This cake came into creation as the result of having some cooked sweet potato in the fridge that needed using up. I have been for years making a version of this cake using pumpkin after Halloween carving. I would turn it into a puree and make this cake, now I nearly always make it with sweet potato instead. I pop sweet potatoes into the oven and let them roast in their skins, which peels away easily when they are cooked and simply mash it into a puree with a fork. The cake has a simple icing that disappears as it sets and acts as a glue to stick the fragrant thyme to the cakes. The cake is sweet, moist and light with a subtle woodsiness from the thyme.
Preheat oven to 180°C / 160° Fan. Using a pastry brush grease tin (loaf or bundt) then set upside down to let excess oil run off.
Combine flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves in a bowl. Then set aside.
In another large bowl combine the wet ingredients sunflower oil, sugars, eggs, pumpkin puree (or other puree), vanilla, and orange zest. Whisk ingredients together until smooth.
Tip half the dry ingredients into the wet and whisk until incorporated, repeat until all the dry ingredients are incorporated and you have a thick smooth batter. Pour into the prepared tin and bake for 55 - 60 minutes. To test pierce with a skewer, skewer should come out clean.
Remove the cake from the oven and allow to rest in the tin for 15 minutes before carefully turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
When cooled and ready to ice, make icing by whisking a teaspoon of water at a time into the icing sugar until a runny icing is achieved. Place a sheet of baking parchment under the wire rack to catch any icing that runs off the cake.
Brush the cake all over with the icing then scatter with the thyme leaves. The icing will not be visible when it dries it acts more as an edible glue to stick the thyme leaves to the cake.