Torta di Zucca

Pumpkin Cake

A traditional and delicious recipe from the Veneto region where the humble pumpkin is widely used. The quantities for this cake are calculated in raw weight of pumpkin, so in other words for a cake large enough for four people you will need lb of pumpkin—double this amount for a larger cake. Choose your cake pan once you have made the cake mixture. If you prefer, you can bake the pumpkin in the oven, then mash it with the butter once it is soft.


  • cup unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing
  • lb good-quality, ripe, pumpkin, or butternut squash
  • a pinch of salt
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup crushed almonds
  • cup candied citron peel
  • cup golden raisins, soaked in grappa until swollen
  • grated peel of 1 lemon
  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 heaping teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 eggs separated
  • confectioners’ sugar, for dusting


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease and very carefully line a 2 in loose-based cake pan.
  2. Peel and cube the pumpkin, then place in a saucepan with the butter, and cook until the pumpkin is soft. Remove the pan from the heat, add the salt, and mash thoroughly.
  3. Stir in the granulated sugar, almonds, candied citron, golden raisins with the grappa, and the grated lemon peel. Beat together very thoroughly. Sift in the flour and baking powder and stir.
  4. Beat the egg yolks in a bowl until light and foamy, then fold into the pumpkin mixture. Beat the egg whites in a separate clean, greasefree bowl until stiff, then fold in lightly.
  5. Turn the mixture into the prepared cake pan and bake in the oven for about 1 hour, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
  6. Turn out onto a wire rack to cool and then dust with confectioners’ sugar to serve. Please note that this is a very moist cake indeed.