My first thought when I took a bite of this cake was “woah”, followed swiftly by “this tastes exactly like pumpkin pie”. My third that was “I don’t think I’ll be able to finish this piece… but I’ll be happy to perish in the attempt!”. That’s what I get for trying to eat the extra big slice I always cut for the photographs.
This cake was inspired by a cake that someone brought in for a leaving-do at the hospital I was at on elective. It was a colossal tower of cake and mousse, smothered in caramel and candied pecans. I decided that the cans of pumpkin my cupboard had been neglected and this would be a great chance to use some of it up. I googled pumpkin cake and a recipe on the Philadelphia Cream Cheese website came up. This is a more homemade version of that one – I didn’t use cake mix, I don’t think you can buy Cool Whip in the UK, I didn’t use pre-made caramel, and I caramelised the nuts. However, all of those substitutions would work and would certainly make this cake a little less time consuming. The decoration is quite rustic looking, but that is quite misleading! Because of all the little steps involved in making this cake, it actually took quite a long time. Bottom line is that homemade is great if you’ve got the time, but heck, forget about it if time is tight.
This whole cake is a study in smooth gooeyness – a very delicious gooey, mind you. The cake is very moist and pumpkin mousse is very light and creamy. The caramel is deliciously thick and sweet. The candied nuts add a delightful crunchy contrast to a cake that otherwise would have just entirely been creamy. I’ve never had candied nuts before and I thought they had a bit of an odd taste, but one of my flatmates thought they tasted great. The original recipe called for only pecans, but I went to three shops and none of them sold pecans on their own. I eventually gave up and bought a bag of mixed nuts that had a least some pecans in them. If you can source just pecans, I’d definitely recommend doing that.
Pumpkin Mousse Cake
- 2 cups/250g all purpose/plain flour
- 1-1.5 tbsp mixed spices (cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg etc)
- 2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 x 454g tin pumpkin puree
- 2 cups/400g white sugar
- 4 large eggs
- 1 cup/250 ml vegetable oil (I used half melted butter as I didn’t have enough oil – worked fine)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Butter, flour and line 2×8″ round cake tins and set aside. Preheat the oven to 175C/350F.
- In a medium sized mixing bowl, sift together the flour, spices, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
- Using an electric mixer, beat together on medium speed the sugar, oil, eggs and vanilla extract four about 1-2 minutes. The mixture should look paler and the volume should be increased.
- On low speed, stir in the canned pumpkin until mixed throughout.
- Gently fold in the flour mixture into the pumpkin mixture. Mix by hand until just combined.
- Divide the batter evenly between the two prepared pans. Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean.
- Let the cakes cool for 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
- Slice each layer in half and fill the layers with the pumpkin mousse (recipe below). Top with caramel and candied pecans.
- 250g full fat cream cheese
- 220g pumpkin (half a can)
- 125g icing sugar, sifted
- 1/2 tsp mixed spices
- 400 ml double cream
- With an electric mixer, whip the double cream in a large mixing bowl to soft peaks. Set aside.
- In a separate mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese on medium speed until it is softened. Add the icing sugar and mixed spices.
- Mix in the pumpkin puree.
- Gently fold in the whipped cream by hand until evenly mixed throughout.
1 recipe of Salted Caramel - this post can explain it much better than I can and there are photos!
Half recipe from Allrecipes using mixed nuts instead of pecans