Pumpkin Tiramisu Layer Cake

With layers of moist pumpkin cake, tiramisu filling, an espresso drizzle, and mascarpone frosting, this Pumpkin Tiramisu Layer Cake is the dessert you didn’t know you needed! It has all the elements of tiramisu but the ladyfingers are replaced with spiced pumpkin cakes. Who knew pumpkin and tiramisu would be so good!

Want to make a classic Tiramisu? Try my homemade Tiramisu recipe!

A slice of pumpkin layer cake with tiramisu filling

Moist Pumpkin Tiramisu Layer Cake

This layer cake combines two of my favorite things – pumpkin and tiramisu. In the fall, there are few things that I get more excited about than a good pumpkin dessert and tiramisu is something I’ll never turn down! (As you might have guessed, from all the tiramisu recipes on my site!)

Both layered cakes and tiramisu are desserts that are fit for a special occasion or at the end of a great meal, so I figured…why not combine them? The first time I tried this cake, I almost died. It’s that good!

This cake was a hit with everyone who was lucky enough to get a slice and I’ve had requests to make it ever since.

What Makes This Pumpkin Cake So Amazing?

Everything! But, first of all, the pumpkin cake layers are so moist and wonderfully fluffy, thanks to the pumpkin puree. Plus when you cream the butter and sugar, it adds air to the batter that makes the cake extra fluffy. Not to mention the spiced pumpkin flavor, thanks to the cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves.

And then you have the tiramisu filling. It is so darn good that I just want to eat it by the spoonful! Making the homemade tiramisu filling may be the most intimidating part of this recipe, as you need to cook the egg yolks just so, but I promise it’s not as difficult as you think!

Pumpkin Tiramisu Cake with a slice removed

It’s all finished off with some mascarpone frosting. I love mascarpone and it’s perfect for this recipe. It’s lightly sweet but not overly so, so it balances out the other flavors, and it holds up well between the cake layers.

Add an espresso drizzle to each cake and some cookie sticks to the sides and voila! You have an epic pumpkin tiramisu layer cake ready to serve! Of course, you can leave the cookie sticks off, I just thought it was a fun change from a typical frosted layer cake.

Overhead view of Pumpkin Tiramisu Layer Cake on a cake stand

What You’ll Need

Each component of this layer cake requires a handful of ingredients. The pumpkin cakes include your typical baked good ingredients while the tiramisu filling is made with traditional tiramisu ingredients. Add a simple 3-ingredient mascarpone frosting and an espresso and Kahlua mixture and you’re good to go!

For the Pumpkin Cake Layers:

  • Unsalted butter
  • Sugar
  • Vanilla extract
  • Vegetable oil
  • Eggs – You’ll also need an additional egg white.
  • All-purpose flour
  • Baking powder & baking soda
  • Salt
  • Spices – Ground cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves give the cakes the classic fall pumpkin flavors.
  • Pumpkin puree – Adds the pumpkin flavor and color.

For the Tiramisu Filling

  • Egg yolks – It’s important that they are at room temperature.
  • Sugar
  • Mascarpone cheese – This should also be at room temperature.
  • Heavy whipping cream – Unlike the other ingredients, the heavy whipping cream should be cold.

For the Espresso Mixture

  • Hot water – For dissolving the espresso powder.
  • Instant espresso coffee powder
  • Kahlua – Adds a tasty boozy twist to the dessert.

For the Mascarpone Frosting:

  • Mascarpone cheese – It should be softened so it’s easier to mix.
  • Powdered sugar
  • Kahlua – Just a small amount of Kahlua adds flavor to the dish.
Pumpkin Tiramisu Layer Cake on a cake stand

Can I Make This Without Kahlua?

Yes, if you don’t want to add Kahlua, you can replace it with additional espresso. But you’ll want to sweeten it so that the cake doesn’t end up bitter. However, I definitely recommend keeping it in if possible. It gives that extra bit of awesome to every bite. Worth every drop!

Pumpkin Tiramisu Layer Cake slice on a plate

How to Make This Pumpkin Tiramisu Layer Cake

This pumpkin layer cake requires a bit of time and attention to make. The cake layers need to be made in advance so they can cool completely before assembling and you’ll want to pay careful attention while you make the tiramisu filling to ensure the custard is cooked just perfectly.

Make the Pumpkin Cake Layers:

  1. Make the cake batter. Cream the butter and sugar until light in color and fluffy. Mix in the vanilla extract and vegetable oil. Add the eggs and egg white in two batches. Whisk the dry ingredients in a separate bowl. Add half to the wet ingredients, mixing to combine. Then add the pumpkin puree, followed by the remaining dry ingredients. Mix until well combined between each addition.
  2. Bake. Transfer the batter to three pans lined with parchment paper and greased sides. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes. A toothpick should come out with just a few crumbs.
  3. Cool. Allow to cool for a few minutes after being removed from the oven, then transfer to a cooling rack. Cool completely before moving on to the next section.

Make the Tiramisu Filling:

  1. Cook the eggs and sugar. Combine the egg yolks and sugar in the top of a double boiler. Be careful not to let the water boil. Cook for 7 to 10 minutes, until the mixture is light and the sugar is dissolved. Be sure to whisk constantly. Whip the egg yolks until they thicken and turn a pale yellow.
  2. Add the mascarpone. Add 1/3 of the yolks to the mascarpone cheese in a bowl. Fold together then add the remaining yolks. Mix just to combine. Do not overmix as the yolks will deflate and the mascarpone can separate.
  3. Add the heavy whipping cream. Whip the heavy cream on high until stiff peaks form.
  4. Combine the ingredients. Fold 1/3 of the whipped cream into the mascarpone mixture, then carefully fold in the remaining whipped cream. Chill in the fridge until it’s time to use.

To Make The Frosting:

  1. Combine ingredients. Combine all ingredients on low speed until combined and smooth. Place in the fridge until ready to use.

To Assemble the Cake:

  • Remove the domes. Use a large serrated knife to remove the domes from the cakes, so they’re even all the way across. Place the first layer on a serving plate.
  • Make the espresso mixture. Combine all ingredients for the espresso mixture. Drizzle a few tablespoons over the cake layer.
  • Add the mascarpone and tiramisu. Pipe a dam around the outside of the cake with the frosting. Spread 1/3 of the tiramisu filling into an even layer.
  • Add the remaining layers. Top with the second layer of cake then repeat until you had all 3 layers.
  • Frost the cake. Add a crumb coat to the sides of the cake then frosting the outside with the mascarpone. Pipe a border around the top edge with remaining frosting then fill in with the remaining tiramisu filling.
  • Add the final touches. Sprinkle cocoa onto the top of the cake then press the cookie sticks onto the sides. Refrigerate until serving.

Tips for The Best Layer Cake

Ready to make the most epic tiramisu layer cake? I’ve got you covered with these tips!

  • Allow the cakes to cool completely. The most important part of making a layer cake is ensuring that the the cakes are completely cool before adding any type of frosting or filling.
  • Keep everything cool until assembling. The mascarpone frosting and tiramisu filling should both be kept in the fridge until it’s time to assemble the cake. This is especially true for the mascarpone.
  • Do not over mix the mascarpone. Mascarpone is soft at room temperature and will become watered down if overmixed. If it reaches that point, unfortunately, there’s nothing you can do but start over. Be sure to mix the frosting at low speed and chill before frosting the cake to avoid this.
  • Do not overcook the egg yolks. When you’re cooking the egg yolks and sugar, you want the temperature to reach about 155F. But keep a close eye on it – if it starts to get too thick or develops a darker yellow color, it’s overcooked.
  • Can I make this with other cake flavors? Sure. Instead of pumpkin, you could try a yellow or vanilla cake. Chocolate would give it a different flavor but would work too.
slice of Pumpkin Tiramisu Layer Cake with bite taken out

Can I Freeze This Cake?

This cake is not ideal for freezing. Mascarpone frosting tends to become grainy when frozen and the cake layers can get too soggy from the tiramisu and espresso mixture. You could freeze the individual layers of pumpkin cake, however, the espresso mixture soaks in best on freshly baked cakes.

How To Store Leftovers

This cake should be kept covered in the refrigerator. Avoid keeping it at room temperature for too long as the mascarpone frosting will soften. It should be enjoyed within 3 to 4 days.

More Tiramisu Recipes:

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Pumpkin Tiramisu Layer Cake slice on a plate
Recipe

Pumpkin Tiramisu Layer Cake

  • Author: Life, Love and Sugar
  • Prep Time: 2 hours
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 2 hours 25 minutes
  • Yield: 12-14 Slices
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: American

Description

With layers of moist pumpkin cake, tiramisu filling, an espresso drizzle, and mascarpone frosting, this Pumpkin Tiramisu Layer Cake is the dessert you didn’t know you needed! It has all the elements of tiramisu but the ladyfingers are replaced with spiced pumpkin cakes. Who knew pumpkin and tiramisu would be so good!


Ingredients

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

TIRAMISU FILLING

  • 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

ESPRESSO MIXTURE

  • 1/2 cup (120ml) hot water
  • 2 tbsp (10g) instant espresso coffee powder
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) Kahlua

MASCARPONE FROSTING

  • 3 cups (678g/24 oz) mascarpone cheese, softened
  • 3 1/2 cups (403g) powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1 tsp kahlua

Cream filled wafer cookie sticks*


Instructions

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.


Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1 Slice
  • Calories: 996
  • Sugar: 70.5 g
  • Sodium: 327.9 mg
  • Fat: 59.3 g
  • Carbohydrates: 103.6 g
  • Protein: 14.5 g
  • Cholesterol: 241.4 mg

Keywords: tiramisu cake, pumpkin cake, pumpkin layer cake, tiramisu desserts

Categories

Enjoy!

 

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Recipe rating

26 Comments
  1. Stacie P

    As always, this recipe sounds amazing! I want to make it for Thanksgiving. I’m afraid though of preparing just before the day needed; in case I have issues with the filling and frosting. Any chance the filling and frosting can be made ahead and frozen? That way, if it doesn’t work out, I have time to make a different frosting.

    1. Lindsay

      I would be hesitant to make those ahead and freeze them. The filling has whipped cream in it, which can be frozen but may lose some of its volume and consistency when stirred after thawing it. The frosting has mascarpone cheese in it, which can get too soft if over stirred. I just don’t know how it would do after being frozen. I do hope you try this cake though. It is still one of my favorites!

  2. Ines Cardillo

    I made this cake. A couple of problems arose. The filling was quite runny. I didn’t over beat the mascarpone. The whipped cream was folded in. Even with the frosting wall on each layer, the layers would slip around. I had to put dowels to help prevent. Then the frosting would not thicken, even after refrigeration. It was more like a very thick glaze. I had to add more powdered sugar to get it to pipe. This made the frosting way to sweet. Can you help me? I did follow the instructions exactly. Also, I do a lot of baking. It was a challenge. I’m thinking of trying a different frosting.

    1. Lindsay

      I’m so sorry you had trouble. If the frosting wouldn’t thicken with refrigeration, it sounds like the mascarpone cheese was giving you the issue – that’s exactly what happens is it won’t thicken. If you think it wasn’t over-mixed, it’s possible it got too warm. You want it to be cool enough to mix and work with but you don’t want it to get too warm. It can be a little fussy.

  3. Andrea Powell

    Hi Lindsay,

    I made this cake today and I’m sure it will be absolutely delicious but mine didn’t look like yours AT ALL. Of course, you’re an expert and I’m not, but I have a couple of questions: first, my marscapone frosting was completely soft. How did you get yours so stiff? Was I supposed to drain the marscapone before using it? Or is there a certain brand of marscapone that is firmer than others? I ended up having to add cream cheese just to stiffen it up a bit because I didn’t want to add more sugar; it was already sweet enough. Second my layers weren’t nearly as high as yours. Do you have any idea why yours would have risen so much more than mine? Could it be my baking soda or baking powder wasn’t fresh enough? I’m stumped!

    Anyway, I love your blog and always look forward to your new creations!

    Thanks,

    Andrea

    1. Lindsay

      Hi Andrea! Mascarpone can be a bit tricky. A couple possibilities. One is that it’s very susceptible to over-mixing. When it’s over mixed (too much mixing or at high speed), it seems to break it down and it’s gets very thin and can be hard to firm it up again in the fridge. The other thing, is you want to use it when it’s soft enough to mix, but not let it get too warm. That can also break it down. I hope that helps! As far as the cake layers not seeming as high – the most likely culprit is not fully creaming the butter and sugar. You really want to be sure it’s mixed for at least 2-3 minutes, if not 3-4. You’ll actually see the color and texture of the mixture change.

      I hope that helps! So glad you enjoy the blog! 🙂

      1. Andrea

        I finally figured out why my layers were not as high! I used 9″ pans. Didn’t even occur to me to use 8″and I completely glossed over that part of your directions! Doh!

Lindsay
About Lindsay

I'm a wife and mom to twin boys, a baby girl and a sweet black lab with a serious sweets addiction! Bring on the sugar!

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“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” Romans 12:12