Spiced Pumpkin and Carrot Cake with Orange Cream Cheese Frosting

 Pumpkin Carrot Cake (07) by MeetaK

As a mother there is an emotional sanctuary that, in my opinion, is unprecedented on all emotional levels. That being the unconditional love a mother feels for her child. This love defies all boundaries of tantrums, embraces pain and sorrow, expels sickness, is joyous at success and finds an answer to any question or problem. I honestly believe a mother would put her hand in the fire for her child without even a second thought.

As I watch Soeren grow, each phase and age bring on new adventures and excitement. I am always on the move, always learning and mastering new issues - it can be exhausting at times - but it's all so invigorating. There are so many moments I cherish - moments he probably does not realize.

Like the extra moment I wait in the car before I step out to pick him up from school. I see him you see - running with his friends, unaware I am watching him. He is free, he is laughing, jumping into a pile of fallen Autumn leaves and giggling at the pure pleasure. After a hard day’s of work watching him like this gives me energy to go on. As he sees me he runs and hugs me and every bit of fatigue from the work day washes away and is replaced by a lightness that is indescribable. He gives me wings.

Pumpkin Carrot Cake Collage by MeetaK

Then there is that other moment as we sit on our old and worn red sofa. He is reading to me, his head resting on my shoulder. His gentle voice spelling out each word carefully soothes me and makes me smile. I nestle my nose between his neck and shoulder and take in that very distinct "Soeren aroma". You see, as they put Soeren in my arms minutes after I had given birth to him, I gently bent down to kiss his head. Although I was holding him - it was his scent that touched me the most. He makes me relax and unwind.

He is the most precious thing to me in my life.

Both of us like to spend time with each other in the kitchen - baking is his favorite as he gets to lick whisks and spoons clean. He's quite comfortable in his role as sous chef or mummy's kitchen helper and loves organizing ingredients and kitchen gadgets according to size or weight.
Last week I suggested we bake something Autumn-y. At the grocery store when I asked him what he thought we should use for the cake, he ran off and within a few minutes came back with a lovely looking organic butternut squash.

Butternut Squash Collage by MeetaK

"And we have those cool rainbow carrots from the CSA man!" he said.

"Hmmmn I think you might just have something here Soeren!" I said seeing ingredients for a great moist cake.

When Soeren put two organic oranges in the basket I winked at him and said "Go get some cream cheese!"

"To make a cream cheese frosting for the cake!" he completed my sentence. Exactly!

The next day we got together in the kitchen and what we came up with was a delicious, moist and a fantastically flavored cake. A mélange of cinnamon, ginger, all-spice and cloves give this cake a hint of warmth and the tinge of orange a bit of zing. The butternut squash and carrots add body and texture - the sweet, slightly nuttier taste of the butternut squash complemented the delicious sweetness of the carrots. The cherry on the cake – er - or should I say the frosting on the cake was truly divine and played off the flavors of the spiced cake perfectly.

Pumpkin Carrot Cake (03) by MeetaK

Spiced Pumpkin and Carrot Cake with Orange Cream Cheese Frosting

Printable version of recipe here.


For the cake

300g all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
300g muscovado sugar
3 teaspoons mixed ground spices of choice, I used a mix of ginger, cloves, cinnamon, all-spice
180g dried cranberries
2 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda
200g butter, melted
4 eggs, lightly beaten
zest of 1 orange
juice of 1/2 orange
325g butternut squash or any other pumpkin, grated
175g carrots, grated
pinch of salt

For the frosting

200g cream cheese
85g butter, softened
100g icing sugar
zest of 1 orange
juice of 1/2 orange


For the cake

  1. Pre-heat oven to 170-180 degrees C. Brush a square baking pan (approx. 30 cm x 30 cm) with some butter, then line it with baking paper. Set aside.

  2. In a large bowl place flour, sugar, spices, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, cranberries and salt and stir with a wooden spoon to combine the ingredients.

  3. Whisk the eggs into the melted butter, then stir in the orange zest and juice. Finally combine the egg mixture into the flour-spice mixture and stir to incorporate into a thick batter.

  4. Add the grated carrots and butternut squash and with a rubber spatula fold into the batter.

  5. Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan and bake for 30 to 45 minutes (times depend on your oven - mine took approx. 40 minutes) or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. The top of the cake should be golden and springy to the touch.

  6. Cool the cake in the pan for approx. 5 minutes then allow to completely cool on a rack.

For the frosting
  1. To make the frosting beat together all of the frosting ingredients into a smooth and creamy mixture. Then set aside in the fridge for about 30 minutes.

  2. Using an offset spatula spread the frosting on top of the cooled cake giving it peaks and swirls.

Sticky Note 1 notes

  • Keep the cake in the fridge. Take out as many pieces as desired about 30 minutes before serving. This allows it to come to room temperature and for the spices and flavors to unfold properly. The cake will  keep, covered, for up to 3-5 days in the fridge.
  • Keep an eye on the cake towards the end. Pumpkins can be extremely watery. Depending on the sort you have chosen and it's water content you might have to leave it in the oven for a bit longer.



Pumpkin Carrot Cake (04) by MeetaK 

Yummy yummy! is all I can say. Soeren has been enjoying taking a piece of the cake to school everyday. He has announced to his friends that he was part "cake creator" for this cake idea. It's true he is the source of inspiration for this cake. I really loved the moistness and fresh flavors of carrot, squash and orange intermingled with the titillating spices.

I wish you all Happy Trick or Treating on Saturday. I am going to be in Frankfurt watching A-HA in concert. It was over 20 years ago, when I first saw them in Houston at the age 15! Soeren will be trick and treating with Tom dressed up as scary skeletons. Whatever you are doing this weekend hope you have a real blast!


You might like these yummy cakes from WFLH:

Caramel Cake with Caramelized Butter Frosting Coconut lemon Cake Orange Cake


Daily Tiffin Reading Tip

‘Earth to Table in the Shortest Time’… The locavores have arrived! written by Deeba


All photographs and written content on What's For Lunch, Honey? © 2006-2009 Meeta Khurana unless otherwise indicated. | All rights reserved | Please Ask First

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  1. What a lovely post and a wonderful looking recipe, one I certainly aim to try soon. So good to see one with fresh pumpkin - it sounds delicious.

  2. Meeta, this is such a wonderful post, makes me stop and wonder what if I had kids and what I am missing. I could feel your unconditional love and joy at having Soeren. And might I add, that is indeed a yummy looking carrot cake!

  3. What a marvelous cake! I love your photos. I wish I could have a taste. Enjoy your concert!

  4. Wow! Lovely post Meeta....I love the way you have slit open the pumpkin. I always reread your posts when you make soeren a part of it :) I can feel the pulse you know...have a great weekend! Happy Haloween to Soeren.

  5. Delightful! That cake looks so good! Great pictures too!



  6. Oh my Goodness, I love carrot cake, I love pumpkin-flavored things, I love oranges, and I love cream cheese frosting, you may have just killed me on the spot with that because now I'm dying for some! And so funny too because I want to make something with pumpkin by the day after tomorrow. Separated at birth? ;) xoxo

  7. Happy Halloween for you too, Meeta..enjoy your concert! Since your mango cake become my family fav.dessert, I don't mind to try this recipe too :) Thanks for sharing

  8. It sounds like you guys have a lot of fun together in the kitchen! I wish I could have cooked with my mom like that, but she didn't like being in the kitchen! Love the cake and it sounds like beautiful flavors together.

  9. Your cake looks so moist! Really very delicious. The orange flavor makes it stand out.

  10. Wow!! The cake looks so yummy and soft. Perfect for Halloween.

    Amazing pictures.

  11. A great combination of flavours Meeta. You and Soeren are quite the dynamic duo in the kitchen! OMG! Enjoy A-ha! I remember them when I was in High School.

  12. I was smiling all the way through the post; I can relate to all those emotions. And do you know,Rengoni loves to come up with combinations of flavours too, and one of my recipes ( a savory cracker) was actually inspired by her. Yes, it's nice to see the next generation taking a keen interest in the kitchen :-)

    Have a lovely weekend, dear Meeta, enjoy the concert and hope Soeren and Tom have a great time trick of treating.

  13. Meeta- I have CSA carrots and squash galore. Samhain this weekend and two guesses what we're going to have for dessert! Thanks. Have fun with A-Ha. We'll save you some candy.

  14. I love that recipe, especially since I still have some pumpkin sitting in the fridge. Great post. I adore my two children and feel so blessed to have had them. Life is so much richer with them.

  15. looks soo delicious! I want carrot cake now!

    Enjoy your weekend.

  16. The post is so lovely :). The cake looks just perfect. Wish you and your family a very Happy Halloween season.

  17. Looks so delicious! What a great combination of flavours! Happy Halloween and enjoy the concert x

  18. I've baked pumpkin and carrot cakes individually... I am sure to love this. This is wonderful!

  19. A beautiful post. What mother would not do for their child. I too watch my child play from afar - saw interesting thing she does and how natural she is.

    Your cake is simply gorgeous and yummilicious.

  20. this looks fantastic.... and i have a piece of pumpkin sitting in my fridge... lovely post meeta... have fun at the concert

  21. What a beautiful post to read, i felt i was living with you the school, the shop and the supermarket expirence.
    Beautiful and such a wonderful looking cake.

  22. thank you all for all your thoughts and sentiments. this was a special post and i am glad to got the opportunity to share it with you. also glad you like this cake. if you do make it you'll see just how gorgeous it tastes. have fun!

  23. Such a moving and beautiful post!! This cake sounds sooo amazing with the combination of pumpkin and carrots then the orange! so lovely!

  24. It's so wonderful that Soeren enjoys the kitchen as much as you do. Treasure those moments; they grow up too quickly. And this cake! Yum! It sounds so wonderful, carrot cakes are one of my favorites, likely more to do with the spices than the carrots, and this cake would definitely rank VERY high on my list.

  25. A lovely, touching post that brought tears to my eyes. Funny thing is, when they reach a certain age they rebuff your mother's protection completely, yet in their turn try and protect you. My sons fight with me (like all good adolescents) yet when I am afraid (like in an airplane) or sad, they become very protective and caring, putting an arm around my shoulder or trying to make me laugh. Ah, Meeta, your post brought all this bubbling to the surface!

    And that cake - brilliant of Soeren - and it looks so luscious, moist and Autumn-y delicious!

  26. i couldn't resist.... i am making this ... its in the oven and the house is smelling unbelievable.....

  27. Wow,delicious the combo is.Lovely post and marvelous cake.

  28. Hey doll! That's a lovely post and a very inviting cake. Have a great time at the concert and happy Hallowe'en to Soeren! What's he dressing up as?

  29. What a beautiful post Meeta!
    I wish I could have one slice of that. Gorgeous.

    Happy Halloween to Soeren!

  30. what a great post and story. love the cake just as much. I've yet to start playing around with fall squashes. I will this coming week, though!!

  31. Hi Meeta,
    I'm a long time reader (visit your blog almost daily :D), but never posted before...
    Lovely pic and a lovely post..
    Just wondering, was it you in the train to Wales about a weekend ago? (If not, you have a look-alike in UK :P)

  32. What a lovely cake! I saw a similar recipe recently, that I mentally bookmarked, but I love your addition of orange in the cream cheese frosting. Wonderful Fall flavors! Happy Halloween!!

  33. Beautiful expression of a beautiful feeling! My son makes me unwind and relax too. The cake sounds delish.

  34. Ooooh Meeta!!

    What a delightful cake!! So in season & that must taste fabulous as well!

  35. You touched my heart with your words. And what a lovely cake! The frosting looks fabulous!

  36. What a beatiful picture you paint of you and your little boy. You sound like a wonderful mother.

    (Oh and the cake looks great too!)

  37. thank you for all the sweet and lovely comments. much appreciated. glad you liked this post and of course the cake!

  38. A beautiful post - and an awesome cake!! Perfect for where we are in the year, on the cusp of the seasons and with the smell of woodsmoke in the air.

  39. I really love his, this look amazing! gloria

  40. I made this cake and it came out perfect. I made this for a friend's birthday and she adored it. I usually have a tough time with your cake recipes because of metric conversions. This time I bought a kitchen scale and it made all the difference in the world. Thank you so much for this recipes. It was perfect!!

  41. Hey Meeta, I made your pumpkin carrot cake for Christmas! It is so moist and delicious with all those spices. Thanks for an amazing recipe, maybe you could check out my cake ;) http://flavourexplosions.wordpress.com/2010/12/22/pumpkin-carrot-spiced-cake/

    Merry Christmas!


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