Gingerbread Stack Cake with Mascarpone Cream, Caramelized Pears and Pear Caramel Sauce

gingerbread stack cake 1

The spicy flavors of molasses, fresh ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and cardamom combine with the roasted barley flavors of Guinness stout in this six layered gingerbread torte. (The stout keeps it from being too sweet). Layers of lightly sweetened whipped mascarpone and caramelized pears show through the exposed sides. The top is drizzled with a caramel sauce based on pear juice. This is a great cake to offer during the fall and winter holidays and it makes quite the picture on the buffet table. It also stays incredibly moist, making it perfect for entertaining as it might sit out for a while.

gingerbread stack cake 2

Gingerbread Stack Cake with Mascarpone Cream, Caramelized Pears and Pear Caramel Sauce
Makes: Serves 12 to 14
Pear Caramel Sauce:
  • 3 cups pear juice, such as R.W. Knudsen
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • ½ cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • ¼ cup Lyle’s Golden syrup
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into pieces
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
Caramelized Pears:
  • 6 pounds firm, ripe pears, peeled, cored and sliced into ½-inch wedges, preferably Bartlett or Anjou
  • 1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons ground ginger
  • 2¼ teaspoons baking powder
  • 1½ teaspoons cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • Heaping ¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • Heaping ⅛ teaspoon cardamom
  • Heaping ⅛ teaspoon cloves
  • 1½ cups Guinness stout, at room temperature
  • 1½ cups unsulfured molasses
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons flavorless vegetable oil, such as canola
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • ¾ cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • 5 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1½ tablespoons grated, peeled fresh gingerroot
  • 1½ teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
Mascarpone filling:
  • 1½ cups mascarpone cheese
  • ¾ cup heavy cream
  • ¼ cup sifted confectioners’ sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. For the Sauce: Bring the pear juice and lemon juice to a boil in a heavy pot over medium-high heat and boil until reduced by half, about 10 minutes.
  2. Whisk in the sugar, Lyle’s Golden Syrup, butter and salt and cook, stirring, until the sauce thickens slightly, 8 to 10 minutes. Whisk in the vanilla off heat. Pour into a heatproof container and let cool to warm room temperature (it will thicken more as it cools) stirring occasionally. Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight jar for up to 2 weeks. Reheat in the microwave and whisk before using. You won’t need it all for this cake. Any extra can be used over ice cream or cake.
  3. For the Pears: Combine the pears, sugar and lemon juice in a large and wide sauté pan. Sauté over medium heat until pears give off juice and sugar dissolves. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, for about 20 minutes, or until fruit softens and juices begin to caramelize (see Tips). Cool before assembling cake. Refrigerate in airtight container up to 3 days.
  4. For the Cake: Position racks in upper and lower third of oven. Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat six 8-x 2-inch round disposable aluminum pans with nonstick spray, line bottoms with parchment rounds, then spray parchment; set aside.
  5. Whisk together flour, ginger, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom and cloves in a large bowl to aerate and combine; set aside.
  6. Whisk together stout, molasses, oil, sugars, eggs, fresh ginger and lemon zest in a large bowl until combined. Make a well in the dry ingredients, pour in wet and whisk well until smooth and combined. Divide batter evenly in pans (see Tips) and smooth tops with offset spatula.
  7. Bake for about 15 to 20 minutes or until a toothpick tests clean. The center of the cake will spring back when gently pressed. Cool pans on racks for 5 minutes. Unmold, peel off parchment, and place cakes directly on racks to cool completely. Trim layers to be level, if necessary. Layers are ready to fill and assemble. Alternatively, place layers on cardboards and double wrap in plastic wrap; store at room temperature if assembling within 24 hours.
  8. For the Filling and Assembly: Fill and assemble within 2 hours of serving. In chilled bowl of standing mixer, beat all the filling ingredients on medium-high speed with wire whip, until soft peaks form. Do not overbeat; keep it creamy, but thick.
  9. Place one cake layer on display plate. Top with about ⅓ cup of the whipped mascarpone, leaving a 2-inch border of cake near the edges, then top that with about ⅔ cup of the pears and syrup, going all the way to the edges. Top with second cake layer and continue using the last of the mascarpone filling on the second to last cake layer. Place last cake layer on top and cover with a mound of remaining pears. Drizzle with pear caramel sauce. Serve immediately or store in airtight container up to 2 hours.

Bakepedia Tips

  • You need a very wide sauté pan for the pears or the surface area won’t allow enough evaporation of the juices that exude from the fruit. If there is a lot of juice, remove fruit and reduce juice to a thick syrup. Re-combine fruit and syrup if necessary. I use a pan that is 12-inches across.
  • One key factor in the look of this assembled cake is to make all of the cake layers even. You can pour the batter into the pans by eye, or you can place them on a digital scale and make sure each pan contains the exact same amount of batter, weight wise.
  • I like Vermont Creamery brand mascarpone cheese. Look for it in supermarket cheese departments and at specialty or cheese stores. It as a consistent flavor and texture and works perfectly in this recipe.


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Gingerbread Stack Cake with Mascarpone Cream, Caramelized Pears and Pear Caramel Sauce

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One Response to Gingerbread Stack Cake with Mascarpone Cream, Caramelized Pears and Pear Caramel Sauce

  1. Damon Herring December 11, 2014 at 11:07 am #

    I actually ate this…..I mean the one in the picture….I ate that one! FANTASTIC!!!! I’ll do it again if I can. Every once in a while something tastes better than it looks. This is one of those. It’s a piece of art to the eyes and the tongue. Make this for friends for brunch and they will talk about it, on occasion, for weeks…. maybe years. I give this 5 stars or is it 5 ‘b’s for bakepedia?

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