The trees have lost most of their leaves and the first frost has killed the last flowers in the garden. Pushed by an eastern gale, a few flurries have been dancing horizontally across the window panes, hardly visible against the white sky. We have changed time and the evenings are long, long, the humming silence broken only by the cracking of the logs resisting the flames in the fireplace.

This is the time of the year when I love my kitchen the most: It is warm and full of light and so inviting, with its extra long counter and its chocolate and café au lait colored walls. It is where I sit at 5:00pm on Saturday evening, leafing through my “Cake” folder for the perfect Thanksgiving dessert. I am baking two desserts, one is an apple pie so the other one has to be a cake, light and with pumpkin (can these two words “light” and “pumpkin” fit in the same sentence?) I also don’t want the pumpkin taste to be overwhelming.

And I find what I believe will be a great cake, the perfect match for an apple pie:


Pumpkin Tiramisu Cake

Isn’t it a great name?
It comes from a magazine called “Holiday Baking” and I have modified the recipe to my taste. I skipped the caramel because I think the cake is rich enough as it is, and I replaced the espresso with regular decaffeinated instant coffee: Since we are most likely going to eat that cake in the evening and a lot of us are worried about insomnia, I thought the substitution necessary and I doubt that it makes much difference in taste. I reduced the sugar amount from 1 cup to 3/4 cup but this is according to your taste.
Course Dessert


  • 15" x 10" x 1" baking pan


Cake Ingredients

  • 3 eggs at room temperature
  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp ground nutmeg
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • cup canned pumpkin
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 cup finely chopped hazelnuts
  • Powdered sugar

Coffee Syrup

  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ cup water
  • 2 tbsp decaffeinated instant coffee
  • 1 tbsp amaretto liquor
  • 1 tbsp hazelnut liquor

Maple/Mascarpone Cream

  • 8 oz. mascarpone cheese
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • 2 cups whipping cream


  • I start by lining up all the ingredients on the counter:

Cake Instructions

  • Lightly grease a 15" x 10" x 1" baking pan. Line bottom of pan with waxed/parchment paper; grease the paper. Set aside.
  • In a bowl, stir together, flour, cinnamon, baking powder, ginger, salt and nutmeg. Set aside.
  • Preheat oven to 375 degree F.
  • In a large mixing bowl beat eggs with an electric mixer on high speed about 5 minutes or until thick and lemon color.
  • Gradually add granulated sugar, beating on medium speed until light and fluffy.
  • With a spatula, gently stir in pumpkin and lemon juice.
  • Add flour mixture and keep on stirring gently until just combined.
  • Pour batter into the prepared pan, spreading evenly with a spatula.
  • Sprinkle with chopped hazelnuts.
  • Bake 15 minutes or until cake springs back when lightly touched.
  • Immediately loosen edges of cake from pan and turn cake out onto a towel sprinkled with powdered sugar. Remove paper. Cool cake completely.

To Assemble

  • To assemble, cut cake crosswise into thirds.
  • Place one of the cake layers, nuts side up, on a serving plate.
  • Drizzle one-third of the coffee syrup over the cake layer.
  • Spread evenly with ¾ cup of the maple/mascarpone cream.
  • Repeat for the three layers.
  • Frost top and sides of cake with remaining maple/mascarpone cream.
  • Sprinkle additional crushed hazelnuts on top.

Coffee Syrup

  • In a small saucepan, combine ½ cup sugar, ½ cup water, and 2 tablespoons decaffeinated instant coffee.
  • Bring to a boil over medium heat and stir until sugar has dissolved.
  • Remove from heat and stir in one tablespoon each of amaretto and hazelnut liquor.

Maple/Mascarpone Cream

  • In a small bowl, mix gently 8 ounces of mascarpone and ¼ cup maple syrup with a fork. Set aside.
  • In a large mixing bowl, beat 2 cups of whipping cream until the cream holds stiff peaks.
  • With a spatula, fold gently the mascarpone/maple syrup mixture until just blended.
Keyword Cake, Dessert, Fall Recipe, Pumpkin, Tiramisu

Happy Thanksgiving!