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I voted for the first time in this election, and it was quite an emotional moment. I was thinking of all that had led to this point – my own personal journey and that of the people who fought for the freedom and rights we enjoy.
I definitely wanted champagne to celebrate and thought this cake would pair well with my drink of choice – it seemed right for the occasion, or maybe just an excuse to treat myself and make merry! My wonderful husband surprised me with a fabulous bottle of bubbles, and another cake! With plenty of treats to go around, there was enough “Celebration Cake”(as I named this chocolate pumpkin cake) to share with my two neighbors who had also recently become Naturalized Citizens and had the opportunity to vote for the first time.


1 1/2 cups flour
2/3 cup cocoa
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 cup canned pumpkin
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3/4 cup butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup sugar
3 eggs, plus one yolk

Heat oven to 375F.
Butter and flour two 8 inch cake pans.
Sift the flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt together. Stir the buttermilk, pumpkin and vanilla extract together in a small bowl. Beat the butter, brown sugar and sugar together using an electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy.
Beat in the eggs and yolk, one at a time. Reduce mixer speed to low and alternately beat in the flour and buttermilk mixtures in thirds. Pour the batter into the prepared pans. Bake until a tester, inserted in the center, comes out clean, about 35 minutes.
Cool layers completely before icing.
Beat 6 ounces of softened cream cheese until fluffy. Add 1 1/2 cups confectioners sugar, 2 1/4 teaspoons cocoa, 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, and 3/4 teaspoon vanilla and beat on low until well combined.
In a separate bowl, beat 1 1/2 cups cream with 3/4 cup confectioners sugar, until soft peaks are formed.
Gently fold the whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture until well combined.
Spread 1 cup frosting between the two layers and using the remaining frosting to ice the top and sides of the cake. Chill 30 minutes, then proceed to the next step.
Place 4 ounces of semi-sweet chocolate, 1 tablespoon butter and 3 tablespoons corn syrup in a medium heatproof bowl.
Bring 1/2 cup cream to boil. Pour it over the chocolate and let sit for 3 to 5 minutes, until the glaze thickens slightly. Pour the glaze onto the center of the frosted cake and smooth out to the edges to allow the glaze to drip over the sides.

Recipe adapted from The Morning News, October 2008