Its October and the food internet is awash with orange and everything pumpkin. It happens every year and I see recipes with pumpkin as an ingredient where it shouldn’t be an ingredient, but what can you do? It’s just a crazy mixed up time of year and I’m jumping straight onto that bandwagon to bring you this spicy pumpkin and apple cake with my favorite cream cheese buttercream frosting to which I’ve added just a hint of maple syrup. If you are wanting a stronger maple syrup flavour then I highly recommend this maple cream cheese frosting.

spicy pumpkin and apple cake with cream cheese and maple frosting

spicy pumpkin and apple cake with cream cheese and maple frosting

I’ve adapted my favorite carrot cake which I adapted to make my Hummingbird Cake as it’s just a stunning moist sponge that works well with a mix of fruits and vegetable. If carrot cake can work then why can’t pumpkin, and work it most certainly did. I added half a cup of carrot to mix things up but you could just do all pumpkin if you prefer. The apple kind of blends into the batter and adds to the soft texture but the flavour is not detected. This is the perfect cake for those that don’t like overly sweet cakes.

spicy pumpkin and apple cake with cream cheese and maple frosting

I discovered a fantastic little styling trick recently, you can make your own cake stands easily by turning a bowl upside down and placing a large dinner plate on top. I’ve used a plate from Weylandts which is totally flat and has a small outer rim. I couldn’t resist the cutest wooden forks to serve with this – also from Weylandts.

spicy pumpkin and apple cake with cream cheese and maple frosting

spicy pumpkin and apple cake with cream cheese and maple frosting

*Cooks Notes ~ This is a long-lasting cake so it can be made 2 days before you serve as it remains incredibly moist when stored in a cake tin. To convert it to a carrot cake, simply replace the pumpkin with carrot and add 3/4 of a cup of chopped nuts. You could of course also add nuts to this recipe if you wanted  that added flavour and texture. I decorated with walnuts which are my favorite nut for this kind of cake, but pecans could also work.

spicy pumpkin and apple cake with cream cheese and maple frosting

Recipe – makes one large cake

  • 4 free-range eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups white sugar (or brown)
  • 1 cup of sunflower oil
  • 2 cups of cake flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda / baking soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp cloves
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 cups grated pumpkin
  • 1/2 cup grated carrot (or 2 cups pumpkin)
  • 1 1/2 cups grated apple
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped soft dried Turkish apricots (optional)

Cream cheese frosting

  • 100gm butter (room temperature)
  • 125gm cream cheese
  • 3 cups of icing sugar
  • 3 Tbsp maple syrup
  • a handful of chopped walnuts to decorate

Pre heat the oven to 180 C / 350F and line two 22cm -23cm  round cake tins (or one large bundt tin)

With an electric mixer beat the eggs and sugar until light and fluffy (about 4 minutes), then add the oil and spices and continue to beat.

Sift the flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda and add to the cake mix to incorporate and then remove from the mixer.

Fold the vegetables and fruit through the batter by hand ensuring that it is evenly mixed, then empty into the baking tins and bake for 50 – 60 minutes  until firm and springy to the touch. The cake is done when a sharp knife is inserted into the middle it comes out clean.

*tip* if the top of the cake is getting too dark but it is not yet baked through, loosely cover it with a piece of tin foil.

Allow the cake to cool on a rack before removing it from the tin

To make the frosting beat the butter, maple syrup and icing sugar using an electric mixer until well incorporated. Add the cream cheese and briefly mix.

Ice your cooled cake and decorate with chopped walnuts.

spicy pumpkin and apple cake with cream cheese and maple frosting

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  1. I cant wait to try and his today! Where did you get that cool looking cooling rack? Is it vintage?

  2. Nancy Lober

    This looks fabulous! and sounds delicious.Thank you.

  3. This looks awesome! I love that used a combination of pumpkin, apple and apricots! It’s neat that you grated everything too!

  4. Sam

    Hi Deb the little square dark rack with a finer mesh is the pot trivet from Weylandts (in store at the moment). The bigger rack with wider mesh is just my everyday one and not vintage.

  5. Looks so delish! What apples would you recommend using? Red or green, what type, please?

  6. Oh, another question. Am I able to use canned pumpkin instead of grated? Ta.

  7. Sam

    Hi Jena I don’t think so. I think the texture would make it to runny and not work, but I haven’t tested it. I made this cake along the lines of carrot cake which uses grate carrot not carrot puree.

  8. Sam

    Hi Jena – I like to use Pink Lady apples.

  9. I’m going to make this for thanksgiving. Sorry for the dumb question… I split the mix in half and dump each into each cake tin? Just wondering how you iced the middle. Thank you!

  10. Sam

    Hi Lindsay – yes you divide the batter between 2 cake tins

  11. Dayequana

    For the pumpkin. Can I use pumpkin purée or real pumpkin or does it have to come straight from the pumpkin itself? If this made any sense.

  12. Sam

    Hi, I’m not too sure as we don’t get canned pumpkin here in South Africa, but I’m sure it will be fine if it’s fairly thick. I don’t know what the texture of it is? if its runny then it may not work

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