It seems like Australia has really grown fond of Halloween! I saw plenty of people in costumes over the weekend, and little kids going around trick or treating – hopefully with more treating involved than tricking since I love candy more than pranks. Duh.
There’s been a pumpkin sitting on our kitchen counter for yonks now. It’s not exactly something we bought for the occasion, but everytime I bring up this pumpkin, Mom says we should keep it. For what, I don’t know. She’s strangely protective over it, probably helped by the fact that visitors seem to think it’s a pretty one. What do you think about it?
Well, I finally got permission to use it! My mom made a lot of sad faces and insisted that I take photos of it before I kill it. Tribute to a dead pumpkin, I call it. And now that Halloween is over, you should feel free to cull any pumpkins you have lying around the house, and make a layer cake!
Like that’s the natural progression of things.
Handy tip here on making pumpkin puree:
Pumpkin puree is not something that is readily available here in Australia, unlike the States. I use a handy trick that I was taught by my cousin, Racheal. What she told me to do was cut the pumpkin into half and remove the seeds. Add a little water into a large Pyrex bowl and put the pumpkin into the bowl, fleshy side down, which will leave it sitting on top of the bowl. Then nuke it in the microwave until it’s soft (it should take about 10 to 12 minutes) and when it’s cool enough to handle, you can scoop out the flesh with a spoon. Voila, pumpkin puree! Blend it if you want it smooth. It’s the neatest thing and there’s no need for a steamer, which in my books, is better than awesome because ours is a pain to wash.
So this two-layer pumpkin cake is moist, not overly sweet, and sandwiched with creamy mascarpone frosting. As always, I made changes to the sugar content, switched up the methodology, and I used self-raising flour (yes, that was a lazy move). The original recipe also included a bit of ginger but I left it out as my mom’s not really hyped on ginger. Of course, I must respect that since she did let me slaughter her beloved pumpkin, which she’s probably still regretting. If you love the spicy flavour, I’m sure you can go all out with the cinnamon/ginger/nutmeg. To make up for it, I did add in vanilla essence, but then I’ve always believed that it’s a can’t-go-wrong ingredient in desserts.
Another move I made was to use butter instead of oil. Again, that is to benefit my butter-troll mother, but you can be sure than it’s less than a cup of vegetable oil, so it wasn’t an unhealthy move as such (don’t quote me on that). The pumpkin puree more than makes up for it, so I can assure you that it will not make the cake dry. As for the frosting, I used mascarpone because it was in the fridge, but you can definitely make the original cream cheese frosting, which I’m guessing would be equally delicious (and slightly less costly).
Time for the recipe, I think. Post-Halloween treat, yay!
Two-Layer Pumpkin Cake with Mascarpone Frosting
Adapted from Diana Rattray’s recipe on Southern Food
2 cups of pumpkin puree
2 cups of self-raising flour
140 g unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 1/2 cups of brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla essence
Line two 9-inch baking tins with greaseproof paper.
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
Whisk together the eggs, brown sugar, melted butter, salt, cinnamon and vanilla essence in a large mixing bowl.
Sift in the self-raising flour and mix gently until just combined.
Pour the batter into the two tins equally and bake for 35 to 40 minutes.
Remove from oven and let cool completely.
If the tops of the cakes are cracked, lop them off carefully with a serrated knife.
Place one cake layer at the bottom (flattest side down) and slather on one-third of the frosting with a palette knife up to 1 cm from the edge.
Stack on the next layer and spread half of the leftover frosting on the top. Use the rest of the frosting to coat the sides.
Refrigerate for about 1 hour to let it set, and then slice and serve.
250 g mascarpone
1 tsp vanilla essence
1 cup thickened cream
1 cup icing sugar, sifted
Beat the mascarpone and vanilla essence with 1/2 cup of icing sugar until smooth in a medium-sized mixing bowl.
In another bowl, whip the cream with the remaining icing sugar until stiff.
Fold the cream into the mascarpone carefully and frost!