Make pumpkin cake from your carved pumpkin flesh

Guest post by Lisa Gant

I absolutely ADORE Halloween and every year we would throw a party and go ALL out to make it as spooktacular (geek alert) as possible with dry ice, grave stone carving, eye ball eating… you name it we had it, along with a thousand pumpkins!

After spending several hours carving said pumpkins I was left with a ton of pumpkin flesh. Being a little green I just couldn’t bear to throw it away. So I grabbed my trusty carrot cake recipe, substituted pumpkins for carrots, added a few juicy extra bits, and fed the flesh of a thousand pumpkins to my nearest and dearest!

Cake ingredients:

  • 1.25 cups self-raising flour
  • 1.25 cups light muscovado sugar
  • 3 tsp mixed spice
  • 2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • ½ cup sultanas
  • ⅓ cup pecans/walnuts
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 2/3 cups butter, melted
  • zest 1 orange
  • 1 tbsp orange juice
  • Just over 2 cups (peeled weight) pumpkin or butternut squash flesh, grated

Frosting ingredients:

  • 2/3 cups soft cheese
  • ⅓ cups butter, softened
  • ½ cups icing sugar, sifted
  • zest 1 orange and juice of half


Pre-heat oven to 180C/356F (for fan oven) 160C/320F (for gas oven).

Butter and line a 30 x 20cm baking or small roasting tin with baking parchment.

Put the flour, sugar, spice, bicarbonate of soda, sultanas and salt 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 till 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 1 tsp of the juice till smooth and creamy, then set aside in the fridge.

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.

If you like, trim the edges of the cake. 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 three days in the fridge.

If you want to go a couple steps further, I also toasted up the seeds as nibbles, and put the tiny leftover amount of pumpkin waste onto the compost heap and felt awesome about the whole thing. AND, luckily, everyone loved the carrot-turned-pumpkin cake!

Comments on Make pumpkin cake from your carved pumpkin flesh

  1. I feel like this was brought up a few years ago when someone talked about making refrigerator soup using a leftover jack-o-lantern, but I was under the impression that carving pumpkins aren’t really grown to be eaten? Could someone just use a pie pumpkin instead?

    Alternatively, what do you do to make sure the grated pumpkin (if using a leftover jack-o-lantern) doesn’t have little nasties in it?

    • Carving pumpkins aren’t “grown to be eaten,” no. They have thinner skins and lighter/drier flesh-meats, bigger seed-cavities inside, for easy carving. As a result they are a little mealy and light on flavor, but they are also easier to peel with a potato peeler and sometimes the lighter flavor is preferred. Certainly you can make any “leftover jackolantern” recipe with a pie pumpkin, and it will probably taste a bit better!

      As for preservation: If you soak the carved pumpkins on cold water (or have them in the fridge), and only leave them out for a few hours at a time, then they are perfectly safe to eat. How long you can set them out really depends on your climate, but I’ve noticed that hotter climates tend to have culturally trained everyone that, for example, pumpkin carving is a pre-trick-or-treating activity (or the day before at most). Places like Michigan where it gets colder at night, we keep our pumpkins out for a week or two until they start to mold or someone smashes them on Devil’s night. Pricks.

      Anyway, if you are going to use the pumpkins for eating, just keep that in mind with how you carve, display and preserve your pumpkin. Like storing in cold water overnight, using a candle holder or light that won’t allow candle wax everywhere, and not carving too far ahead of the grande finale. If you want to leave them outside until you have to scoop the sludge with a shovel, just use the pieces you’ve cut off in the carving process for food.

  2. To be clear, are you talking about using the parts of the pumpkin that you cut out to make the eyes and such, or are you talking about using the pumpkin after it’s been outside?

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