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Celebrate National Chocolate Day with Jacques Torres’ Pumpkin Chocolate Cake

It’s National Chocolate Day, and while we certainly recommend eating chocolate year-round, today is the perfect day to combine two of our favorite things: chocolate and pumpkin! This time of year, everyone is featuring pumpkin-flavored dishes. Perhaps that’s because the fall-centric floavor goes so well with nearly everything.

If you want to get in on the pumpkin action, you can make this recipe from Holland America Line Culinary Council Member Jacques Torres, fondly known as Mr. Chocolate. His pumpkin chocolate cake is made in individual servings, which makes it a perfect way to celebrate the season.


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


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 it in the refrigerator. When cold, the chocolate sauce will become thick enough to be scooped with a spoon.

Chocolate Sauce and Walnut crisp

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.

  • Bruce Kleinschmidt


    What is Bienex, please? (It is listed as an ingredient under Walnut Crisp.)My web searches indicate that it is a medication, also known as Meloxicam. I expect this is not what you intended to be used in this recipe.

    Is this a misspelling of an ingredient, or is it intended to be something the cook is supposed to make?


    -bruce kleinschmidt
    Mariner 379418247

  • Julie

    Hi Bruce, Bienex is a brandy cookie. You can substitute another type if you can’t find this.

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