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How To: Make a Pumpkin Cake That Looks Like the Real Thing

Don't just carve pumpkins this Halloween; bake a pumpkin cake.
Don't just carve pumpkins this Halloween; bake a pumpkin cake.
Photo by Molly Dunn

No, this is not a cake that tastes like pumpkin. It's a cake that looks like a pumpkin. Anyone who knows me knows I love to make cakes and sweets, so when I saw that it was possible to make a pumpkin-shaped cake with a Bundt pan, I immediately decided to give it a whirl.

For those of you who don't like to get your hands dirty from carving pumpkins, or for parents who don't want their children using sharp objects, this is a fun, alternative way to celebrate the Halloween season -- plus you get something sweet once you're done.

 

Dye the frosting orange with paste icing rather than liquid icing.
Dye the frosting orange with paste icing rather than liquid icing.
Photo by Molly Dunn

The way you shape the cake into a pumpkin is by stacking two Bundt cakes on top of one another. I decided to bake two spice cakes, but another option is to dye a vanilla cake orange.

Let the cakes cool completely before wrapping in plastic wrap and placing them in the refrigerator to firm up.

While the cakes rest in the refrigerator, prepare the frosting by dying vanilla frosting orange. Use an orange paste icing color rather than a liquid food color. Paste maintains the consistency of the frosting, whereas a liquid food color thins it.

If necessary, trim the flat side of each Bundt cake to flatten, then place one cake rounded side down on a serving plate. Spread a layer of orange frosting on the first cake and stack the second cake (rounded side up) on top of the frosting. The two Bundt cakes should form the shape of a pumpkin.

Cover the entire two cakes with the rest of the orange frosting -- make sure the frosting is smooth and flat on the two cakes. Use a toothpick or the back of a spoon to make grooves in the frosting similar to the grooves in a pumpkin. Start at the bottom and draw the lines toward the hole.

Use green frosting to make leaves on top of the pumpkin cake.
Use green frosting to make leaves on top of the pumpkin cake.
Photo by Molly Dunn

Next, frost the outside of a flat-bottom ice cream cone with chocolate frosting to create the stem. Stick the cone into the hole on top of the pumpkin. You might need extra frosting on the bottom of the cone to make sure the "stem" doesn't fall inside the cake.

Add leaves to the top of the cake with either green frosting or lime wedge candy jellies. I used green frosting because I am not a huge fan of candy on the outside of my cakes. Simply place five or six "leaves" on the top of the cake starting at the "stem."

You can leave the cake as it is, or decorate it as a jack-o'-lantern with the leftover chocolate frosting.

Trust me when I say this, though: It is quite difficult to frost a face onto the pumpkin. I tried, and failed miserably.

Here is my sad attempt at "carving" a face onto my pumpkin cake.
Here is my sad attempt at "carving" a face onto my pumpkin cake.
Photo by Molly Dunn

But if you want to take a whack at it, use a piping bag filled with chocolate frosting to draw eyes, a nose and a mouth for the jack-o'-lantern. Place two pieces of candy corn in the mouth to serve as teeth, and yellow or white pieces of candy or chocolate in the eyes.

Make this cake for a fall get-together, a Halloween party or just for fun with the kids.


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