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Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Thanksgiving: Pumpkin Mousse Cake

For this Thanksgiving, here's a new take on pumpkin:  Pumpkin Mousse Cake.  Pumpkin-enriched sponge cake with a hint of Fiori di Sicilia surrounds an ethereal Pumpkin Chiboust Cream center. Vermont maple syrup flavors the glaze.

Don't get me wrong; I love pumpkin pie.  But I also like to take ingredients in a new direction.  I imagined that pumpkin could be used with a lighter hand, allowing other flavors and textures to harmonize. The result is a subtle and surprisingly delectable finish for the feast.

The farm stands are just about finished for the year, and we bought huge bags of squash and apples last weekend.  As well as three little pumpkins, which looked just right for baking.

In fact, these pumpkins were so cute, I decided to use them to make both the cake and the filling I had in mind.   

Note: For this cake, you may make your own pumpkin puree, or use the canned version; it will make little difference.  If you make your own puree, be sure that the final consistency is quite thick, not watery.

Pumpkin Mousse Cake

In Preparation:
Spray a 7" round, tall cake pan with removable bottom, with cooking spray, only on the bottom of the pan, not up the sides.
Preheat oven to 325F.


For the cake:
2/3 cup all-purpose flour (I use King Arthur unbleached flour)
1 tablespoon corn starch
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
3 eggs, separated
3/4 cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 smidgen Fiori di Sicilia (optional)
1/3 teaspoon cream of tartar

For the Pumpkin Chiboust Cream:
1 envelope unflavored gelatin, softened in 3 tablespoons water.
Mixture One:
1/2 cup light cream
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
1/3 cup pumpkin puree

Mixture Two:
3 egg yolks
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons corn starch

Mixture Three:
1/2 cup sugar 
2 tablespoons water
3 egg whites, beaten until stiff peaks form

For the Icing:
1/3 cup Vermont maple syrup, Grade B
1 cup confectioner's sugar
1 tablespoon light cream
1 tablespoon corn syrup

  1. Cake:  Combine flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl.  Set aside. 
  2. In electric mixer bowl with whisk attached, beat yolks to lemon yellow color, add sugar, then beat for 3 minutes or until the mixture forms a ribbon when the whisk is lifted out.  Add pumpkin, vanilla and Fiori di Sicilia.  Mix to combine.

  3. Fold in flour mixture from step 1.

  4.  Beat egg whites and cream of tartar until stiff peaks form.  Fold into the cake mixture until well-combined.  Spoon into prepared pan.  Smooth the top of the batter.

  5. Bake at 325F for 35 minutes or until golden, and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
    Cool pan inverted on rack.

  6. Pumpking Chiboust Cream:
    Pastry Cream:  Heat  Mixture One over medium heat until boiling.  Put Mixture two in a small bowl and whisk.  Add a quarter cup of the hot cream mix to the egg mix, stirring rapidly.  Then whisk all of the egg mixture into the hot milk.  Cook over low-medium heat, whisking constantly until thickened.  Remove from heat.

    Meringue: In a saucepan, heat the sugar and water from Mixture Three until boiling.  While this is heating, beat the 3 egg whites from Mixture Three until stiff peaks form.  Continue cooking the sugar/water until it is 258F, then immediately add it to the beaten egg whites, while beating.  Continue beating until the meringue is set and somewhat cooled.

    Heat the softened gelatine in the microwave for 20 seconds or until boiling.  Add 2/3 of this to the hot pastry cream, combining well.
    Fold in the Meringue until well combined.

    Pour this into oiled 7" pan with removable bottom, and refrigerate until firm.

  7. Icing:  Reduce 1/3 cup maple syrup down to 3 Tablespoons of thickened syrup.  Stir in 1 cup confectioner's sugar, the cream and corn syrup.  Adjust texture by adding more cream if too thick.

  8. Assemble cake:  With a sharp, narrow knife, cut around the perimeter of the cake pan.  Push cake up and out.  Scrape the sides with a serrated knife to reveal the inner sponge cake.  Cut the cake horizontally into two.
    Assemble by placing the set layer of mousse between the two cake halves, and topping with the icing.

  9. Refrigerate until serving.  Slice with a serrated bread knife.



  1. My interest was piqued at pumpkin... then I kept reading and saw mousse, followed by cake - sold! Great recipe :)

  2. Thanks @Lauren, @Jennifurla and @oneshotbeyond! --Sue

  3. Yum--I went to college in Vermont--Vermont is great!!!

  4. Yum, this looks great! So thick and delicious! I think I'll give this a try for Thanksgiving :)


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