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Chocolate and Pumpkin Pie Layer Cake

Why choose between cake, cookie or pie when you can have all three?  This Chocolate and Pumpkin Pie Layer Cake has stacks of fluffy & moist chocolate cake alternated with creamy maple-infused pumpkin pie nestled on a sweet & crunchy cookie crust.   

Chocolate and Pumpkin Pie Layer Cake

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I’ve got a secret for you.  But shhhh!  You have to pinky swear not to tell anyone.


In all my twenty (err. . .maybe a little more) years I’ve never, ever . . .not in a million years. . . been trick or treating.  Gasp!  I know.


But before you start judging me for what you may be thinking was a deprived childhood, you should know that my wonder years were not completely devoid of all the festivities surrounding Halloween.

Chocolate and Pumpkin Pie Layer Cake

There was, of course, the yearly pilgrimage to the farms, where the perfect pumpkin was painstakingly plucked from the patch and lovingly transported back to its forever home.  It was gingerly nestled on top of the Sunday newspaper when mom suddenly pulled out a knife fit for a horror story (cue horror film music) and performed a lobotomy that even Walter Freeman would be proud of.


My sister and I then rolled up our sleeves and proceeded to perform our best surgeon impersonations as we plunged our chubby, little fingers deep within the pumpkin’s cranium.  We scooped out the slimy contents as we wrinkled our noses in disgust.


Mom, then separated the pumpkin seeds from the rest of the slimy mess so that they could be oven roasted & lightly salted – a tasty fall treat that we continued to enjoy long after the ghosts & goblins crawled back to their spiritual world.

Chocolate and Pumpkin Pie Layer Cake

Chocolate and Pumpkin Layer Cake Pie

Chocolate and Pumpkin Pie Layer Cake

Chocolate and Pumpkin Pie Layer Cake

And while she was readying the pumpkin seeds, with great precision, my sister and I performed flawless face lifts on these formerly roly poly pumpkins, transforming them into perpetually grinning jack-o’-lanterns.

Chocolate & Pumpkin Pie Layer Cake


Chocolate and Pumpkin Pie Layer Cake


And there was candy.  Boy was there candy.  Bags and bags of it – some of which made it’s way into our little, plastic pumpkin shaped bags.  The rest we tossed into the sacks of eager trick or treaters who hoped and prayed that the next house would be the one to fling in a full sized candy bar.

Chocolate and Pumpkin Pie Layer Cake

Chocolate and Pumpkin Pie Layer Cake

Chocolate and Pumpkin Pie Layer Cake

But probably THE most anticipated activity for Halloween was the annual Halloween party at the Slovak Home.  This was the big kahuna.  The event of all events.  Sort of like the Academy Awards. . .but for Halloween parties.   And every year, Grandpa took all the grandkids to this glorious affair.

Chocolate and Pumpkin Pie Layer Cake

Chocolate and Pumpkin Pie Layer Cake

Now, a party such as this could not be taken lightly and lots of planning and preparation was put in the months leading up to the event.  From the conceptualization of the outfit to the selection of the hair and makeup, no detail was spared.


I recall Mom spending hours upon hours sewing bright red yarn onto a swathe of fabric for the ultimate in Raggedy Ann wigs.  And Grandma, she worked into the wee hours of the night tirelessly transforming an every day bed sheet into the most memorable Princess Leia gown to every grace a Halloween party.

Chocolate and Pumpkin Pie Layer Cake

Chocolate and Pumpkin Pie Layer Cake

Well. . .the party. . .imagine a giant hall full of rambunctious children.  Every child’s dream, and every adult’s nightmare.  There were fun games to keep everyone entertained for hours on ends and awards for the best costumes.  And of course there was candy.  Lots of it!!  Because a hall full of out of control kids definitely needs more sugar.

Chocolate and Pumpkin Pie Layer Cake

Chocolate and Pumpkin Pie Layer Cake

Chocolate and Pumpkin Pie Layer Cake

Ahhhh. . .those were the days.


So in celebration of All Hallows ‘Eve, and the epic Halloween party at the Slovak Home, I baked you these teensy- weensy Chocolate and Pumpkin Pie Layer Cakes.


This recipe is part of a big, bad, awesome #virtualpumpkinparty hosted by Sara from Cake Over Steak and Amy from Twigg Studios. This is quite the shindig (almost as epic as the party at the Slovak Home)  with bloggers from around the interweb developing brand, spankin’ new pumpkin recipes – all just for you.    So grab a cup of coffee (or pot of tea) and your most snuggly of blankets and spend the afternoon perusing all these delicious pumpkin themed dishes.  You can find the complete list and links of participating bloggers below the recipe for this Chocolate and Pumpkin Pie Layer Cake.

Chocolate and Pumpkin Pie Layer Cake

But on to this pie.  Or is it cake?  Well…whatever you decide to call it, it is an iteration of the Chocolate Cake with Pumpkin Pie Surprise I made last year (See it HERE).


This Chocolate Pumpkin Pie Layer Cake has stacks of fluffy & moist chocolate cake alternated with creamy maple pumpkin pie that has been baked on a sweet & crunchy Speculoos cookie crust.  I absolutely adore the sweet and crunchy texture the cookie provides when you sink your teeth into this treat.  It is quite the unexpected surprise as you don’t typically expect this from a cake or pie.

Chocolate and Pumpkin Pie Layer Cake

And if that weren’t heavenly enough, there is a smattering of super indulgent chocolate ganache in between each layer.


Now, I chose to make mini cakes by cutting 3 inch rounds out from each layer.  But if you are not up for the challenge, or want to feed more people, you could easily keep this Chocolate Pumpkin Pie Layer Cake as a rectangle and layer the chocolate cake on top of the slab pie.  If you do this, you may need to double the recipe for the chocolate ganache, depending on how much you decide to slather on each layer.


To finish these beauties off, I dotted them with the sweetest little meringues dusted with cocoa powder.  You can chose to skip this step if you want, but you will be missing out on their melt-in-your mouth goodness.





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Chocolate and Pumpkin Pie Layer Cake

Yield: 8 mini cakes

Chocolate and Pumpkin Pie Layer Cake

Why choose between cake, cookie or pie when you can have all three? This Chocolate and Pumpkin Pie Layer Cake has stacks of fluffy & moist chocolate cake alternated with creamy maple-infused pumpkin pie nestled on a sweet & crunchy Speculoos cookie crust.


    For the Chocolate Cake Layer:
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 1/3 cup all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup strong coffee
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • For the Speculoos Cookie Crust:
  • 16 ounces Speculoos Cookies (~58-60 Cookies)
  • 6 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 3 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 11 tablespoons brown butter, melted
  • 1 egg
  • For the Pumpkin Pie Filling:
  • 4 large eggs
  • 22 ounces pure pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice
  • 1 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1/2 vanilla bean (seeds)
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • For the Chocolate Ganache:
  • 6 ounces dark chocolate (60-85% Cacao), chopped
  • 3/4 cup (6 ounces) heavy cream
  • For the Meringue Kisses (optional):
  • Vinegar (to clean bowl, whisk, & piping bag)
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt
  • Cocoa powder (optional, for dusting)


    For the Chocolate Cake Layer:
  1. Preheat the oven to 350° F.
  2. Line a 10 x 15-inch sheet pan with parchment paper & butter & flour it.
  3. Combine first 7 ingredients (sugar through salt) in a large bowl. Mix well.
  4. Combine the wet ingredients (buttermilk through vanilla extract) in a medium sized bowl. Mix well.
  5. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients & mix until just combined. Don't overmix.
  6. Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan & bake for 30 - 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  7. Cool the cake in the pan for 10 minutes, then remove & completely cool on a wire rack.
  8. Place the cake in the freezer overnight (this will make it easier to cut into rounds or to place on top of the pumpkin layer if you are assembling as a slab cake).
  9. For the Speculoos Cookie Crust:
  10. To make the brown butter: Melt the butter in a heavy bottomed sauce pan on medium heat. Continue to cook, swirling the pan occasionally to ensure the butter browns evenly. You will cook until the butter takes on a nutty aroma & turns a toasty brown color. Remove the butter from the stove top & allow it to cool for 15 minutes (the butter still should be melted). If this is your first time browning butter, you can read more about it *HERE*
  11. Place speculoos cookies in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the blade attachment & pulse until fine.
  12. Add the sugar, salt, & ground cinnamon & pulse until evenly distributed.
  13. While pulsing, slowly stream in the melted butter (brown bits & all). Continue to pulse until the crumbs are evenly wet.
  14. Press the crumbs evenly into an ungreased 10 x 15 inch rimmed sheet pan.
  15. Use the bottom of a flat bottom cup to continue to roll the crumbs out evenly & smooth any bumps. I also used an offset spatula to firmly press down the corners & edges of the crust.
  16. Freeze until solid (about 10 minutes).
  17. Center a rack in the oven & preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  18. Bake crust for 10 -15 minutes, or until set.
  19. Beat one egg & carefully brush on top of the cookie crust. Use just enough to lightly coat the crust.
  20. Place the crust back into the oven & bake until the egg is dry (about 3 minutes). This will help prevent the crust from getting soggy once the filling is added.
  21. Cool completely on a wire rack. Refrigerate the crust prior to filling to set any crumbs in place.
  22. For the Pumpkin Pie Filling:
  23. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  24. Whisk together the pumpkin puree, sour cream, cinnamon, salt, ginger, nutmeg, allspice, & eggs.
  25. Pour maple syrup into a medium saucepan.
  26. Stir in the seeds from 1/2 a vanilla bean.
  27. Bring syrup to a boil.
  28. Reduce heat to medium high & simmer, stirring occasionally, until the mixture thickens. Keep an eye that it does not bubble over.
  29. Once the syrup starts to release small puffs of steam, remove it from the stovetop .
  30. Stir cream into the syrup mixture in 4 additions.
  31. Whisk the hot maple cream into the pumpkin mixture slowly.
  32. Place the sheet pan with the cookie crust on a larger rimmed sheet pan (to make handling easier).
  33. Pour the filling over top of the cookie crust.
  34. Bake the pie for 30-45 minutes, or until the center is slightly jiggly. Be sure to rotate the pan mid-way through making.
  35. Turn the oven off and let the pie sit in the oven an additional 10-15 minutes.
  36. Crack the oven door and let the pie rest in the oven for 10-20 more minutes.
  37. Remove the pie from the oven & allow it to cool completely on a wire rack.
  38. Place the pie in the freezer overnight if you are planning on cutting out rounds. This will make it easier to slice the rounds. If you are assembling a slab pie, you don't need to place in the freezer.
  39. For the Chocolate Ganache:
  40. Finely chop the chocolate & set aside.
  41. Place cream in a small saucepan on medium-low heat.
  42. Bring to a simmer,
  43. Remove the cream & pour over the chopped chocolate.
  44. Stir gently to distribute the cream amongst the chocolate, then allow it to sit for 5 minutes. This will give the chocolate time to soften.
  45. Using a rubber spatula or whisk, slowly stir the chocolate in a figure eight pattern until it is smooth & everything is incorporated.
  46. Allow the ganache to cool until it reaches a spreadable consistency. You don't want it too warm as it will slide off the cake.
  47. For the Meringue Kisses (optional):
  48. Pre-heat oven to 200° F.
  49. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  50. Wipe down the stand mixer bowl & whisk attachment with vinegar. This will remove any residual grease.
  51. Place granulated sugar in a food processor & pulse until fine.
  52. Place egg whites & cream of tartar into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Take extreme care not to get any yolks in the whites.
  53. Turn the mixer on low speed & whisk until bubbles form (about 1 minute).
  54. Once bubbles form, turn the mixer on high & whisk until stiff peaks form (about 1-2 minute).
  55. With the mixer still on high, slowly add in the fine sugar, 1 spoonful at a time.
  56. Whisk until the meringue is glossy (6-7 minutes). To check to see if your meringue is ready, take a little bit of the mixture between your thumb & forefinger. If it still feels gritty, continue mixing on high.
  57. Once grittiness is gone, add in vanilla extract & a pinch of salt.
  58. Whisk until combined.
  59. Spoon the meringue mixture into a piping bag fitted with a piping tip (I used a Wilton 1M) or place into a large plastic baggy & cut off the tip.
  60. Pipe meringues onto the parchment lined baking sheet.
  61. Bake meringues until dry (about 1 hour).
  62. Turn the oven off & leave meringues in the oven to cool completely (a couple of hours or overnight).
  63. Store in an airtight container until ready to use (up to one week)
  64. To Assemble the mini Chocolate Pumpkin Pie Layer Cakes:
  65. Remove the chocolate cake layer from the freezer & allow it to warm up just enough so that you can cut it with a 3 inch biscuit cutter.
  66. If needed, use a knife to level out the tops of the cakes.
  67. Remove the pumpkin pie from the freezer & allow it to warm up just enough so that you can cut it with a 3 inch biscuit cutter. You will need to gently push around the outer edges to get it out of the cutter. Use a small offset spatula to smooth out the top (if needed).
  68. Prepare the chocolate ganache. Allow it to cool so that it reaches a spreadable consistency.
  69. Place either a cake or pie round on a place. Spread a little chocolate ganache on top of this round. Repeat, alternating between pie & cake.
  70. Place a small amount of the chocolate ganache on the top layer & use a spoon to push small drips over the side.
  71. Decorate with meringues just before serving (if desired)
  72. To Assemble the Chocolate Pumpkin Pie Slab Cake:
  73. Remove the chocolate layer cake from the freezer.
  74. Prepare the ganache (you may need to make a double batch, depending on how thick you want the chocolate to be). Allow it to cools so that it reaches a spreadable consistency.
  75. Spread a layer of ganache on top of the pumpkin pie.
  76. Carefully place the chocolate cake on top of the pumpkin pie.
  77. Spread another layer of chocolate ganache on top of the cake.
  78. Decorate with meringues just before serving (if desired).

I cut mine out into mini cakes which will leave you with scraps. You can munch on these or use them to make cake pops. I threw the leftover pie scraps into brownies.

If you don't want to deal with scraps, you can just make a two layer slab cake. See instructions; however, you will want to use the pumpkin pie as the bottom layer since it will be difficult to get the entire slab pie out of the pan. The cake is very soft so freezing is recommend since it will be easier to handle.

For the slab cake you may need to double the chocolate ganache , depending on how much you spread onto each layer.

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Chocolate & Pumpkin Pie Layer Cake
Chocolate and Pumpkin Pie Layer Cake - stacks of fluffy & moist chocolate cake are alternated with creamy maple-infused pumpkin pie nestled on a sweet & crunchy cookie crust. The perfect dessert for Halloween, Thanksgiving or any fall day you need something sweet. Click for the RECIPE.
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