These mini pumpkin & chai spice cakes are swirled with chocolate and fragrant chai spices, then topped with a salted ganache
Sometimes, fall just gets away from me. Maybe it’s the transitional nature of it. There are so many things going on – the wrapping up of summer activities and the new projects to prepare for winter. My garden is now mostly torn up and packed away. Few things remain in the ground. The last of the nasturtiums fell prey to a light frost a few nights ago. I harvested the last of my chili peppers and dried them for storage. And as excited as I was to make pumpkin everything a while back when I took my winter squash from their vines, it wasn’t until Thanksgiving that I finally roasted my first one. If it weren’t for the obligation of Thanksgiving pies, all of my pumpkins would still be sitting in their cold, undisturbed pile in the shop.
But, pumpkin puree was created. And slowly but surely, more pumpkin creations were born in my kitchen. Pancakes were next, naturally. If you don’t love pumpkin pancakes, we might have a hard time being friends. And if you’ve never tried them, do yourself a favor and make some, now.
Of course, with the bit of puree I had left after pancakes, I knew some kind of cake was in order. I have been feeling the festive holiday season creep in, so the idea of some extra spices felt right to me. It would only be natural to include some chai tea, as well. And I wouldn’t feel right if I left chocolate out of the mix. It would have to be salted, with something sexy like Fleur de Sel. Extra points for being little individual cakes, so we feel like we’re allowed to eat three or four of them with a cup of tea or coffee in the middle of the afternoon. Or maybe breakfast? I’m not gonna judge you.
For these little marbled pumpkin & chai spice cakes, you essentially make two batters. Most of it turns into a spicy pumpkin batter, and the rest becomes a thick chocolate. Then you alternate them in the pan to make a pretty marbling effect.
There’s a lot more pumpkin to chocolate, but it certainly isn’t because we’re discriminating on chocolate. It’s just because the chocolate batter has much more of a tendency to stick to the mold and not want to pop out of the pan all pretty and nice. So be careful to keep your swirls away from the sides and bottoms of your pans.
Now, if you can manage to get these little delights to pop out of their molds all clean and perfect, then your only other challenge will be to try to eat just one.
Marbled Pumpkin & Chai Spice Cakes + Salted Ganache
Mini pumpkin & chai spice cakes marbled with a chocolate batter, infused with fragrant chai spices, and drizzled with salted ganache
pumpkin & chai spice cakes
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup cocoa powder
- 3 tbsp strong brewed chai tea
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup safflower oil
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 3 eggs
- 1/4 cup half & half
- 1 1/2 cups flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/3 cup pumpkin puree
- 1/2 tsp ea. cinnamon, ginger
- 1/4 tsp ea. cloves, cardamom, black pepper
dark chocolate ganache
- 1/3 cup heavy cream
- 3 tbsp dark chocolate chopped
- pinch sea salt
- coarse salt, such as fleur de sel
for the cakes:
Preheat oven to 350 F. Spray mini bundt pans very well. Brew about 1/4 cup of very strong chai tea. Prepare three small bowls. In one, whisk together sugar, cocoa, and 3 T of the chai tea. In another, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. In a third, combine the pumpkin puree and ground spices.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, combine sugar, oil, and vanilla. Add eggs and whisk on high for about 5 minutes, until pale and very fluffy. Add 1/3 flour; mix gently. Pour in half of cream and stir. Finish alternating half & half with dry ingredients, ending with flour mix. Pour about 1/2 cup of batter into chocolate bowl. Add remaining batter to pumpkin spice bowl. Layer both batters into prepared pan, starting with pumpkin to prevent chocolate from sticking to the bottom. Swirl as desired.
Bake until golden brown and cake springs back when touched, 16-19 minutes. Allow to cool completely.
Heat cream until just shimmering (not boiling). Pour over chocolate and pinch of salt; let stand 30 seconds. Whisk gently to combine. Allow to cool until slightly thickened and room temperature. Glaze cakes. Allow ganache to set up at room temperature for an hour or so before sprinkling with coarse sea salt. If you sprinkle salt on while ganache is still warm and liquid, the salt will absorb into it. Enjoy at room temperature with a cup of chai tea or coffee!