If you're looking for a quick and simple recipe to satisfy your loved ones, keep the trick or treaters happy or for a Halloween bake sale, then this Easy Pumpkin Traybake Cake is here to help! Traybake cakes are so easy to throw together, the decoration requires minimal effort and is easily customised to your needs. I've covered this Easy Pumpkin Traybake Cake with a cream cheese frosting as it pairs so well with the light spiced sponge. You could use a simple vanilla buttercream too if you like. Most important of all, it's a fast bake and it's delicious of course!
Ingredient Tips & Equipment Information
- Make sure all your ingredients (particularly the eggs) are at room temperature before you start baking.
- I used unsalted butter and Philadelphia cream cheese for the cream cheese frosting.
- If you live in a place where pumpkin pie spice mix is easily available, then you can use 3 tsp of that instead of the mix of spices I've listed in the recipe. I live in the UK so pumpkin spice mix is not something that's sold here.
- I really recommend using light brown soft sugar if you can for the cake, but if you can't get hold of it, caster sugar will work well too.
- I decorated the traybake with a few leftover fondant pumpkins from making my Pumpkin Spice Cake.
- Although I provide cup measurements, I highly recommend weighing your ingredients out using digital kitchen scales*. It is the most accurate way to measure ingredients and will ensure the best results. Digital scales are very low cost and can be purchased for around £12 ($16.50) .
- For teaspoon (tsp) and tablespoon (tbsp) measurements, please use measuring spoons* and not the type of spoons you eat with. Again this will ensure accuracy and provide the best results.
For the full recipe with measurements, head to the recipe card at the end of this post.
How to make a Pumpkin Traybake
To make the sponge, whisked together vegetable oil and light brown sugar. Then add eggs and pumpkin puree. Finally whisk in the self raising flour and all of the spices. Pour the batter into a lined tin and spread the mixture out evenly. Bake for around 25 minutes until it is golden and a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean.
To make the cream cheese frosting mix the butter and icing sugar together, then add the full fat cream cheese and vanilla extract and mix until combined. Spread it all over the cooled sponge. Decorate with sprinkles, fondant pumpkins, cinnamon sugar or leave plain.
Where can you buy pumpkin puree in the UK?
I've found tins of pumpkin puree in the American food section of large supermarkets like Tesco and Sainsburys (the two brands I know of are Libbys and Baking Buddy). I have also heard that Waitrose stock it. It's sometimes available all year round, or sometimes only from mid-August until December. It really does depend on the supermarket with this. Keep asking your local store, you may just bug them enough to get them to stock it! You can also buy it online, I have purchased it from Amazon before, and Sous Chef also sell it. It will be a little bit more pricey, but I've found good deals by buying several cans at once (and the best before dates are usually at least one year long).
Can you make pumpkin puree from scratch?
Yes! If you can’t get hold of the canned version, then you can make pumpkin puree from scratch. A 2kg pumpkin will give you roughly 675g pumpkin puree. The good news is, if you have too much you can freeze pumpkin puree. What you need to do is carefully slice up the pumpkin, deseed it and scoop out the stringy bits. Then you can either roast or steam chunks of the pumpkin until soft – it will take 20-30 minutes depending on the size of the pieces, use a knife to check tenderness. Allow the pumpkin to cool fully. Remove the flesh from the skin using a spoon, and then use a blender to puree the flesh. You now have pumpkin puree! It’s also great stirred into risottos or curries if you have leftovers. If it's not the time of year for pumpkins but you really want to make pumpkin cake, then you can use butternut squash too!
How long does the pumpkin traybake last for and can it be frozen?
It will last for 3-4 days in an airtight container, it needs to be stored in the fridge when it has the frosting on it, but unfrosted it can be stored in a cool place. You can freeze both the cake and the cream cheese frosting. To freeze them separately, wrap the cake well in cling film or put it in an airtight container. The cream cheese frosting can be frozen in a sealed tub. To freeze the cake decorated, freeze on a plate until frozen solid, then carefully wrap in cling film. Remove the clingfilm when you take the cake out of the freezer to defrost, as if it defrosts with it still on it could damage the appearance of the buttercream.
Can you make this cake with plain/all purpose flour?
Self raising flour, which is very commonly used in the UK where I am based, already contains a raising agent and a little salt too. Therefore if you want to swap it for plain or all purpose flour, you will need to add some additional baking powder and also a little salt if you like. Some people like to add salt to cake recipes and some don't, so I'll leave that up to you as it won't affect the bake. The general advice is to add 2 teaspoons baking powder (a measuring teaspoon, not the kind you stir your coffee with) per every 200g plain or all purpose flour. So for this recipe you'd need to add 2 + ¾ teaspoons baking powder. Please note, I have not tested this recipe using plain or all purpose flour.
Can this loaf cake be made gluten or dairy free?
Yes! For gluten free you can replace the self raising flour with a gluten free self raising flour blend. If you only have a gluten free plain flour blend, you will need to add baking powder. The general advice is to add 2 tsp baking powder per 200g flour, so for this recipe you'd need to add 2 + ¾ teaspoons baking powder. You may also like to add ¼ tsp xanthan gum for better texture. The cake is dairy free, but for a dairy free version of the cream cheese frosting, use a dairy free baking spread and a dairy free cream cheese. Please do check the labels of everything you use if you are serving this recipe to anyone with an allergy or intolerance.
Can this cake be made into cupcakes?
Yes, check out my Pumpkin Cupcakes recipe for details.
More tips for making the Pumpkin Loaf Cake
- The cream cheese frosting is optional, this cake is also amazing undecorated! You could also drizzle some melted dark chocolate on top, or a cinnamon icing would be divine too.
If you have any questions about this recipe, or if something went wrong and you need help, please use the comment form below and I will get back to you. You can also get in touch with me on my Twitter, Instagram or Facebook. I'd love to hear from you!
Recommended equipment & ingredients*
- Traybake tin
- Mixing bowls
- Cooling rack
- Kitchen scales
- Electric hand mixer
- Pumpkin puree
- Mixed spice
- Pumpkin spice
*I earn a small amount of money if you buy the products after clicking on the links. You will not be charged anything extra for this. Thank you for supporting The Baking Explorer!
More pumpkin recipes...
Easy Pumpkin Traybake Cake
For the sponge
- 225 g Light brown soft sugar
- 125 ml Vegetable oil
- 3 Eggs large
- 200 g Pumpkin puree
- 275 g Self raising flour
- 2 tsp Cinnamon
- ½ tsp Mixed spice
- ¼ tsp Ground ginger
- ¼ tsp Nutmeg
For the frosting
- 135 g Butter softened, unsalted
- 135 g Icing sugar
- ½ tsp Vanilla extract
- 270 g Full fat cream cheese
For the cinnamon sugar
- ½ tbsp Demerara sugar
- ⅛ tsp Cinnamon
- Pre-heat your oven to 160C Fan/350F/Gas Mark 4, grease and line a 12" x 9" traybake tin
- To make the sponge, mix together the oil and light brown sugar until smooth
- Then whisk in the eggs and pumpkin puree
- Then whisk in the self raising flour, cinnamon, mixed spice, ginger and nutmeg
- Pour the mixture into the tin, smooth it out into an even layer, and bake for 25-30 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. Leave to cool fully
- To make the cream cheese frosting use an electric hand whisk to mix together the butter and icing sugar, when they start to come together, add the cream cheese and vanilla extract and mix until smooth
- To make the cinnamon sugar, mix the ingredients together
- Spread the frosting on top of the sponge, then add fondant pumpkins and the cinnamon sugar, or other decoration of your choice
- To serve, slice into squares. Store any leftovers in the fridge and eat within 3 days