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Chocolate Pumpkin Layer Cake

Adapted from John Down, Christopher Norman Chocolates

20 tablespoons (2 1/2 sticks) soft unsalted butter, more for greasing
2 cups flour, more for dusting
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
3 eggs
1 1/2 cup plain pumpkin purée, canned, frozen or fresh
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup chopped pecans
2 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
10 ounces unsweetened chocolate, preferably 99 or 100 percent, melted and cooled to room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract.

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Use a little butter to grease two 9-inch round cake pans. Line bottoms with parchment paper. Butter and flour the paper.

2. In a large bowl, whisk flour, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, allspice, baking soda, baking powder and salt together.

3. Using an electric mixer, cream 8 tablespoons butter and the granulated sugar together until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.

4.Beat in eggs one at a time. Stir in pumpkin purée. Mixture may look slightly curdled.

5.Stir in flour mixture about half a cup at a time until smooth.

6.Fold in chocolate chips and pecans.

7. Divide batter into pans and bake in middle of oven until springy to the touch and a tester inserted in center comes out clean, about 35 minutes.

8.Cool cakes in pans for 10 minutes, run a knife around edges, invert onto racks and peel off paper. Let cakes cool completely.

9. In a large bowl, blend remaining 12 tablespoons butter and confectioners sugar together. Blend in chocolate and vanilla extract and beat until smooth.

5. Place one cake layer, smooth side up, on a platter. Ice top. Place second layer, smooth side down, on top; ice top and sides of cake.

Yield: 8 to 12 servings.