Chocolate Pumpkin Cheesecake Cake

Source: Once Upon a Tier. Cheesecake layer adapted from Lori Lange's many cheesecake cakes at RecipeGirl.com

Yields 12-14 servings

Ingredients:

Pumpkin Cheesecake Layer:

2 8-ounce packages cream cheese, softened

1 cup granulated sugar

Pinch of salt

2 large eggs

1 cup canned pumpkin, NOT pumpkin pie filling

1/4 cup sour cream

Rounded 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/16 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/16 teaspoon ground cloves

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Chocolate Cake Layers:

1 box Duncan Hines chocolate cake mix

1 small (3.9 oz.) box chocolate pudding mix

4 large eggs

3/4 cup canola oil

3/4 cup water or milk

Pumpkin Buttercream Frosting:

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened

1/2 cup pumpkin

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

Pinch ground nutmeg

Pinch ground cloves

Pinch salt

1 pound powdered sugar

Chocolate Ganache:

4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips

1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

Directions:

For the Cheesecake Layer:

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Fill a 13x9 pan with an inch of water and place it on the lowest oven rack. Place another oven rack on the level above the pan of water. Spray a 9-inch spring-form pan with nonstick spray.

2. Using an electric mixer beat the cream cheese until it is smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes.  Add in the sugar and salt and beat for 2 more minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl halfway through. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating after each egg until incorporated. Mix in the sour cream, pumpkin, spices, and vanilla until smooth. Pour the batter into the prepared spring-form pan. Place the pan on the rack above the 13x9 pan. Bake the cheesecake for 40-45 minutes or until the cheesecake is set and doesn’t jiggle. Let the cheesecake cool on a wire rack. After it has completely cooled, put the pan in the freezer until the cheesecake is frozen through. This will take at least 3 hours and may be frozen overnight.

For the Chocolate Cake Layers:

3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray two 9-inch cake pans with floured baking spray.

4. In the bowl of an electric mixer, add all of the ingredients. With the electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix on low speed until combined, about 30 seconds. Increase to medium speed and beat for 2 minutes. Pour half of the batter into each prepared pan and bake for about 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let cool on wire racks for about 10 minutes, then flip the cakes out of the pans and let them cool completely.

For the Pumpkin Buttercream:

5. With an electric mixer, mix the butter, pumpkin, and vanilla until smooth. Add the spices, salt, and powdered sugar and mix on low speed until smooth and combined.

For the Ganache:

6. Place the chocolate chips in a heatproof bowl; set aside.

7. In a small saucepan, bring the cream just to a boil over medium-high heat. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate. Whisk until all the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth. Let cool to room temperature.

 Assembling the Cake:

 1. Level the chocolate cakes by cutting off the crown. Place one of the chocolate cake layers onto a cake stand or cake board. Spread a thin layer of the pumpkin buttercream on top. 

 2. Take the cheesecake out of the freezer and take off the sides of the pan. Slide a knife under the cheesecake to remove it from the pan. Place the cheesecake layer on top of the first cake layer. Spread another thin layer of buttercream on top of the cheesecake layer. 

 3. Place the second cake layer on top of the cheesecake. 

 4. Frost the entire cake with the pumpkin buttercream. 

 5. Pour the ganache onto the top of the cake. Using an offset spatula, spread the ganache towards the edge of the cake until it starts to drip down the sides. 

You can leave the cake like this, or you can add the swirls like I did. To do this, fit a decorating bag with a Wilton 1M tip. Fill the bag with whatever pumpkin buttercream is leftover from frosting the cake. Pipe 8 evenly spaced swirls around the top of the cake. Place a chocolate chip upside down onto the tip of each swirl. Slice, eat, and enjoy!!