It’s Halloween today and if I don’t post up a pumpkin recipe, it would definitely be out of character. Especially since I’ve been busy making a few things with it for the past few weeks.

I like all things pumpkin – the Sri Lanka pumpkin curry being my favourite (I will post up the recipe soonish), I have found that pumpkin is the most versatile ingredient – awesome as pies, cookies, cakes, you name it. Pumpkin also melds exceptionally well with spices – its unassuming taste heightened and transformed by the warmth and the piquant quality of the spices. This pumpkin spiced cake is my tribute to this humble wattakka and the wonderful marriage between the herby sweetness of pumpkin and spices.

Pumpkin spiced cake

Pumpkin spiced cake

By October 31, 2015

  • Prep Time : 20 minutes
  • Cook Time : 40 minutes
  • Yield : 20 pieces



  1. Sift together the flour and the baking powder. Set aside.
  2. Combine butter and sugar in a bowl until the sugar has dissolved. Add to this the eggs and the vanilla. Beat until the mixture is light and somewhat fluffy.
  3. Add the spices and the pumpkin. Beat well.
  4. Add the flour bit by bit and mix until combined.
  5. Prepare a cake tin (30cm x 30 cm would do). Grease it up and line it with baking paper for good measure.
  6. Pour in the cake mixture and bake on moderate heat until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Note – once the cake has baked about halfway (the top has set but the middle is still watery), sprinkle the roasted pumpkin seeds on top and re-bake in the oven.


Deliciously moist, sweet and spicy, this spicy pumpkin cake embodies the essence of fall and hints slightly at Christmas. Its soft and moist to the bite with a caramelized top scatterd over with roasted pumpkin, providing a textural variety to the otherwise softness of the cake. Its taste is distinctly spicy – the cinnamon fragrances while the clove refreshes, nutmeg warms and uplifts with ginger piercing through the sweet and mellow pumpkin background with its piquant notes. It’s the sweet-harshness of the season that is captured in this beautiful cake. Care for a slice of autumn anyone?

Bottom line, don’t underestimate the power of wattakka!

Baking tips

  • To prepare the mashed pumpkin – Cut the pumpkin up and clean out the seeds and the in entrails. Cut it up further into large chunks, all in equal size. Boil the pieces with a pinch of salt in a pot of water or steam them in a steamer until soft and mashable. Once done, separate the peel from the flesh. Mash the flesh by hand or put it in a food processor for a smoother puree.
  • To prepare the roasted pumpkin seeds – take the entrails of the pumpkin and soak it in water for about an hour. By this time, the seeds would have loosed their hold on the entrails. Separate the seeds and wash them well until the slimyness goes away. Coat it in a bit of salt and oven them for about 15 minutes.
  • Once prepared, the cake only keeps for about 3 days. If you want to keep it for longer, keep it in the fridge.
  • You can add a layer of frosting on this if you wish. I’ve heard that cream cheese goes exceptionally well with it.