I have a fascination with all things pumpkins and squashes in general, they are one of those ingredients that really surprise me, especially in baking, they are really, really tasty.
One of the first recipes I tried was pumpkin pie, which I still make a LOT here, now I have to confess that the pie recipe has a little twist, I use Butternut Squash instead of pumpkin. Which in my opinion is a brilliant alternative if you are having difficulty locating canned or fresh pumpkin.
This tray bake recipe is light and moist, the cream cheese icing is the prefect topping, I just love a big slice of this on cold days with a warming mug of coffee. However good it is on the day it is baked it is even better the next day!
Recipe adapted from I Heart Nap Time's The BEST Pumpkin Bars
250ml Vegetable oil
425g Canned pumpkin or homemade pumpkin pureé
290g Plain flour
2tsp Baking powder
2tsp Ground cinnamon
1tsp Bicarbonate of soda
½tsp Ground nutmeg (use freshly grated nutmeg if you can)
Cream cheese icing:
90g Light or full fat cream cheese at room temperature
115g Butter at room temperature
1tsp Vanilla extract
250g Icing sugar
Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF/Gas Mark 4. Line a 35 x 25cm baking tray with baking paper.
Place the sugar, eggs, vegetable oil and pumpkin into a large bowl, combine with a wooden spoon or spatula until smooth.
In a smaller bowl mix the flour, salt, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and bicarbonate of soda.
Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Mix thoroughly until all the lumps of flour are removed.
Pour the mixture into the prepared baking tin and bake in the centre of the preheated oven for 30-35 minutes.
The best way to test if this cake is completely cooked, pierce it with skewer in the centre, if it comes out clean you're good to go!
The finished cake should be golden brown and coming away from the sides of the tin. Allow to cool slightly in the tin before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. I usually grab edge of the baking paper and slide the cake onto the wire rack, this prevents it from breaking up.
Spread the cream cheese icing over the top of the cooled pumpkin traybake.
This is beautiful on the day it is baked, but even better the next day. Perfect for cold mornings with a big mug of warming coffee.
I have had occasion to freeze this whole traybake (with the icing and all), it defrosts just fine. So if you need to get ahead then this is the recipe for you.