

Combine pumpkin, onion, garlic, ginger, coconut, and stock in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil then simmer, covered, until heated through, about 5 minutes.

Add coconut milk, then puree soup with an immersion blender, or carefully with a blender or food processor. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and simmer for another 3-4 minutes or until hot.

Time: 10 minutes.

Yield: 4-6 servings.

Be sure to check out other recipes from other SRC members here today too! :)

Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies

I know Thanksgiving has come and gone, and I hope yours was nice… but I hope you aren’t sick of pumpkin yet, because these cookies are fabulous and I just had to share them, Christmas season or not!! I’m normally not an oatmeal cookie kinda girl–give me a chocolate chip or peanut butter cookie any day, but oatmeal? Meh. Aren’t they usually the weird leftover cookies abandoned at pitchins and other events? I think it’s usually cause they contain gross raisins and are slightly salty. Raisins are only good on their own, not in baked goods. But I digress. I shouldn’t use ‘gross’ anywhere near this post, because these Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies are anything but!!Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies | The Pajama ChefDespite my apathy towards classic oatmeal cookies, when I saw this recipe last month, I was intrigued. Pumpkin? Chocolate chips? Dried cranberries? All in one cookie, that wasn’t a soft cakey cookie?? Umm, how could I say no? Especially when they bore a slight resemblance to my favorite camp breakfast? Count me in! Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies | The Pajama ChefThese Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies are seriously a dream come true. Each cookie contains the perfect flavors of fall that I l-o-v-e [in case you were unaware]: pumpkin, spice, chocolate, and cranberries… all in a guilt free breakfast-resembling package. I mean, am I right??

Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies | The Pajama Chef

They are hearty, chewy, and incredibly easy to make–they just take half an hour and you probably have all the ingredients available at home anyways. I know I do, practically all the time. You best believe that these will be popping up in my kitchen year-round from now on. They are that good!

Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies | The Pajama ChefThe fact that there’s no oil or butter in them is only a bonus… because I’m certain that eating 5 of them at once sort of negates the health benefits. But we can pretend, right?

Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies [adapted from Sally's Baking Addiction and Love From the Oven]
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Ingredients:

  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 3 cups old-fashioned oats
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a small bowl, whisk together pumpkin, eggs, and vanilla. In a larger bowl, stir together flour, oats, sugars, baking powder, baking soda, and pumpkin pie spice. Fold wet ingredients into the dry until just moistened–dough will be thick, but not un-stirrable. Stir in chocolate chips and cranberries.

Drop by spoonfuls about 2 inches apart onto cookie sheets, slightly flattening because dough does not spread much while baking. Bake for 13-14 minutes, or until lightly browned. Let cool on baking sheet for about 3 minutes, then remove promptly to cooling rack to cool completely.

Time: 30 minutes.

Yield: 3 dozen cookies.

Pumpkin Spice Cream Cheese

At the beginning of October, Ben and I were at Walmart late one Sunday night. We were coming home from a church event and desperately needed a few things for our lunches the next day. Typically I avoid Walmart like the plague, especially in this town because it’s always so busy and it stresses me out… but sometimes it just can’t be avoided. We walked past the cream cheese and I saw the Holy Grail of cream cheese: Philadelphia Pumpkin Spice Cream Cheese. PUMPKIN SPICE!! I couldn’t believe it. I got so excited. But for reasons unbeknownst to me, I decided I would get it “later.”

Pumpkin Spice Cream Cheese | The Pajama ChefWhy? I’m not sure, because I’ve regretted it ever since. Especially during every one of the three visits I’ve made to Walmart since that time looking for that stinking cream cheese has been met in failure as they have been out. :( And none of the grocery stores I’ve looked in have carried it at all. :( :( :( After entering into a state of depression and realizing that I may never get to experience the glory that is Pumpkin Spice Cream Cheese, I decided that something must be done. I had to make it myself!

Pumpkin Spice Cream Cheese | The Pajama Chef

Guess what? Though I’ve never tasted the original, I don’t miss it one bit. The four ingredient version I whipped up in a couple of minutes in my food processor is slightly sweet and is absolutely heavenly.

Pumpkin Spice Cream Cheese | The Pajama Chef

Opening the jar is a delightful sensory experience as the unmistakable warm fall spices just jump out, waiting to be enjoyed. Plussssss, though I can’t say this for certain, my version uses real pumpkin puree for an authentic pumpkin taste–not some combination of natural and artificial flavors. How bout just some natural flavors? Sounds good to me, for sure.

Pumpkin Spice Cream Cheese | The Pajama Chef

This Pumpkin Spice Cream Cheese is perfect for spreading on bagels, for dipping apples or graham crackers, and for snacky spoonfuls. I suspect it would be glorious along with some Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins too, but I can’t verify yet. What could be wrong with double pumpkin?? Nothing much that I can tell. I’ll need to try that ASAP. :) To make it more of a dessert spread, use a little more sugar–but I truthfully found it flavorful enough without lots of added sugar. If you make this after trying the original, do let me know how they compare, because I’m curious. From what I can tell, the original is more of a spread, and this version is slightly more airy and whipped, but that’s all I know for now. But alas… I know this is good. Really good. And for that, I am happy… even though it took several Walmart excursions to make it happen. Enjoy!

Pumpkin Spice Cream Cheese [adapted from Better Homes & Gardens]
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Ingredients:

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened [I used Neufchâtel]
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice

Directions:

Combine all ingredients in deep bowl and beat on high with hand mixer for 2 minutes. Alternatively, you can use a stand mixer or whisk. Taste and adjust seasonings and sweetener as desired. Refrigerate for at least one hour before using for best taste, then use within a week.

Time: 10 minutes + time to chill.

Yield: ~ 1 1/2 cups.