Photo: Sara Tane

You don't need some fancy pants mold. Here are 4 simple ways to make a festive pumpkin-shaped cake for your next Halloween party using the baking equipment you already have. 

Sara Tane
May 28, 2017

Why stop at pumpkin-flavored treats in celebration of Halloween, when you can take it just a couple steps further and go for a serious pumpkin-shaped masterpiece? Whether you're looking for a fun, intricate baking project or just looking for a quick shortcut to make a guest-impressing dessert, there's plenty of ways to bring the pumpkin shape straight to the plate. Below are ideas to accommodate a range of skill levels, baking pans, and styles of pumpkin-shaped cake. No matter which one you choose, these adorably decorated, fall-inspired sweets are the perfect contribution to any Halloween festivity. Here are all the ways you can bring the pumpkin to your next party.

Make Two Bundt Cakes and Stack Them

Oxmoor House

Take two bundt cakes (preferably pumpkin flavored, but you do you), and once they’ve cooled, flip the first upside-down and place it on a cake stand. Trim a bit around the inside of the bundt's hole using a sharp serrated knife to create a fairly even cylindrical center, and shave anything off of the top to create a flat surface. Ice this baby on up with orange frosting. Next, take your second bundt and carefully place it atop your first cake, this time right side up, thus creating a 3D, true-to-size, EDIBLE, pumpkin. (So, technically real pumpkins are also edible... but don't be a jerk, you know what I mean.)

Here’s where it gets just a little bit tricky: carve out more of the center as you did with the first bundt. Why, you ask? Because, buddy, you are making room for even more epic greatness. Fill the inside of your cake with your favorite Halloween candies before continuing to frost. From M&Ms, Reeses Pieces, chopped up Twix bars, and gummy worms, the world is truly your oyster here. (Note: Filling your pumpkin cake with candy is technically optional, but it is highly recommended.) Frost the remainder of your cake with orange-colored frosting, and doodle on a cute jack-o'-lantern face with a black icing pen to give two lifeless bundt cakes a face, thus turning it into an all-around, real deal, jack-o'-lantern/pumpkin. Only your pumpkin is better than a real one, because when you slice into this pumpkin, candy spews out instead of icky pumpkin guts and seeds. BOOM. #Winning For more details on how to create this Halloween candy bucket of a cake, check out the recipe here, and if you want to read about how it changed my life for the better (it's a beautiful origin story), you can do so here.

Obviously, you can decorate the cake however feels right to you—going with a more demure look with a simple orange colored glaze and green ice cream cone stem (as pictured above) is perfectly acceptable. Straight up don't feel like doubling up your bundt recipe for a second cake? That's fine. Just make one, decorate as if it were a spherical pumpkin, and silence any and all the haters who tell you that it needs to be a perfect 3D sphere to qualify as a pumpkin. You did what you could, and we salute you for your efforts.

Watch: How to Decorate Store-Bought Pumpkin Pies for Halloween

 

Carve a Sheet Cake in the Shape of a Pumpkin

Now, to some, this might be a more intuitive route to take, but just keep in mind, you need to have a steady hand a sharp knife to pull this one off. Make your favorite sheet cake (yellow, chocolate, pumpkin—they all work), and carefully carve out the shape of a 2D pumpkin (use a stencil if free-handing it freaks you out). Dress it up with orange frosting and garnish as you wish. If you want to put a face on it, use semisweet chocolate chips to draw out the jack-o'-lantern eyes and mouth you'd carve into an actual pumpkin if it weren't such a messy pain in the arse. There you go, it's that easy.

Oh, and bonus points on this method because it leaves you with a nice pile of cake scraps to snack on while you complete your pumpkin-shaped masterpiece.

Assemble Cupcakes in the Shape of a Pumpkin

Photo: Becky Luigart-Stayner

Don't feel like hacking up a sheet cake? Fine by us. Blow the dust off your trusted muffin tin, and opt for cupcakes instead. They're perfectly portable and for some reason, tend to go over better at children's parties. Now, you could sit there and ice each individual cupcake to look like a mini pumpkin, but if you don't have time/patience for such tedious artistry, use all of your cupcakes to form one big pumpkin. Just arrange all of the cupcakes tightly together on a large surface (a sheet pan would work great) in a circular pumpkin shape, then frost the entire unit at once with orange frosting, including a couple of green or brown stem cupcakes if desired. Once you have a solidly iced surface, draw on any details you want to add using an icing pen. In fact, if you want to branch out beyond the pumpkin, using a similar method, you could make a massive cupcake cobweb. Just a thought.  

Make Cake Pops

Photo: Katherine Flynn

When in doubt, put it on a stick. Not the gargantuan pumpkin bundt cake that you're used to, these adorable, bite-sized pumpkin cake pops are the perfect festive treat. Dip them in orange colored candy melts, then add decorative details as desired with black and green icing pens and sprinkles. If you're into  detail oriented food-crafting project, this pumpkin cake pops are the treat for you! 

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