In this pumpkin traybake (pumpkin sheet cake) I create a beautiful light pumpkin sponge cake which is a perfect base for a yummy Halloween cake. The soft pumpkin puree with spices, within the soft sponge cake, adds a lovely moist texture and flavour to this perfect Autumn / fall cake. This pumpkin sheet cake with cream cheese icing is a perfect centre piece for a Halloween party!
This easy pumpkin cake recipe UK (US measurements are available in the recipe too) is a lovely light sponge cake mixed with pumpkin puree and the iconic autumn-winter spices. The pumpkin puree adds a lovely texture to the cake. It is a great way to use up a leftover pumpkin from pumpkin carving.
What do I need for a pumpkin cake?
A pumpkin cake recipe sounds complicated but I promise this pumpkin traybake is easy. It’s a beautiful soft pumpkin sponge made with easy to find ingredients.
- Pumpkin puree. For this recipe you can use canned pumpkin or homemade. Both will work. Which ever type you use make sure it’s not too wet/moist. If it is drain it or squeeze the pumpkin to get any moisture out. This is unlikely but it’s worth noting.
- Butter. Most butters will work for this pumpkin sheeet cake recipe. I used unsalted butter for this recipe but a baking block like Stork butter works really well too.
- Dark brown soft sugar. It works so well for this recipe as the dark sugar really boosts the flavour of the pumpkin and spices in the finished bake. If you don’t have dark brown soft sugar, light brown soft sugar will work. If you can’t either than
- Caster sugar
- Plain flour / all purpose flour
- Baking powder – to help it rise
- small pinch salt
- ground ginger and ground cinnamon
- semi skimmed milk – the milk is mostly so if the mix is too thick we can thin it out a litte. Depending on the type of pumpkin puree you have, you might not need the whole amount of milk. Add a little at a time until the mix is smooth and easy to mix.
What can I serve with a pumpkin traybake?
The best things you can serve with this absolutely delicious spiced pumpkin traybake is a Halloween candy and sweets in my opinion. There are of course many options to serve with a pumpkin traybake. The best I can suggest are:
- Autum berries like blackberries. This adds a sharpness to the cake and the flavours do work very well together.
- Vanilla ice cream. If you don’t like cream cheese frosting but still want something creamy to serve with it, then a scoop of ice cream really does the trick.
Pumpkin sheet cake with cream cheese icing
Pumpkin cake, like carrot cake, works with a cream cheese icing so incredibly well. My cream cheese buttercream icing is beautifully soft and yet holds its shape so is perfect for decorating. You don’t need to decorate this cake but the cream cheese icing acts as a very good starting place for decorating if you want to use your Halloween candy and sweets. A pumpkin sheet cake with cream cheese icing is a wonderful centre piece for a Halloween party.
How to make cream cheese icing for a pumpkin sponge
Making cream cheese icing is very easy to do and you can make it in a mixer, with hand mixer or by hand (but it will be tougher mix). Here are my top tips I have for creating cream cheese buttercream:
- You can either use branded or supermarket own brand. They both work, however when you open the packet drain off any excess liquid.
- If the mixture is runnier than it should be, add more icing sugar to thicken it up. You want it to be thick enough to hold its shape but smooth enough to be easily spreadable. You can add more icing sugar to help thicken it up. Add a little at a time and make sure it is sieved before you add it.
- Adding flavour to the cream cheese icing is easy. I would recommend using vanilla bean paste if you want a vanilla flavour. It’s thicker and won’t make the mixture runny. If you want to add autumn/fall spices then sieve them into the icing sugar and mix them intogether.
Can I use homemade pumpkin puree in a cake?
Yes you can use the homemade puree in a pumpkin cake. If you use homemade puree you also have the option of how smooth you want it. You can choose to have it more shredded and coarse. Or make the puree smooth with a blender before adding it to the cake.
Check out my how to cook pumpkin guide. See how to take your pumpkin and transform it into a gorgeous baked vegetable. Once cooked the pumpkin is perfect for use in savoury dishes. Or you can pop it into the blender to make puree. This can be used in this pumpkin sheet cake recipe. It is a great way to make your own pumpkin filling and is very easy too. If I can do it, you can too!
Looking for other recipes that use pumpkin? Or need some Halloween ideas…Check these out
What Equipment do I need?
The main thing you need to make this Halloween pumpkin cake is a large traybake cake tin / cake pan. I used a 9 inch by 12 inch traybake tin. It makes a good thickness of finished cake and also is brilliant to help transport the cake if you need to. I bought the Lakeland tin but you can find this size on amazon and other places too.
Can I add pumpkin to a sponge cake?
Yes you can. Pumpkin puree is a great addition to a cake or traybake. The pumpkin puree in the cake keep the finished cake moist and soft. It also acts as a great vessel for adding Halloween spices. It also adds a lovely texture to the cake.
When you make a pumpkin traybake cake you use homemade puree or shopbought. Both will work. Using pureed pumpkin from cooked pumpkin will keep the cake soft. You could finely chop up the cooked pumpkin you have but I would recommend a smooth puree or at least blended until slightly smoother. Lumps of pumpkin might stop the cake from cooking evenly. Puree makes sure the finished bake is level once baked.
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Pumpkin Traybake Cake – Easy Halloween Pumpkin Cake
- 380 g (1.67 cups) unsalted butter (or baking block like Stork)
- 100 g (3.53 oz) dark brown soft sugar
- 250 g (1.25 cups) caster sugar
- 4 medium (4 medium) eggs
- 400 g (3.2 cups) plain flour / all purpose flour
- 0.5 teaspoon (0.5 teaspoon) baking powder
- small pinch (small pinch) salt
- 3 teaspoons (3 teaspoons) ground ginger
- 3 teaspoon (3 teaspoon) ground cinnamon
- 400 g (1.63 cups) pumpkin puree
- 150 ml (150 ml) semi skimmed milk (add gradually as the pumpkin might add enough liquid)
Ginger Cream Cheese Buttercream Frosting
- 125 g (0.55 cups) unsalted butter
- 150 g (1.25 cups) icing sugar / confectioners sugar
- 1 teaspoon (1 teaspoon) ground ginger
- 180 g (6.35 oz) cream cheese
- Halloween Sweets and Candy
- Sprinkles (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 180ºC / 356ºF / Gas Mark 4.
- Grease and line a 9 inch by 12 inch traybake cake tin with greaseproof paper.
- In a large mixing bowl cream together the butter and sugars until light and fluffy.
- Add the eggs and mix in.
- Sieve the flour, baking powder and the salt in to the mixing bowl.
- Mix in the pumpkin puree and spices you want to have. I recommend cinnamon and ground ginger.
- Gently add in the milk. If it starts to curdle add 1 tablespoon of plain flour.
- Pour the mix into the prepared tin and level out. Gently tap the tin on the worktop to remove any air bubbles.
- Bake fro 35-40 minutes until the centre of the cake is cooked – use a cake tester or skewer to check. If the tester comes out clean the cake is cooked. If it has pieces of uncooked cake on leave the cake to cook for a few minutes more and test again.
- Leave in the tin to cool for 30 minutes and then remove from the tin to cool completely.
Cream Cheese Buttercream
- Make sure the unsalted butter is at room temperature as it will help make it a lot easier to make.
- Using a hand mixer, mix the butter and icing sugar.
- Add the cream cheese and create a smooth mix. It should be more thick than runny and will hold its shape. If it's too runny add a tablespoon of icing sugar at a time and whisk until it thickens up.
- Smear the cream cheese buttercream thickly over the cold pumpkin cake.
- Decorate with Halloween candy and sweets. Then serve and enjoy.
Please note that the nutrition information provided above is approximate and meant as a guideline only.