Spiced pumpkin loaf cake with brown-sugar cream cheese icing

Helen Goh's pumpkin spice loaf with optional icing (omit for dairy-free).
Helen Goh's pumpkin spice loaf with optional icing (omit for dairy-free). Photo: William Meppem

You will need to cook the pumpkin (you can roast, microwave or steam it), then mash or puree before proceeding with this recipe. Butternut has a sweet dense flesh which works well here, although the more fibrous varieties are also fine. The cream-cheese icing and pumpkin seeds are optional extras, though they make lovely finishing touches for the cake.


200g plain flour

½ tsp baking soda

1 tsp cinnamon powder

¼ tsp ground cloves

½ tsp ground nutmeg

½ tsp fine sea salt

2 eggs

220g castor sugar

120ml vegetable oil

220g pumpkin puree (from about 350g raw pumpkin, cooked)

80g raisins

zest of 1 large orange

20g pumpkin seeds, for garnish

For the icing

170g cream cheese, at room temperature

85g butter, softened

100g brown sugar

zest of ½ an orange


1. Preheat the oven to 200C (180C fan-forced) and line a loaf tin of about one kilogram capacity with baking paper. Set aside for now.

2. Combine the flour, baking soda, spices and salt in a medium bowl and set aside.

3. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs and sugar until creamy, then add the vegetable oil and cooled pumpkin puree. Stir in the raisins and orange zest and mix together until combined. Sift in the dry ingredients, and fold gently but thoroughly with a rubber spatula – be careful not to mix too much as this will give the cake a slightly rubbery texture. Scrape the batter into the prepared loaf tin and place in the preheated oven until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean, about 60 minutes.

4. Remove the cake from the oven (but leave the oven on) and allow to cool on a cake rack for about 30 minutes before turning it out onto a serving plate.

5. While the cake is cooling, toast the pumpkin seeds for the garnish by spreading them out in a single layer on a small ovenproof tray and baking in the oven until they are fragrant and tinged golden brown, about 8-10 minutes.

6. To make the icing, place the cream cheese in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat for a minute until creamy. Add the softened butter, brown sugar and orange zest and continue to beat until smooth and creamy. Keep refrigerated until you're ready to ice the cake.

7. When the cake is completely cool, spread the brown sugar icing on top and scatter with the toasted pumpkin seeds.

Find more of Helen Goh's recipes in the Good Food Favourite Recipes cookbook.

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