Halloween pumpkin cake

Halloween pumpkin cake

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(127 ratings)

Prep: 20 mins Cook: 30 mins


Cuts into 15 generous portions
Like carrot cake? Then try using up your leftover pumpkin in this clever traybake for Halloween

Nutrition and extra info

  • Freezable

Nutrition: per serving (15 slices)

  • kcal408
  • fat21g
  • saturates13g
  • carbs52g
  • sugars37g
  • fibre1g
  • protein5g
  • salt1.33g
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    For the cake

    • 300g self-raising flour
    • 300g light muscovado sugar
    • 3 tsp mixed spice
    • 2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
      Bicarbonate of soda

      Bicarbonate of soda

      Bicarbonate of soda, or baking soda, is an alkali which is used to raise soda breads and full-…

    • 175g sultanas
    • ½ tsp salt
    • 4 eggs, beaten



      The ultimate convenience food, eggs are powerhouses of nutrition, packed with protein and a…

    • 200g butter, melted



      Butter is made when lactic-acid producing bacteria are added to cream and churned to make an…

    • zest 1 orange



      One of the best-known citrus fruits, oranges aren't necessarily orange - some varieties are…

    • 1 tbsp orange juice
    • 500g (peeled weight) pumpkin or butternut squash flesh, grated

    For drenching and frosting

    • 200g pack soft cheese
    • 85g butter, softened



      Butter is made when lactic-acid producing bacteria are added to cream and churned to make an…

    • 100g icing sugar, sifted
    • zest 1 orange and juice of half



      One of the best-known citrus fruits, oranges aren't necessarily orange - some varieties are…


    1. Heat oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4. Butter and line a 30 x 20cm baking or small roasting tin with baking parchment. Put the flour, sugar, spice, bicarbonate of soda, sultanas and salt into a large bowl and stir to combine. Beat the eggs into the melted butter, stir in the orange zest and juice, then mix with the dry ingredients till combined. Stir in the pumpkin. Pour the batter into the tin and bake for 30 mins, or until golden and springy to the touch.

    2. To make the frosting, beat together the cheese, butter, icing sugar, orange zest and 1 tsp of the juice till smooth and creamy, then set aside in the fridge. When the cake is done, cool for 5 mins then turn it onto a cooling rack. Prick it all over with a skewer and drizzle with the rest of the orange juice while still warm. Leave to cool completely.

    3. If you like, trim the edges of the cake. Give the frosting a quick beat to loosen, then, using a palette knife, spread over the top of the cake in peaks and swirls. If you’re making the cake ahead, keep it in the fridge then take out as many pieces as you want 30 mins or so before serving. Will keep, covered, for up to 3 days in the fridge.

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    Comments (178)

    cakeyjay's picture

    Brilliant cake. I believe I have the secret to success! - I think you need to get rid of as much excess water as possible to make sure it is light and spongelike and that it takes the cooking time stated. I used pumpkin that had been scraped out the day before ; because of this there was a lot of excess water as time had made it go quite pulpy, so I squeezed as much as possible of the liquid out and discarded this, weighed it and used a hand blender rather than grated (could not grate anyway because it had turned soft and pulpy) This was very successful, the cake took the exact time the recipe stated in my fan oven and was actually slightly overdone, but was a good excuse to eat the edge pieces straight away !! Amazingly light and very tasty - used a few chopped crystalised ginger pieces and made up the rest of the weight with raisins in place of the sultanas.
    I won't bother icing it at all, I really don't think it needs icing or frosting - could even make it over rich as it already has loads of flavour. Love it, may even make a second one to take to work as my daughter has come home with a second pumpkin she now wants to carve!

    Jo Goddard's picture

    this is a great recipe although i did use 2 swiss roll trays (30x20cms each) and baked for 50 mins. i used Betty Crocker Vanilla icing between the layers and on top. it was fantastic. i had lots of good comments at my Halloween party. i would recommend using BC - ok its probably not super healthy but so easy.

    charlene25's picture

    Great cake recipe! Baking time took like 20 min more than it was suggested and because the top of the cake was browning quickly, I simply placed a sheet of foil on top and carried on cooking until done. The end result was super - the cake turned out very moist and the orange frosting, paired really nicely with the cake.

    Mmm_cake's picture

    Thoroughly disappointed!
    Read thro the previous comments and picked up some tips, ie baking times, runniness of icing, using full fat cheese etc, and so I made sure I followed these suggestions...
    Cake batter was ridiculously runny so I thought best not to risk baking a whole cake and to instead bake 24 cupcakes like another person suggested. An hour later, they still didn't appear cooked, rather soggy looking inside, so turned down the temp a tad and left for another hour - still soggy!
    Frosting also waste of time. Added 300g icing sugar as someone suggested to thicken up the "syrup" that the recipe created. It was ok, not great, left in fridge whilst cakes cooked. When they were cool I added the icing - half a dozen cupcakes in and the icing is becoming runnier and runnier. Complete waste of space, cannot use in lunch boxes as will just create a sticky mess, only suitable for leaving in fridge and serving immediately with a cup of tea and then hoping everyone eats them before they melt again!!
    Waste of an afternoon! Will try harder to find the other recipe I had for pumpkin cake!!

    tanyarhodes's picture

    Fantastic, i had to bake for a little longer than stated (but knew this from the tip) and it was a very moist and flavourful cake! Cut mine into the shape of a pumpkin for Halloween and roasted the pumpkin seeds (splash of oil and 15mins in the oven) to decorate.

    disneydani's picture

    Has anyone tried freezing this cake?

    Cork home ec teacher's picture

    I made 24 muffins with this recipe ( place batter in jug to pour out as its very wet). They took about 25 mins to cook fully. They really are amazing!! So moist and taste wonderful. I'm making them with my class for Halloween. I did however, find the icing very runny. Next time I'll make it this way... 100g of soft cream cheese, 100g butter, 450g icing sugar, zest of one orange, 1tablesppin of juice... I'll let you know how it goes

    jeanlovesbeads's picture

    I improvised on the mixed spice as I didn't have any (used a tsp each of nutmeg, ginger and cinnamon). I used raisins instead of sultanas and topped with buttercream icing as I didn't have any cream cheese!
    It took more than twice as long as stated to cook (75 minutes) but it was WONDERFUL !

    Romy93's picture

    This is honestly the best cake I have ever eaten. I make it with butternut squash because pumpkin is hard to find outside of October, and it has become a family favourite. I also make it with standard buttercream rather than the cream cheese one because I prefer the taste. I will be making this cake forever now.

    witchwind38's picture

    So nice helped make it @ a party IT ALL WENT!!!!

    jayney23's picture

    Made this recipe with the kids and they absolutely loved it, despite claiming beforehand that there was no way that pumpkin cake could be nice. The cake was lovely and moist and very easy to make. The only complaint was that the frosting was a too runny, but this can be easily resolved. Will definitely be making this again.

    cmtodd's picture

    I made into muffins and got 24. Beautiful even without frosting which is in the fridge, little too runny. Wish I'd read tip about using full fat cream cheese!!
    Will definitely try again

    dagmar2601's picture

    Baked this tonight with my children 4 and 7 - they loved making and eating it - although my daughter first said that she would never eat cake with butternut squash!!
    Did not have any oranges so used a lemon instead. Also I did not have enough butternut squash so made the weight up with a carrot.
    I used slightly less sugar and it is still more than sweet enough
    But allover a lovely moist, yummy cake. Not so keen on the raisins. Would probably replace them with some walnuts next time.

    MelanieCyp's picture

    Lovely; mine wasn't dense at all. It was lovely and fluffy and spongy but moist. I turned them into cupcakes and they baked in 25 min.
    I used plain flour and a teaspoon of baking powder alongside the baking soda and the remainder of the ingredients.
    I added more cinnamon and omitted the orange juice but added the zest.
    Used regular pumpkin. Also made the topping out of greek yogurt and icing sugar; they kind of had a more brunch muffin feel rather than desert feel as i didn't find them too sweet.

    vintageabbie's picture

    This was a huge success at work and for family! I used allspice instead of mixed, and my own buttercream icing instead of cream cheese, but the pumpkin and orange worked brilliantly! Was a lot of fun to make and delicious!

    lucyupinthesky's picture

    Forgot to rate sorry!

    lucyupinthesky's picture

    Made twice, both wonderful! Added carrots the second time 'cause I didn't have enough pumpkin flesh, a big hit all the same!! If you like it, try using crystallized ginger instead of raisins: delicious!!

    donnamcdowell's picture

    This was delicious and a very big hit at a dinner party. I divided the batter and made two layers, making a little extra frosting to sandwich them together.

    marlyly89's picture

    My first ever attempt at baking and boy this came out delicious! Was a huge hit in my house and would definitely make this again (and not just for halloween!). Very soft and moist and packed with flavour! Recommended 100%!

    sooz_1986's picture

    This cake is an absolute winner and delicious!

    I would agree with many people's comments where the cake should be baked for longer - around the 45mins mark.

    I too found the volumes for the icing made it quite runny. I tried the following amounts when making the icing for the second time which worked better:
    125g soft cheese
    50g butter
    300g icing sugar
    Dash of orange juice
    Zest from ½ an orange


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