Chocolate Pumpkin Torte

What are little boys made of? What are little boys made of? Frogs and snails And puppy-dogs’ tails, That’s what little boys are made of. What are little girls made of? What are little girls made of? Sugar and spice And everything nice, That’s what…

Chocolate Pumpkin Torte

What are little boys made of?

What are little boys made of?

Frogs and snails
And puppy-dogs’ tails,
That’s what little boys are made of.

What are little girls made of?

What are little girls made of?

Sugar and spice
And everything nice,
That’s what little girls are made of.

I think boys are made of chocolate. Semisweet chocolate.

Until my little guy came into my life, I never truly understood that special bond between mother and son. I naively thought there would be no difference from the attachment I developed with my daughter. But there is a difference.

Little boys are sweet, they are cuddlers, they dote, they charm. Oh mommy, I forgot to tell you! You look beautiful today. Oh yes, these were the syrupy words that would roll off his tongue. I know! He was smooth, even at five…and I swear I never coaxed it out of him!

These last few weeks, something changed. The sweet has become the spunky. Place him in a group of friends, and my darling boy hoots and howls, wrestles on pavement, jumps off, well, anything he can climb on. He wants to roughhouse with my husband all the time. And I sigh. I wait until I have that moment alone, when he turns back into my boy.

When he turned six last month, I found myself saying, Oh dear, what will we do, now that you’re six? His response: Don’t worry mommy, I’ll still hug you. Even when I’m eight, I’ll hug you.

Oh I hope so.

Chocolate Pumpkin Torte

When a pumpkin pie just won't cut it, try this beautifully dark and perfectly balanced cake. The cake itself is not overly sweet -- that comes, in just the right amount, from the chocolate Ganache that is glazed on top.



  • 4 eggs, separated
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
Pumpkin Filling
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup plus 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 3/4 cups powdered (confectioners) sugar
Chocolate Ganache Glaze
  • 8 oz semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • 5 oz evaporated milk
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla


Make the Cake:
Preheat the oven to 375°F. Prepare a jell roll pan (15 1/2" x 10 1/2" x 1") by lining it with either parchment paper or aluminum foil. Lightly coat the covered surface and sides with baking spray and set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the egg yolks on medium speed for about two minutes. Add 1/2 cup sugar and continue to beat until the eggs are light in color, about two minutes more. In a separate small bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa, 1/4 cup sugar, baking soda and salt. Stir the vanilla into the water. Add the cocoa mixture to the eggs, alternating with the liquid on low speed until the batter is smooth.

In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites until they are foamy. Add 1 tablespoon of sugar and continue to beat until stiff peaks form. Fold gently into the batter.

Spread the batter evenly into the jelly roll pan, and bake for about 14 minutes. The cake should be spring back at the touch. Invert the pan on a lightly dampened towel and remove the liner. Cool the cake completely.

Make the Pumpkin Filling:

Combine the pumpkin and flour into a small sauce pan and cook over medium heat. Stir it constantly until the mixture begins to bubble and boil. Remove from heat and cool completely,

Combine the butter, cinnamon and nutmeg, beating well. Add the sugar and continue beating until it is light and fluffy. Add the pumpkin mixture and combine it well. Chill for at least 15 minutes.

Assemble the Cake:

Cut the cake into four even pieces, crosswise. Place one piece on a serving dish and spread about 3/4 cup of the Pumpkin Filling on top. Continue with the next layer and the filling, ending with a cake layer. Chill the cake.

Make the Chocolate Ganache:

In a small sauce pan, combine the chopped chocolate, evaporated milk and butter over low heat, stirring constantly, when the chocolate is melted and smooth, remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Let it cool until it is lukewarm.

Spoon on top of the chilled cake, letting it drizzle slightly over the sides. Chill the cake until about 30 minutes before serving.

Recipe from Harvest Pumpkin Torte and Chocolate Ganache Glaze, Hershey's Chocolate Treasury.


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  1. Christine

    Oh how sweet your boy is! I hope mine will stay so sweet forever. This chocolate pumpkin cake is absolutely luxurious!

  2. Tanya

    So I made this last night. Made up the cake batter, then stuck it in the oven. Then started on the pumpkin filling and it said add flour to the pumpkin… And I had to pull my flour out of the cupboard. And I thought “weird” why isn’t the flour already on the counter. And so I sat and stared at the oven where my cake was baking for a good long minute, before I realized there was NO FLOUR IN MY CAKE! ROFL. Your directions don’t say when to add the flour to the cake batter. My second try turned out much better. I made it for an office party and it was a hit! Thanks.

    • Liren

      Dear Tanya, Oh my goodness! I feel absolutely terrible – you are right, thank you for letting me know of the glaring omission; I have adjusted the directions accordingly. I am so sorry that you had to make the cake twice, but am thoroughly relieved that the cake was hit at the office. Please forgive me! Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

  3. fine little home

    wowzers this looks so delish! if i had the time i would make it for this thanksgiving but sadly i don’t but i might have some time this weekend…. and then i will only have to share with my two boys and the hubby ; )

    hope you don’t mind me sharing the recipe and pic on my little blog, if you do please let me know.


    ps the photo is so GOOOOOOOD!

    • Liren

      I hope you do have a chance to try the dessert sometime – in my mind, this cake transcends Thanksgiving, so I hope you enjoy it! As for the recipe and picture, thank you so much for asking, I am happy if you do use it, just please provide credit and a link back. Thank you and Happy Thanksgiving!

  4. Kim - Liv Life

    Oh Liren… your post touched my heart!! I had one of those boys once, the one where I was the center of his universe and I could do not wrong. Times have changed… a bit. He’s 15 and I think I’m still pretty close to the center of his universe, he just won’t let me in there very often. Occasionally I get this burst of love from him, but for the most part he remains fairly unemotional and somewhat teenagerish. I’m still the center of Liv’s universe and she doesn’t hesitate to tell me each and every day. probably more often even than I tell her.
    Love him every minute you can!!
    And the cake?? Another gorgeous photo. I’m extremely envious of your settings, they are so beautiful and you such a good eye for capturing the moment. Lovely post, lovely recipe and lovely pictures!

    • Liren

      Kim, I will keep my fingers crossed that when my little boy turns 15, he will remember or care to give me occasional bursts of love. And then I will also hope that my little girl and I become closer, too!! I will absolutely take your advice and love every minute!!! Happy Thanksgiving to you and your whole family :)

  5. Cristina

    Gosh, Liren. What a stunning dessert. Really, what could be more perfect right now than chocolate and pumpkin in a torte? I’d like to drive a fork through that slice of cake and take a healthy bite. Just lovely…I’d love to give this recipe a try!

    Your little boy will always be your sweet little boy. :) My sister is going through similar Mommie pains right now as my young nephew is growing up too quickly for her comfort.

    A safe and happy holiday to you and your family Liren! ~Cristina

  6. Tara

    Looks delicious! I think I’ll make this for our church’s Pie & Praise night on Wednesday…

  7. Anna

    I feel I am ready for another baby. My daughter is turning three next year and I always have my nephew around the house who I refer to as my kid too. I want a boy too. I love hearing your thoughts about moms-sons bonding moments.
    Thanks for featuring a super delicious recipe (i can swear just by the looks of it!)
    Keep posting!

  8. Ann

    The tort looks amazing, but *sigh* that was the SWEETEST post! It was pure poetry….thank you for sharing it.

  9. Kita

    Im not even a parent and that last sentence brought a tear to my eye! Of course he will still hug you when he is 8. Little boys never grow to big to not need to hug their moms.

    oooh, and this torte is simply beautiful!

  10. Cristina

    I’m so young to have childs, but I hope too I’ll feel the same :)
    Nowadays with this recipe I’m OK :) that’s perfect and I’m sure that yummy too!

  11. Yonka

    I want this cake, especially because it is not very sweet! In the list of the ingredients for the cake it says 1/3 cup of water and in the method you say ‘Stir the vanilla into the milk.’ Which is correct-water or milk? And also do you add any milk to the pumpkin and flour for the pumpkin filling?
    Thank you very much for the wonderful cake-I can’t wait to make it!

    • Liren

      Yonka, thank you so very much for catching that error. In actuality, you could certainly use milk as the liquid in this cake, but I have updated the recipe to make it correct. As for the pumpkin filling, there is no milk. Enjoy, I hope you love it!

  12. Beth Michelle

    This torte is absolutely beautiful!!!! Serve this to your son at any age and he will turn back into a sweet little boy for sure!

  13. Gina

    I had pumpkin pie on the menu, but I’m doubting myself now. Oh my gosh this looks amazing. I wish I’d of had a boy two, but I love hearing about the differences from you. Hope you are having a wonderful weekend and that you and your family have a Happy Thanksgiving.

  14. Lisa { AuthenticSuburbanGourmet }

    What a beautiful post and that torte looks and sounds amazing. The only issue if I made it, would be that I would eat it all. Your photos are stunning – love them! Hope your weekend is going well! :-)

  15. Curt

    What an awesome looking torte! And a great combo of flavors. Pinned!

    I noticed this myself after a few years of parenting and observing others. It’s a natural attraction of opposite sexes I think. My daughter and I were attached from the first moment. She’s 31 years old now, and we’re still best friends!

    • Liren

      Oh how wonderful! I hope both my children can call me their best friend when they get older :)

  16. Maribel

    This looks absolutely scrumptious, your pictures are great! I only have one child, my daughter is 4, and whenever I tell her she’s growing up too fast and I want her to stay this size forever she tells me “oh, but you can have another one mommy” Yikes! I don’t know about that. :-)

    • Liren

      LOL, a possible solution, children are so funny! I love age 4 – enjoy every moment, Maribel!

  17. sippitysup

    Chocolate and Pumpkin is a combination of flavors that deserves thie special attention you give it here. Gorgeous. GREG

  18. Betty Ann @Mango_Queen

    Oh my god, that chocolate is magnificent! I want to just lick the screen while reading the post! Great recipe and heartwarming story! Happy Thanksgiving, Liren!

    • Liren

      Hee hee, make sure that screen is clean first, ok? Happy Thanksgiving, Betty Ann!

  19. Elizabeth @ Saffron Lane

    With my first child on the way, I love hearing your take on the differences between boys and girls. What a gorgeous recipe and photos, too. There’s a good chance I could make a big dent in that entire torte myself, if left to my own devices!

    • Liren

      Elizabeth!!! Congratulations! I am thrilled for you :) Girls and boys – each are special in their own individual way, I can’t wait.

      As for making a dent in the torte, I’m afraid I did just that ;)

  20. Tengo un horno y sé cómo usarlo

    Wow! this looks amazing. I have no boys, two girls. One is 7, the younger is 3. I am afraid they have produce already all the kisses and hugs they were able for me, just in case some day they forgot…..
    Loved this post.

  21. Monet

    I loved hearing your reflections on parenthood…and then of course, you wow me with this beautiful torte. What a gorgeous dessert! Thank you for sharing. I hope you have a wonderful weekend full of baking and eating and relaxation

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