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 purée, 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 




About The Author

Celebrity Baker

Fascinated by baking and cake decorating from childhood, Peggy moved from her home in Germany to London in 1998 to study at the internationally renowned cookery school Le Cordon Bleu. After successfully completing ‘The Grand Diploma of Cuisine & Patisserie', Peggy held a number of prestigious Pastry chef positions in London. Quickly developing her own style, Peggy set up her own business in 2003 founding Peggy Porschen Cakes, a bespoke British design company that not only reflects her life-long love of baking but also celebrates beautiful craftsmanship, inspired by romance, fashion and femininity. Peggy has since become one of the most prominent and pioneering names in contemporary cake design and is renowned for irresistibly pretty and elegant designs that are not only visually stunning but also taste delicious. Author of eight highly acclaimed titles, Peggy's books are popular in the UK as well as internationally. Her books have been translated for US markets and into German, Dutch, French, Portuguese, Turkish, Swedish, Russian, Italian and Spanish languages. Peggy has sold well over 600,000 books worldwide and is known to have redefined the art of modern sugar craft. Her first book Pretty Party Cakes was voted ‘Best Entertaining Cookbook' by the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards. Peggy also regularly contributes to a number of influential titles including Sainsbury's Magazine, Condé Nast Brides and Wedding Magazine. UK television credits include the BBC's Great British Wedding Cake, Paul Hollywood's Pies & Puds, Rachel Allen's Bake, ITV's This Morning, Good Food Live, and Wedding Experts. Autumn 2010 saw the opening of the Peggy Porschen Parlour in London's Belgravia. For the first time Peggy was able to offer her previously made-to-order only designs to all on an everyday basis. The Parlour is also home to Peggy's Bespoke Design Boutique, available to clients by appointment only. The dainty panelled boutique offers private clients the opportunity to taste each of Peggy's flavour combinations and consult with a design specialist. Peggy aims to create an intimate and enjoyable ‘tea party' atmosphere for her clients as they select their wedding or special occasion cake. In January 2011, Peggy opened her Academy just over the road from the Parlour . London's first school entirely dedicated to baking, cake decorating and sugar craft.

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