Vanilla Cardamom Mascarpone Cake with Pinot Cranberry Compote 

“Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire: it is the time for home.” 
— Edith Sitwell

This post was sponsored by The Feed Feed and Austerity Wines but all words, opinions, and love of winter and wine are my own.

Winter is upon us—for some it is well underway and I envy your frost and snow and startlingly low temperatures. It is my favorite time of year and yet I live in the wrong part of the world to truly enjoy it. I take what comfort I can from the 50 degree California nights—I have the front door open now to let the chill seep in. I thoroughly enjoy a cold wind early in the morning. I relish the fleeting daylight and early evenings that come with it. I savor every opportunity be even the littlest bit cold.  

Winter is the time for comfort close to home—a sort of semi-hibernation. The time for fireside chats with those we hold dear. And was there ever a better season for delicious food, spiced desserts, and hot spiked libations? I think not. In fact, it was my sentimental feelings towards the season that inspired me to create this recipe for you. And while my many fear-filled days of baking have yet to gather dust, it still speaks to how much I romanticize a season if I attempt to put anything in an oven, especially a cake.

This cake is the perfect wintertime treat. Spiced with cardamom, vanilla bean, and orange zest it is both flavorful and fragrant. I also added a generous amount of mascarpone to create a rich and moist confection. If I’m being perfectly honest this cake is delicious on it’s own. I made several test cakes (5 to be exact with only one minor emotional meltdown—my how far we’ve come) and sampled countless slices all sans frosting. Each was delicious paired with nothing more than a cup of tea. This is especially good to keep in mind if –like me—you enjoy a good breakfast cake (aka any cake that you can rationalize eating for breakfast).

For this recipe however, I really wanted to create a proper cake—my first in fact—with a mascarpone buttercream and a season appropriate fruit element; enter my Austerity Wines Pinot Noir Cranberry Compote. Partnering with Austerity Wines this past year was one of the most enjoyable experiences. Not only did I get to play with and enjoy their wines all year long, but I genuinely love each one—especially their Pinot Noir.

Their 2016 vintage hails from Coastal California. It is full of ripe red fruity notes and features aromas of cranberries, graham cracker, and earthy overtones. So adding a splash to fresh cranberries, with a bit of blood orange juice and zest, vanilla, and sugar made for one decadent and intoxicating berry compote. Such a simple addition that adds a pleasant fresh and tart element to balance this sweetly spiced cake. If cranberries aren’t your thing you could easily substitute any number of fresh or frozen fruits. I think cherries, figs, and blackberries are just a few delicious ideas.

I should clarify that when I say this is my first proper cake it’s not the first cake I’ve made. I’ve followed and ruined many recipes in the past. It’s just my first original cake and frosting recipe I’ve ever been brave enough to put to the test and I couldn’t be more thrilled with the results. I see this on countless tables shared with countless friends in days to come. This cake is no doubt best enjoyed fireside with good company and a glass of Austerity Wines Pinot. I feel I’ve created a new wintertime tradition to share with family and friends It completely encapsulates the season for me. And I hope it does the same for you!

What is your favorite wintertime dessert? Leave a comment below!

Vanilla Cardamom Mascarpone Cake with Pinot Cranberry Compote 


For the Cake

1 ½ cups granulated sugar

¾ cup (1 ½ sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature

4 large eggs, room temperature

½ Tbsp. Orange zest

Seeds scraped from one vanilla bean

8 oz. Mascarpone, room temperature

2 Tbsp. Milk

1 ¾ cups All-Purpose flour

2 tsp. baking powder

½ tsp. salt

1 tsp. ground cardamom

¼ tsp cinnamon

For the Cranberry Compote

12 oz. fresh cranberries + 1 cup divided

½ cup blood orange juice

1 tsp. orange zest

1 tsp. grated ginger, optional

1 cup Austerity Wines Pinot Noir

1 cup sugar*

For the Frosting

¾ cup  (1 ½ sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature

8oz. Mascarpone, room temperature

1 ½ cups confectioners sugar, sifted

Seeds scraped from one vanilla bean

*Depending on your preference you may want to add more sugar, but I preferred this a bit tart and sweet.


For the Cake

    1. Preheat your oven to 325 °F. Line a 9-inch spring-form pan with parchment paper, grease the sides and bottom with butter, and lightly dust with flour.
    2. In a stand mixer, cream butter and sugar on a medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
    3. Add in one egg at a time, scraping down sides after each addition.
    4. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, salt, cardamom, and cinnamon. 
    5. Next mix in the orange zest, vanilla, mascarpone, and milk until well combined. (Your batter may look like it’s about to separate at this point, but never you mind, just keep going, all is well).
    6. Add your dry ingredients to your wet ingredients in one addition (because that’s how I roll). And mix until you can only make out a few white streaks of flour.
    7. Remove the paddle attachment and finish incorporating with a spatula or wooden spoon.
    8. Pour batter into you prepared pan and spread it evenly (it’s a thick batter). Tap it several times on the counter to even it out and get rid of any air bubbles.
    9. Bake for about 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out fairly clean (you don’t want to see raw batter but crumbs are ok, you really don’t want to overcook this cake).
    10. Remove cake from oven and allow to cool for about 15 minutes before removing the outer ring from the pan.
    11. Let cake cool completely before frosting and decorating.



For the Cranberry Compote

    1. Combine all ingredients except for the additional cup of cranberries in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Also, save the vanilla beans from the cake and frosting recipes, you can toss them in here for extra flavor.
    2. Bring to a gentle boil and reduce to a simmer, stirring frequently.
    3. Simmer for about 20-25 minutes until compote begins to thicken and the cranberries have burst.
    4. During the last 5 minutes or so of cooking add in the additional cup of cranberries. I did this to have some whole berries in the compote. You can absolutely skip this step and just let everything cook down to a chunky consistency or even blend the finish product if you prefer a smooth sauce.
    5. Now you can use this in a few ways, I let this compote cool completely before refrigerating and then spread a layer on the top of my cake. You could also frost you cake and serve this sauce hot on the side if you’d like. Whatever sounds good to you!

For the Frosting

  1. In your stand mixer, use your paddle attachment to beat butter and mascarpone until light and fluffy, 2 minutes.
  2. Add in vanilla, then the sugar in a few additions and mix until well combined.

I find it best to make the frosting right before you plan on assembling your cake.

To assemble the cake

  1. Apply a crumb coat of frosting to your completely cooled cake. Basically this is a light layer of frosting designed to help prevent crumbs from ruining your final product.
  2. Chill cake in the fridge for about 20 minutes before applying your next layer. Apply as little or as much frosting as you’d like.  
  3. Just before serving spoon your Pinot cranberry compote over the top of your cake. For this method make sure the cranberry compote has been chilled in the fridge or is at least room temperature or it will melt the frosting. If you’d prefer it hot, spoon the compote over cake slices as you serve!


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3 Comment

  1. Lori (Southerngirleats) says: Reply

    Oh friend you rocked this cake and I love the recipe. I have tagged it to make! This is the first of many magical cakes to come- I just know it!

    Stunning and I love how you incorporated the pink in it. ❤️

    1. Christine says: Reply

      Thank you so much Lori! I was very proud of this one. So delicious and fragrant!

  2. Sara Jones says: Reply

    This is beautiful and sounds Devine. I look forward to trying about another one of your amazing creations. 🥂🍾

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