Spiced Pumpkin Cake

The mix of warm spice and orange zest makes this autumnal cake one of my favourites. I tend to grate and freeze the pumpkin flesh in 500g bags so that I can enjoy this cake well into the dark winter nights.
Do note that pumpkins can vary dramatically in water content, so keep an eye on the cake towards the end of cooking – yours may take less or more time to cook through.

300g self-raising flour
300g light muscovado sugar
3 tsp mixed spice
2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
4 eggs, beaten
200g butter, melted
zest of 1 orange
1 tbsp orange juice
500g (peeled weight) pumpkin grated

For the frosting:
200g pack soft cheese
85g butter, softened
100g icing sugar, sifted
zest of an orange
juice of half an orange

Heat your oven to 180Âșc. Butter and line a 30 × 20cm baking tin with greaseproof paper. Put the flour, sugar, spice, bicarbonate of soda into a large bowl and stir to combine. Beat the eggs into the melted butter, stir in the orange zest and juice then mix with the dry ingredients until combined. Stir in the pumpkin. Pour the batter into the tin and bake for 30 mins, or until golden and springy to the touch.
To make the frosting – beat together the cheese, butter, icing sugar, orange zest and one teaspoon of the juice until smooth and creamy, then set aside. When the cake is done, cool for five minutes then turn it onto a cooling rack. Prick it all over with a skewer and drizzle with the rest of the orange juice while still warm. Leave to cool completely.
Give the frosting a quick beat to loosen, then, using a palette knife, spread over the top of the cake in peaks and swirls.
If you’re making the cake ahead, keep it in the fridge then take out as many pieces as you want 30 mins or so before serving. Will keep, covered, for up to 3 days in the fridge.

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