If you can’t beat em…

It started as a quirky seasonal flavour, became an amusing cliché and is now an unstoppable force. We speak of course, of Pumpkin Spice Latte. In Internet Land you cannot escape it’s nutmeg scented grasp. Now it’s here I tell you! IT’S HERE! (noise of screaming and chaos) Recently I noticed a pumpkin-spice-latte-flavour ‘Muller Corner’ yogurt  in a local supermarket, though I think they’re a little confused about which season it normally relates to, the lid features little spigs of holly !?

Everybody’s doing it. A Google search for P.S.L brings up 935,000 results, so as the saying goes: “If you can’t beat them, join them” Try this super moist cake, with the warming flavours of cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg, enjoy by the fire with a mug of milky coffee!

Pumpkin Spice Latte Cake

  • 4oz (120g) soft butter
  • 6oz (180g) brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 7oz (210g) plain flour
  • 1oz (30g) ground almonds
  • 1tsp baking powder
  • ½ bicarbonate of soda
  • 1tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½tsp each of ground cloves and nutmeg / mace
  • 4floz (120ml) buttermilk
  • 1 butternut squash or small pumpkin

First peel, seed and chop the squash into chunks. Simmer until soft, drain and mash to a puree. Leave to cool.

Pre-heat the oven to 170ºc (150 fan, gas mark 3). Grease and line a deep, loose bottomed or springform cake tin.

Beat together the butter and sugar. Beat in the eggs one at a time. Measure out 6oz (180g) of squash puree (use the rest as a side dish for a roast dinner or freeze it to make another cake later) Mix in the puree. Sift together all of the dry ingredients, gradually beat into the mixture.

Mix in the buttermilk then scrape the mixture into the cake tin. Bake for 30 – 40 mins, until a skewer poked in the middle come out clean. If it starts to get too brown before the middle is cooked, cover with a piece of baking parchment (not foil). Cool in the tin for 10 mins, then remove from the tin and finish cooling on a wire rack.

For the icing:

  • 6oz (180g) icing sugar
  • 3oz (90g) softened butter
  • ½ vanilla extract
  • 2tbsp white hot chocolate powder (optional, but it really makes a difference)
  • 1 tbsp buttermilk

Mix all ingredients until smooth. Spread evenly over the top of the cooled cake. Dust with cocoa powder or hot chocolate powder.

“Pumpkin Spice” is a mixture of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, allspice and cloves.

Sir Watkin Wynn’s Vintage Pudding

Sir Watkin Williams-Wynn (1692-1749) 3rd Baronet of Grey’s Inn Middlesex, was, through his mother’s family, decended from Welsh King Owain Gwynedd. The Wynn part of surname was adopted to honour the connection. Since then there have been many Watkin Wynns, so it’s hard to say which one was lucky enough to have a pudding named after him! I suppose it’s most likely the one who also had a Welsh folk song (which I can’t find) written about him. Apparently, according to The Daily Mail – well known Middle England tabloid scaremonger, the family have “spectacularly fallen from grace”. However, with this particular newspaper it is always wise to take their stories with a very large “pinch of salt”

My book, “Complete Illustrated Cookery Book” dates from 1935, but the recipe dates back to at least the mid 1800’s, and was popular on resturant menu’s. By the 30’s it had lost some of it’s richness and become a much easier pudding to make (and digest!). It’s also one of the few recipes in the book not to have a poncey French translation in brackets, merely saying “(British)”, even though equally Welsh “Snowdon Pudding” becomes “Pouding à la Snowdon” ?!

Sir Watkin Wynn’s Pudding

  • 6oz (180g) white breadcrumbs
  • 4oz (120g) suet
  • 3oz (90g) sugar
  • 3 heaped tbsp marmalade
  • 3 beaten eggs

You will need a mould or pudding basin that holds at least a pint. Vintage moulds are still fairly easy to get hold of cheaply. Check out your local charity shops and flea markets.

Mix all of the ingredients together and spoon into a mould or pudding basin. Boil or steam for 1½ – 2 hours. You can do this in a very large saucepan or slow cooker with around 2 pints of water in it, keep an eye on the water level – it will need topping up now and then. Don’t let it boil dry or you risk cracking your mould and burning the top of the pudding. Use a trivet, if you have one, to raise the mould away from direct contact with the bottom of the pan.

makeshift trivet
makeshift trivet
ready to boil
ready to boil


When cooked, remove from the pan and allow to cool for 10 mins. Run a knife around the edge of the pudding and turn out onto a serving plate. Serve hot, suet puddings always go a little weird when cold!

To serve:

Earlier versions recommend a wine sauce, my book suggests a tangy lemon sauce made from boiling the rind of a lemon cut into small strips (much as you would make the shreds for marmalade) with the juice and half a pint of water. When the shreds are soft,add sugar to taste and reduce to a thin syrupy consisitency.

I would suggest heating half a jar of lemon marmalade until runny and drizzling that on the pudding instead. Much easier.