A lurcher type dog tucks into some dog-friendly cupcakes

Paws for Tea: Ainsley Harriott’s spiced pumpkin cake with coconut custard

photo portrait of TV chef Ainsley Harriott, who smiles towards the camera and wears a white shirt

This delicious moist pumpkin cake is equally yummy warm or cold and for those who are not sure about pumpkin this is the perfect way to try it. It will keep for several days wrapped in greaseproof paper and then tin foil. (This cake is not suitable for pets, so humans can enjoy this one all to themselves! Try our dog-friendly pupcakes for four-legged friends.)

Serves 8


  • 250g plain flour
  • 1 tsp bicarb of soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ of a tsp ground cloves
  • 1 ½ tsp ground ginger
  • ½ tsp allspice
  • Pinch of salt
  • 150g soft brown sugar
  • 60g softened butter
  • 1 large egg
  • 150g molasses or black treacle
  • 120ml boiling water
  • 200g tinned pumpkin puree
  • 430-500g carton fresh custard
  • 200ml carton coconut cream
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tbls brandy (optional)


  • Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas 4. Grease and line a 20cm/8inch deep square or round cake tin.
  • Sift the flour, bicarb, ginger, cinnamon, ground cloves, allspice and pinch of salt into a large bowl.
  • Stir the molasses or black treacle into the boiling water until well combined, then stir in the pumpkin puree.
  • Beat together the butter and sugar until pale, add the egg and continue to beat until light and fluffy. 
  • Gradually mix in the pumpkin and egg mixture into the dry ingredients until well combined. Do not over mix.
  • Pour into the cake tin and bake in the middle of the oven for approx 45-50 minutes or until an inserted skewer comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack.

Coconut custard

Pour the custard, coconut milk, cinnamon and brandy into a small saucepan stir and heat gently. Alternatively you can combine and serve it chilled.

To serve: cut the spiced pumpkin cake into squares and serve warm with coconut custard, crème fraiche or vanilla ice cream.