Spooktacular Halloween Ideas: Pumpkin shaped dairy free carrot cake

pumpkinOk so just to be clear this recipe does not contain pumpkin, it’s a carrot cake made in the shape of a pumpkin. In The Great British Bake Off this week Mary Berry was a little bit disparaging of the humble carrot cake, but it’s my husband’s favourite and so my choice for a vegetable cake. While it is dairy free it does contain eggs (they aren’t technically dairy I checked). With Halloween I’ve also been working on ideas for parties. This is a simple way to make a pumpkin shaped cake using a bundt cake mould. Simply make two cakes in the mould and join them together to make the pumpkin shape. If you’re feeling super creative you can add roasted candied almonds to the hole in the middle and turn it into a piñata cake (just make sure you have a board underneath or when you lift up the cake they will all fall out of the bottom. Using candied almonds works wonderfully and looks like pumpkin seeds when you cut into it. For extra spookiness add in some jelly snakes or bugs.

I have never used a bundt mould before and always line my cake tins so was presented with a bit of a problem getting my carrot cakes out of the tin I’d greased but not floured the tin which would probably have helped a lot. Suffice to say there is a lot of frosting holding the end result together. If you want a more suitable recipe try this page by Dollyakes (bunt cake expert ) which has a recipe and lots of helpful hints.

I used a carrot cake recipe adapted slightly from the hummingbird bakery cookbook. The amounts are to make 2 large bundt type cakes for the pumpkin cake. For a single cake (2 8inch layers normally) the amounts are here.

For the cake:

600g light muscavado sugar
6eggs – beaten
600ml corn oil
600g plain flour
2tsp bicarbonate of soda
2tsp baking powder
2tsp ground cinnamon
1tsp ground ginger
1tsp salt
1tsp vanilla extract
600g grated carrots
200g shelled walnuts – chopped
Pre-heat the oven to 170 c

  • 20131013-002539.jpgPlace the sugar, eggs and oil and vanilla extract in a free-standing mixer and beat to combine.
  • In a separate bowl combine the flour, bicarb, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger and salt.
  • Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet and continue to beat until smooth.
  • Add the grated carrots and chopped walnuts then stir by hand to distribute evenly.
  • Grease and flour the bundt tin well (I didn’t and paid for it)
  • Place in the preheated oven for about 45 min or until a cake tester / knife comes out clean.
  • Turn out onto a rack to cool



For the frosting:

20131013-161955.jpgBecause this is a dairy free cake I couldn’t use traditional cream cheese icing (recipe here) so decided to make an orange flavoured buttercream using dairy free margarine.

160g dairy free margarine (check ingredients as some contain buttermilk)500g icing sugarzest of 1 large orange35ml orange juice

  • Cream the butter and icing sugar in a free-standing mixer on a low speed it will initally look powdery before becoming a smooth mixture.
  • Mix the vanilla essence with the milk in a separate glass or jug (I use a re-purposed Tommy Tippee cup as it has handy volumes on the side).
  • With the mixture on a low speed slowly add the vanilla milk.
  • Beat the mixture on a high speed for at least 5 minutes
  • Use the frosting to joint the two layers together and to cover the surface of the cake. If the cake broke cming out of the mould (like mine) you can also use it to repair the damage.

For the candied roasted almonds:

20131013-162007.jpg100g golden caster sugar

100 ml water

1 desert spoon orange extract

1 bag (300g) almonds

  • Preheat the oven to 180c
  • Place the sugar, water and orange extract in a pan and bring to the boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar.
  • Add the almonds and continue to stir for 5 minutes.
  • Use a slotted spoon to move the almonds onto a non stick baking sheet.
  • Place in the oven for 10 – 15 minutes until the sugar crystallizes, turning occasionally to make sure they aren’t sticking.
  • spread the almonds on some greaseproof paper to cool, continuing to turn so that they don’t stick together.

For the decoration:

I used white ready to roll icing and coloured it orange using red and yellow gel colours. I also kneaded in some extra icing sugar to make the fondant less sticky and easier to work with.

I added the candied almonds and some jelly snakes to the centre of the cake then rolled out the orange fondant and covered it.


I made a top for the pumpkin out of fondant and added a leaf and vine.


White water icing piped into a spider’s web added to the Halloween feel, as did extra jelly snakes.

If you left off the Halloween bits and bobs this would also make a nice harvest or thanksgiving cake.

Linking up to The great Blogger’s Bake off run by Jenny Paulin and Helen Jessop, and also to the something wicked themed calendar cakes run by Dolly Bakes and Laura Loves Cakes and amummytoo‘s recipe of the week.
GreatBloggersBakeOffcalendar-cakesLink up your recipe of the week


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  1. jennypaulin says:

    This is so clever! and very topical with Halloween just around the corner! i love how creative you have been and if would work with squash or pumpkin instead of carrot in the spomge wouldnt it? thanks for linking up x

  2. Jennifer says:

    Wow, that looks fantastic, what a creative use of the bundt pan! I love the sweets inside too, I recently made a piñata cake and it was very popular. I love carrot cake, I didn’t eat it for years because I thought that it would taste of carrot and I didn’t really like them, it was a lovely surprise to find out how tasty carrot cake actually is!

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