Halloween pumpkin cake

Halloween pumpkin cake

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(139 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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    Sweet Potato Al
    10th Nov, 2017
    Absolutely delicious! Made this for our work Halloween Bake-Off, I was a little sceptical about how it would taste but the proof was in the pudding because it won! I agree the preparation was a little laborious but it was definitely worth it and was enjoyed by everyone.
    30th Oct, 2017
    This is a beautiful cake and was still delicious after 5 days in the fridge. A few tips: 1) after grating the pumpkin, press with a good few sheets of kitchen towel to remove moisture, 2) I baked for 30 mins then covered with foil for another 20 and it came out perfectly, 3) you don't need any orange juice, just zest in the frosting or it'll be too runny, 4) i added a little cinnamon to the frosting and topped with chopped walnuts
    29th Oct, 2017
    Made this for the first time yesterday. It is very stodgy and quite dense so not sure if I've used too much pumpkin. Its more of a pudding than a cake. But, still delicious.
    11th Dec, 2016
    Great way to use pumpkin. Lovely cake, not too sweet but nicely spiced.
    5th Nov, 2016
    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.
    31st Oct, 2016
    This is very yummy, soft and moist. The family love it.
    29th Oct, 2016
    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!
    19th Oct, 2016
    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.
    10th Apr, 2016
    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.
    8th Mar, 2016
    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!!


    30th Oct, 2016
    What is mixed spice?
    29th Oct, 2016
    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?
    7th Aug, 2013
    Can this cake be frozen
    30th Oct, 2013
    not tried it myself, as I have only just made it but several people on here have said that it freezes very well.
    25th Mar, 2015
    Can I use icing sugar or normal sugar,in Malta I cant find muscovado sugar
    8th Nov, 2014
    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
    2nd Nov, 2014
    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.
    19th Oct, 2014
    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.
    31st Jan, 2014
    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.
    31st Dec, 2013
    I simply squeezed out the juice of the pumpkin by hand before mixing into the batter.
    5th Nov, 2013
    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.
    30th Oct, 2013
    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!