Vegetables are a must on a diet. I suggest carrot cake, zucchini bread, and pumpkin pie. ~ Jim Davis

I am becoming a slight bit obsessed with Christmas spices this month, adding them to anything and everything – hot chocolate, iced coffee, French toast…. There is something that is so endearing about the warmth of vanilla, nutmeg, cinnamon and cloves put together, signalling the arrival of my favourite holiday.

Typically in these spiced cakes, it is recommended to use spice pre-mixes such as pumpkin pie spice and allspice. However living in the tropical zone, we aren’t privy to these blends easily – and frankly, I am very picky about them. Some mixes include white pepper, some ground ginger, and some star anise. I prefer to directly add in whatever it is that I like and leave it at that. India is after all, the land of many spices.

My cinnamon is from south India – the best kind, along with their mace and nutmeg. Cloves are essential to most Indian cooking, and it takes just a few minutes to pound all these together in your mortar and pestle. The heady fragrance in itself should be motivational enough.

Don’t let the pumpkin puree deter you from making this cake – its simply boiled and mashed pumpkin and a great way to get the kids to start liking this versatile vegetable.

To make this cake peacefully, some planning is essential – puree the pumpkins, grate the carrots, chop the pecans and mix the spices together the night before, so that when you bake in the morning, you can get down to simply mixing them all together. This will cut down your preparation time considerably.

Successful baking is all about good planning – this way you can enjoy the process while sipping coffee and listening to music.


You can use canned pumpkin puree. Or simply boil the pumpkin in a cooker and once it has cooled, smash it up.

For the glaze, only use pure maple syrup; if it is not pure, the glaze will fall apart!

Use a 10-11 inch loaf tin.

The Recipe
Serves Serves: 6 | Prep Time: 45 mins | Cook Time: 35 mins


  • ¾ cup pumpkin puree
  • 2 eggs
  • ¾ cup caster sugar
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • ½ tsp clove powder
  • ½ tsp mace powder
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 cup grated carrots
  • ½ cup dark chocolate chips
  • For the maple glaze:
  • ¾ - 1 cup icing sugar
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp milk
  • Pecans for garnishing


  • Preheat the oven at 180°C.
  • Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt and set aside.
  • In a mixing bowl, whisk the pumpkin puree, eggs, sugars, oil, vanilla and spices together.
  • Stir in the flour mixture with a wooden spoon.
  • Then add the carrots and chocolate chips.
  • Pour the batter into a greased and floured loaf tin.
  • Bake for 30-35 minutes.
  • Let the cake cool in the tin for 10-15 minutes before plating.
  • Once the cake has completely cooled and is plated, prepare the glaze.
  • Combine the glaze ingredients in a small pan and place on low heat, stirring continuously.
  • Once combined, pour immediately on top of the cake (this glaze will harden fast, so do not waste time).
  • Garnish with some chopped pecans.

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The recipes are tried and tested, some are adapted from various places, and a few are passed down; but every one of them comes straight from the heart.