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Culinary Council Recipe: Jacques Torres’ Pumpkin Chocolate Cake

If you’re looking for a new dessert to make this Thanksgiving, here is a recipe from Culinary Council member Jacques Torres. His pumpkin chocolate cake is made in individual servings, which makes it a perfect ending to a Thanksgiving feast.


4.9 ounces butter
6.3 ounces light brown sugar
2 eggs
8.4 ounces pumpkin, puree
3 1/3 cups cake flour
1 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup semi sweet chocolate
4.2 ounces Dried cranberries
4.2 ounces Chopped Walnuts

Chocolate Sauce:
1 cup whole milk
10 1/2 ounces bittersweet chocolate (chopped)
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/3 cup granulated sugar

Walnut Crisp:
5.2 ounces Chopped Walnuts
10.5 ounces Bienex

Chocolate Sauce and Walnut crisp


Place the butter and sugar in a mixing bowl fitted with the paddle. Beat on medium for 5 minutes until very light and creamy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the pumpkin and beat to blend.

Combine the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, salt and incorporate in low speed into the pumpkin mixture. At last fold in the chocolate, cranberries, and nuts. Fill muffin molds and bake at 350 F for 40 minutes or until set. Remove the pan and allow the cake to cool to room temperature.

Walnut crisp:
Combine walnuts and bienex and bake in muffin molds at 400 F for 5-8 minutes. Remove from the oven and invert onto a wire rack.

Pour the milk into a 2-quart heavy-bottomed saucepan, place over medium-high heat, and bring to a boil. When the milk boils, remove it from the heat and make a ganache by adding the chopped chocolate. Whisk well, stirring into the edge of the saucepan to combine. The ganache should be homogenous and smooth. Set the ganache aside.

In a 1-quart heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine the heavy cream, butter, and sugar. Place the saucepan over medium-high heat and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. The butter should be completely melted and the sugar completely dissolved. Once the mixture has come to a boil, pour the cream into the warm ganache.

Place the sauce over medium-high heat and bring to a boil, stirring constantly with a whisk. As the chocolate sauce cooks, it will begin to thicken slightly. When it reaches a boil, remove it from the heat and pour it into a clean, dry bowl. Cover by placing plastic wrap directly on top of the sauce to prevent a skin from forming. Let the chocolate sauce cool to room temperature before storing at room temperature before storing in the refrigerator. When cold, the chocolate sauce will become thick enough to be scooped with a spoon.

One of the wonderful qualities of this sauce is that it can be reheated whenever needed. If using a microwave, simply place the chocolate sauce in a microwavable bowl and heat it at medium-high power in 30-second intervals until it becomes liquid. On the stovetop, place it in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat and stir occasionally until it becomes liquid. If you store it in a squeeze bottle, you can easily drizzle it over a dessert or decorate a plate. It will keep in the refrigerator for up to three weeks. It can also be frozen for up to two months if stored in an airtight container, to be kept on hand for a last-minute dinner party. Thaw in the refrigerator and heat as described above until liquid.

Jacques Torres.

Jacques Torres.

Jacques Torres is a former pastry chef at Le Cirque and Le Cirque 2000 in Manhattan. Born and raised in southern France, he has authored two cookbooks: “Dessert Circus: Extraordinary Desserts You Can Make at Home,” which earned a 1999 James Beard nomination, and “Dessert Circus at Home.” In 2000 he created Jacques Torres Chocolate, which specializes in fresh, hand-crafted chocolates, and he was featured in “Chocolate with Jacques Torres” on the Television Food Network.

About the Culinary Council:
The Holland America Line Culinary Council is an innovative team of top-name chefs from around the world assembled to guide and enhance all aspects of the shipboard culinary experience. The Culinary Council enriches Holland America Line’s culinary initiatives and presents signature recipes that are featured in all dining venues on all 15 cruise ships.

Culinary Council members include Council Chairman and Holland America Line’s Master Chef Rudi Sodamin, along with renowned international chefs Jonnie Boer, David Burke, Elizabeth Falkner and Jacques Torres.

  • Joe

    What is Bienex on the walnut crisp portion? It comes up on google as some sort of medication?

  • Julie

    Joe, Bienex is a brand name for a baking mix to prepare Florentine Cookies.

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