Spiced Pumpkin Cake Recipe

Food / 10 October, 2022 / Peggy Porschen

Seriously Spooky Spiced Pumpkin Cake

This is a great cake for the autumn season, perfect to celebrate thanksgiving or halloween. It has a moist and dense texture yet it tastes light, creamy and spicy. I made my own pumpkin decorations from marzipan, but you could buy these.

Makes one 15cm cake, serving 8 generous portions.


For the pumpkin sponge

  • 100g butter
  • 280g pumpkin purée
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 115g buttermilk
  • 325g light brown sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 240g plain flour
  • 2½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • ¾ teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¾ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves

For the cinnamon frosting

  • 250g full-fat cream cheese, slightly softened
  • 250g unsalted butter, softened
  • 625g icing sugar, sifted
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

For the decoration

  • marzipan pumpkins (bought or homemade)


  • baking tool kit
  • layering tool kit
  • three 15cm round sandwich tins
  • patterned side scraper

Method: Make the sponge one day ahead.

To Make the Pumpkin Sponge

  • Preheat the oven to 170°C/gas mark 3.
  • Line three 15cm round sandwich tins with oil spray and greaseproof paper.
  • Melt the butter and leave to cool slightly. Put the pumpkin puree, salt, buttermilk and sugar in the large bowl of an electric mixer and, using the whisk attachment, mix well.
  • Add the eggs gradually, whisking well between each addition.
  • Sift together the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and spices. Lightly whisk the flour mix into the pumpkin mixture in two batches. Add the melted butter and gently incorporate until just mixed.
  • Carefully pour the mixture into the prepared cake tins and bake for 20-25 minutes or until the sponges spring back when gently prodded and an inserted skewer comes out clean.
  • Remove the cakes from the oven and leave to rest for about 10 minutes. Once just warm, run a knife all the way round the sides of the tins, remove the sponges and leave to cool completely on a wire rack.
  • Wrap the sponges in cling film and leave them to rest overnight at room temperature. This will ensure that all the moisture is sealed and the sponges firm up to the perfect texture for trimming and layering.

To assemble the cake 

Trim the three sponge layers and sandwich them together using the cinnamon frosting. Mask the top and sides of the cake with the remaining cinnamon frosting.

To decorate

Mask the chilled cake again, using a generous layer of cinnamon frosting. Use a side scraper with a patterned edge to go around the sides of the cake.

Chill again until set. Decorate the top of the cake with marzipan pumpkins.

Cream-cheese frosting

This is a scrumptious recipe that is perfectly coupled with many American-style cakes. It is softer than buttercream and needs to be refrigerated until serving.

  • Makes 1.125kg cream-cheese frosting
  • 250g full-fat cream cheese, slightly softened
  • 250g unsalted butter, softened
  • 625g icing sugar, sifted
  • Place the cream cheese in a bowl and beat until smooth and creamy using an electric mixer.
  • Place the butter and a third of the sugar in a separate bowl and cream until very pale and fluffy. Add another third of the sugar and repeat.
  • Add the remaining sugar and beat again, scraping the sides of the bowl to ensure no lumps remain. Add the cream cheese, a little at a time, and mix at low speed until combined.
  • Chill until firm enough to spread or pipe.
  • Gently fold in the ground cinnamon and chill for at least 2 hours, or until set.

Cream-cheese frosting will keep for up to 2 weeks in the fridge.

By Peggy Porschen, Love Layer Cakes | Photography: Georgia Glynn Smith 




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