Recipes that are delicious and that always work!

You know these recipes are delicious because if I didn't think that they were fabulous . . . I wouldn't be showing them to you. You can also be sure that these recipes work for the same reason! The rest is simply a matter of taste.

Sunday, 10 October 2010

Spicy Pumpkin Tray Bake

This weekend is the Canadian Thanksgiving celebrations. I know I write from a terraced brick house on the edge of Chester . . . and I adore my adopted country and everything about it . . .

But when Thanksgiving rolls around I do get a bit homesick for family and friends back home. My eldest son said to me the other day that I had a knack for making all the holidays fun. Those words meant an awful lot to me!

When I was working at Brenchley Manor, I was never able to celebrate Thanksgiving really. I was usually working up at the Manor and come American Thanksgiving, especially, I would be working as well, cooking up a veritable feast. (That being their big holiday!)

This year I am quite happily cooking my own little place and cooking up my own Thanksgiving Dinner. We've got it all . . . turkey, stuffing, mash, swede, squash, carrots, brussels sprouts, sweet potatoes . . . cranberry sauce and gravy!

I'm breaking a little bit from tradition though . . . there is no pie, not pumpkin or otherwise. I am not really that fond of pumpkin pie actually . . . never have been. Instead I have made this Spicy Pumpkin Tray Bake! (which is basically just a fancy schmancy name for a cake baked in a large flat cake tin)

A deliciously moist pumpkin cake, all spicy with warm flavours and topped with a smooth and creamy vanilla buttercream frosting.

mmm . . . mmm . . . good!

*Spicy Pumpkin Tray Bake*
Makes 12 servings
Printable Recipe

A moist spicy tray bake with lovely autumnal flavours. Mmmm . . . pumpkin, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves . . . ginger. Topped with a tasty buttercream frosting.

350g of plain flour, sifted (2 1/2 cups)
332g of caster sugar (1 2/3 cups)
6 ounces of butter, softened (3/4 cup)
70ml of milk (approximately 1/3 cup)
1 1/4 tsp baking powder
1 1/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground cloves
2 large free range eggs
1 (15-ounce) tin of pureed pumpkin

For the frosting:
560g of sifted icing sugar (4 cups)
4 ounces butter, softened (1/2 cup)
2 tsp vanilla
3 to 4 TBS milk

Preheat the oven to 180*C/350*F/ gas mark4. Butter a 15 by 10 inch tray bake pan, or jelly roll pan. Line with parchment paper, leaving an overhang to ease removal.

Combine all the bar ingredients in a large bowl. Beat well with an electric whisk on medium speed, until well mixed and fluffy, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl occasionally. Spread the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing over the top. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes until it tests done. A toothpick inserted in the centre should come otu clean and the top should spring back when lightly touched.

Remove from the oven to a wire rack to cool completely before frosting.

Combine the icing sugar, butter and vanilla in a large bowl. Beat at medium speed, gradually adding the milk and scraping the bowl often, until you get the right consistency for spreading. Spread over the cooled cake. Cut into bars to serve.


  1. Your Thanksgiving
    feast sounds wonderful!
    This tray bake will
    definitely be tried
    at my house...I love
    spicy pumpkin treats!
    Thanks, Marie : )!
    xx Suzanne

  2. What a feast you've described. I haven't cooked anything so ambitious for years and years. You're amazing Marie.

    I'll make your pumpkin cake though, perhaps not this weekend but next. My mouth is watering for the whole dinner, but I can make do with one course, and just imagine the rest. Needs must.

  3. Deliciosa combinación de ingredientes. Me ecanta.


  4. Merhabalar, öncelikle şükran gününüz kutlu olsun. Kabaklı tereyağlı kek muhteşem görünüyor. Ellerinize,emeğinize sağlık.


  5. Happy Thanksgiving, dear Marie! Hope you're having some time to celebrate... and hope you will be feeling better soon! LOVE this cake today... Anything pumpkin, I'll take it! ;o) LOVE YOU LOTS ((BIG HUGS))

  6. This is going to make the whole house smell wonderful. Can't wait to try it. Jim

  7. I love all pumpkin recipes, it is so versatile, used for soups, curries, desserts!! And your tray bake is one I know we will enjoy, I will definitely be baking this recipe soon!!

  8. Happy Thanksgiving Marie!! Your dinner sounds wonderful and a pumpkin cake is always welcome here. Have a lovely day!
    xoxo Pattie

  9. Happy Thanksgiving! The cake looks as scrummy as everything else you make..

  10. That sounds (and looks!) good. Where on earth do you find the pureed pumpkin?
    Happy Thanksgiving ;0)

  11. Chele, I got mine at Waitrose. Whenever I see it there I pick up a couple of tins to keep handy for when I want to make something like this. Failing that you can make your own.

    There are three ways to prepare fresh pumpkin to be used in recipes:

    1. Baked Fresh Pumpkin – Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Cut the pumpkin in half and clean out the seeds and stringy stuff. Cover a baking sheet with tin foil. Brush a little melted butter on the cut edges of the pumpkin. Place the sides cut side down on the cookie sheet. Cook for around an hour or until the pumpkin is soft. Cool. Remove the pumpkin skin. Cut into pieces and blend or put through a food processor until the mixture is smooth like canned pumpkin.

    2. Boiled Fresh Pumpkin – Remove the seeds and strings. Peel and cut the pumpkin into chunks. Put pumpkin chunks in a large pan. Cover with water. Bring to a light boil. Cook until tender. Cool. As with the baked method, blend or food process the pumpkin until smooth.

    3. Microwaved Fresh Pumpkin – Clean seeds and strings out of pumpkin. Cube with rind on. Place chunks in a microwave safe bowl and cover loosely with plastic wrap. Cook on medium until soft. Check every 5 minutes as microwave times vary. Once chunks are cool, peel off the rind. Blend or food process until smooth just as in the other methods.

    If the pumpkin puree looks runny, there are two ways to thicken it up.

    How To Thicken Up Fresh Pumpkin Puree

    1. Put the pumpkin puree in a saucepan and cook over medium heat. Cook until it reaches the consistency desired. This just takes some of the water out of the fresh pumpkin.

    2. Line a strainer with cheesecloth or coffee filters. Place the strainer in a big bowl. Pour the fresh pumpkin in the strainer. Leave this in the refrigerator over night. The excess liquid will drain off and can be rinsed away the next morning leaving you with thicker pumpkin.

    You will probably have more pumpkin than you need for your recipe, unless you buy a really small pumpkin. You can freeze the leftovers. Most recipes seem to call for 2 cups, so just measure out two cup portions and seal in zip lock bags.

    Hope this helps!

  12. Happy thanksgiving Marie. I just realised that you currently live very close to where I used to live in the UK (Hoylake on the Wirral)...

    We have no turkey, as we are a family of pescitarians, but we do have a salmon that was caught this summer in BC. And I decided to make a pumpkin pie for the first time :-)

  13. Hi Marie can I add?

    Raw chopped, sliced, grated, simmered and pureed pumpkin is great just as a vegetable, or stir-fried and in soups, stews. Just use like you would use orange squash. Especially great in Leftover Thanksgiving Turkey Soup. I know you can also substitute orange squash for your "pumpkin" pie. It would take some fiddling with sugar and spices.

  14. Hello Marie,

    I'm so sorry about your ear infection. I've had them and they are indeed quite miserable. This pumpkin cake looks just the thing to make to take to our family Halloween party. My dear daughter, Tracy @ pinkpurl, will be home for Thanksgiving this year. We can't wait to see her and TJ. Hope you will soon be feeling better. Carol

  15. I didn't realise you live near Chester. That's where we lived before moving to France. Where abouts are you?

  16. Nearyly 50, I live in Blacon, which is a housing estate on the edge of Chester. Oh, what I wouldn'g give for a house in France! We holidayed there several years back, in the Dordogne and I loved it!

    Thanks Carol for your kind words. I know how excited Tracy is about her trip home for Thanksgiving! You'll have a fab time!

    S thanks for your lovely additions. Every little helps!

    Michele, what is a pescitarian??? I LOVE the WIRREL!!

    Waving to everyone else!

  17. I think pescitarians are vegetarians except that they eat fish?

    We didn't have turkey either, as we're also vegetarians. But we still love the rest! There is truly nothing like Thanksgiving in Ontario: Autumn is regal this time of year, and Thanksgiving is consequently my favorite holiday. Plus I love the food this time of year, root veggies, and cloves, cinnamon, all spice, nutmeg, molasses... YUM. I can't wait to try your recipe!

    (Admittedly, in spite of my love for Ontario this time of year, it would be a perfect day as well for the Richmond walk in North Yorkshire!)

  18. Ack! I meant to say, Happy Thanksgiving!!

    My sister, who grew up in Canada but now lives in England, as you do, still celebrates Thanksgiving as well.

  19. I'm living in Toronto. A good friend invited me to his Thanksgiving supper yesterday. Just him, his son, myself and a turkey. It's a great, positive holiday! Today I'm cooking a blueberry cheesecake for my daughter as her birthday comes on Thanksgiving. Your recipes and photos are amazing and bring back the tastes and memories of food that I grew up with in London before moving to Toronto 50 yrs ago. Thanks for all your work!

  20. Marie, a pescitarian is someone who is vegetarian, but ocasionally eats fish, but no meat. Sounds contrary, I know :-)

    Actually, my husband is the peski, daughter is fully veggie, and I am omnivorous! Makes for some interesting dinners :-)

    Yes, isn't the Wirral lovely?? I miss it so much, especially the beaches.

  21. I made this cake today, Thanksgiving 2012, and served it at a WI Committee meeting. It went down a treat, and two people asked for the recipe. Lovely texture and nice spicey taste-just right. Thanks for the recipe. Carolyn

  22. I made this cake today, Thanksgiving 2012, and served it at a WI Committee meeting. It went down a treat, and two people asked for the recipe. Lovely texture and nice spicey taste-just right. Thanks for the recipe. Carolyn


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