Halloween pumpkin cake

Halloween pumpkin cake

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(121 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, 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 (174)

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!

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!!


Questions (2)

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!

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