Adapted from Family Circle November 2009
Need I say that one of my favorite things about autumn is the pumpkin-everything? I think I’ve already mentioned it. Last weekend I hosted a Halloween party at my house. I’ve had my eye on this cake for many years and I finally had the opportunity to make it. It was the highlight of the party. Everyone was impressed when I brought it out and they melted in their seats at the very first bite.
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 can (15 ounces) pumpkin purée (NOT pumpkin pie filling!)
- ½ cup milk
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
- 2 cups sugar
- 5 eggs
- Preheat the oven to 350F (177C). Coat two 1.5-liter Pyrex bowls with cooking spray and set aside.
- Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. In a small bowl, mix the pumpkin, milk and vanilla to blend.
- Beat the butter in a large bowl with an electric mixer until smooth. Gradually add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the flour mixture, alternating with the pumpkin mixture, ending with the flour mixture. Beat just until smooth.
- Divide the batter evenly between the prepared bowls. Bake in the preheated oven in the center of the oven for about 55 to 65 minutes or until golden and a toothpick inserted in the center of the cakes comes out clean.
- Remove the bowls from the oven and cool for 15 minutes. Invert the cakes onto a plate and remove the bowls. Cool completely.
Forming the Pumpkin
- 2 round cakes (recipe above)
- 1 can vanilla frosting
- Red and yellow liquid food coloring
- 6 bags White Candy Corn M&M’s
- 1 Milky Way candy bar
- Trim the top of the cakes with a serrated knife to make level.
- Tint the frosting orange with the food coloring according the directions on the package.
- Place one cake layer, cut-side up, on a serving platter. Spread the cut side with ½ cup of the frosting. Place the other cake layer on top, cut-side down. Trim any excess to make round.
- Spread a thin layer of frosting on half the cake from top to bottom.
- Separate all the orange M&M’s and place in a bowl and separate about 34 yellow M&M’s as well.
- Start with the nose by placing 3 yellow M&M’s in the center of the frosted area on the cake. Make sure to place 2 on the bottom and 1 on top, forming a triangle. Place 2 orange M&M’s above the nose, then begin the eyes. Attach 3 yellow candies along the same line as the orange candies above the nose, to the left. Place 2 more yellow candies above that row and end with a single yellow candy. Repeat on the other side of the nose. Below the nose, make an upside-down triangle using 3 orange candies. Make a yellow candy mouth by arranging candies in a “V” around the orange triangle. Use additional yellow candies to finish the mouth according to the picture. Fill in with more orange candies close together on the frosted area. When that area is covered, spread another area with the frosting and add more candies. Repeat until the entire cake is covered with orange M&M’s.
- Cut the candy bar in half crosswise on the diagonal to fashion a stem. Press the candy bar half, cut-side down, into the top of the cake for the stem. Refrigerate to firm the frosting.
Comments: The cake itself is not too difficult to make. The instructions are quite straightforward. When making the pumpkin, it is extremely important to make the two cakes perfectly flat to be able to form a nice sphere. My favorite store-bought frosting is Betty Crocker’s Whipped Frosting, which is the one I used. It is light, doesn’t have a exceedingly sweet flavor and is very easy to spread. I had quite an adventure with the M&M’s, to be perfectly honest. I initially bought 3 bags of the White Candy Corn M&M’s but I quickly ran out and had to buy 3 more. I was still not able to cover the top of the cake but it looked all right. These M&M’s are seasonal and come only in the candy corn colors (orange, yellow and white), hence the name. I was afraid they might have a strange, artificial candy corn flavor but it’s just white chocolate. They are really good and go perfectly well with the vanilla frosting and pumpkin cake. I had to adjust the amount of M&M’s used for the face; the recipe said to use 34 and to start the mouth by forming the “V” with 7 yellow candies around an upside-down triangle of 6 orange candies (not 3). I used less because of the size of my cakes after trimming but it still turned out great. Adjust the amount to fit your cake. For the stem, I used a Milky Way bar but you can use whatever chocolate candy bar you like. To cut the cake, slice the top cake first and then continue with the bottom. This cake turned out really moist and the combination of flavors was exquisite. I highly recommend this for your Halloween party next year or just for funsies if you’re really into pumpkin and Halloween (like me).