Pumpkin Tiramisu Layer Cake
There is no doubt about it – this Pumpkin Tiramisu Layer Cake is my new favorite cake for this fall! With layers of moist pumpkin cake, Kahlua and espresso, tiramisu filling and a mascarpone frosting, it is to die for!
Yay for pumpkin! I am so excited to be sharing my first pumpkin recipe of the season with you. There are few things I get more excited about than a good pumpkin dessert. This cake does not disappoint. Both layered cakes and tiramisu are desserts that are fit for a special occasion or great meal, so when combined in this cake, I almost died. So good!
To start, the pumpkin cake layers. This cake is so moist and wonderfully fluffy. The pumpkin adds so much moisture. It’s fairly straight forward to make, just be sure to fully cream the butter and sugar. It adds air to the batter that’s important in making the cakes nice and fluffy.
The cake layers also have some cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves to give it a little spice and to accentuate the pumpkin flavor. I’m a fan. 🙂
The filling is a traditional tiramisu filling and it is so darn good. Let me tell you – I wasn’t a big fan of tiramisu until I’d had it homemade. Store-bought and restaurant versions just never did it for me. This filling is so good I could eat it with a spoon. And while it may seem intimidating, it’s really not hard.
To start, you’ll combine egg yolks and sugar in a double boiler. I actually use my mixer bowl and put it over a pot of simmering water, but use whichever you have handy. The steam from the water slowly cooks the eggs without giving you scrambled eggs, so make sure not to heat the water too much or it’ll cook the eggs too quickly. You’ll want to cook the egg mixture for about 7-10 minutes. The best way to tell if it’s done is to use a food thermometer. It’s done at 155°F (68°C).
Once the egg mixture is done, you’ll whip the egg yolks until they thicken and pale in color a bit. Next is adding the mascarpone cheese (love that stuff!) and whipped cream. It seriously is the most heavenly combination of ingredients. Serious willpower is needed to not just eat it all.
The frosting is a mascarpone frosting. Like I said, I love mascarpone. It’s lightly sweet and does such a great job of balancing everything. Mascarpone can be fairly soft at room temperature and will water down and not be salvageable if over mixed, so do be careful with it. Mix the frosting at low speed and when adding it to the cake, it’s best to have it somewhat cool so that it isn’t too soft.
The final (but super important) addition is the kahlua and espresso mixture. The best! If you don’t have an aversion to alcohol, I definitely recommend keeping in the kahlua. You could replace it with additional water and espresso, but it seriously just gives that extra bit of awesome to every bite. Worth every drop!
When everything is layered together, you’ll use some of the mascarpone frosting to pipe a dam around the outside of the cake layers. Because the filling is relatively soft, you’ll want the mascarpone frosting to help hold it in place. You can see what it all looks like in the video below.
To finish off the cake, I piped some swirls around the top, added a sprinkle of cocoa and then pressed cookie sticks onto the sides. You could totally change this up and leave off the cookie sticks, but I thought it was a fun change to some of my other layer cakes.
You guys this cake is amazing! One of my favorites! It was a huge hit with everyone who tried it and I’m telling you – there were lots of diets broken the day I shared this cake in the office. 🙂 The sign of a good one!
Pumpkin Tiramisu Layer Cake
Yield: 12-14 slices
Pumpkin Cake Layers
3/4 cup (168g) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups (310g) sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3 tbsp (45ml) vegetable oil
3 large eggs, room temperature
1 large egg white, room temperature
2 1/2 cups (325g) all purpose flour
2 tsp (8g) baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 ½ tsp (5g) ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp cloves
1 3/4 cup (406g) pumpkin puree
6 large egg yolks, room temperature
3/4 cup (155g) sugar
3/4 cup (6 oz/170g) mascarpone cheese, room temperature
1 cup (240ml) heavy whipping cream, cold
1/2 cup (120ml) hot water
2 tbsp (10g) instant espresso coffee powder
1/4 cup (60ml) Kahlua
3 cups (678g/24 oz) mascarpone cheese, softened
3 1/2 cups (403g) powdered sugar, sifted
1 tsp kahlua
To make the cake layers:
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (176°C). Line the bottom of three 8-inch (20cm) cake pans with parchment paper and grease the sides.
2. In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar on medium speed until light in color and fluffy, 3-4 minutes.
3. Add the vanilla extract and vegetable oil and mix until combined.
4. Add eggs and egg white in two batches, mixing until incorporated after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed to make sure everything is combined.
5. Add the dry ingredients to a medium sized bowl and whisk to combine.
6. Add half of the flour mixture to the batter and mix until combined. Add the pumpkin puree to the batter and mix until combined. Add the remaining flour mixture and mix until well combined and smooth. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed to ensure everything is well combined. The batter will be thick.
7. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared cake pans.
8. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out with a few crumbs.
9. Remove cakes from the oven and allow to cool for 3-4 minutes, then remove from pans to a cooling rack to finish cooling.
To make the tiramisu filling:
1. Combine the egg yolks and sugar in the top of a double boiler. If you don’t have a double boiler, you can use a mixing bowl set over a pot with simmering water in it. I use my mixer bowl. Do not let the water boil, or it will be too hot. To ensure that the steam cooking the eggs doesn’t get too hot, occasionally lift the bowl to release the steam.
2. Cook for about 7-10 minutes whisking constantly with heat on low, until mixture is light in color and sugar is dissolved. The temperature of the mixture should reach about 155°F (68°C). If mixture starts to get too thick and a darker yellow, it’s overcooked.
3. When done, whip egg yolks with a mixer until they thicken and lighten a bit to a pale yellow.
4. Add the mascarpone cheese to a medium sized bowl, then add about 1/3 of the yolks to the mascarpone cheese and carefully fold them together. Add the remaining egg yolks and gently fold into the cheese mixture until combined, being careful not to deflate the yolks or over mix the mascarpone cheese. When mascarpone cheese is over mixed, it can start to separate.
5. Add the heavy whipping cream for the filling to another mixer bowl and whip on high speed until stiff peaks form, about 5 minutes.
6. Carefully fold the whipped cream into mascarpone mixture by first folding about 1/3 of the whipped cream into the mascarpone mixture. Carefully fold the remaining whipped cream into the mascarpone mixture. Set mixture in the fridge until ready to use.
To make the frosting:
1. Combine the mascarpone cheese, powdered sugar and kahlua and mix on low speed until combined and smooth. Do not over mix the mascarpone cheese. When mascarpone cheese is over mixed, it can start to separate. Set frosting in the fridge until ready to use.
To build the cake:
1. Remove the domes from the tops of the cakes with a large serrated knife.
2. Combine the ingredients for the espresso mixture.
3. Place the first cake layer on a serving place or cardboard cake circle.
4. Drizzle 4-5 tablespoons of espresso mixture over the cake layer.
5. Pipe a dam around with outside of the cake with the mascarpone frosting.
6. Fill in the center of the dam with about 1/3 of the tiramisu filling, then spread into an even layer.
7. Top the filling with the second layer of cake, then repeat steps 4-6.
8. Top the cake with the final layer of cake, then drizzle another 4-5 tablespoons on top of the cake layer.
9. Add a crumb coat to the sides of the cake with the mascarpone frosting, then full frost the outside of the cake, leaving the top bare.
10. Pipe a border around the top edge of the cake with the remaining frosting.
11. Fill in the border with the remaining 1/3 of the tiramisu filling.
12. Sprinkle a little cocoa onto the top of the cake, if desired, then press the cookie sticks onto the sides. The cake should be refrigerated until ready to be served. Cake is best for 3-4 days.
*I used 1 1/2 containers of cookie sticks for the whole cake.
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