There’s nothing fishy about this Pumpkin cake!

One of the reasons I grow so many pumpkins is their versatility. Easy to roast, soup, curry, stew and transform into sweet treats. The other and probably the real reason is that I simply love growing them – I’m fascinated by shapes, colours and textures. And pumpkins provide all of those in abundance. Marina Di Choggia  (1)

The pumpkin I love to use for this recipe is a Marina di Chioggia, but if you don’t grow your own or can’t buy one not to worry Butternut Squash is a great substitute.  From one large Marina Di Chioggia I’ve cooked and baked beyond belief. There have been 2 lots of pumpkin Gnocchi, a batch of pumpkin cookies and a revised version that I call biscuits (more crunchy and frankly a lot smaller), a dozen scones and now a cake. That’s a lot of pumpkin my friends!

Marina Di Chioggia is an old rustic style pumpkin originating from the Venice area and has thick, knobbly dark blue-green skin and sweet yellow-orange flesh. The name literally translates as Sea Pumpkin – but let me assure you there is nothing fishy about this pumpkin or this recipe!

Marina Di Chioggia_Slice (1)

I like to try “traditional” recipes, and have made an Italian Torta di Zuuca by Valentina Harris, a cake loaded with citron peel, sultanas and grappa many times, and have even blogged about it. But to be honest I’ve often struggled to cook it all the way through; it’s such a moist dense cake  that no matter what oven temperature or how long I cook it, it still comes out slightly soggy and a in all honesty a little undercooked in the middle.

Who wants a soggy middle?

PumpkinCake (1)

A bright idea and we have a winner – use a Bundt cake tin – a ring shaped cake tin that allows the mixture to cook evenly.  And yes it looks attractive too.  So I fused my Torta di Zucca with a pumpkin cake  that comes with a delightful zesty glaze. Perfect. Combing the two recipes we have a Sea-Marine Pumpkin Cake.

It’s a simple recipe, (and I’ve reduced the amount of sugar used so for the non-sweet-toothed amongst us it is even better)works well and makes a crumbly tasty cake perfect with a cup of coffee or dare I suggest a wee glass of grappa?

PumpkinCake_Slice (1)

Fabulous Pumpkin Bundt Cake

Ingredients –

  • 150g unsalted butter
  • 180g white sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 300g pumpkin puree
  • 50g cup of candied lemon peel
  • 50 g sultanas
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 50g ground almonds
  • 250g plain flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. ground cinnamon
  • Extra butter or oil for greasing the cake tin
  • Icing sugar for decoration

Optional extras –

Soak the sultanas in 2 tablespoons of Grappa for 30 minutes before adding to the cake mix and include the remaining grappa in the cake mix.

Method –

  • Preheat oven to 175 C and grease a Bundt cake tin well
  • In a large mixing bowl beat the butter and sugar until smooth and well blended
  • Next add the eggs, one at a time continuing to beat / mix in
  • Add the pumpkin puree and vanilla extract and continue to mix in well
  • Gently fold in the candied lemon, the sultanas and the zest of a lemon
  • In a separate bowl, measure out the flour, the ground almonds, the salt, baking powder, baking soda and ground cinnamon and mix well
  • Sift the flour mix into the pumpkin mixture and gently fold in so it is well mixed, making sure not to overwork it
  • Pour the batter into the greased (well buttered) Bundt cake tin, level/ smooth the top out with a knife
  • Bake at 175C for 50 to 60 minutes or until a skewer inserted gently into the cake comes out clean
  • Leave the cake in the Bundt tin to cool for 10 minutes and then gently remove it and place on a rack to cool completely
  • To decorate sprinkle a dusting of icing sugar on the cooled pumpkin cake. Alternatively if you like cakes with icing you can make a mix of 25g of icing sugar, with 100g of cream cheese, a teaspoon of lemon zest and the juice of half a lemon. Whisk all the ingredients until the mixture is silky smooth. Drizzle the icing over the cake.


Notes –

I grow Marina Di Chioggia most years and the one pictured in the photos is from last year’s crop – it lasted superbly on the windowsill over winter and eventually I got round to steaming , mashing and freezing it. With this year’s crop picked and ripening on the windowsill I thought it was about time I emptied the freezer and used the pumpkin puree before I added to it!

Still feeling peckish? Here’s another idea

Sri Lankan Pupmkin Curry (5)

Sri Lankan ‘White’ Pumpkin Curry



  • What a wonderful blog you have, I’m over from Shimon’s and so glad I came. I will be back often….xxxx

  • Yes, he’s a little star for sure Claire, and I’m so glad he mentioned you…..just look at what I’ve been missing.xxxx

  • Hi Claire. It is wonderful to know that your pumpkin lasted a whole year. It makes growing them worthwhile if that is the case. BTW Your cake looks good too.

  • That sounds like an amazing cake, especially with the grappa! 😉 I’ve got some butternut squash this year, stored in the cellar, and have already made soup, stew and curry, but will take a look at that last recipe too. Thanks Claire!

  • I love the cake recipe! I have a butternut squash right now waiting to be prepared. But the curry is calling me, too, so I don’t know who will win first place! I have only occasionally grown pumpkins because of lack of space, but I just love seeing the pumpkins in the stores right now. I can’t always be clear on which ones are more decorative than edible. I have never had enough to get me through the winter, but you’ve definitely inspired me to think about how I can at least take better advantage of what’s so plentiful right now! 🙂

    • Debra it is a little bit tricky to be able to tell which ones are edible and which are decorative – I think the best thing is to ask. Because I grow so many I tend to be able to recognise them, and I have to admit to steering clear of the decorative ones 🙂

  • Brilliant solution, Claire! I am adding this variety of squash to my list for next summer. Sounds great. I grow soup beans for the same reason you grow pumpkins. I love all the varieties and patterns. I could never possibly grow enough soup beans for us to consume them only from the garden, but I just love cracking them open and collecting them, even if I just get a couple handfuls of one variety.

    • I’m with you on the soup beans – something about the patterns, the speckles, the colours the shapes…… I have packets full of them 🙂 I think my favourites are the Borlotti type – beautiful and versatile, ooops nearly forgot tasty !

  • I enjoyed this post enormously and will try the recipe. I love the variety of colours and shapes of pumpkins and squahes, but I’m too far north to grow then sucessfuly. so thank you for sharing.

  • Although I must purchase my winter squash that won’t stop me from making this splendid autumn cake! I would love to have huge chunks of winter squash waiting for curry, cake and pasta!

  • Oh my goodness what a neat looking pumpkin! I grew *one* variety of baking pumpkin this year! I think I seriously need to branch out and try some other varieties. I’m going to try this cake recipe with my plain ol’ baking pumpkin as it sounds delicious. Thanks Claire!

  • This looks wonderful Claire! I laughed, because I too discovered the inherent brilliance of using a bundt pan with a very dense, moist cake – it’s such a perfect solution! Cut that middle right out! The Sri Lankan curry looks like a great way to shake things up – thank you 🙂

  • Unfortunately, pumpkin just doesn’t do it for me whether in a sweet or savoury dish. I’ll just have a very small glass of the grappa.

  • That is one huge Marina Di Chioggia! Actually I have never seen one before but if they taste similar to butternut squash then I would love it. You have made so many lovely dishes and this bundt bread with the additional lemon candied pieces sounds delicious. I also would love to try your Sri Lankan white pumpkin curry. Take Care, BAM

  • Gorgeous! Although the recipes seem delicious, I had to laugh out loud with your description of the Italian Torta di Zucca. I think you described my body — a little soggy in the middle. You’re correct: No one’s really happy with a soggy middle, but it’s comforting to be able to say I’m built like a delicious Italian dessert!

  • Ahem, yes, I am still using a last few frozen items from last year myself (so close, so close). I have a mini-bundt pan just waiting to be used for some type of pumpkin recipe! Your squash is beautiful.

  • I’ve been seeing pumpkins being sold outdoors in every village I’ve gone through in Germany and Austria. I can’t wait to try your cake…it sounds especially good. 🙂

  • This sounds like a delicious cake, Claire, especially with the candied lemon included. I’d opt for the glaze, too. I really do love a citrus glaze above all others. My one problem with the cake is that I’ve no bundt pan. After a series of disastrous cakes, I warned it that this cake, a birthday cake, was its last chance. Well, it didn’t believe me and both cake and pan went to the trash on my way to a bakery. I bet it believes me now. 🙂

  • I’m putting this on my seed list. Sadly, no pumpkins for me this year. I ran out of space. And probably just as well because the chickens had access to the garden and wrecked enough havoc on the zucchini- which fortunately I grew too much of.
    The pumpkin curry looks good too.
    I’m already getting excited for next year’s garden!

  • Reading your posts always makes me want to grow a huge garden, Claire! My Mom recently revealed that Grandma sauteed pumpkin for a side dish. (I love discovering family “heritage recipes.”) Didn’t know she grew them to cook with and it’s doubtful it was this variety, but pumpkin is a versatile ingredient. Great cake!

  • I’ve baked a chocolate cake using mashed potato as an ingredient that makes it both satisfyingly dense and moist. Can’t wait to try your pumpkin cake recipe.

    • I’ve heard about using potato in cakes, but have yet to try it – mind you anything with chocolate or lemon as a flavour and my interest is definitely piqued !!

  • Hi Claire. I have just planted two of these pumpkins (among others) in my garden this week! I am glad they are nice as last year I tried a couple of new varieties of pumpkin and didn’t like them at all so the chickens get to have them! Cheers Sarah : o )

  • I’m so glad that you love growing them… because I do love eating them. In many different ways, though I enjoy the pie best.

  • Is this a big big squash? We get a huge chunk of something that looks like this on our organic veg box sometimes and it is the best of the squashes that they do. And I have never ever made cake with it, so I am going to book mark this one, so if anymore of the squash that I think is it, turns up I will make it for sure! It all looks amazing!

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