let them eat cake. {chocolate pumpkin graveyard layer cake}

halloween is fast approaching and we only put our decorations out last night.
we are about a week behind.

i have really felt like that lately.
like i am a week behind and cannot catch up.
like it's all passing me by in fast motion and i am stuck in slow-motion land forgetting how long tasks actually take. over-scheduling my days and falling further and further behind. and not axing things because i want to get them done. completed.

but i am burnt out.

what i need is cake.
a cake day.
a day where we make a cake, decorate it and sit around and eat it and laugh and have a good time.
i need to forget about all the things i want to do - project life, sewing projects, tv room project, wrapping christmas present {yes you read that right.}, house decorating finishing touches.
i need to forget about all this and cut a big wedge of cake and sit there and enjoy every mouthful.
right down to the last bite.
that's what i need.

and making it a halloween cake is the icing on the cake.

i love cake days.

chocolate pumpkin graveyard layer cake.
this cake has pure pumpkin in it {read about roasting your own pumpkin here}. tastes delicious and doesn't make you feel ssoooo guilty as you cut yourself another wedge! because lets face facts - you ARE going to enjoy a second slice!!

1 1/2 cups of all purpose flour
2/3 cup cocoa
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 cup home roasted or canned real pumpkin (not pie filling)
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup unsalted butter - softened
1 cup dark brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
3 large eggs and one egg yolk

milano or monaco cookies
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
old fashioned butercream {recipe follows}
bittersweet chocolate glaze {recipe follows.}

Pre-heat oven to 375'F.
butter and line with parchment {butter your parchment as well} two round cake pans - 8inch or 9.
Sift together flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Stir the buttermilk, pumpkin and vanilla extract together in a small bowl.
In an electric mixer beat together the butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time and the yolk and beat until well incorporated. Reduce mixer speed and alternately beat in flour mix and buttermilk mix in thirds.
evenly distribute batter between pans. {i weigh my pans.} tap lightly on counter to release air bubbles, place in oven and bake for about 35 mins or until tester inserted in middle comes out clean.
Remove from oven, place on cooling rack and cool in tray for 10 mins. Remove from pans and let cool completely before icing.
Keep at room temp in a air-tight container for up to 2 days (best) or refrigerate for up to 5 days but bring to room temp before serving.

old-fashioned buttercream icing
3/4 pounds of unsalted butter - softened {the butter from above makes this portion slightly shy of 3/4 of a pound....that's okay.}
500 grams sifted icing sugar
6 to 9 tablespoons milk
3 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
gel food colouring

in an electric mixer blend butter till all nice and creamy. scrape down sides of bowl. in little bits, start adding icing sugar and blend after each addition. also start adding milk as well. when all incorporated add vanilla extract. keep tasting along the way for desired sweetness and consistency. once perfected tint away to your heart desires!
i tinted orange for this - obviously.

Bittersweet chocolate glaze
4 oz bittersweet chocolate - chopped
1 tbsp unsalted butter
3 tbsp light corn syrup
1/2 cup heavy cream

Place chocolate, butter and corn syrup in a heatsafe bowl. Heat the heavy cream over low to medium heat and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and pour over chocolate mixture. Let stand for 3 minutes. Stir gently with a whisk until all the components are blended and smooth. Let stand for 3 - 5 minutes to thicken.

to assemble this cake:
use some of the orange icing for the center. then make sure you do a crumb coat - take a small portion of the icing and spread a thin layer over the outside to seal in the crumbs. let set for about 15 minutes {in the fridge if you can.} then ice the rest of the cake concentrating more on the sides. then add the glaze. test it by seeing if it coats the back of a spoon with out too much run off. pour right in the center of the cake and let it organically run over the sides {you can give it a little push here or there.}.

the cookies:
melt some chocolate in a bowl in the microwave in 15 second increments, stirring between times. once melted pour into a parchment cone or ziplock baggie with the corner cut. pipe out your lettering and let set.

once glaze is set on cake insert your "tombstones" into the cake. your cemetery is complete!

happy halloween!!!

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