Photo: Sara Tane
Yield
Serves 12 to 14

This epic bundt-on-bundt cake earns its title by mimicking a children's jack-'o-lantern candy pail at the end of a highly successful night of trick-or-treating. It's guaranteed to be an instant hit at any Halloween party--especially once you cut in and let the haul of candy spill of for your guests. In order to create the full pumpkin pail cake pictured, you will need to double the Pumpkin-Walnut Bundt Cake recipe below to make 2 bundt cakes. For best results, we recommend preparing the 2 batches of cake batter separately, rather than doubling the ingredients listed and dividing the double batch of batter between 2 bundt pans. If you only have 1 bundt cake pan at home, you can prepare your first cake all the way through baking, then clean the pan and prepare the second cake while the first cools on a wire rack. All of that said, this toasty and perfectly spiced fall cake is a delicious, crowd-pleasing treat even without all of the bells and whistles, so preparing just on bundt to enjoy for dessert is a fine way to go. But if you take this route, you will only need half the amount of Cream Cheese Frosting (and you don't necessarily need to color it pumpkin orange). 

How to Make It

Step 1

Prepare the Pumpkin-Walnut Bundt Cake: Preheat oven to 350°. Generously spray a 14-cup bundt pan with baking spray. 

Step 2

Whisk together flour and next 6 ingredients (through salt) in a medium bowl; set aside.In a separate bowl, whisk together pumpkin puree, buttermilk, vanilla extract, and maple extract until smooth.

Step 3

Beat butter with brown and granulated sugars in a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment at high speed until fluffy, at least 5 minutes. Add eggs to bowl, 1 at a time, mixing at medum speed until just combined. Mix flour mixture into butter mixture in 3 additions, alternating with pumpkin mixture in between each addition. Stir in walnuts. Pour batter into prepared bundt pan, spreading evenly with a rubber spatula. 

Step 4

Repeat steps 1 through 3 to prepare a second Pumpkin-Walnut Bundt Cake. 

Step 5

Bake cakes at 350° on a rack arranged in the center of the oven for 40 to 50 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the center of each cake comes out clean. Let cakes cool in pan for 10 minutes. Invert pans, turning cakes out onto wire racks to cool completely. 

Step 6

Prepare the Cream Cheese Frosting: Beat butter and cream cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment at high speed until combined and fluffy. Add sugar, 1 cup at a time, mixing at low speed until combined. Mix in vanilla. Mix in orange food coloring, 1 drop at a time, until frosting reaches desired shade of orange. 

Step 7

Assemble Halloween Bundt Cake: Place 1 of the cooled cakes, rounded cup-side down, on a cake stand. Using a serrated knife, gently carve the inside of the bundt to make an even circle and trim top of cake to create a flat surface. Frost the exterior and top of this base cake. 

Step 8

Carefully place the second bundt cake on top of the frosted cake, bottom-side down to create a "pumpkin." Again, using a serrated knife, gently carve the inside of the bundt to create a smooth, even circle (this will be your candy well), making sure the centers of each bundt cake line up. Fill the center of the cake with your choice of Halloween candy. Finish frosting the exterior of the entire "pumpkin" cake with Cream Cheese Frosting. Draw a jack-'o-lantern face on the outside of the cake using the black decorating icing. Insert a toothpick at each end of the licorice strand and gently press each side into the top of the cake, creating a "handle" for the jack-'o-lantern candy pail. 

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