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Italian Pumpkin Cake (Torta di Zucca) with Orange-Mascarpone Topping

Italian Pumpkin Cake (<em>Torta di Zucca</em>) with Orange-Mascarpone Topping Related:   breakfast & brunch, Chanukah, dairy, desserts & sweets, Europe, kid-friendly, pareve, Thanksgiving, vegetarian

Prep time: 5–10 minutes

Cook time: 30–40 minutes

Yield: 16 servings of cake and 4 cups of topping

This beautifully moist and flavorful adaptation of a few Jewish-Italian recipes features a special addition of orange-mascarpone topping. The cake is best made the day before serving; make the topping up to 6 hours ahead.


  • Cake
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • ¾ cup light brown sugar
  • 4 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup mild olive oil
  • 1 can (15 ounces) pure pumpkin puree
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ½ tablespoon lemon zest
  • Topping
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 8 ounces mascarpone cheese
  • 4 tablespoons confectioner’s sugar
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest
  • 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  • Cake: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 9-by-13-inch baking pan.
  • In a medium bowl, lightly whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, allspice and nutmeg. In a large bowl, combine both sugars. Add the eggs and oil and beat with an electric mixer on medium-high speed, 2 minutes. At low speed, mix in the pumpkin, vanilla and lemon zest. Mix in the flour mixture until combined.
  • Pour batter into pan and smooth the top. Bake 30 to 40 minutes, until a tester inserted in center comes out clean. Transfer pan to a wire rack to cool. Store covered at room temperature until ready to serve.
  • Topping: In a large bowl, beat the cream with an electric mixer on high speed until it holds soft peaks, 2 to 3 minutes. In a medium bowl, blend the mascarpone, sugar, zest, juice and vanilla on medium speed until combined. Gently fold in the cream. Cover and refrigerate until serving time. Serve cake slices with a dollop of topping.

2 Responses

  1. Dorothy russell says:

    Can I freeze this delicious cake?

    • Merav Levkowitz Merav Levkowitz says:

      It’s best to freeze it without the frosting. When you’re ready to serve, remove from the freezer, defrost, and add the topping.

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