Monday, 28 October 2013

Pumpkin Palooza!

Happy Halloween week everybody!

I'll be honest, this is probably the closest thing to a Halloween post you'll be getting from me!  I'm not the biggest Halloween fan, and really the thing I'm most excited for this week on Halloween is that it is going to be a DAY OFF work!  My piano students aren't having lessons so I'll be baking my Christmas cakes all day instead :-D  I'm just switching holidays that's all :)

But on Friday we ran a Pumpkin Palooza night for the youth group ... we carved pumpkins, made them a Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte replica in the crockpot, ate pumpkin cookies, and played the most awesome pumpkin bowling game!  It was a really fun night, and I was excited to carve my PANDA PUMPKIN!!  

It makes me and my love for pandas happy this Halloween!  

So in addition to all the pumpkin adventures of Friday night I also got baking on Saturday inspired by leftover pumpkin puree.  I usually steer clear of pumpkin baking as it isn't something I have used a lot of before, and if I was choosing myself I'd go with a different flavour - probably lemon, let's be honest.  But the pumpkin puree was daring me to try using it so I thought a loaf cake would be perfect... Then my brain started whirring with ideas... What other flavour could I use?  How could I make this a fun bake?  What could I do to make it more pumpkin-y?  

The result, my chocolate pumpkin in a pumpkin loaf!  

This is the first time I have tried the 'surprise cake' idea... but I've seen the polka dot ones a lot, and then also some really fancy ones like owls and panda bears.  A bit too tricky to try the first time, and I have already hit some bumps in this first trial run.  Next time I know what to do better and what worked so that's good anyway, even if it wasn't perfect this time!

It was a late night bake in a very messy kitchen so I'm afraid I don't have any pictures of the baking process but I will tell you what I did and how I did it and hopefully you can visualise what went on, or just ask if you have any questions about it :)

First things first, choose two flavours and or colours for the two parts of the loaf.  I chose chocolate cake for the pumpkin which would be the hidden surprise inside the cake (in hindsight this could have been darker and denser) and the pumpkin flavour which gave a great yellowy-brown colour.  

To find out the ingredients and method for the bakes check out the recipes at the bottom of the post.


I baked the chocolate cake first in my loaf pan, and left it slightly underbaked so it wouldn't get too dry in the second bake.  Using my pumpkin cookie cutter I bought on a whim from Michaels I cut pieces from the loaf cake.  I cut off the bottom part of the pumpkin as the cutter was a bit too big for the chocolate cake I had.  One mistake here was that the pumpkin chocolate pieces were not all exactly equal which did mean that the pattern right through the cake wasn't completely equal, oopsie.  Next time I'll make sure to use the whole cookie cutter to avoid this inaccuracy happening again!

Once the chocolate pumpkins were all laid out I arranged them a line through the loaf pan (boo I didn't quite have enough good sized ones to fill it, but 3/4 of the cake was filled!) and poured the pumpkin cake batter over the top making sure they were all covered.  I think the pumpkin batter was heavier than the chocolate cake batter, so next time perhaps I'll switch it around to stop the pumpkins getting squashed down by the pumpkin!

Back into the oven it went, and a while later I had my first surprise cake!  A pumpkin sitting in pumpkin :)  I'm pleased with most of it, and I definitely know more about this kind of baking for next time.  I can't wait to try some other designs.

I tried adding some more pumpkins to the equation with some chocolate pumpkins using a silicone pumpkin mold.  I think I hadn't left it to dry for long enough after pre-washing it as some of the chocolate had a funny coating on it - still edible but they look like those fancy white pumpkins instead of the brown ones I was going for ... oh well!

So before we ate this I cut into the cake to check out what it looked like on the inside.  Kind of cool but maybe needed more colour contrast?

The chocolate cake was yummy and the pumpkin cake was so moist and delicious (I'm not even a huge pumpkin fan!) but I did like this! 

So, however you're celebrating this week - whether it's lots of costumes and parties with the kids, or a night at home giving out candy, or maybe if you're like me - enjoying some time off away from Halloween thinking and planning for the next (and best!) holiday of CHRISTMAS, have a good one :)

Recipe time now!  Firstly, for the chocolate cake (adapted now so that it will be enough to fill the loaf pan and get better cut outs)...


5oz self-raising flour
1oz cocoa powder
6oz sugar
6oz unsalted butter
3 eggs


1.  Pre-heat the oven to 375°F/ 190°C and grease and line a loaf pan with parchment paper.
2.  Cream together the butter and sugar in a mixing bowl.
3.  When the mixture is light and fluffy, beat in the eggs one at a time, scraping down the bowl as you go.
4.  Sieve in the flour and mix together.
5.  Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes until the cake is no longer liquidy and a cake tester comes out almost clean!
6.  Turn the cake out onto a cooling rack, and once it is cooled down slice cake and cut out each slice with a cookie cutter.
7.  Stand up each piece of cake, line up through the loaf pan and pour pumpkin batter over the top.

... For the pumpkin cake (which can be made while the chocolate cake is baking, or cooling!).  Recipe adapted from this recipe - thanks Summerhill Market (coincidentally in Toronto!!).


1.5 cups all purpose flour
2/3 cups sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground allspice
1/4 tsp salt
2 large eggs
1 cup canned pumpkin puree (not the pumpkin pie filling)
1/3 cup vegetable oil


1.  Pre-heat the oven to 350­°F/ 175°C (and re-grease and re-line your loaf pan with parchment paper placing the chocolate pumpkin cake cut outs along the bottom middle of the pan.)
2.  Mix together the pumpkin puree, eggs and oil.
3.  Add the sugar to the mixture.
4.  Sieve the flour, baking powder, soda and salt into the pumpkin and sugar mixture.  Beat until all incorporated.
5.  Pour the batter over the chocolate cake pumpkins and around the edges making sure that the chocolate pumpkins are covered.
6.  Bake in the oven for around 50 minutes or until a cake tested comes out clean.  Let it cool in the pan and then turn out onto a wire rack.

Thanks for reading!  

* Happy Halloween and Happy Baking! *


  1. That is so cute. We love loaves in our house and I just bought some pumpkin puree that I need to use. How perfect!

    1. Oooh amazing! I love loaves as well, so easy to change up and change around, and so easy to have a little slice from too :) Hope you got to enjoy some pumpkin loaf cake this week!

      Thanks for reading!

  2. What a cute idea - and it sounds delish! I'm hosting a giveaway for two modern printed kitchen towels that you should enter!

    1. Thansk so much! Ooh fun - I'll come and check it out :)

  3. Super cute! Thank you for sharing at our TGIF Link Party at A Peek Into My Paradise. I hope you will be back to link up another awesome post this week!
    Cathy @


Thanks for reading!! Please leave a comment, I'd love to hear from you :-)