Every year I carve a pumpkin at Halloween and every year without fail I’ve guiltily tipped the insides of the pumpkin into the compost bin. I tell a lie, one year we did try and make something but it was so inedible we tipped that straight in the bin.
This afternoon as my son and I sat around the kitchen table carving the pumpkin and scooping out the gloopy insides, I felt really bad about tipping the pumpkin innards into the bin, so I decided to try and bake a pumpkin cake of our own.
I consider myself to be a bit of a safe baker, I can do 100 variations of sponge cake but anything more complicated I’ve always shied away from for fear of failure. I sat at the kitchen table and puzzled over what to do, in the end I came up with a slightly experimental recipe for a pumpkin cake and a hope that it would work, it did and it was delicious.
This pumpkin cake recipe does make quite a lot of cake batter and there was enough to make one decent sized cake and 12 yummy cupcakes. We used the flesh, the firm pale bit, not the slimy gloopy bit. We cut our chunks of the flesh and grated them. We found we had 300g or so, though I think if you found yourself with more pumpkin than that, then the recipe is quite forgiving and would accommodate another 100g or so with no problems.
The pumpkin kind of melts into the cake when it’s cooked and you’d never, ever know what the spooky surprise in your cake really is. I suspect if you wanted to make this cake outside of pumpkin carving season a grated butternut squash would work just as well.
Pumpkin Cake with Cinnamon Icing
If you've carved your pumpkin and you don't know what to do with the leftover flesh, here's a cracking recipe for a cake which you can decorate as Halloweeny as you want.
For the cake...
- 300g golden caster sugar
- 200g butter or margarine
- 4 eggs, beaten
- 2 tsp mixed spice, ground
- 5 tsp cinnamon, ground
- 2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 300g self raising flour
- 300g pumpkin flesh, grated
- splash of orange juice if the latter needs loosening
For the frosting...
- 80g unsalted butter, soft
- 100g icing sugar
- 4 tsp cinnamon, ground
- 200g cream cheese
Pre-heat your oven to 190.
Cream the golden caster sugar and butter together. Once light and fluffy stir in the beaten eggs, mixed spice and cinnamon. Add to bicarb of soda, salt and sifted flour and fold in until the batter is smooth. If the batter seems a little stiff add a splash of fresh orange juice to loosen it. Stir in the grated pumpkin.
Put a dessert spoon of the batter in 12 cupcake cases and bake for 20 minutes, remove from the oven and cool on a rack.
With the remainder of the batter, pour into a lined 8 inch cake tin. For ease I used one of the paper cake tin liners you can buy and my tin was quite deep (4 inches). Bake this cake in the oven for 50 minutes. Turn the oven off and leave the cake inside for a further 10 minutes, then remove and cool on the rack.
To make the frosting...
Beat the icing sugar and butter together until smooth, add the cinnamon and stir thoroughly. Beat in the cream cheese until the mixture is well combined. Put in the fridge to firm up for 20 minutes.
Once your cakes are cool they can be iced, you can either pipe on the frosting or smooth it on with a knife, decorate however you want, I sprinkled some spooky sprinkles on top of mine.
The result was a surprisingly light pumpkin cake, full of autumnal spice and not at all pumpkiny. I urge you not to tip your pumpkin innards in the bin, but to try this instead. You won’t regret it. I promise!