Tiramisu purists may want to stop reading… this cake is a very loose riff on the classic, bringing pumpkin, cinnamon and almond flavors into the mix with more traditional mascarpone & liqueur. Of course, one bite and any protests will fade away as you sink blissfully into the cozy, creamy indulgence of this ultimate fall dessert. Ever since I saw this tiramisu cake, I’ve been wanting to make my own version that uses a similar method assembly, but spotlights a completely different flavor profile. Impress the neighbors by bringing this cake to the annual Halloween potluck – or wouldn’t it make a showstopping centerpiece to the Thanksgiving dessert table as an alternative to pumpkin pie? Keep reading for the recipe…and a “bonus” pumpkin-amaretto cupcake that I whipped up for good measure!
Italian-style Amaretti cookies add a satisfying crunch and take the place of tiramisu’s traditional dusting of cocoa.
This recipe yields enough for 9″ cake layers, but I decided to make mine a 6″ – perfect, since it meant I had enough cake batter and filling left to whip up these pumpkin-amaretto cupcakes! Just fill cupcake liners 3/4 full with the extra cake batter, top with crumbled amaretti cookies & sparkling sugar, and bake at 350 for 30 minutes. For the ultimate cupcake, top with a bit of the mascarpone-whipped cream filling.
Pumpkin Tiramisu Layer Cake
- 3 cups all purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
- 1 cup canola oil
- 4 large eggs, room temperature
- 1 15-ounce can pumpkin pie filling (includes all the spices)
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon grated orange peel
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup amaretto
- 1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
- 2 tbsp powdered sugar
- pinch of cream of tartar
- 1 1/2 cups mascarpone
- 2 vanilla beans, seeds only, pods reserved for another use
- 2 tbsp amaretto liqueur
- 1 bag of amaretti cookies, crushed (found at many grocery stores or at any Italian market)
- Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 350°F. Butter two 9-inch-diameter cake pans. Spray with cooking spray, then line bottom of pans with parchment paper; spray again, and dust pans with flour. Sift flour and next 3 ingredients into a bowl. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat both sugars and oil in large bowl until combined. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating until well blended after each addition. Add pumpkin pie filling, vanilla, and orange peel; beat until well blended. Add flour mixture; beat on low just until incorporated. Divide batter between prepared pans. Smooth tops.
- Bake cakes until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 1 hour. Cool cakes completely in pans on rack. Run knife around cakes to loosen. Invert cakes onto racks; remove parchment paper. Turn cakes over, rounded side up. Using serrated knife, trim rounded tops of cakes to level, then divide cakes in half horizontally to make 4 thin layers.
- In a saucepan, combine water and sugar. Bring mixture to a boil and continue boiling for 5 minutes. Strain into a sealable container, allow to cool, then cover and store in refrigerator.
- When ready to use, mix in amaretto.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat whipping cream until soft peaks form. Add powdered sugar & cream of tartar, then beat until stiff peaks form.
- Meanwhile, combine mascarpone, vanilla beans and amaretto in a small bowl. Beat with a whisk to combine, then fold into whipped cream.
- Brush a couple spoonfuls of amaretto syrup on the cut side of each cake layer.
- Put the first layer, uncut side down, on a cake stand and spoon a generous layer of mascarpone filling over the top. Sprinkle a layer of crushed amaretti cookies over the filling. Repeat this process until all cake layers are used, ending with a thick topping of mascarpone filling and a generous sprinkle of amaretti cookies. Drizzle a little extra syrup over the top of the cookies and serve.
Store in the refrigerator – it’s great the next day!