Pumpkin Cake with Chocolate Ganache

Every birthday needs a cake and today, we’re making our very own fabulous birthday cake!

As I was searching through some pictures of a trip I went on last year, it suddenly hit me; around this time last year, my blog went live! I cannot believe how fast this year passed! It’s our birthday, Not Guilty Food!


I almost cannot believe how many recipes, pictures and articles I had the chance to share with you during this year.. I scrolled down my blog and counted all my posts for the first time. 80 posts, not bad at all! It’s been a year since I started sharing my love for cooking and photography with you! Cooking, taking pictures and writing articles, expressing my thoughts and feelings publicly for the first time seemed quite scary in the beginning. Now, it feels almost natural and normal.

I’m thinking of the countless hours I’ve spent in my kitchen -my favourite place- cooking, setting beautiful decors and taking pictures next to my beloved kitchen window. Always struggling to do everything fast enough, catch the perfect light and manage to take pictures of my dish on time. The mess around me is always a given! Saucepans, dishes, props, fabrics, fruits, vegetables, knifes, backdrops.. I should have named this blog “mess in my kitchen”, it would have been very accurate!

This year has been very creative in many ways and I feel like it’s also been an extremely liberating and therapeutic experience for me. It all came at just the right time, when I truly needed it and, as we all know, when the timing is perfect, things tend to happen naturally and almost effortlessly, as if they’re just bound to happen. I feel so happy to have spent this year with you, so it’s time to let the celebrations begin with the perfect festive dessert! Every birthday needs a cake and today, we’re making our very own fabulous birthday cake!

I headed over to Patricia Nascimento’s blog, Coco e Baunilha (cocoebaunilha.com/) –which I’ve been following and loving for a while now- and found the perfect cake. Apple And Walnut Cake With Cinnamon and Salted Caramel. It seemed so delicious and beautiful, covered in wonderful autumn colours. It felt like the perfect option for our birthday cake. Yummy!

As I was picking apples for my cake, my eye fell on some pumpkins that were laid nearby. And that was it. I instantly thought of how gorgeous they’d look in my pictures and how much more impressive my cake would be if I replaced apples with pumpkins! So today, instead of using apples, I’m making Patricia’s cake with pumpkins. But just like always, I can’t help but change another little detail as well. Since I'm not a huge fan of caramel, I chose to make a delicious chocolate ganache instead.

Making a dessert always feels like an achievement to me, probably because none of us is much of a dessert fan in our home. And honestly, there are so many people out there who can make much better desserts than me. That being said, some desserts are so tempting that you have to make them or at least attempt to make them. Just like Patricia’s cake. And let me just say, it was totally worth it!

As I’m taking pictures of my pumpkins, the first ones of the season, I can’t get enough of them. They’re stunning, curvy and have such wonderful colours! Something tells me we’re going to see them appearing often in future posts. Love them!


Our dessert turned out so amazing that I almost don’t want to touch it. I’ve already taken so many pictures of it and I just can’t stop. But I know it won’t last long. Can’t wait to try it and share it with my loved ones. This is the first dessert of our very first birthday! To many more years of creativity and fun!

Happy, happy birthday Not Guilty Food!


200g pumpkins, diced
225g salted butter
200g sugar
4 eggs
200g walnut flour
180g all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla paste
1 tsp cardamom powder
Pinch of salt


500g mascarpone
250g whipping cream, cold
150 - 200g icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla paste (extract)
1/2 tsp cinnamon



350g semi-sweet chocolate

1 cup heavy cream

4tbsp butter

2tbsp strong brewed coffee

1tsp vanilla

1 pinch salt





1. Pre-heat the oven to 180ºC (350 f).

2. Grease and line 2x 16cm (6inch) cake tins with parchment paper. Set aside.

3. Whisk together the flour cake, baking powder and cardamom. Set the bowl aside.

4. Place the butter, vanilla paste, salt and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the beater attachment and mix, on medium speed until light and fluffy, 4 to 5 minutes.

5. Add in the eggs, one at a time, until evenly incorporated and the batter is fluffy, 3 more minutes.

6. On low speed, add flour and mix until just combined. Then stir in the diced apples.

7. Divide the cake batter between the prepared cake pans and use a rubber spatula to smooth out the tops.

8. Bake, for 35 to 45 minutes, or until the cakes are golden brown and a skewer inserted into the middle eats out clean.

9. Let the cakes cool in their pans for 15 minutes before turning out and onto a wire rack to let cool completely.



Beat the mascarpone + cream until smooth. Add vanilla, cinnamon, sugar and beat until firm.



1. In a small saucepan, place cream and butter and warm over medium-low heat until the butter is melted and the cream is warm and steaming.

2. Add the coffee, salt, and vanilla and stir gently.

3. Place the chocolate in a mixing bowl and add the warm cream mixture.

4. Wait for 3-5 minutes until the chocolate is soft. Whisk briskly until you have a smooth mixture.


ASSEMBLY (you will need some dry leaves and flowers, candies, gold pastrydust):

1. When cake layers are completely cool, level the cakes and then cut each in half so that you have four layers.

2. Fix the first layer to a cake board.

3. Fill a piping bag with mascarpone cream and then pip the cream on the top of the first layer.

4. Repeat with the second and third layer and then finish with your top layer.

5. Cover the cake with a thin layer of mascarpone frosting and then chill for 30 minutes or until firm.

6. Decorate with chocolate ganache and a little chaplet of dry leaves and flowers as well as some candies and gold pastry dust.