Thursday, 24 October 2013


When I set out to bake the remnants of my Halloween decorations, I admit that I wasn't intending to create anything quite so... spine chilling.  Whether it was really the influence of the undead, or whether I'd simply been talking too much while I cooked and accidentally added a teaspoon of baking powder to my self-raising flour, we may never know.  But the cake was delicious regardless, although it provided rather more of a talking point than had originally been planned.

Pumpkin is a fantastic ingredient.  You can make soups, curries or cakes with it, and even the seeds - when roasted - make a wonderful snack. Given its versatility, it's surprising how few people know what to do with it, and many pumpkins simply get carved into Halloween lanterns then thrown in the bin.  It's a shame because, flavoured with the right spices, pumpkin is both healthy and delicious, and probably one of the cheapest foods around at this time of year.

Here, to use up your leftovers from last night, is Halloween Pumpkin Cake.


225g self-raising flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
225g sugar
225g pumpkin puree (this is easier to make than you think)
118ml olive oil
2 eggs, beaten
4 tablespoons of water
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon all spice


1. Preheat the oven to 180C
2. Open your pumpkin, scoop out the seeds and stringy bits, and cut the remainder into chunks.
3. Place the chunks in a steamer over boiling water, and steam for 20 minutes.  Allow to cool and peel off the skin, pureeing the soft flesh with a hand blender.  A whole pumpkin will make far more puree than you need, so weigh as you go. 
3. Mix the pumpkin puree, olive oil, eggs, spices and water together.
4. Add the flour (preferably sifted), salt and sugar.  Mix gently to ensure there are no lumps.
5. Pour the mixture into a greased cake tin and pop in the oven on the middle shelf.
6. Your cake will take 50-60 minutes to bake, possibly less, so make sure to check it regularly after about 45.  It is ready when golden and risen, and a skewer or sharp knife comes out clean.


1. Don't throw out the seeds!  Separate from the stringy bits (which you can bin as I've yet to find a use for them) and soak them over night in salty water
2. Preheat the oven to 140C.
3. Drain the seeds and pat dry with a tea towel.  
4. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil, and half a teaspoon of salt.  Mix well.
5. Spread the seeds in a single layer on a baking tray lined with foil, and cook for approximately half an hour.  If you listen, you might hear them pop.
6. See?  Delicious.  And to think they were going to end up in the bin... ;-)

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