September 15, 2013


Halloween pumpkin cake1

Before we went to France for a few weeks in the middle of August we had the usual scramble to eat up everything in the fridge and veg drawer (resulting in a few rather “interesting” but none the less tasty pasta bakes and gratins).  As always, not wanting to throw good food away, we took a random selection of stuff with us to finish up.

This included half a butternut squash and a couple of oranges.  This is why, in temperatures of 30°C, I found myself in my little French kitchen baking a Halloween cake !!

I have made something similar before which I wrote about here, but then I came across this recipe on the BBC Good Food website so decided to give it a try instead.

 Halloween pumpkin cake2 Halloween pumpkin cake3

I used my ancient food processor to grate the squash.  This resulted in rather large bits of vegetable in the cake, which I was rather dubious about.  Still, once it was grated there was nothing I could do about it – the whole thing was blitzed in seconds, which was the whole point of course, but it gave me no time to change my mind and try to grate it a bit smaller by hand.

As it turned out, it was no detriment to the quality of the cake once it was baked, even though the bits of squash were rather obvious !!

Halloween pumpkin cake5

As usual I didn’t have all the right ingredients in stock so I had to make a few substitutions.  Instead of the 3tsp mixed spice in the recipe I used 1tsp each of ginger, cinnamon and ground nutmeg.  I didn’t have any sultanas so used raisins instead and in place of the light muscovado sugar I used a soft light brown sugar as that’s what seems to be available in French shops.

The recipe gives instructions for a cream cheese topping which was absolutely delicious.  I also added a few gold star sprinkles, just because I found them in the cupboard when I was hunting for my baking ingredients.

Tea_Time_Treatrs_logoThe cake was delicious, very large, very moist and very moreish.  I think this will become my favourite pumpkin cake and I am entering it into this month’s Tea Time Treats Challenge, hosted by Karen of Lavender and Lovage, in  conjunction with Kate of What Kate Baked.  The current challenge is for flapjacks, oats and traybakes.


300g self raising flour

300g soft light brown sugar

3tsp mixed spice (or 1tsp each of ground ginger, nutmeg and cinnamon)

2tsp bicarbonate of soda

175g raisins

½tsp salt

4 eggs, beaten

200g butter, melted

1 orange, juiced and zested (you will only use 1tblsp of the juice)

500g pumpkin or butternut squash, weight when peeled

For the topping

200g soft cheese

85g softened butter

100g icing sugar

1 orange, juiced and zested


Preheat the oven to 200°C / 180°fan / gas mk 6.  Butter and line a 30 x 20cm baking tin with baking paper.

Put the flour, sugar, spices, bicarb, raisins and salt into a bowl and mix well to combine.

Put the melted butter into another large bowl, beat in the eggs then stir in the orange zest and 1tblsp orange juice.  Add the dry ingredients and mix well.  Add the pumpkin or squash and mix well again to make sure it is all combined evenly.

Pour the mixture into the tin and bake for 30-40 minutes or until golden and springy to the touch.

While the cake is baking you can make the frosting by beating together all the ingredients (only half of the orange juice).  I found this easiest to do by simply blitzing it all together in the food processor.  Keep in the fridge until needed.

When the cake is done, leave to cool in the tin for 5 minutes then turn out onto a cooling rack.  Prick all over with a skewer and drizzle the other half of the orange juice.

When the cake is completely cool beat the frosting to loosen it and then spread it over the top of the cake.  Swirl with a fork or add sprinkles.

Cuts into 20-24 pieces.  Keeps well in the fridge for a few days.


  1. I love these kind of 'whatever works' cakes. I rarely have all the correct ingredients for cakes. This tray bake looks great and you know that Halloween is just around the corner.

  2. Yum. Something to use up some of my pumpkins in... Do you think the cake would freeze? I have quite a lot of pumkin...

    1. Sally, I can't think of a reason why it wouldn't freeze. I would probably freeze it without the frosting, although a friend of mine freezes cakes with this kind of cream cheese frosting and says it works fine.

      You could always make one and freeze a piece to see what happens!

    2. Good idea - I think it probably would freeze fine (although as you say would probably leave off the frosting until it was time to eat it). Thanks for the recipe anyway!

  3. Jean that sound excellent and there will be plenty of pumpkins around now. Yum yum. Have a good day, Diane

  4. Looks good and quite timely with Halloween coming up...

    1. Gaynor, it wasn't quite so timely when I made it in the middle of August but I thought it was ok to post it now !!

  5. Hurrah for pumpkins! Possibly my favourite part about fall, and makes up for the shorter days and cold weather. This is such a good way to use them- love cake, and love that it's in a tray bake,makes things so much easier and lovel to divide into squares for parties. Yum!

  6. Oh yes! What a BEAUTY Jean and so seasonal too, I LOVE this pumpkin tray bake with its cream cheese topping too! What a FAB tea time treats entry, thanks!

  7. This sounds delicious, & as I have a few tins of pureed pumpkin lurking in a cupboards, it will be the perfect way to use a couple of them.