Pumpkin, za’atar and caramelized chocolate mousse cake

by Chiara

There is no other singular flavor that is so deeply tied to a season as pumpkin is to fall.
This fruit was always part of my life since childhood. My grandpa harvested pumpkins just until a few years ago in this time. He liked them a lot, as opposed to me. Yes, I’ve never been a fan of pumpkin and so I’ve never enjoyed his beautiful pumpkins in any sweet things.. this saddens me a little.
I guess there are some pumpkin lovers among you guys who would absolutely love this cake. And not only them! It is also for those who dislike pumpkin, trust me.
Actually, this cake is not only about pumpkin, it features many others ingredients which pair divinely with pumpkin. And not least, it’s completely gluten-free, because I used a toasted cornflour which comes straight from southern Switzerland and which tastes like roasted popcorn! If you truly want to experience fall, this cake is how to do it.

These are the ingredients in summary:

  • Pumpkin seeds praline paste croustillant. This really delicious crunchy layer lies on the bottom of the cake and it is made with: Ivoire 35% white chocolate, cocoa butter, pumpkin seeds praline paste with caramelized maple syrup, raw pumpkin seeds butter, roasted za’atar pumpkin seeds, gluten-free crunchy cereals, gluten-free toasted cornflour and maple syrup crumble.
    The recipe features a toasted cornflour which is produced in the Italian (southern) part of Switzerland. It’s named farina Bóna and it’s special just for some reasons: first of all, it is made from finely ground and gluten-free corn, so it works perfectly in any recipe, sweet or savory; last, its flavor reminds freshly-made popped corn and it’s extremely addictive. To obtain a similar taste, toast some cornflour into a roasted pan until the flour smells like hazelnut
  • Gluten-free pumpkin cake with maple sugar, za’atar and toasted cornflour. I made my own gluten-free flour blend with toasted cornflour, chestnuts flour, tigernuts flour and potato starch. You can make a large batch and store the mix in a glass jar with lid at room temperature. This mix works well as a gluten-free replacement for regular wheat flour. It performs every single time and you can substitute it 1:1 for regular flour.
    Pumpkin loves spices and za’atar is a unique Middle Eastern blend spice which adds a boost of salty and vibrant flavor. It goes also well with caramel and that’s why I used both Caramélia and Dulcey chocolates in the cake and the recipe includes both maple sugar and maple syrup. Za’atar is generally made by thyme, sesame seeds, sumac, salt and vegetable oil.
    Maple sugar tastes exactly like maple syrup because it’s simply maple syrup with the liquid boiled away. Maple sugar is an ideal and healthy substitute for regular granulated sugar/cane sugar. However, if you don’t have it, just replace it with maple syrup (I gave the amount in the recipe) or with the same weight of raw cane sugar (Dulcita sugar for example)
  • Caramélia 36% milk chocolate crémeux with roasted pumpkin, za’atar and vanilla. Caramélia 36% is an addictive milk chocolate with a delicious toffee flavor. Roasting the pumpkin with za’atar in the oven yields a superior, slightly toasty and nutty flavor to the cake and well, that’s super delicious!
    The crémeux is sandwiched between two layers of pumpkin cake
  • Dulcey 32% blond chocolate mousse with za’atar and lemon. The caramel flavor of Dulcey 32% goes amazingly with the freshness of lemon and the earthy notes of za’atar
  • Dulcey 32% blond chocolate mirror glaze

If you make this recipe, be sure to leave a comment or tag me on Instagram. I’d be more than happy to hear from you and to share your creations on my stories! And, of course, if you have any questions or doubts, I’m absolutely willing to respond you as quickly as possible. ♡



Pumpkin, za'atar and caramelized chocolate mousse cake

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Serves: 6-8
Nutrition facts: 200 calories 20 grams fat

Ingredients

Gluten-free pumpkin cake with maple sugar, za'atar and toasted cornflour
188 g eggs, to room temperature
200 g maple sugar or 150 g maple syrup grade C
125 g white almonds flour
100 g homemade gluten-free flour blend (see below)
5 g gluten-free baking powder
112 g heavy cream 35% fat content, to room temperature
75 g butter, melted and lukewarm (35-40°C)
120 g fresh Butternut pumpkin puree, to room temperature
10 g (2 tsp) za’atar

Homemade gluten-free flour blend
80 g farina Bóna (toasted cornflour)
40 g chestnuts flour
40 g tigernuts flour
40 g potato starch

Pumpkin seeds praline paste with caramelized maple syrup
125 g pumpkin seeds
63 g white almonds
188 g maple syrup grade C
5 g (1 tsp) Maldon salt
30 g (2 Tbs) natural green food coloring
50 g pumpkin seeds oil or grape seed oil

Gluten-free toasted cornflour and maple syrup crumble
40 g butter, cold and cut into small pieces
40 g maple sugar or raw cane sugar
40 g white almonds flour
40 g homemade gluten-free flour blend

Za'atar roasted pumpkin seeds
48 g pumpkin seeds
6 g pumpkin seeds oil or grape seed oil
2,5 g (½ tsp) za'atar

Gluten-free pumpkin seeds praline paste croustillant 
44 g Ivoire 35% white chocolate
48 g cocoa butter
72 g pumpkin seeds praline paste with caramelized maple syrup
60 g raw pumpkin seeds butter (100% natural)
48 g za'atar roasted pumpkin seeds
48 g gluten-free crunchy cereals
160 g gluten-free toasted cornflour and maple syrup crumble

Caramélia 36% milk chocolate crémeux with roasted pumpkin, za'atar and vanilla
175 g fresh Butternut pumpkin, peeled and diced into 2 cm pieces
8 g pumpkin seeds oil or grape seed oil
2,5 g (½ tsp) za'atar
1,5 g gelatin sheets gold strength (200 Bloom)
8 g cold water to soak the gelatin sheets
75 g heavy cream 35% fat content (A)
125 g Caramélia 36% caramelized milk chocolate
75 g heavy cream 35% fat content, cold (B)
1 vanilla bean

Dulcey 32% blond chocolate mousse with za'atar and lemon
6 g gelatin sheets gold strength (200 Bloom)
30 g cold water to soak the gelatin sheets
150 g unsweetened almond milk
zest of 1 lemon
10 g (2 tsp) za'atar
280 g Dulcey 32% blond chocolate
300 g heavy cream 35% fat content, cold

Dulcey 32% blond chocolate mirror glaze
115 g water
100 g caster sugar
115 g trehalose sugar or caster sugar
215 g glucose syrup DE 40
12,5 g gelatin sheets gold strength (200 Bloom)
63 g cold water to soak the gelatin sheets
260 g Dulcey 32% blond chocolate
100 g Absolu Cristal (neutral gelatine)
3,75 g (¾ tsp) edible bronze dust powder

Assembly and decoration
Ivoire 35% white chocolate flexible band, tempered and light-blu colored
Ivoire 35% white chocolate rings, tempered and light-blue colored
Dulcey 32% chocolate crunchy pearls
edible bronze dust powder
edible flowers

Instructions

Gluten-free pumpkin cake with maple sugar, za'atar and toasted cornflour

  1. Preheat the oven to 160°C, ventilation mode. Grease a 32,5 x 32,5 cm silicone swiss roll mat (Silikomart tapis roulade) and place it on a baking tray.
  2. Whip the eggs with maple sugar until pale and fluffy, using a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.
  3. In the meantime, in a bowl, mix and sift together white almonds flour, gluten-free flour blend and baking powder. Add za’atar and salt and mix again. On the other hand, in a measuring jug, combine together heavy cream, melted and lukewarm butter and pumpkin puree and mix well with a fine whisk to obtain a smooth and liquid mixture.
  4. Gradually fold dry ingredients through the whipped eggs until the dry ingredients are fully incorporated.
  5. Add the liquid ingredients (the heavy cream-butter-pumpkin puree mixture), folding gently with the spatula.
  6. Pour the mixture into the greased silicone mat and spread it out evenly with a palette knife, so that it is level with the top of the mat (I mean, 1 cm high, as the height of the silicone mat). Bake for approximately 22 minutes, until the cake is puffy, golden and firm. Remove from the oven and allow to cool, then chill in the freezer for about 1h, so that the cake is well chilled but not fully frozen. In this way, you can cut it without ruining it.
  7. Cut out two discs of the chilled cake with a 16 cm cake ring. Wrap them with clingfilm and store in the freezer until needed.

Homemade gluten-free flour blend

Combine all the gluten-free flours in a bowl and whisk to blend everything together. Then sift the mix and store it in airtight jar at room temperature.

Pumpkin seeds praline paste with caramelized maple syrup

  1. Preheat the oven to 155°C, ventilation mode. In a bowl combine together pumpkin seeds, white almonds, maple syrup and salt, stirring well with a spatula to coat the pumpkin seeds with the maple syrup. Spread the mix onto a baking tray lined with parchment paper and bake for about 15 minutes, until the pumpkin seeds are slightly golden and the maple syrup is caramelized and slightly reduced. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely.
  2. Transfer the caramelized pumpkin seeds in a food processor and pulse until obtain a creamy paste. Initially, the mixture will be sandy, but then it will become smooth and fluid. Be careful to not overheat the praline paste, otherwise it gets bitter. Make sure the praline paste doesn't exceed 40°C. If the praline paste gets warm, chill it with the bowl in the fridge for a while.
  3. Once obtained a pretty smooth and soft paste, add the pumpkin seeds oil which will add more moisture and fluidity and pulse once again. Add finally the natural green color to enhance the green color and pulse once more.
  4. Store the praline paste in an airtight container at room temperature and away from light.

Gluten-free toasted cornflour and maple syrup crumble

  1. Preheat the oven to 160°C, ventilation mode. Place all the ingredients into a small grinder and mix until obtain a sandy mixture.
  2. Spread the crumbs onto a perforated baking tray lined with perforated baking mat and chill in the freezer for at least 30 minutes.
  3. Bake the frozen crumble for about 15 minutes, until golden-brown. Remove from the oven and dust with cocoa butter powder (Mycryo) to preserve crunchiness. You can store any leftover crumble in an airtight container at room temperature and away from light.

Za'atar roasted pumpkin seeds

  1. Preheat the oven to 170°C, ventilation mode.
  2. Stir together pumpkin seeds, pumpkin seeds oil and za'atar with a spatula, making sure the seeds are well coated with oil and za'atar.
  3. Spread onto a baking tray lined with parchment paper and roast in the oven for about 12 minutes, until the pumpkin seeds will be golden. Remove from the oven and allow to cool at room temperature before using for the croustillant.

Gluten-free pumpkin seeds praline paste croustillant

  1. Melt the white chocolate with the cocoa butter in the microwave to 45°C. Add the praline paste and the pumpkin seeds butter and stir well with a rubber spatula until obtain a smooth and evenly mixture. Add the chilled za'atar roasted pumpkin seeds, the crunchy cereals and the baked and chilled crumble and stir well with the spatula to obtain a grainy mixture.
  2. Pour the croustillant into a 16 cm round silicone cake mould, about 1 cm thick and freeze for at least 1h.

Caramélia 35% milk chocolate crémeux with roasted pumpkin, za'atar and vanilla

  1. Preheat the oven to 170°C, ventilation mode. Line a baking tray with parchment paper.
  2. Peel and dice the pumpkin into pieces approximately 2cm wide and place them into a bowl. Add pumpkin seeds oil and za'atar and stir well, ensuring that the pumpkin pieces are evenly coated. Transfer onto a baking tray and roast for approximately 15-20 minutes, until pumpkin is soft and lightly brown in color.
  3. While the pumpkin is cooking, soak the gelatin sheets in cold water. Bring to simmer the heavy cream (A) and set aside, keeping warm. Finely chop the chocolates and set aside.
  4. Once pumpkin is roasted, transfer both the roasted pumpkin and the sauce (which is formed during cooking) in the bowl of a food processor and blend until a puree is formed. Dissolve the soaked gelatin sheets into the hot heavy cream, then pour it into the pumpkin puree while blending, in order to obtain a smooth and evenly mixture.
  5. Turn off the the food processor and add the finely chopped chocolate, then blend again so that the chocolate melts thanks to the heat of the pumpkin mixture. It's important that the mixture of pumpkin and heavy cream is well warm when adding the chocolate. Finely chop the chocolates will ease the melting.
  6. Once a smooth, fluid and uniform cream is formed, pour into a bowl and allow to cool down to 34°C.
  7. Semi-whip the cold heavy cream (B) with the vanilla seeds until it forms soft peaks. Check the temperature of the pumpkin-chocolate cream: once it reaches 34°C, add the semi-whipped cream in 2-3 times, folding gently with a rubber spatula in order to obtain a light, smooth and fluffy cream.
  8. Place a 16 x 4 cm round silicone cake mould over a baking tray. Place inside one disc of frozen pumpkin cake and cover it with about 2 cm of pumpkin crémeux. Insert the second disc of cake and press slightly and gently down, so that it is perfectly aligned with the top edge of the mould. Freeze for at least 2h.

Dulcey 32% blond chocolate mousse with za'atar and lemon

  1. Soak the gelatin sheets in cold water.
  2. Melt the blond chocolate in the microwave to 45°C. Heat the almond milk in the microwave without boiling and dissolve in the soaked gelatin sheets. Pour the almond milk over the melted chocolate in three times and stir vigorously with a spatula to obtain a smooth ganache. Add lemon zest and za'atar and stir once more.
  3. Pour the ganache into a measuring cup or mixing glass and mix with the hand blender to obtain the best and most silky smooth consistency. Pour the ganache into a bowl and cool down to 35-40°C.
  4. Semi-whip the cold heavy cream with until it forms soft-medium peaks. If you swipe your whisk through the cream and lift it up, the tip of the cream should barely curve over. If you over-whip the cream, you will end up with a grainy mousse with a fatty flavor.
    Check the temperature of the ganache: when it is 35-40°C, fold the ganache into the semi-whipped cream. Make sure to add the ganache in two times and to fold gently but swiftly with a rubber spatula in order to not deflate as much air as possible and to obtain a light, smooth and shiny texture.
  5. Place a 18 x 5 cm round silicone cake mould over a baking tray and wrap the side of the mould with an acetate strip of 7 cm high. This strip serves to increase the height of the mould because the original 5 cm aren't enough to include all the prepared ingredients.
  6. Pour about half mousse into the mould and set inside the insert of pumpkin cake-crémeux-pumpkin cake. Press it gently and slightly down so that it is almost submerged in the mousse. Cover the insert with the remaining mousse, ensuring to leave a gap for the croustillant. Place the croustillant (with the smooth side upwards) on top of the mousse and press it gently down until it is level with the top of the acetate strip.  Remove any excess mousse with a small palette knife and freeze for about 3-4h in a domestic freezer or about 1-2h in a blast freezer.

Dulcey 32% blond chocolate mirror glaze

  1. Soak the gelatin sheets in cold water (63 g) for at least 10 minutes.
  2. Melt Dulcey chocolate in the microwave to 45°C and pour into a mixing glass.
  3. Heat water (115 g), caster sugar, trehalose sugar and glucose syrup in a saucepan to 104°C.
  4. Remove from the heat and pour over the melted chocolate. Emulsify with a hand blender without adding air bubbles and in order to obtain a smooth and shiny glaze.
  5. Heat the Absolu Cristal in the microwave to 65°C and add into the glaze, followed by the drained gelatin sheets (add both the gelatin and the soaked water). Emulsify once more without adding air bubbles. Finally add the edible bronze dust powder to obtain a shiny orange color and emulsify once again.
  6. Pass the glaze through a sieve and pour into a baking dish. Cover with clingfilm pressed on top of the glaze and chill in the fridge for at least 12h or overnight.
  7. Heat the glaze in the microwave to 45°C then pour into a mixing glass and emulsify with the hand blender. Keep the blade of the hand blender on the bottom of the mixing glass, to avoid air bubbles. Allow to cool down to 32-35°C. If you directly melt the glaze to 32-35°C, it will not be shiny and glossy.
  8. Once the glaze is 32-35°C, unmould the frozen mousse cake and set on a 14 cm stainless steel cake ring with a pair of clingfilm sheets underneath, to collect the excess glaze. Cover the cake with the glaze at 32-35°C. Wipe off any excess glaze on top of the cake with a large flat palette knife, angling it slightly and lifting it up at the edge. When the glaze stops dripping, remove any excess glaze from the base with a small sharp knife. Place the finished cake onto a plate and place in the fridge.

Assembly and decoration

  1. Temper Ivoire 35% white chocolate light-blue colored, following the method you prefer. I use the tabling method. The tempering curve you need to follow is: 45°C (melting) - 26-27°C (cooling) - 28-29°C (the temperature of usage).
  2. Melt the white chocolate in the microwave to 45°C, stirring occasionally with a rubber spatula.
  3. Pour ⅔ of the chocolate onto a marble pastry board or a cooling table and move it around with a large metal scraper and a palette knife. Once cooled (26-27°C), return it to the bowl to combine the chocolate that’s at 26-27°C with the chocolate retained at 45°C. This will bring the chocolate to working temperature (28-29°C). In short, the tempered chocolate is added to the untempered chocolate and mixed in thoroughly, until the temperature of the chocolate is completely uniform. If the temperature is still too high, a small quantity of the chocolate must be reprocessed on the cooling table or stone surface until the temperature reaches 28-29°C. If the temperature is slightly lower, heat it in the microwave for a few seconds until the temperature reaches 28-29°C
  4. Make the chocolate flexible band on bottom of the mousse. Cut out an acetate strip of 1,2 cm width from an acetate strip of 3 cm width and 60 cm length. Pour a line of tempered chocolate lengthwise over the strip and smooth the surface of the chocolate with a small palette knife until it runs over the end of the strip. Spread out the chocolate in a thin and even layer. Lift the strip by using the tip of a small knife and place the strip in one clean side of the work surface. Allow to set slightly until the strip is pliable and not fully set (about 2 minutes).
  5. In the meantime, wrap an acetate strip of 60 cm length and 3 cm high around a 18 cm stainless steel cake ring and secure the ends with sticky tape. Wrap the flexible chocolate band around the cake ring with the chocolate side touching the ring. Secure the ends with sticky tape and allow to set completely at room temperature overnight.
  6. The next day, remove carefully the acetate strip from the firmed chocolate and wrap the chocolate band around the bottom of the mousse.
  7. For the chocolate rings on top of the mousse follow the directions as described here.
  8. Garnish with edible flowers and some Dulcey 32% chocolate crunchy pearls previously coated with bronze dust powder.

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6 Comments

Vera 10 December 2019 - 19:15

It’s look so tasty!!! Can you tell me how i can substitute absolu cristal?
Thank you and congratulations for your talent!!!

Reply
Chiara 19 January 2020 - 9:54

Hi Vera,

I’m so sorry for the late reply! You can use a different brand of neutral gelatin, I think this can work.

Thanks so much for the love! 😊❤️

Reply
Salomé 22 June 2020 - 20:32

Hi Chiara !
Maybe I missed the point but how do you color the chocolate in blue ?
Thank you !

Reply
Chiara 29 June 2020 - 13:35

Hi Salomé!
I generally color my chocolate with some oil soluble food colorings, like these ones, but any other type of oil based food colorings work. Thanks for stopping by!

Reply
Amanda 19 May 2021 - 16:25

Bonjour, votre gâteau est magnifique. Quelles sont les proportions dans votre mélange de farine ?
Merci beaucoup

Reply
Chiara 27 May 2021 - 9:45

Bonjour!

Ma mix de farine sans gluten se compose de:
80 g farine de maïs toasté
40 g farine de chataigne
40 g farine de souchet
40 g fécule de pomme de terre

Merci beaucoup à vous!

Reply

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