This pumpkin cake recipe has a ton of pumpkin flavour and is gently spiced with warming autumn spices. It's super moist, not overly sweet, and it's made with this delicious homemade pumpkin puree and topped with a silky smooth cream cheese pumpkin spread. What more could you want in your favourite autumn dessert.
After many years looking at how tasteless most pumpkin cake recipes are, I finally created my own recipe that's loaded with autumn aromas, real pumpkin flavour and to-die-for texture.
Like my famous carrot cake recipe I've also included the extra secret step of making lightly spiced orangy syrup to drizzle on the cake when it comes out of the oven.
The result is an easy homemade pumpkin cake you will only find in the finest hotels served at afternoon tea for ridiculous prices.
How you serve it is up to you.
- Flour - All-purpose flour.
- Pumpkin - For grating and making fresh pumpkin puree. If you don't want to make your own then use Libby's pumpkin puree.
- Oil - Plain canola oil or any other neutral-tasting oil.
- Raising agents - Baking powder and baking soda both go into this recipe.
- Salt - Always use a bit even in sweet baking.
- Flavourings - Vanilla essence in some form. Either powdered, paste or concentrate.
- Spice - Cinnamon ginger powder and nutmeg goes into the mix and syrup while star anise gets added in the syrup.
- Pumpkin seeds - Blended until almost as fine as almond flour.
- Orange - The juice is used to make the syrup.
How to make it
Making one of the best autumn cakes does not get much easier than this. Mixing, baking, drizzling and eating. That's it:)
- Line a loaf pan or any other baking pan with greased parchment paper. I use both because it never sticks.
- Turn the oven to 170°C or 338°F.
- Sieve all the dry ingredients through a fine-mesh strainer or drum sieve.
- Grate the pumpkin and mix it through the dry ingredients.
- Mix the wet ingredients until homogenous.
- Fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until you have an evenly distributed smooth batter. Don't over-mix.
- Pour the cake mix into the baking pan and bake for about 45 minutes or until a kitchen thermometer reads 90°C or 194°F when placed into the centre of the bread. Alternatively use the stone age method of sticking a wooden or metal skewer into the middle. When it comes out clean, your cake is cooked.
- While the cake is cooking you can make the syrup and maple cream cheese spread.
- As soon as the cake comes out of the oven poke a load of tiny holes in it with a toothpick. Drizzle the syrup onto the cake until it has soaked up about ⅔ of the syrup. The rest you can keep if you wish to add it later to the already sliced pieces or in a cocktail or tea.
- Let it cool down slightly before carefully removing it from the baking form and cooling down completely on a wire rack.
- Only slice or spread top with cream cheese when cooled down completely.
The syrup is just warmed orange juice, water, spices and a small amount of sugar.
All amounts indicated in the recipe card.
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You can easily modify this recipe or use it in a variety of different ways by doing the following:
- Pumpkin cake bunt - You can use this mix as-is to bake in a bunt pan.
- Muffins - Bake in muffin forms and add streusel and whole pumpkin seeds on top of roasted pumpkin pieces to the mix before baking.
- Pumpkin cupcakes - Simply bake in cupcake forms and top with maple cream cheese frosting and roasted pecans.
- Chocolate chip pumpkin bread - Add some chocolate chips of your choice to the batter before baking. I like dark chocolate chips.
- Streusel topping - Sprinkle with a streusel topping just before baking. To make a streusel mix 75g flour, 75g brown sugar, 25g melted butter, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, and 50g chopped pecan nuts. Then sprinkle on top just before baking.
- Dried fruit and nuts - You can substitute the pumpkin seeds for any other chopped nuts. Add dried fruit like raisins, apricots, cherries, cranberries, chopped dates or prunes. Simply mix in before baking.
- Ginger - If you like ginger then add some grated fresh ginger to the wet mix or ground ginger to the dry ingredients.
Make it vegan
Use this vegan egg substitute mix instead of eggs.
Alternatively, replace the egg with 30g linseeds(flaxseed flour) soaked in 60g water for 30 minutes.
The outcome will be different than with regular eggs as flax does not have the binding qualities of egg.
Add another 60g of flour to make up some of the losses if you use flax egg.
Frequently asked questions
Keep covered airtight at room temperature for up to 3 days.
Can be frozen for up to 3 months stored airtight. After that, it loses its freshness.
Apart from the relatively small amount of sugar, it's packed with healthy pumpkin, pumpkin seeds and spices. You can reduce the sugar completely if you want without any effect on the structure and texture.
To make it gluten-free simply replace the regular wheat flour with gluten-free cake mix. The results will vary slightly but it will still be a delicious cake.
Other recipes you might like
If you like home baking and cooking with pumpkin then you will find the following recipes useful:
- The best carrot cake in the world - Pretty famous, served it to the royal family in London as well as other famous celebs.
- Borodinsky rye bread - My favourite bread.
- Pumpkin bread - One of my favourite simple pumpkin bake recipe.
- Roasted pumpkin salad - Perfect for autumn salad.
- Easy way to use up pumpkin trim - Be mindful and resourceful while eating well.
Useful equipment for this recipe
Electronic Kitchen Scales
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