Pumpkin Layer Cake With Mascarpone Cream And Sugared Pecans



Pumpkin Spice Cakes:

  • one 425 g (15 oz) can of pumpkin puree (not pumkin pie filling)
  • 330 g (1 1/2 cups) caster sugar
  • 120 ml (1/2 cup) sunflower or vegetable oil
  • 3 large eggs
  • 300 g (2 1/2 cups) plain (all-purpose) flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground allspice
  • 1/8 tsp ground cloves

Sugared Pecans:

  • 200 g (2 cups) pecans
  • 1 medium egg white
  • 1/2 Tbsp water
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 100 g (1/2 cup) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Mascarpone Cream:

  • 500 g (18oz) full fat mascarpone
  • 300 g (2 cups) icing (powdered) sugar
  • 300 ml (1 1/4 cups) double (heavy) cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste


  1. To make the cakes, preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4. Grease three 18-20cm/7-8 inch round cake tins and line the bases with baking parchment.
  2. Whisk together the pumpkin puree, sunflower oil, eggs and sugar in a large bowl until smooth. Sift together the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, spices and salt.
  3. Tip the dry ingredients into the wet and fold together until smooth. Divide the mixture between the prepared tins and level.
  4. Bake for about 20-25 minutes until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Leave the cakes to cool in their tins.
  5. To make the sugared pecans, preheat the oven to 150°C/300°F/gas mark 2 and line a baking tray with baking parchment.
  6. Place the egg white, water and vanilla extract in a bowl and whisk until it is frothy. Mix together the sugar, spices and salt in a separate bowl.
  7. Add the pecans to the egg white and stir thoroughly to coat then tip them into the sugar mixture and mix well. Tip the mixture out onto the prepared baking sheet and spread it out so that the pecans are in a single layer.
  8. Bake for 15 minutes then carefully turn the pecans over and return to the oven for a further 15 minutes. Allow to cool on the tray then store in an airtight container.
  9. To make the mascarpone frosting; beat together the mascarpone, powdered sugar and vanilla extract with an electric mixer on low speed until smooth. Add the cream and whisk at a high speed until until it forms stiff peaks but be careful not to over-whip it; stop mixing as soon as it is firm. Cover and place in the fridge until needed.
  10. To assemble the cake; trim the tops of the cake layers to level if needed. Roughly chop about a quarter of the pecans (make sure you save the best looking ones for decorating).
  11. Place one cake layer on a serving plate and spread over a layer of the frosting; scatter over a handful of the chopped pecans then place the second cake layer on top and press down gently.
  12. Repeat the frosting and pecans then place the final cake layer on top, upside down so that the top of the cake is perfectly flat.
  13. Spread a thin layer of frosting all over the top and sides of the cake. Place the remaining frosting in a piping bag fitted with a large open star nozzle and pipe swirls of frosting on top of the cake.
  14. Place a whole pecan on top of each swirl then use little dabs of any leftover frosting to stick a ring of pecans around the bottom edge of the cake. Best eaten the day it is made but will keep for a couple of days. Keep the cake refrigerated.