Sunday, December 4, 2016

Seven years + a spiced pumpkin cake with walnuts and a vanilla cream cheese frosting

A couple of weeks ago, my blog turned seven.

I had to celebrate the occasion and what better way to do it than with cake. A spiced pumpkin cake with walnuts and orange zest, and a vanilla cream cheese frosting.

A moist, soft and fluffy yet substantial cake. A cake that’s deeply aromatic from all the spices —cinnamon, ginger, clove, nutmeg, cardamom— without being overwhelming to your taste buds. A cake that’s sweet but not cloyingly so. With the pumpkin having a subtle presence, offering that precious moist texture. With the walnuts adding crunch and the orange zest that inimitable citrus aroma.

With a frosting speckled with real vanilla seeds and a creamy, luscious consistency that pairs beautifully with the cake. With the cream cheese adding a bit of sourness to balance the sweetness and the orange zest on top bringing flavor as well as color.

Thank you all for being here these past seven years and I hope you stick around for the next seven.

Spiced pumpkin cake with walnuts and a vanilla cream cheese frosting

I used the classic, orange-colored pumpkin but you can also use a Hokkaido pumpkin (see it here on this post if you’re not familiar with it).

Yield: 1 cake / 16 small square pieces


for the cake
125 g unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus extra for greasing the pan
175 g caster sugar
2 medium-sized eggs
1 tsp pure vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
150 g all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp ginger powder
⅛ tsp ground cloves
⅛ tsp ground nutmeg
⅛ tsp ground cardamom
Pinch of salt
175 g peeled pumpkin
Zest of 1 orange, finely grated
75 g walnut halves, coarsely chopped

for the frosting
200 g cream cheese, at room temperature
125 g unsalted butter, at room temperature
150 g icing sugar
Seeds scraped from 1 fresh vanilla bean or 1 tsp vanilla bean paste

Special equipment: stand mixer, square baking pan (20x20 cm), baking paper, coarse grater, rasp grater


for the cake
Butter the bottom and sides of the pan and line with a piece of baking paper, leaving an overhang on all sides.

Preheat your oven to 160°C.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, add the butter and sugar, and beat on high speed until creamy and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition until fully incorporated. Beat in the vanilla and then add the flour, baking powder, all the spices and the salt, and beat on medium speed until incorporated.
Grate the pumpkin on a coarse grater and add it to the batter together with the orange zest (keeping some of the grated zest for garnishing the cake). Add the chopped walnuts and mix well on low speed.
Empty the cake batter into the prepared baking pan and even the top with the back of a spoon or a spatula.

Place on the lower rack of the preheated oven and bake for 30 minutes. Then transfer to the middle rack of the oven and bake for a further 20 minutes or until a wooden skewer or toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.
Take the pan out of the oven and place it on a wire rack to cool, for about 15 minutes. Then, lift the ends of the baking paper and transfer the cake to the wire rack to cool completely.

for the frosting
In the clean bowl of the stand mixer, add the cream cheese and butter and beat with the paddle attachment on high speed until they are mixed well and you have a fluffy mixture. Add the icing sugar and the vanilla seeds (or paste) and beat on high speed until you have a creamy and smooth mixture. You should end up with a not too thick frosting, that’s very soft, smooth and creamy.

When the cake has completely cooled, add the frosting on top and smooth it with a spatula. Top with the orange zest and serve cut into squares.

The frosting will be very soft at first and it will become firmer after a few hours. It will never stiffen, but it will remain creamy and soft.

You can keep the cake at room temperature, in an airtight container, for up to 4 days.


  1. Love all the spices in this... Nothing better for getting in the holiday spirit! Such a pretty cake, too :)


  2. Congratulations on 7 years Magda! I love your poetic writing, beautiful photos and delicious recipes which I often cook - especially the authentic Greek dishes. Thanks for sharing your talents with us.

    1. Aw thank you very much for your kind words. Glad you enjoy my recipes!

  3. Wow, Magda - as you hit seven years, that means I am about to catch up to you. Congratulations! Lovely cake for your celebration, too - I have never made a pumpkin cake with grated pumpkin - sadly, most Americans use just tinned pumpkin purée - I bet the texture of yours is amazing. As with your anonymous reader above, I love the authentic Greek recipes you share! Have a lovely day! David

    1. Thank you David! How many years have you been blogging?
      The texture is indeed amazing with the grated pumpkin, you must try it! xoxo

  4. Hronia sou polla kai efharisto gia oles tis sintages.

    PS. H fasolada sou leei polla ;-) DS.

    /Michel from Sweden

    1. Σ' ευχαριστώ πολύ Michel. Χαίρομαι που σου άρεσε η φασολάδα μου :)

  5. Congratulations! I agree with anonymous above: thank you for sharing your talents, you are one of my very favourite food blogs.

    1. Thank you so much for your support and kind words :)

  6. Hi Magda,

    This recipe looks amazing.
    Do you think I would be ok to double this recipe? I have a big family I want to share this with.

    1. Hi Katerina. I don't know, I've never tried it. It's up to you if you want to try it. ;)