While most of the people around me may not be able to tell a difference, I became a changed woman in the past week. Think of this evolutionary moment like a Bat Mitzvah—nothing actually changes about you physically or personally upon entering the adult Jewish community, but spiritually, you know that you are not the person you were the previous day. This ground-breaking, earth-shattering, life-altering milestone occurred in the kitchen (where most all momentous events in my life happen) on an unsuspecting day when I was developing Halloween recipes.
My task was a vague one, thus allowing me to interpret freely and really put my heart and soul into the prompt I was given. My assignment was to interpret what I thought a “Halloween Bundt Cake” would look like, follow that instinct, and bring it to life. Initially, I considered making an exquisite, and somewhat arrogant, bundt cake that was dark and angsty and topped with an elegantly pretentious sprinkle of confectioners sugar. Mature and classy, like me. I wouldn’t say Halloween ranks among my favorite holidays, so I didn’t really see the need to get too carried away with neon decorations and candies. I felt uninspired to attempt some awful, Pinterest-like creation that always somehow manages to end up like a giant mess. I knew this would not bring me creative/professional/personal satisfaction.
BOY, WAS I WRONG. Despite my initial gut reaction to create a refined, high-brow bundt cake, a whisper in the back of my mind persistently popped up every time I sat down to plan my cake. It said, But Sara... what if? I'm not completely oblivious to the workings of my inner self, so I decided to dismount my high horse and live a little. This is when the idea of a double decker bundt cake jam-packed with candy dawned upon me, and this realization is what led me to become the woman that I am today.
So here’s what I did, and what you all should do if you, too, are interested in feeling as fulfilled and accomplished as you ever have (and possibly ever will). Take two bundt cakes, and once they’ve cooled, flip the first upside-down and place it on a cake stand. Carve a bit on the inside for a cylindrical center and shave anything off of the top to create a flat surface. Ice this baby on up.
Next, take your second bundt and place it atop your first cake, this time right side up, thus created a 3D, larger than life, EDIBLE, pumpkin. (So technically real pumpkins are also edible... but don't be an ass, you know what I mean.) Here’s where it gets tricky: carve out more of the center, because you are making room for even more epic greatness. Fill the inside of your cake with your favorite Halloween candies. I used M&Ms, Reeses Pieces, chopped up Twix bars, and gummy worms, all of which I’d highly recommend.
Ice the remainder of your cake, and doodle on a cute Jack-o-Lantern face to give two lifeless bundt cakes a face, an identity, and quite literally, a soul. I don’t know that you will be able to comprehend the satisfaction I felt upon gazing into the eyes of my new creation, that was so accurately named “Lil’ Pumpkin,” and knowing that I did that. I brought this little, delicate beauty into the world--my baby. Other people passing by going about their normal day in the test kitchen would do double takes, as they admired the glory of Lil’ Pumpkin. I was beaming, and nothing can take away the pride that I felt on that fateful afternoon.
One could argue that feeling an intense emotional connection and attachment to the food that you create in your kitchen is unnecessary, unhealthy, and borderline psychotic. To those people, Lil’ Pumpkin and I shout at you in unison, "f*** off!*" But in all seriousness, even if the idea of forming a bond with your Halloween baked goods makes you slightly uncomfortable, this pumpkin monstrosity was way easier than its intimidating demeanor lets on. Everyone who crossed the path of Lil’ Pumpkin was wildly impressed and left in awe of his beauty. Not to mention, when we did the deed--sliced him open, and watched the candy spill out of what looked like the Gates of Hell--we quickly discovered that he was quite tasty, as well. He was devoured rapidly.
Lil’ Pumpkin was such a wild success, that some people in the office now honor his legacy by addressing me as Lil' Pumpkin. It gives me great purpose and pride to know that each day when I come to work, I am keeping alive the memories of such an iconic hero, personality, and friend. While the days post-Lil’ Pumpkin are long, hard, and brutally lonely, I cherish the moments and the lessons that I learned from him. After all, it’s better to have loved and lost, than to never have loved at all. And in the case of Lil’ Pumpkin, it’s better to have iced, sliced, and devoured, than to never have even tried.
Want to give it go? Get the recipe for my Halloween Bundt Cake here!
*Baked goods can be vulgar, too!