Spiced pumpkin Halloween cake

To get you in the Halloween mood, why not try your hand at baking this spiced pumpkin cake, so delicious it’s terrifying!





For the cake:

  • 175ml vegetable oil
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 200g light brown soft sugar
  • 250g self-raising flower
  • 1tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ground ginger
  • ½ tsp ground nutmeg
  • ½ tsp ground cloves
  • Three eggs
  • 250g pumpkin purèe
  • 150 ml milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

For the ghosts:

  • 200g white chocolate
  • Black edible icing pen
  • Mini gold moon and star sprinkles (optional)

For the icing:

  • 200g soft cheese
  • 175g unsalted butter
  • 600g icing sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Orange and pink gel food colouring


Preheat your oven to 180C (160C for fan ovens or gas mark 4). Grease two 20cm cake pans and line their bottoms with parchment paper. In a large mixing bowl, blend together the flour, bicarbonate of soda, spices, and a pinch of salt. In another bowl, stir together the sugars, oil, eggs, pumpkin puree, milk, and vanilla extract until thoroughly mixed. Combine the wet and dry mixtures, whisking until you achieve a smooth consistency. Evenly distribute the cake mixture into the prepared pans, gently evening out the top.

Baking the cake

Place the pans in the oven and bake for half an hour, or until a skewer inserted into the middle of the cakes comes out clean. Once done, take the cakes out of the oven and allow them to cool in the pans for about 10 minutes. Afterward, move them onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Crafting the ghost decorations

As the cakes cool, start working on the ghost figures and icing. Melt the chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl using 30-second intervals, stirring after each, or melt it over a pot of gently boiling water. On a parchment-lined tray, create ghost shapes by dolloping a teaspoon of the melted chocolate and pulling the spoon through it to form a tail. Continue until all the chocolate is used. Place the tray in the fridge for a minimum of 30 minutes. Once set, use an icing pen to draw faces on the ghosts.

Preparing the icing

In a bowl, whip together the cream cheese and butter until smooth and creamy. Slowly incorporate the icing sugar and vanilla extract, continuing to beat until the mixture is light and fluffy. Divide the icing into two separate bowls. Add a drop of orange food colouring to one and a drop of pink to the other.

Assembling and decorating

When the cakes are fully cooled, place one layer on a serving dish or cake stand. Add a spoonful of both pink and orange icing to the cake, spreading it out to the edges. Place the second cake layer on top. Utilise a palette knife to apply dabs of the coloured icings on the cake, then blend them over the top and sides to create a marbled look. Carefully embed the chocolate ghosts and any additional sprinkles into the icing. Store any remaining cake in an airtight container in the fridge for up to three days or freeze it, without icing, for up to two months.