Recipe: How to make the perfect pumpkin cake

Check out this delicious Pumpkin Cake with Caramel Mascarpone Icing by Mercy Fenton
Recipe: How to make the perfect pumpkin cake

Pumpkin Cake with Caramel Mascarpone Icing by Mercy Fenton

I use crown prince pumpkin for this, as it is dense and full of flavour. You do need to try and get a pumpkin that’s mature - with hard skin and orange inside. Mine was a bit green so I marinated it in lemon juice. Roast any leftovers, then puree and freeze for another day.

Pumpkins are in season now.
Pumpkins are in season now.

Pumpkin Cake with Caramel Mascarpone Icing


360gr pumpkin

30gr finely chopped crystallised ginger or stem ginger in syrup

Zest and juice of one lemon (zest finely grated).

310gr cream flour

1 ½ tsp baking powder

½ tsp bread soda

½ tsp salt

1 tsp ground ginger

2 tsp mixed spice

1 tsp all spice

125gr butter

165gr soft light brown sugar

2 free range eggs

1 tsp vanilla essence

75ml milk


  • Preheat oven to 180˚C. Spray or lightly oil a 10-inch round spring form tin. Line the base with a disk of parchment paper.
  • Zest and juice the lemon.
  • Grate the pumpkin using a food processor and toss with the lemon juice and zest.
  • Finely chop ginger.
  • Place flour, baking powder, bread soda, salt, ginger, mixed spice and all spice in a bowl then sieve.
  • Place the butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl and beat with an electric mixer until light creamy.
  • Gradually add the eggs beating in after each addition, and then add the vanilla and chopped ginger.
  • Don’t worry if it seems curdled. Beating on low, gradually add about a third of the flour mixture.
  • Beat until just mixed, followed by half the milk.
  • Repeat additions, ending with flour.
  • Stir in the pumpkin.
  • Scrape the batter into the prepared tin. Spread as evenly as possible to sides of pan. To remove air pockets, bang pans on the counter two or three times.
  • Bake until the cake is golden and cooked through, 30 to 35 minutes. Check with a skewer it should come out clean.
  • Place on a baking rack to cool. After about 15 minutes, turn cake out of pan and cool completely on a wire racks
  • It’s best to bake cake a day ahead of icing and chill overnight.
  • Cut the cake horizontally in three, keeping the smooth base layer for the top when icing.

Mascarpone and caramel frosting

150gr butter at room temperature

220 gr mascarpone cream cheese

120gr icing sugar

2 tsp. vanilla extract

50gr prepared caramel

1 tsp spiced rum (optional)


  • Using the spade attachment of an electric mixer beat the butter until light and fluffy and carefully add the icing sugar in batches beat well between each addition, until light and fluffy.
  • Next add the mascarpone, beat gently until combined and fluffy Don’t over beat or it may curdle.
  • Add the rum and caramel and give a quick mix.
  • Spread just less than 1/3 frosting on the base layer of the cake.
  • Lift the second layer on top. Again spread just less than 1/3 frosting on this layer .
  • Finally top with the last layer, spread the remaining frosting over both the top and sides of the cake using a step spatula.
  • Chill for about 20 minutes.

Caramel. Picture: Stock
Caramel. Picture: Stock


125 gr sugar

25gr water

80ml cream - warmed


  • Cook the sugar to caramel. Be very careful, as caramel burns are very serious.
  • Get ready a small bowl of ice water and a clean pastry brush.
  • Put the sugar and water in a heavy-bottomed pan, (choose a pan slightly larger than you think you need and ideally with high sides) and cook the sugar and water over a gentle heat until the sugar is dissolved.
  • Turn up the heat the syrup will begin to boil rapidly.
  • Sugar crystals may form at the side of the pan; brush these down carefully with the ice-cold water and a pastry brush, be very care full doing this to ensure the sugar does not splatter.
  • When the sugar begins to caramelise swirl the pan gently to disperse the heat.
  • When you tilt the pan the liquid should be a rich caramel colour, be brave enough to cook it to quiet a deep colour, (if you smell burn you need to start again), once your caramel is cooked remove from the heat.
  • Carefully add the warmed cream and cook for a minute or two more stirring well to remove any lumps.
  • Cool the caramel and use as required. This will keep in a small jar in the fridge as a handy addition to many desserts.
  • For more of Mercy's recipes see here.

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