Happy Halloween! Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Graveyard Cake

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I am the biggest wimp when it comes to anything even remotely scary.

Haunted house?

Forget about it, not going anywhere near the thing.

A scary movie?

You’d have to force me in to a seat and turn off the lights, and even then I’d still cover my eyes with a blanket.

Oh, and did I mention I’m deathly afraid of clowns?

Back in college I actually agreed (lord knows what I was thinking) to go with my roommates to a haunted cornfield. As we waited in line, I remember debating whether I should make a run for the car. But then it was too late; our group was up next.

Well, needless to say, I ruined the entire experience for everyone. I had us rushing through that creepy corn path so fast, that we could see the various scary creatures returning back to their respective hiding spots.

Meanwhile, I’m making all of my roommates form a tripod around me, as I pull the hood of my sweatshirt over my eyes.

Naturally all the creepy monsters, clowns, and chain-saw killers figured out I was the scared one and went straight for me. I literally almost kissed the ground outside of the place, I was so happy to be out of there.

So that whole part of Halloween that involves the scary movie marathon or the haunted excursions, I clearly don’t take part it. But what I do love about the holiday is the fun treats you can make.

This pumpkin did not enjoy his guacamole

This pumpkin did not enjoy his guacamole

It’s the yearly excuse to turn a cupcake into a witch, a cookie into a cat, and a pretzel and candy piece into a spider. I love it all.

My chief vegetarian consultant Alyson and I will be hosting a Halloween party this coming weekend and honestly the best part to me of doing this is planning the festive drinks and treats to serve up. We’ll be having a signature orange cocktail (still debating that one), some festive goodies to munch on (mummies, eyeballs, and brains!) and obviously some spooky music to dance to.

A couple nights ago, I made this pumpkin chocolate chip graveyard cake for a friend’s Halloween get together and it was so well received I’m going to whip it up again for the party crowd.

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I’ve said in previous posts that I’ve been hard pressed to find a pumpkin and chocolate combination I liked, with the only one thus far being the chocolate pumpkin brownies.

But this light and fluffy cake has the perfect balance of pumpkin flavor and chocolaty goodness, while the frosting and decorations add an extra layer of sweetness and creative flare.

Happy Halloween!

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Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Graveyard Cake (Source: cake recipe from myrecipes.com)

For the cake:

1 stick unsalted butter, melted

1 ¼ cups sugar

3 large eggs

1 cup pumpkin puree

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking power

1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

½ teaspoon salt

1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour

1/3 cup whole milk

1 cup miniature chocolate chips

1 cup chopped walnuts

For the frosting:

3 cups confectioners’ sugar

6 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

6 tablespoons unsalted butter

4 tablespoons whole milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the decorations:

One cookies and cream Hershey bar

½ cup of mini chocolate chips

green food coloring

coconut flakes

To make the cake: Preheat your oven to 350F. Spray an 8-inch square baking pan with cooking spray and line with parchment paper.

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In a large mixing bowl whisk together the butter, sugar, eggs, vanilla and pumpkin puree. Stir in the baking soda, baking power, pumpkin pie spice and salt. Switch off stirring in part of the flour, then part of the milk until combined.  Make sure to not overmix.

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Using a spatula, fold in the chocolate chips and nuts. With that same spatula scrape the batter into the pan and smooth the top. Give it a couple shakes to even out. Bake 50-55 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Let the cake cool for 5 minutes and then invert it onto a rack. Let it cool completely before you start to frost and decorate.

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To make the frosting: Sift together the cocoa and confectioners’ sugar in to a medium bowl, set aside. In a larger bowl, cream the butter, then gradually alternate beating in the sugar mixture and milk. Add in the vanilla and beat until light and fluffy. Adjust to your liking, with more sugar or milk.

To decorate: Using a disposable cup, such as a solo cup, place the coconut and a couple drops of green food coloring in the cup and mix with a spoon. Set aside.

Melt the chocolate chips in a microwave bowl for about 30 seconds, stirring them again once they come out to completely melt. Wait a couple minutes for the chocolate to cool and then carefully place the melted chocolate into a sandwich bag, pushing it all into a corner. Twist the bag to form a piping bag and clip off the edge of the corner.

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lychee “eyeball” drink to left clearly aids in lining up the tombstones

Pipe RIP onto squares of cookies and cream to resemble tombstones. Immediately put the chocolate lettered squares into the freezer to harden. Frost the cake with the frosting and then sprinkle some of the colored coconut to resemble grass. Place your tombstones into the cake at various spots to resemble a graveyard.

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