Instead of using pumpkin puree to create the seasonally ubiquitous pumpkin pie, I just had to think outside the box and create something different for you all. Sure, the spicy sweet flavours we all know and love about pumpkin desserts go great with flaky pastry, but I think they go even better with those of chocolate. My double chocolate pumpkin parfaits are showstoppers thanks to two things: dense and fudgy dark chocolate cake, and rich and creamy white chocolate. The combination is an easy yet elegant addition to a fall dessert table, and is so simple to make that even the kids in your families can pull this one off.

*Makes approximately 5 parfaits


1 boxchocolate cake mix (alternatively, any store-bought pre-made plain chocolate cake will do)
1225g pkg white chocolate chips
2tbsp heavy cream
1 cupmascarpone cheese
1 cuppumpkin puree
4 tspcinnamon
½ tspnutmeg
¼ tspground cloves
¾ tspground ginger
1 tbsppowdered sugar (powdered works best because it melts easily into mixture)
Cacao nibs, for garnish (optional)


  1. Prepare chocolate cake according to package directions. Bake in a 9x13-inch baking tray lined with parchment until fully cooked and a toothpick inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. Transfer to a cooling rack to cool.
  2. In a microwave (at 50% strength) or over a double boiler gently melt the white chocolate chips with the cream until smooth, stirring at regular brief intervals. A rubber spatula is best for smoothing out the lumps.
  3. In a large bowl, add the mascarpone cheese and beat with an electric mixer until softened and smooth. Add pumpkin, spices, powdered sugar, and melted white chocolate, and beat until blended. Taste, and adjust the spice level to your liking – if you really love ginger, for example, go ahead and add more. Cover and reserve in fridge until needed.
  4. Once you have chosen your serving dishes, use a paring knife to cut out rounds of chocolate cake for layering. Note: cake can be baked up to 3 days in advance and stored in an airtight container.
  5. To assemble parfaits, begin with a piece of cake set in the dish to create the base layer. Then top with a layer of pumpkin cream, then another layer of cake, and a final layer of cream. Top with cacao nibs and refrigerate until ready to serve. Parfaits can be assembled 1 day in advance. Note: the easiest and neatest way to add the pumpkin cream layer is by using a piping bag or resealable bag with the corner snipped – keeping the dessert layers neat is the key to a delicious presentation. Also, don’t worry if you have to manipulate the cake a little to create neat layers in the jars – just pack it in and press a little, and remember that as long as it looks neat against the sides of the jar you’re good to go. Note: you can easily stretch the recipe further by using smaller dishes – the choice is yours.
  6. Enjoy!