Great-grandma’s pumpkin cake

This recipe was passed on to me by an Aunty. It was passed to her by her Grandma. And now I’m passing it on to you!

Great-grandma Beatrice was a farmers wife with four sons and one daughter. Practical recession-busting recipes like this were very much the go. But this recipe is by no means cheap on taste.

The pumpkin makes this cake lovely and moist, and the spices and mixed fruit remind me of Christmas.

I never met my Great-grandma as she passed away before I was born. I really like the idea of making a cake that she made. This to me is what cooking is all about.

To complete the little loop I’ll be taking some of this cake with me on a walk in the English countryside with the Aunt who gave me the recipe. Then it’s all tied up with a nice little bow.

Note: I used dried cranberries, dried cherries, almond, sultanas and the rind of a lemon and orange for my mixed fruit component. I’d usually use a bag of mixed fruit, but the bag of mixed fruit at the supermarket was 80% sultanas and 15% currents. How is that mixed? That’s just sultanas and currents. Pffft. And yea, I know almonds aren’t fruit. But I like them, so they went in.

I also didn’t have mixed spice and am trying hard to not accumulate things as I’m leaving London so soon, so used a combo of ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg. It was lovely. I hope my Great-grandma was OK with all this. I think she would be.

Mixed fruit and the rind of a lemon and orange for extra zest

250 grams pumpkin, cooked and mashed
¼ cup butter
2 eggs
¾ cup sugar
250 grams of mixed fruit
1 teaspoon mixed spice (lacking this – I used a combination of ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg)
1 ½ cups self-raising flour
¼ teaspoon baking powder dissolved in 1 tablespoon vinegar


  1. Preheat oven to 200C and grease a 18cm round or square cake tin.
  2. Into the hot cooked pumpkin, add the butter and allow to cool.
  3. Add the rest of the ingredients and stir well.
  4.  Pour in to your prepared cake tin and bake for 50-55 minutes. It’s done when a knife comes out clean and it’s nice a golden on top.

Healthy? Cut up into 16 peices to take to work with tea makes them 165 calories a slice. The whole cake is 2,650 depending on your fruit choices.

Gluten free? I think you could easily swap in a GF flour and it would bind well. But I haven’t tried it.

Storage: In an airtight container. It also freezes beautifully.

21 Comments on Great-grandma’s pumpkin cake

  1. Rufus' Food and Spirits Guide
    8 August 2011 at 3:11 pm (7 years ago)

    This looks amazing. Do you use yellow squash? I’m asking because I was first thinking pumpkin, like we Americans say, the big orange orbs, Charlie Brown… but you just mean the yellow variety? Sorry to have to ask. Love the photos.

    • Aimee@clevermuffin
      8 August 2011 at 4:02 pm (7 years ago)

      No, no, that’s a very good point! I try and be aware of the language differences from UK/US/Australia but it’s crazy how many variances there are between countries, so always point out when I need to clarify! This is pumpkin like what you hollow out and make lanterns out of at halloween.

  2. Ginger
    8 August 2011 at 3:46 pm (7 years ago)

    This looks delicious and very healthy! Your photos are wonderful also!

  3. Just A Smidgen
    8 August 2011 at 5:00 pm (7 years ago)

    I will definitely be making this.. because of the story behind it. Some of my favorites are from my Gram..

    • Aimee@clevermuffin
      8 August 2011 at 10:40 pm (7 years ago)

      There is something about food that comes our of a Grandma’s kitchen isn’t there?

  4. Holly
    8 August 2011 at 8:11 pm (7 years ago)

    where did you find yourself a pumpkin right now?

    • Aimee@clevermuffin
      8 August 2011 at 8:20 pm (7 years ago)

      Sainsbury’s? Regular old supermarket in London. I feel before I get myself in trouble with anymore cross-cultural confusion I should fess up that it was a butternut pumpkin.

  5. kitchenbelleicious
    8 August 2011 at 8:33 pm (7 years ago)

    Oh my word! It looks delish. I love the moistness of the cake and the use of pumpkin plus the berries. YUMM!!!!

  6. Barefeet In The Kitchen
    8 August 2011 at 11:12 pm (7 years ago)

    This sounds great. I love pumpkin breads and cakes, but I’ve never added dried fruits before.

  7. Tea & Sympathy
    9 August 2011 at 12:52 am (7 years ago)

    I am so making these and eating them a cup of tea and with the homemade apricot jam I plan to make very soon.

  8. thefooddoctor
    9 August 2011 at 9:48 am (7 years ago)

    Pumpkin has just made it onto my shopping list

  9. saffronandhoney
    9 August 2011 at 2:52 pm (7 years ago)

    This looks fantastic – can’t wait to try it out! As someone above said, sounds like a perfect afternoon tea cake :).

    • Aimee@clevermuffin
      10 August 2011 at 4:24 pm (7 years ago)

      It’s been my afternoon and morning tea all week so I can definitely testify to that!

  10. Caroline
    9 August 2011 at 6:37 pm (7 years ago)

    I love recipes that have been passed down generation after generation. Makes them so much more special. Looks fabulous!!

    • Aimee@clevermuffin
      10 August 2011 at 4:25 pm (7 years ago)

      Thanks Caroline! I agree… I’m on a hunt now for my own Gran’s recipes!

  11. foodblogandthedog
    10 August 2011 at 5:33 pm (7 years ago)

    I am watching the pumpkins growing where I walk with the dog, I can’t wait for autumn, for the cooler weather and to be able to make things with pumpkin, including this, thanks great grandma, it’s a classic!!

  12. The Hook
    12 October 2011 at 12:19 am (6 years ago)

    Great Grandma rocks!

  13. Felicity MacLeod
    23 November 2011 at 10:33 pm (6 years ago)

    It looks yummy, I’ll be baking this over the weekend. But a quick question, how did you cook your pumpkin? Boiled, roasted, steamed?
    Thanks pumpkin!

    • Aimee@clevermuffin
      23 November 2011 at 10:37 pm (6 years ago)

      I’m so glad, I was just saying tonight that it’d been too long since I made this – you’ll have to let me know how you go!

      I boiled the butternut pumpkin, just leave it in medium sized chunks so it doesn’t disintegrate and let it drain for a couple of minutes before mashing it up.


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