I can say that I loved cooking and collecting recipes from a very young age. I still have the note book where I hand wrote family favourite recipes and subsequently made additions in the nineties. I think this recipe is my version of such a recipe – I love it because it is a generous cake and has spicy flavours to complement the pumpkin and prunes. The cake is easily serves 12-15 people so make it for a family get together.

Prune, pumpkin and hazelnut cake


1 kg peeled pumpkin

300ml sunflower oil

1 and ¼ cup soft brown sugar

4 eggs

¾ cup chopped prunes

1 cup hazelnuts

½ cup crystallized ginger, finely chopped

3 cups plain flour

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons ground cinnamon

½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

For the icing

150g cream cheese, at room temperature

70g icing sugar, sifted

70ml cream

1 tablespoon lemon juice


Dice the pumpkin evenly and place in a medium sized saucepan. Pour 60ml water and toss the pumpkin pieces around so they are coated in water. Cook on medium heat for 15-20 minutes until soft. Mash well with a potato masher or use a stick blender.

Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Spread the hazelnuts on a baking tray and place in oven for 10 -12 minutes until crisp and light brown. Once roasted, you should be able to rub the hazelnuts with your fingers to remove the skins. You can also place roasted nuts in a tea towel and rub the skins off this way.

Increase oven temperature to 190 degrees Celsius. Grease and line three 20 centimetre cake tins with parchment paper.

Using an electric beater, beat the oil, sugar and eggs until smooth and creamy. Mix in the prunes and nuts along with the pumpkin puree – a wooden spoon works best here.

Sift dry ingredients into a large bowl. Slowly fold in the wet ingredients (egg and pumpkin mix) until well mixed.

Divide equally into the prepared tins. Bake for 40 -45 minutes until a skewer comes out clean. Allow to cool in the tins for half an hour before cooling on a wire rack. Let it completely cool before icing.


To make the icing, place the cream cheese in a bowl. Use a wooden spoon and beat for 10 seconds. The time may vary, but you want cream cheese relatively smooth. Add icing sugar and beat until well incorporated with an electric whisk. Add the cream and beat for about a minute, until the icing is thick and smooth. Add the lemon juice, beat for a final few seconds. Use a palette knife to spread between the layers and over the top of the cake and serve.

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