Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cake

They’re everywhere! Pumpkins are waiting dutifully on doorsteps today in anticipation of their annual job when they really glow. But we know they’re much more than a glimmer of light—they’re tasty, too! Celebrate pumpkin season—combined with chocolate.

This moist, dark-golden pumpkin cake by cookbook author Elinor Klivans, which appeared in Real Food, is studded with chocolate chips and topped off with a drizzle of melted chips. It uses canned pumpkin, but, as I noted in last week’s post, you can cook fresh pumpkin much the same way you do winter squash—either steam, bake, or microwave it, make a purée in a food processor or blender, then strain to remove excess water.

If you do use canned pumpkin, check to see that the label on the can just says “pumpkin” rather than “pumpkin pie filling,” which would already have spices added. (One 15-ounce can yields about 2 cups of mashed pumpkin or a little less.)

As the squirrels make quick work of the jack-o-lanterns after their lights have gone out, give their relatives (the smaller “pie” pumpkins) a job now before they’re busy with pumpkin pies.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cake

Serves 12

1½ c. all-purpose flour
¾ tsp. baking powder
¾ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
1½ tsp. ground cinnamon
¾ tsp. ground ginger
1 c. canned pumpkin
1 c. sugar
½ c. canola or corn oil
2 large eggs
2½ c. (15 oz.) semisweet chocolate chips

Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat oven to 325°F. Butter a 10-inch layer pan. Cut out a 10-inch circle of parchment paper, then line bottom of pan with paper and butter it.

Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and ginger into a medium bowl. Set aside. In a large bowl and using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat pumpkin, sugar, and oil until smoothly blended, about 1 minute. Mix in eggs one at a time to blend batter. Reduce mixer speed to low and add flour mixture, mixing just until incorporated. Mix in 2 cups of the chocolate chips to distribute evenly. Scrape batter into prepared pan.

Bake just until top feels firm and a toothpick inserted in center (without spearing a chip) comes out clean, about 40 minutes. Transfer pan to a wire rack and allow to cool for 20 minutes. Use a small knife to loosen sides of cake from sides of pan and invert it onto wire rack. Remove and discard paper liner and cool cake thoroughly.

Put remaining ½ cup of the chocolate chips in a heatproof bowl or the top of a double boiler and place over, but not touching, a saucepan of barely simmering water. Stir until chocolate chips are melted and smooth.

Place a serving plate on cooled cake and invert cake onto it so top side is up. Use a small spoon to drizzle melted chocolate chips over the top of cake. Use a large sharp knife to cut cake into squares and serve.

Cake can be covered and stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Nutrition info per serving Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cake: CALORIES 390 (186 from fat); FAT 21g (sat. 7g); CHOL 35mg; SODIUM 223mg; CARB 53g; FIBER 3g; PROTEIN 4g

Mary Subialka is the editor of Real Food and Drinks magazines, covering the flavorful world of food, wine, and spirits. She rarely meets a chicken she doesn’t like, and hopes that her son, who used to eat beets and Indian food as a preschooler, will one day again think of real food as more than something you need to eat before dessert and be inspired by his younger brother, who is now into trying new foods.