Halloween pumpkin cake

Halloween pumpkin cake

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(177 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

  • un-iced

Nutrition: per serving (15 slices)

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


    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 a dairy product made from separating whole milk or cream into fat and…

    • 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 a dairy product made from separating whole milk or cream into fat and…

    • 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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    26th Jan, 2020
    It’s a great recipe. I’d make some key changes. 1) Less bi-carb, it has a soapy after taste 2) Don’t need the butter in the topping 3) Less sugar (100g less would be fine) Outside of these tweaks, it went down a treat! It takes longer to cook (40 minutes) and I used dried apricots instead of sultanas.
    Dana Krumina's picture
    Dana Krumina
    17th Dec, 2019
    I made this cake last weekend and it was an it was an absolute hit. It took me a bit more time to bake I ended up with 50 min instead of 30. I love that is was moist and orange just gives hint of freshness and fruitiness to the sweet cake.
    Frantic Flapjack
    12th Nov, 2019
    This was a lovely cake - moist and tasty. It cooked in the 30 minutes recipe time. I ended up with 350g of butternut squash flesh but this didn't seem to make any difference to the finished result. I didn't use butter in the topping and it worked fine. Also looked good.
    Louise G
    7th Nov, 2019
    This cake is great - I've made it for work the last two Halloweens and it's been raved about both times. Being a traybake makes it great for sharing too. I did make a few modifications, but mainly through laziness rather than any issue with the recipe: - No sultanas (husband doesn’t like them) - Skipped the orange entirely (laziness, didn't have one in) - The small tubs of Philadelphia are 180g instead of the 200g in the icing recipe. I just used one of those. - Added splash of boiling water in the icing, to make up for the missing orange juice. - I think it can stand more mixed spice (dependent upon your preference). Also definitely note the Recipe Tip about pumpkins varying in water content. Last year I think I must have had a wet one as it ended up being in the oven for almost 50mins, but this year it was about 35-40. Much better than pumpkin soup!
    23rd Oct, 2019
    I made this cake changing the ingredients slightly. I only had 460g of butternut squash so I added 6 dates that I had left (I blended them in 1 tbs of water). Only had three eggs, so i reduced 1 tbs of linseeds in powder in a coffee grinder and added them to the egg mixture. We don’t like our cakes sweet so I left out the sugar altogether (the dates and raisins added some sweetness). Only had plain wholemeal flour so I added a little bit more bicarbonate of soda and finally didn’t have oranges so I substituted them with lemon. I thought that 200g was a bit too much butter so only used 150g. Cooking time took much longer, as suggested in other comments, after about 40 minutes I reduced the temperature to 160 C for another 20 minutes. I know, lots of changes but the cake came out amazing anyway.
    10th Nov, 2018
    Beautiful moist cake.
    Jamee Holman's picture
    Jamee Holman
    6th Nov, 2018
    I made this recipe vegan by using a plant based butter and using 'flax eggs', and it turned out perfectly! Iced with vegan buttercream but will use a vegan cream cheese to make frosting next time - delicious recipe!!
    6th Nov, 2018
    Fantastic cake, made it several times and it's always gone down well, it takes a lot longer than the 30 minutes to bake, but I would recommend it to anyone.
    4th Nov, 2018
    This was an absolute hit! Very tasty and moist cake. The only thing I did differently was the topping as I’m not sure why the frosting needs butter in it? I made it as cream cheese and icing sugar with the orange peel grated on top.
    1st Nov, 2018
    I made mine gluten free simply by swapping to a gluten free self raising flour mix but kept quantities the same. The most difficult bit was trying to get the food mixer graterer to actually grate the small bits of pumpkin I had scooped out from pumpkin carving but that’s a design flaw with the mixer not the recipe! Having finally worked out a quick way of doing that it came out as a really moist and delicious cake (and without injuring myself) I will be returning to this recipe next Halloween and am tempted to get another pumpkin this year just to make another cake.


    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.
    22nd Nov, 2019
    Excellent recipe! It needed about 15 minutes more cooking, probably due to the extra 200 grams of pumpkin I added, which makes it a bit more moist and adds to the volume. I would suggest sticking to 500 grams. I used a fine grating disc on the kitchen machine (probably 1-2mm). In hindsight, maybe a more course disc would have left the pumpkin a bit more recognizable in the finished product. It could also do with a bit more salt and and extra teaspoon of cinnamon.
    Sandy W
    15th Nov, 2018
    Made this 4 times. Lovely recipe, but the frosting is way too runny. Try this instead: 125g soft cheese, 300g icing sugar, 50g butter, zest of half an orange and 1 teaspoon orange juice. Worked much better this way. Number one cake in our house!
    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.
    tillyfloss80's picture
    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!
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