400g pumpkin (or butternut squash), peeled, deseeded and coarsely grated (to give about 300g flesh)
350g self-raising flour
275g soft light brown sugar
1 large eating apple, peeled, cored and coarsely grated
2 tsp ground mixed spice
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
250ml vegetable oil, plus extra for greasing
Finely grated zest of 2 oranges
1 tsp vanilla extract
Cream Cheese Icing
300g low-fat cream cheese
3 tbsp icing sugar, sifted
Seeds of 1 vanilla pod
12 pecan nut halves
Equipment Two 20cm sandwich tins
Preheat the oven to 190 ° C, (fan 170 ° C), 375 ° F, Gas Mark 5.
Lightly grease the bottom of two 20cm sandwich tins, line with baking parchment and set on a baking tray. Put the pumpkin, flour, sugar, apple, spices, baking powder and bicarb in a large bowl. Give them a quick toss together and then make a hole in the centre.
Lightly beat the eggs in a medium bowl and then stir in the oil, orange zest and vanilla extract until combined. Pour the wet mixture into the dry ingredients and mix everything together until well combined. Divide the mixture evenly between the two cake tins (they will be quite full) and place in the oven to bake for 40–45 minutes.
Meanwhile, prepare the icing by simply mixing the cream cheese, icing sugar and vanilla seeds together until smooth. Cover and chill in the fridge until ready to use. To check the cakes are cooked, a skewer inserted into the centre of the cakes should come out clean.
Once cooked, remove from the oven and leave to cool. Once the sponges are cool, carefully remove them from the tins and place one of them on a serving plate or cake stand. Spread half of the cream cheese icing on top of this sponge. Place the other sponge on top and then spread the remaining icing over evenly. Arrange the pecans all around the top outside edge of the sponge to decorate and then serve!