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, questions and tips

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    Comments (178)

    ovenready53's picture

    I made this for our bonfire night party. Varied it a bit by using 100 ml sunflower oil instead of the butter, and less sugar (because I didn't have enough!) - 230g. It worked beautifully and I shall definitely make it again.

    Lesleyanneprattt@gmail.com's picture

    This is very yummy, soft and moist. The family love it.

    shantal's picture

    Although the preparation and grating of the pumpkin almost killed me (!!!!), it was well the time and effort because this is by far one of the best cake recipes I have come across; the cake is beautifully soft, moist and spiced and keeps incredibly well! My family have already put in a repeat request and so it will be added to our collection of 'go to' cakes! :D ps. I didn't have fresh oranges around, only shop bought orange juice, so used mixed candied peel instead of zest and it worked just as well!

    sassafrassa's picture

    I made this cake last Halloween and will definitely be making it again this year. Its like carrot cake but better! The addition of pumpkin makes it a real seasonal treat.

    missionveggie's picture

    I make this all of the time when I've got squash in our veg box to use up. Squash works just as well as pumpkin and I've even used a few parsnips to make up the weight where I've been short. Great recipe! I rarely bother with the orange zest but often add extra spice and walnuts and/or poppy seeds to add another dimension. Have also made into muffins rather than one large cake - just reduce the cooking time a bit. I usually ice with butter cream and it always goes down a treat. Yum yum.

    dwatson27's picture

    Made this for work again. Very popular. This time I used carrot and parsnip and it was just as tasty as before. It does take about an hour ( or more) to cook though. My toddler granddaughter couldn't get enough! Well worth the effort. A firm favourite!!

    dwatson27's picture

    Made this today! Fantastic! Didn't bother with the topping. A huge hit with Hubby and workmates! Worth the faff with the pumpkin grating (used my food processor). Cooked for more like 50/60 mins though. If you like carrot cake you'll love this!
    5 stars

    lvd85's picture

    Delicious cake! Made without the frosting and it was really nice. Delicious from the freezer as wel, a keeper!

    JDal's picture

    I've made this cake a few times now and it's been a great success. I also made it into cup cakes and piped the cream cheese topping on. I found the topping whips up better with an extra 50g cream cheese. The cake is so moist and keeps really well. I also used raisins instead of sultanas. Everyone loved this cake, well worth a try.

    juliaprior's picture

    I made this today to use up pumpkin left over from halloween. My tin was just slightly smaller than the recipe advised but the cake still came out well. I had to cook it quite a bit longer, I cooked for 30 mins before checking and then checked every 5 or so minutes thereafter, probably took about 50-60 mins in total to cook through. I covered with foil after a bit to avoid the top getting too dark and it came out fine, not burnt at the edges. My pumpkin was probably a bit drier as it had been scooped out and carved so probably dried out a bit by the time I cooked the cake. The cake was lovely and I enjoyed the frosting, it had a lovely fresh orange flavour and not too over powering. I used slightly less orange juice in the frosting, just kept adding as much juice as I dare to ensure the icing didn't get too runny. My tip would be to use a food processor to grate the pumpkin if you have one - definitely takes the hard work out of it! Great way to use up pumpkin (I also made soup!)

    Harrysbakingmummy's picture

    Seriously delicious. If you like carrot cake you will love this and it is soooo easy to make. Mine took a good 50 mins to cook though but was still fabulously moist. Great recipe to cook with kids. One for my recipe collection.

    tillyfloss80's picture

    Amazingly good!
    I just wanted a recipe to use up the Halloween pumpkin and so glad that I gave this a try. Very moist & tasty and luckily mine wasn't too watery. (See tips.)
    Recommend giving this one a try.

    tillyfloss80's picture

    Amazingly Good!
    I was surprised at just how yummy this cake was. I'd recommend squeezing out a lot of the juice from the pumpkin as I found this helped to solve the problem of the batter being too runny!
    Definitely give it a try.

    xmorpheus's picture

    Too difficult to get enough pumpkin grated - gave up :(

    susiqsi86's picture

    Absolutely delicious - incredibly moist. I didn't have any sultanas, but I grated an apple through - not sure it changed much though. I also didn't bother with the orange juice+zest, or with the frosting - in fact, I would say this cake doesn't really need frosting.

    claraiscrazy's picture

    So so good, a new favourite in my house :)

    asthmatic_ant's picture

    Great tasting cake, great combination of spice and sweetness. However, as many of the comments below suggest, the water content of your pumpkin will be make or break. Unfortunately it would appear that our pumpkin was very water heavy; the cake had about 2 hours in total, and even then was a bit stodgy in the middle.

    My suggestion is to squeeze some water out of the grated pumpkin, then keep an eye on the cake after 25-30 mins.

    Mooching Mel's picture

    Delicious cake! I made a cake in a round 20" cake tin which was moist and tasty and as I had so much pumpkin left from my carving I made a half recipe and turned it into cupcakes which were very light.

    The frosting is too runny even after adding a lot more icing sugar so I'd use a different cream cheese frosting recipe next time.

    Mooching Mel's picture

    Absolutely delicious! Made a cake and then cupcakes using this recipe and b oth turned out great.

    The icing is too runny though so next time I would use a different cream cheese icing for this cake.


    likalu1's picture

    Delicious! Easy to make and end result fab. Very moist and I loved the frosting, thought it complemented the cake perfectly. Will be making this again!


    Questions (4)

    Tarrah's picture

    What is mixed spice?

    Bgavin1's picture

    Really want to try this recipe, however I do not have a pumpkin and If I were to buy butternut squash how many would I need if the recipe only calls for grated flesh?

    karenp2011's picture

    Can this cake be frozen

    cakeyjay's picture

    not tried it myself, as I have only just made it but several people on here have said that it freezes very well.

    Tips (8)

    Maria48's picture

    Can I use icing sugar or normal sugar,in Malta I cant find muscovado sugar

    maryechappell's picture

    Did like this cake although it was no different to carrot cake but the icing was especially good, it looked at first like egg mayo sandwich filling! but I mixed it with the electric whisk and it became lovely & thick (just added a teaspoon of juice as in the recipe)

    Norman Meyer's picture

    I've made 5 Halloween Pumpkin cakes so far this year, and have another two to make for next weekend, (latecomers - tsk), each time I have cooked the cake the stated 30 minutes, then put a hat of kitchen foil on top of the tin - and still they've taken 50 - 55 minutes with the skewer test.

    One thing I find helps is grating about 700-750 grams of pumpkin, then using a potato masher, (mine's like a small round tin about the size of a tuna can), and squeeze the juice out - this has made the grated pumpkin drier, and so far the 7-750 squeezed ends up near the 500 g suggested, best of all the fruit, Sultanas and pumpkins are more evenly distributed throughout the cake.

    Harrysbakingmummy's picture

    Took a good 50 mins to bake- just cover with foil to prevent the top from burning! A small pumpkin provides more than enough grated pumpkin for this recipe.

    motherveggie's picture

    I didn't grate my butternut squash (didn't use a pumpkin either!) I put it through my ninja and it cooked just as well, no water to squeeze out, it did need an extra 15 mins to cook but came out gorgeously, moistly scrummy and half the cake that I took into my hairdressers was downed in 5 mins!! Would add more mixed spice next time I cook as I didn't find it enough for my taste.

    tillyfloss80's picture

    I simply squeezed out the juice of the pumpkin by hand before mixing into the batter.

    asthmatic_ant's picture

    Finely grate pumpkin with a food processor, then squeeze out the water in a tea towel. Use the weight of the squeezed pumpkin. If you don't take measures to reduce water content of the pumpkin, the cake will likely take far longer to cook.

    cakeyjay's picture

    Scrape out pumpkin flesh and leave it until the next day to use. It should then have gone soft and pulpy. Squeeze out as much excess water as possible - discard this. Weigh out the recipe amount of the squeezed pumpkin pulp and use a hand blender instead of grating (you won't be able to grate as it has gone soft and pulpy) This should result in a light textured cake that takes the time stated in the recipe - it worked for me, anyway!