Pumpkin & Orange Cake with Cinnamon Mascarpone Icing

pumpkin orange cake 6

This is the last recipe in my pumpkin fortnight and I think I’ve saved the best until last.  Not to blow my own trumpet but I just adore the look of this cake!  The fondant pumpkins and leaves mixed with the sugar and spiced pecans….it’s sort of a thing of beauty.  So excuse the excessive amount of photographs!

The other pumpkin recipes on here use pumpkin puree but this one is a bit different as it uses grated pumpkin, in much the same way as carrot, which means you can substitute the pumpkin for carrot if that’s what you have in the cupboard.

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This sponge has a similar flavour and texture to a light carrot cake but the orange zest which is infused with the sugar gives it a little extra kick.  The pecans are roasted before using to enhance their flavour but if you are in a rush they could be roughly chopped straight from the packet and thrown in.  To prepare the pumpkin for grating I first cut it in half, then scoop out the seeds and cut each half in to four segments which are then peeled and grated.  To make up for the extra steps in the cake the mascarpone icing is very straight forward and can be whipped up in no time at all.

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Pumpkin & Orange Cake with Cinnamon Mascarpone Icing
A moist and tasty cake which is packed full of flavour, perfect for autumn!
For the pecans
  1. 100g pecans
  2. 1 tsp oil
  3. 2 tsp maple syrup
  4. ¼ tsp cinnamon
  5. Freshly ground sea salt
For the sponge
  1. 200g golden caster sugar
  2. Zest of 1 & half oranges (the remaining half will go in the icing)
  3. 200ml oil (any flavourless oil will do, I used rapeseed)
  4. 3 large eggs
  5. 250g self raising flour
  6. 1 & ½ tsp baking powder
  7. ½ tsp salt
  8. 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  9. ½ tsp ground ginger
  10. ½ tsp mixed spice
  11. 250g grated pumpkin
  12. 80g of the cooled pecans, roughly chopped
For the icing
  1. 250g mascarpone
  2. ½ tsp cinnamon
  3. 1 tbsp golden caster sugar
  4. Zest of ½ an orange
  5. 2 tbsp maple syrup
  6. 2-3 tbsp orange juice
  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C (160 degrees C fan). Line a small baking try with grease proof paper and set aside. In a small bowl mix together all of the ingredients for the pecans until well coated. Spread out on the baking tray in an even layer and bake for 5-7 minutes. Keep an eye on them as they can burn easily. Remove from the oven, allow to cool then chop roughly.
  2. Grease and line the base of two 20cm (8 inch) cake tins and set aside.
  3. Add the sugar and zest to a large bowl. Using the back of a large spoon or a spatula, work the zest in to the sugar until the sugar is orange in colour and appears slightly damp – this will help to bring out the orange flavour. Add the oil and eggs and beat until pale in colour and the sugar has mostly dissolved.
  4. In a separate bowl measure out the flour, baking powder, salt and spices. Sift on to the egg mixture and fold in. Fold in the pumpkin and chopped pecans until well combined.
  5. Divide the batter evenly between the two cake tins and bake for 30-35 minutes, until the top is springy to the touch and a skewer inserted in to the centre comes out clean. Allow the cakes to cool in the tin for ten minutes before turning out on to a wire rack to cool completely.
  6. Whilst the cakes are cooling make the icing. Mix all of the ingredients apart from the orange juice together. Add the orange juice one tablespoon at a time until the icing is a spreadable consistency. Cover with cling film and store in the fridge until the cakes are cooled.
  7. Once the cakes are cooled spread half of the icing on the top of one cake, place the second cake on top and spread the remaining icing over the top, creating a smooth finish with a palette knife. Decorate the top with the remaining chopped pecans. Fondant pumpkins are optional!
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