I know, I know, the time of the pumpkin is over, it’s spring now, not fall, but here’s the thing: my grandma has her own tiny (not that tiny actually) garden and she grows pumpkins every single year. So a few months ago she brought me this huge, literally huge pumpkin which I stored on my balcony during winter and kept delaying cutting into it just because pumpkins are so hard to peel. And for that reason my pumpkin survived through fall and winter, but with the warm weather we had at the beginning of March, I thought maybe it’s time to cut it and use it because it wasn’t going to last for long. So we peeled it and turned it into one awesome traditional Romanian pie and I saved a few slices for a cake, thinking to make something more special out of it.
And so this cake was born – this spiced, moist, delicious cake filled with an orange mascarpone cream and topped with a silky chocolate ganache. The recipe is simple, but what makes this cake stand out is the mix between the fluffy, spiced sponges and the smooth, rich mascarpone filling. The chocolate glaze is not compulsory, but it works well in this combination. You are welcomed to skip it if you want a lighter, more refreshing cake though.
The pumpkin can easily be replaced with sweet potato puree, I find them to be quite similar in terms of moisture and consistency so I think they can easily substitute each other in any recipe that relies on their puree for a delicate flavor and moisture. One thing I wouldn’t replace is the cinnamon and ginger. In fact, I would top these with even more aromas, such as ground star anise or cardamom.
- 300g white sugar
- 230g butter, softened
- 4 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 280g all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon powder
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 350g pumpkin puree
- 50g walnuts, chopped (optional)
- 200g mascarpone cream
- 100g white chocolate
- 150g heavy cream, whipped
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Zest from one orange
- 60g dark chocolate, chopped
- 60ml heavy cream
- Pre-heat your oven to 350F and line 2 18-cm cake pans with baking paper.
- Sift the flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and ginger in a bowl.
- Mix the butter with sugar until creamy and fluffy, at least 5 minutes.
- Stir in the eggs, one by one, then add the vanilla and mix well.
- Fold in the flour then add the pumpkin puree and slowly fold it in with a spatula. If you use walnuts (I didn't), now's the time to add them.
- Pour the batter into your pans and bake in the oven for 30-40 minutes or until the cakes pass the toothpick test.
- Let the cakes cool in the pan completely.
- Combine the mascarpone with vanilla and orange zest in a bowl and mix well.
- Fold in the whipped cream.
- Cut each sponge in half to obtain 4 discs of sponge. Layer the sponge disca with 2-3 tablespoons of frosting.
- Bring the cream to the boiling point in a saucepan.
- Remove from heat and stir in the chocolate.
- Mix well until smooth and creamy then pour the glaze over the cake.
- Serve the cake chilled.