Pumpkin cake with salted caramel sauce is a sumptuous dessert – perfect for a Halloween treat. Unlike carrot cake, this recipe uses pureed pumpkin or butternut squash, as I used here. By all means, cover with a more traditional frosting, but the salted caramel is sooo good – especially if served while the cake is still warm.
I made this version in a bundt tin, but it would work equally well either as a traybake (certainly more practical for Halloween parties) or in a standard round cake tin.
Pumpkin cake is classic – this recipe is wonderfully straightforward and inspired by the super-experienced baker Sally (from Sally’s Baking Addiction). Super easy! Whizz the oil with the sugar, add the puree and spices, and be sure to either sieve or whizz the dry ingredients in the food processor.
If you use tinned pumpkin puree, it may take less time to cook. I roasted the pumpkin and then pureed it myself (be sure to strain it). The puree has an excellent taste but might be slightly more watery than the canned version. Keep an eye on it in the oven – it should need around 30-35 minutes. Cover it with foil if the knife is still not coming out clean, and bake for an extra 5 minutes.
I didn’t add any sultanas or walnuts to this cake, but I have done in the past. A small handful is plenty. By all means, use a ready-made pumpkin pie spice, in which case you need to alter the spice levels I suggest. Dark brown sugar gives it that luxurious dark toffee flavour, but it is not a game changer. Any brown sugar will do😁
Salted Caramel Sauce
I used 100g dark brown sugar, 45g butter, 60 ml of cream and a generous half teaspoon of sea salt. You melt the sugar, then add the butter. Whisk well to ensure the sugar dissolves—about 4 minutes. When caramelised, add the cream and bubble up for about a minute or so. Add half the salt and taste, then gradually add the rest until you like the balance. You can also add half a teaspoon of vanilla extract.
It should be kept in a sealed jar in the fridge for up to a month.
Pumpkin Cake with Salted Caramel Sauce
- 1 25 cm (10 inch) bundt tin
- 1 23 cm (9 inch) round cake tin either as one cake or 2 round cake tins to add a filling
- 1 18 x 23 cm (7 x 9 inch) traybake (rectangular tin)
- 250 g all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 400 g pumpkin puree (well drained) see instruction below for baking the butternut squash
- 1 orange-zested and 1 tbsp juice
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- ½ tsp vanilla
- ½ tsp each of ground ginger and allspice
- big pinch ground cloves and nutmeg
- 1 tsp salt
- 280 g soft dark brown sugar
- 240 ml light olive oil
- 4 eggs
Salted Caramel Sauce
- 100 g dark brown sugar
- 45 g butter
- 60 ml cream
- ½ tsp sea salt
- Preheat the oven to 180 °C. Roast the butternut squash until soft; peel and remove the seeds. Keep the seeds. You can toast them with a little salt as a garnish for soups or as a snack.
- Whizz the flour, baking powder and baking soda in a food processor or sieve by hand. Set aside.
- Remove any excess moisture from the squash and whizz with the orange juice and zest, spices, and salt until you have a smooth puree. Set aside – don't worry if you still have some in the mixer.
- Beat the eggs and sugar in the mixer until a little frothy, and then stream in the oil, beating as you go. Pour in the butternut squash mixture and whizz until combined. Add the flour, again make sure it is combined but don't overwork the batter.
- Pour into your chosen tin and bake for 30-35 minutes or until a knife comes out clean. If you are baking in two sandwich tins or as the traybake. The cake will need a little less time. Check it at 20-25 minutes.
Salted Caramel Sauce
- Melt the sugar but don't let it burn. Add the butter. Whisk well to make sure the sugar dissolves—about 4 minutes. When caramelised, add the cream and bubble up for a minute. Add half the salt and taste, then gradually add the rest until you like the balance. You can also add half a teaspoon of vanilla extract. It can be kept in a sealed jar in the fridge for up to a month.
- Serve the cake warm, with vanilla ice cream – drizzled with caramel sauce.