Jack-O-Lantern Cake

READY IN: 6hrs 30mins




  • For Candy Core and Exterior- In a medium sauce pan or double boiler, heat candy melts until just liquid. 110 degrees is their ideal temperature in a liquid state.
  • Blow up several balloons and make sure you have ample room in your freezer. Slowly dip or paint candy melts onto balloon working in small sections until completely covered. Once ready, set on flat plate and place in freezer.
  • Here are TWO helpful hints to avoid trouble at this stage: The balloon should be slightly under inflated and the temperature of the candy melts being too warm can cause the balloon to pop and splatter difficult to clean candy all over you and your kitchen. I can't guarantee this won't happen anyway, which is why I mentioned you should blow up several and make your peace with disaster before it happens. Layer the balloon several times and keep frozen until ready to use. When desired shape is achieved punch small hole in balloon and slowly begin to remove using your fingers to separate the balloon from the frozen candy. If any large pieces of your pumpkin core break, simply heat the edges and put it back where it broke from. Keep remaining candy melts to brush on final cake to create delicious seal.
  • For Pumpkin Cake- Pre-heat oven to 350. In a large bowl, mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon, set aside. In stand mixer, combine 4 cups white sugar. 2 1/2 cups vegetable oil, 2 teaspoon vanilla extract and 4 cups canned pumpkin. Beat until smooth and then add one egg at a time. Slowly incorporate dry ingredients into the wet. Butter and flour six 7" round cake pans and pour two cups batter into each. Bake three at a time at 350 for 30 minutes. Some cakes are finicky, but these are pretty foolproof and so delicious!
  • Once removed from oven, wait 10 minutes, then remove from baking dishes, wrap loosely in wax paper and refrigerate until ready to use. At which point you will slice the rounds into thin moon-like crescents with a serrated blade and any additional pieces can be used later for pumpkin cake pops or just eating fresh.
  • For Buttercream- In a stand mixer, beat room temp butter until light and the gradually add confectioners sugar. Beat until fluffy, then add 2 tbs heavy whipping cream, 4 tbs canned pumpkin, 1/2 tsp nutmeg, 1 tsp Pumpkin spice, 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1 tsp Orange food coloring, 3/4 tsp brown food coloring and taste to ensure the flavor is to your liking.
  • Remove cake crescents from fridge and candy core dome from freezer and frost and apply in two layers. Initial layer should start horizontal and the last layer should be vertical. Keep in mind pumpkins are somewhat irregular, so don't worry too much about imperfections. Refrigerate often to ensure cake is structurally sound and never work in a warm kitchen.
  • Once built, frost with remaining buttercream and pipe stripes from top to bottom and blend for added dimension and flavor. Seal with leftover candy melts and finalize by painting additional shadows and highlights. Use a flame-heated blade to carve the jack-o-lantern. Cut a small mouse hole in the back and light with either a candle or a plug-in light. This cake has no supports, so know it must be kept cold as it could collapse if left at room temperature.
  • Note: You'll need 3 batches of buttercream for this cake.