Jack o Lantern Halloween Cake; a Bundt Cake Treat!

Just as Jack o' Lanterns can inspire laughter, the heebie-jeebies, or a round of "Trick or Treat!" so can your sculpted Jack o' Lantern cakes!

If you're new to cake decorating or cake sculpting, you'll find the Jack O' Lantern cake is fun and easy. And, if you're already experienced, you will have all the more fun by adding intricate details. Either way, this Jack o' Lantern Halloween cake is sure to light up faces at your next Halloween party.

Jack o' Lantern Cake Instructions

Before you whip up a batch of buttercream, take out a piece of paper and sketch some Jack o' Lantern faces. If you have kids at the house, enlist their help. Searching "Google Images" for Jack o' Lantern will also deliver lots of ideas. Once you've narrowed down your favorites to a final selection, practice drawing it to make the piping easier.

Ready? Here we go!
1. Bake 2 Bundt cakes. Coincidentally, pumpkin works like a charm for a Halloween sculpture cake because of its firmness (see recipe below). Butter cake works well too.
2. After releasing and cooling the 2 cakes, level the bottoms.
3. Ice the bottoms with orange buttercream (non crusting is best for this project). Place one upside down, and the other on top, so the iced bottoms fit together.
4. Now, cover the cake with orange buttercream. As you smooth your icing, you can work with the natural indentions left by the Bundt pans that mimic the vertical lines on a real pumpkin.
5. Using the orange buttercream, pipe the outlines of the facial features. If you make a mistake, just smooth it and start over.
6. Now for the fun part! Here are a few ideas for creating the details of your Jack o' Lantern's face.

a. Fit an icing bag with a small star tip and fill with chocolate buttercream. Fill in the eyes, nose and gaps between the teeth.
b. After completing the step above, add details such as pupils to the eyes with icing candies, like M&M's and black licorice.
c. To make your Jack o' Lantern glow, use yellow gel instead of chocolate buttercream (remember not to cover the teeth and other places that would be left intact in a real Jack o' Lantern).
d. Instead of piping facial features, bring Jack to life by modeling eyes, nose, teeth and any other features you want to add (eyebrows?) with rolled butterceam icing or marzipan.

7. Just like a real Jack O' Lantern your Bundt o' Lantern will have a hole in the top. Here are a few ways you can put the lid on Jack.

a. Cover an ice cream cone with green or chocolate buttercream and using icing, adhere this upside down over the hole in the top. Then using a large leaf tip, pipe a few green leaves around the top.

b. Model the stem and leaves with rolled buttercream.

c. Save just enough batter from the recipe below to make a cupcake. Trim it for the stem shape you want and adhere with icing to the top.

And here's your pumpkin cake recipe!

Halloween Pumpkin Cake

Note: This pumpkin cake makes a great treat for grown-ups too, and it's even more devilishly delicious with a buttercream and chopped nuts icing.

4 cups canned pumpkin
6 cups sugar
2 cup vegetable oil
6 eggs
6 cups flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cloves
2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp ground nutmeg

Preheat oven to 350? F. Grease and flour 2 10-inch Bundt pans. Blend the pumpkin, sugar, oil, and eggs. Sift remaining ingredients into a separate bowl. Mixing as you add it, spoon the pumpkin mixture into the dry mixture. Blend well. Pour the batter into the prepared pans. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the middles comes out clean (around an hour and 15 minutes). Allow cakes to cool in pans for 5 minutes. Release, and after completely cooled, decorate.

Serving Tip: This is even better tasting and easier to work with after mellowing overnight, covered in the refrigerator.

The Homemade Pumpkin Cake recipe is adapted from "Cake Decorating Made Easy!" Here's what one reader wrote about our Video Books:

"Incomparable! I've not opened my other
books now that I have yours...don't decorate
another cake until you've seen these Video Books!"

Pia Dizon,
Lynnwood, WA

If you liked these ideas, you're gonna love our Thanksgiving Cake article!

Last but not least, here's one more tip. The quantity of liquid food coloring needed to concoct Halloween brown and black will bring a bitter flavor to your buttercream. Here's what you can do to keep the ghoulish elements in the design and out of the icing:

- Instead of liquid food coloring, opt for the more intense gel or paste forms.
Can't find these locally? Try CandylandCrafts.com
- Use chocolate for brown and start with dark chocolate for black (and you won't need as much black food coloring).
- Skip the chocolate and food colorings, and use instead candy and cookies. String black licorice works great for outlining. Crush, dark chocolate cookies or crumble dark chocolate cake to use to fill in large areas, like around Jack's teeth.

Happy Halloween Cake Making!
Food and Drink

» More on Food and Drink