The very ugly cake

End of 2020 came with a very intense and fulfilling mission: I have baked the most wonderful cake ever existed. Wonderful as in delicios. When it comes to the aspect… well, you may check the title. I am very untalented when it comes to baking so I declare myself happy with the result! Happy guests, happy host 🙂

Just to give you a bit of background, this cake was one of the surprises my boyfriend got on his birthday, which means that after the photo shooting I have done on the 29th of December in the afternoon, I drove to Metro one hour before closing time to do the final shopping, got home at 10 pm, started the cooking oddysey and went to bed early, at 7 am the next day. I slept only a bit since the guests were about to come (a little surpise birthday brunch) but oh boy, I was excited! The cake was the last one to be made, I have cooked that night 4 dishes (including sarmale!) and baked a cake. I deserve a pat on the back 🙂

The original recipe belongs to Ciocolata si Vanilie, a talented Romanian blogger, you can find her here. I did my best to translate it as acurately as possible, but please bear in mind that I am quite creative for an untalented baker and I somehow manage to approximate the quantitites without using the scale too much. Also, life is too short to follow a script so I changed a lot from the final touchings because I was very sleepy and at 6 am I was still making frosting because I wanted my cake to be ugly. The cake in the original recipe is 18 cm in diameter, I have addapted my quantities for Ø26 cm because those were the only 2 baking forms left on the surface of Earth on the 29th of December so I had to do the job with what I had. I must admit, I have made a remarcable job!


Ingredients for a Ø26 cake (feeds 8-10 persons but to be realistic, rather 6-8 sweet lovers because everyone will ask for a second slice)


The sponge cake

  • 300g pumpkin puree
  • 225g sugar
  • 130ml sunflower oil
  • 4 eggs
  • 200g flour (I have used Dinkelmehl)
  • 1 teaspoon bicarbonate (Natron)
  • ¾ teaspoon cinammon (Zimt)
  • ¾ teaspoon ginger powder (Ingwerpulver)
  • ½ nutmeg powder (Muskatnuss)
  • a pinch of salt
  • baking paper


The frosting

  • 230g butter (at room temperature)
  • 400g powder sugar
  • 450g mascarpone or cream cheese 
  • vanilla extract (optional)


I have baked the pumpkin (30 minutes at 200°C shall do) and made puree using a vertical mixer. (Best to do it one day before, it needs to cool down anyway before starting using it.) Mix the pumpkin puree with the eggs, sugar and oil.

At this point, you shall preheat the oven at 180°C.

In a separate bowl, mix the dry ingredients: the flour, bicarbonate, the spices and the salt.

Gradually incorporate the dry mass into the liquid one, until it becomes one 🙂

Plepare the baking forms with baking paper. The resulted batter shall be equally distributed into the 2 baking forms and shall take a good rest in the preheated oven: about 30 minutes at 180°C. You might want to check them after 20-25 minutes, they might be already baked. Test them using a toothpick and if you notice they are ready, do not eat them quite yet (I know, they are delicious already!). I promise it is worth the wait. If you are better at planning food than I am, you can bake the cake sponge one day before and keep them in the freezer. Let them cool down.

For the cream/icing, mix the butter (room temperature, so it should be soft enough) with the powder sugar. Adjust the sugar quantity if it feels too little or too much. Gradually incorporate the cold cream cheese and mix until you get a perfect, satisfying white, beautiful icing. You may add a bit of vanilla extract at the end and incorporate as well.


Now, let’s be cake architects!

Cut the cake sponges horizontally, in the middle, so that you will have 4 round pieces. They will be placed on top of each other, with the cream in between. 

About  ⅔ of the icing will be used to assemble the cake, and the last ⅓ to cover the outside of the cake.

Place the first round cake sponge on the plate you have decided to use. Make sure it is a flat plate. Add some icing, then the next layer and so on, until all four layers have been used. Put in the fridge for about 20 minutes in order for it to harden, and afterwards assemble the rest of the cream on top of the cake and lateral parts. It shall work very well if you use a metalic spatula: it was not my case, as you can see my cake turned out to be really ugly but I didn’t mind because it was delicious.


I almost decorated my cake with salad leaves! The initial plan was to buy edible flowers and make a nice decoration, but since one cannot be too pretentious when it comes to the supplies in the supermarkets between Christmas and New Year’s, I have used what I have found: bought a salad mix that had some flowers in the mixture and used the flowers, fresh mint leaves, and fresh strawberries.

Afterwards, the cake shall sit in the frigde for a couple of hours or, even better, overnight. My fridge was full so my cake rested peacefully in my car until the next day 🙂

Enjoy and I hope yours turns out not that ugly!



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