GBBO week 2 – pumpkin spice latte traybake

I have never, ever, ever had a pumpkin spice latte. My coffee of choice is a flat white, or a skinny latte with caramel syrup if I need a sugar boost along with my caffeine (quite often, as it goes). But, I am sure I am not the only person who has heard of this seasonal obsession of Starbucks fans. It certainly screams Autumn, and so when I was trying to decide what to make for this week’s GBBO challenge, I thought a pumpkin spice latte traybake would be perfect.

Pumpkin spice latte traybake - topped with a fluffy cream cheese frosting to balance the heat from the pumpkin spice - full of the flavours of Autumn Click To Tweet

Of course, I could have tried to make this week’s technical challenge of a gateaux verte, but I don’t like marzipan. Or I could have tried to make a cake with a chocolate collar, but I have never tempered chocolate in all my life and I don’t think it’s too presumptuous to say that I probably never will.

And traybake are EASY. One pan, filled with cake mix, baked, and then topped with icing and decorations. Of course, making identical slices of traybake as required by Prue and Paul would not be easy, but I am not in the GBBO so I don’t care (attention to detail has never been one of my strong points, unless I am attending a job interview, at which  I say that attention to detail is absolutely one of my strong points …).

Caterpillar on pumpkin spice latte cake

You might be wondering why I wanted an Autumn theme for my traybake? Well, it finally is Autumn, and about time too because I can finally sleep at night without waking up in a pool of sweat, and don’t walk out of the house at midday feeling like I have walked into an oven. Plus I wanted to make a cake with a caterpillar on it for the staff at Ioan’s nursery (he is moving out of Caterpillars room into Butterflies room, and I have made a bit of a tradition of this since he moved out of Ladybirds room, when I made these ladybird cupcakes), and for some reason I felt an Autumnal cake would be appropriate.

Ladybird cupcakes

It seems that pumpkin spice is essentially mixed spice, which is one of my favourite flavours (especially in Welsh cakes), and whilst I am not convinced by the idea of mixing it with coffee (how are these flavours complimentary?), I iced my traybake with frothy cream cheese frosting which did make the finished traybake look rather latte-like.

I have never baked with pumpkin either, but I do like carrot and courgette cakes so I hoped I’d enjoy one with pumpkin. I bought a tin of pumpkin puree from Ocado so I wouldn’t have the faff of preparing it myself (I actually find the smell of raw pumpkin a bit grim, plus I am always convinced I’ll accidentally chop off a finger each time I try to prepare a pumpkin or squash). I then googled several recipes and eventually settled on using this one as my reference, with several tweaks.

What can I say? This pumpkin spice latte traybake is delicious. The cake itself is not damp like carrot and courgette cakes (maybe because the pumpkin is pureed instead of grated?) and full of the Autumnal heat of mixed spice (honestly, I cannot taste pumpkin in the cake, but I don’t think that’s a bad thing actually). It’s dark like gingerbread but not sticky, and because it is not a sweet cake, you can add a delicious topping of sweet and cooling cream cheese frosting to make it perfect. And you can even add a fondant icing caterpillar, should you be so inclined …

close up caterpillar pumpkin spice latte cake

Pumpkin spice latte traybake with cream cheese frosting

  • For the cake: 275g butter, 220g soft dark brown sugar, 250g light brown caster sugar, 2 eggs, 425g (one tin) pumpkin puree, 375g plain wholemeal flour, 2tsp bicarb, 1tsp salt, 6tsp mixed spice
  • For the cream cheese frosting: 100g soft butter, 200g cream cheese 400g icing sugar, 1tsp vanilla extract, 1tsp cinnamon

Pre-heat your oven to 180 degrees and line a 20cm square cake tin with greaseproof paper.

I used the all in one method to make my cake, which is to say that I beat everything together in my KitchenAid freestanding mixer: first I creamed together the butter and the sugar, then added the eggs.

Then I beat in the tin of pumpkin puree, and at this point the mixture looked like it was going to split, however, I added the dry ingredients and the mixture came together well.

I poured the batter into my prepared tin (it came right to the top of the tin, but as the cake doesn’t rise it didn’t matter), and popped it in the oven. At a couple of minutes just under one hour I checked the cake as the top was just starting to brown a tad too much, and a skewer came out clean so I pulled it out of the oven, left it to cool in the tin for 15 minutes and then popped it onto a cooling rack to cool completely.

pumpkin spice latte traybake cooling

I made the frosting by beating together the butter and cream cheese until combined and then adding the icing sugar and vanilla extract, and beating again until soft and fluffy. I have to admit that I didn’t sieve the icing sugar, and I know you should do, but I always manage to get away with it. You might not be so lucky, so sieve your icing sugar, especially if the packet has been open for a while.

I topped the cooled cake with the frosting and then dusted it with cinnamon for that Autumnal feel.

Finally, I cut the cake in half so we’d have some here for our guests later in the week, and I topped the half going to nursery with my homemade fondant caterpillar. Isn’t he cute?

pumpkin spice latte traybake and icing

Great Blogger Bake Off 2018 badge

Once again I am linking up to Jenny from Mummy Mishaps, who is hosting a Great Bloggers Bake Off, along with Helen from Casa Costello. Through the link-up you can see all of the other delicious recipes which have been baked as part of the linky, so do take a look.

2 Replies to “GBBO week 2 – pumpkin spice latte traybake”

  1. The caterpillar looks amazingly cute! I love it. Very appropriate for the cake and the occasion it was made for. I had a latte from Starbucks a few years ago, but I don’t think it was the pumpkin one, thus you’re not the only one for having tried it.

  2. This traybake is perfect for autumn with the pumpkin spiced latte flavours – how delicious! i adore your cute caterpillar and those ladybird cupcakes you made a while ago. what a lovely mum you are – i bet the nursery staff love you!!! def one to try !!
    thank you for linking up lovely xx

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