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Pumpkin cake with sour cream ganache

Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Yields Serves 12 to 16
Pumpkin cake with sour cream ganache
(Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times)
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Like bananas, pumpkins lend a moist texture and tender crumb to baked goods without adding fat. While most pumpkin cakes are finished with a cream cheese- or lemon-based frosting, this one uses a sour cream ganache. Chocolate and pumpkin are an unexpected pairing, but adding sour cream to the frosting gives a pleasantly light tang. Be sure to use a chocolate that isn’t too dark and bitter. This is one place where semisweet is an improvement.

From the story: Pumpkin is ripe for many a Thanksgiving Day dish

Cake

1

Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour 2 (9-inch) springform pans.

2

In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger and salt.

3

In a separate large bowl with a fork, stir together the eggs and sour cream. Stir in the brown sugar and then the oil until just combined; be careful not to overwhisk.

4

Gently stir the flour mixture into the batter just until incorporated and there are no lumps. Stir in the pumpkin puree.

5

Divide the batter between the two prepared pans. Bake the cakes for about 25 to 30 minutes, until golden brown on top and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean (the cakes are moist and there may be a few crumbs on the toothpick, but there should be no batter). Remove and allow the cakes to cool, still in the pans, on a wire rack to room temperature.

Sour cream ganache and assembly

1

Melt the chocolate in a bowl set over a pan of gently simmering water. Remove from heat.

2

Gently fold the sour cream into the chocolate until incorporated and uniform in texture, then stir in the salt.

3

Remove the cakes from the pans and place one on a cake stand or serving plate with the flat-bottomed side up and spoon one-fourth of the ganache over the cake. Spread the ganache evenly over the top.

4

Place the second cake, domed side up, evenly over the first and spoon one-half of the remaining frosting over the cake, evenly covering the top and sides. Add additional frosting as needed to coat the cake evenly.

5

Press the pecans into the sides of the cake. The cake can be kept at room temperature for up to 2 days.

The ganache recipe is adapted from “The Cake Bible” by Rose Levy Beranbaum. For the ganache, a less bitter, lower percentage chocolate will best complement the cake (preferably 60% to 65%).