I am so found of intricate flavour combinations and delicate looking frosting. This cake is my dream come true! It combine the sweet and salty, the crunchy and the smooth textures. And it has vegetable in it, which is exactly how I like a cake to be.
I have designed this cake for a wonderful collaboration with the Kovac Family, winners of the " compasso d'oro" (is the oldest and the most authoritative worldwide design award founded by Gio Ponti in Italy) for their smart sustainable lamps "Numbers"- They advocate sustainable and compassionate living through their work, vegan life and website it such an inspiring platform what they have created, both of beauty and fair living. If you are interested find my interview here.
For the recipe, just down here!
Utensils you will need:
3 cake tins (12 cm ø) springform or loose bottom. A powerful food processor. Mixing bowls.
For the cake:
2 cup Flour (white or a mix with whole wheat)
1 + ½ cup Raw Coconut or Cane Sugar (you can do half and half with Xylitol)
½ teaspoon of local unrefined salt
1 Tbsp Baking Powder
3 to 4 tsp coffee alternative or good quality ethical coffee (espresso-fine powder- no instant)
2 Tbsp flax meal + 8 tsp water
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil + 1 Tbsp for the pumpkin
⅓ cup plant based yogurt
⅔ cup pureed pumpkin
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup water
For the mascarpone filling and frosting (to be prepared the day before)
300 gr soaked overnight and well drained cashews
300 gr very firm coconut yogurt
1 Tbsp coconut oil
7 to 10 tsp or xylitol or raw icing sugar* ( or to taste)
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp same coffee powder of the cake
½ tsp salt
10-13 vegan amaretti biscuits (optional, can be replaced with very crunchy&light biscuits) Keep the best 7 for the topping decor.
For the dripping chocolate
130 gr good quality vegan white chocolate
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
This cake is not difficult but takes its time, like all good things do. Make it for a special day to really savour the fruits of your labour.
To be made a day or two in advance:
In a food processor pulse the sugar of your choice into an “icing powder”.
Again in a powerful food processor make the cashews into a smooth cream, with the vanilla, coconut oil, the salt and the icing sugar you just made. Taste for sweetness. Let the cashew cream cool in the fridge for few minutes.
Meanwhile wash and cut half of a large pumpkin into small cubes( always better roast too much and use the leftover in a stew or something). Roast the pumpkin with a pinch of salt and 1 Tbsp olive oil, for 30 minutes at 200°C. Let them cool and pulse into a cream in a food processor. You will need 3/4 cup of pumpkin cream. Store in the fridge.
In a mixing bowl fold together the yogurt and the cooled cashew cream adding the coffee powder. Taste for sweetness again.
Place in a airtight container and leave in the fridge overnight (at least) to set into a perfect consistency of a mascarpone cream. If you have any problem with consistency gently pulse again with the addition of 1 Tbsp coconut oil and ½ tsp Xatham Guar, and leave to set again in the fridge for couple of hours. However if you drain the cashes well and the coconut yogurt is firm, you shouldn't have any problem at all.
Preheat the oven at 180° C. Grease with oil the 3 cake tins ( 12 cm ø).
In a cup soak the flax seed powder with the 8 Tbsp water and leave to set for 5 minutes.
In a large bowl mix all the dry ingredients. And in a large jar mix all the wet ingredients, adding the soaked flax seeds.
Combine the wet to the dry ingredients in the bowl, gently folding them together. Be sure is all well combined before pouring in the cake tins.
Pour the batter in the tins equally. Cook for 45-50 minutes, or until the toothpick comes out clean.
Let the cakes to cool in the tins until they are tepid, remove from the tins and let them finish to cool in the fridge.
Meanwhile, on a low flame, in a bain-marie melt the white chocolate with the vanilla extract, the water should never start boiling. Leave to cool down until slightly tepid but still runny enough to be poured, honey-like consistency.
Assembling and décor:
If the cakes are too rounded on top cut them straight with a long bread knife.
Place the first cake on a desired plate and scoop abundant mascarpone to make 1 cm thick filling, sprinkle with broken amaretti and push them down gently in the filling.
Cover with the second cake and repeat.
Now place the third cake on top, but upside down, so the perfect bottom become the top of your layered cake.
Scoop abundant frosting on top and with a spatula start distributing it to the edges, and down the side. Fill up any hole and gently scrap away any extra. If the frosting become runny move it and the cake back in the fridge for 30 minutes. ( I always pud down my fridge temperature to the minimum when I am decorating my cakes).
I like my cakes to have a naked frosting, as they feel lighter than fully covered cakes, but you are welcome to cover it fully if you prefer.
Once finished with the frosting pour on top ¾ of your white chocolate. As it starts to drip nicely move the cake straight back to the fridge.
Mix the left over chocolate with some frosting ( no need to measure, ¼ cup frosting is roughly what you will have left) and fill a sac a poche prepared with a star pipe.
Place the sac a poche in the fridge as well for few minutes.
When stiff enough pipe 7 biscuits with this mixture, and dust with coffee powder.
Distribute the biscuits on the top along the edge of the cake.
Chill before cutting. Enjoy!
* amaretti is a very light kind of biscuit (caloric yes, but not dense) made of bittersweet almonds and egg white. There are 2 kinds: soft and hard. In this cake you need the hard type, you can find the vegan version on healthy shops and online. If you need to replace amaretti use very crunchy cookies that would not soak up the filling.