Pumpkin Spice Jack-O’-Lantern Cake Halloween Recipe | Reader's Digest

Pumpkin Spice Jack-O’-Lantern Cake Halloween Recipe

Impressive but surprisingly easy, this jack-o'-lantern requires two full cake recipes baked in a Bundt pan - plenty of cake for a big party!

Excerpted from Ghoulish Goodies Copyright © 2009 by Sharon Bowers from Ghoulish Goodies
Pumpkin Spice Jack-O’-Lantern Cake Halloween RecipePhotos by ©Kevin Kenefick, food styling by Norma Miller, illustrations by ©Michael Slack.

You must mix each batch separately rather than doubling the recipe. You can unmold the first cake and bake a second right away, or you can bake one cake earlier and freeze it for later use, (Cool it completely and double-wrap it in foil and plastic wrap for freezing.) The moist pumpkin batter yields a fresh-tasting cake, even after the freezer stint.

Ingredients for Each Cake

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 2 cup (1 stick) butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cup sour cream
  • 1 (15-ounce) Can pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
  • 2 cup chopped walnuts, optional

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, at room temperature
  • ½ cup (1 stick) butter, at room temperature
  • 5 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 2-4 tablespoons milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • Green liquid or paste coloring red and yellow liquid coloring or orange paste coloring


For assembling the cake
½ cup semisweet chocolate chips

    How to make it 


  • 1

    Preheat the oven to 350°F, Grease and flour a Bundt pan and line one 4-ounce ramekin or custard cup with a muffin paper.

  • 2

    Sift the flour; baking powder; baking soda, salt, and pumpkin pie spice into a large bowl and set aside.

  • 3

    Cream the butter; granulated sugar; and brown sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer until fluffy. One at a time, beat the eggs into the mixture, and then blend in the vanilla, sour cream, and pumpkin, mixing to combine. Add the egg mixture to the dry ingredients in halves, mixing until smooth, Stir in the walnuts, if using.

  • 4

    Scoop out 1/3 cup of the batter and pour it into the paper-lined ramekin. Pour the remaining batter into the Bundt pan. Place both pans in the oven; remove the ramekin after 15 minutes. Continue baking the Bundt cake for 30 to 35 minutes longer, until a toothpick comes out with only a few crumbs clinging to it.

  • 5

    Make an entire second cake by repeating steps 1 through 3. Skip the small ramekin cake and pour all of the batter into the prepared Bundt pan. Bake 45 to 50 minutes and cool the second cake.

  • 6

    To prepare the frosting, beat the cream cheese and butter in a large bowl until smooth and creamy. Slowly blend in the confectioners’ sugar. Add milk, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the frosting achieves a smooth, spreadable consistency. Stir in the vanilla.

  • 7

    Remove ½ cup of the frosting to a small bowl and blend in about 6 drops of the green coloring (add a few drops more if you want a more intense shade). Stir about 10 drops each of the red and yellow coloring or a dab of the orange paste into the remaining white frosting to produce a bright orange.

  • 8

    When both Bundt cakes are entirely cool, place the slightly larger Bundt cake (the second one) upside down on a serving platter (the rounded edge of the cake will be on the bottom). Spread a thin layer of orange frosting over the flat side as a glue, and then place the second cake right side up directly on top of the first, making sure to line up the ridges.

  • 9

    Frost the cake assembly evenly with orange frosting, Peel the paper off the little cupcake from the ramekin and frost its bottom and sides with the bright green frosting. Place it, topside down and frosted bottom up, in the center of the top Bundt cake, covering the hole, to make a pumpkin stem. (You can use a knife to smooth away your fingerprints from placing the cupcake.)

  • 10

    Put the chocolate chips in a microwave-safe bowl, and melt the chocolate in the microwave: Heat on high for 60 seconds, and then stir well. If it’s not quite smooth, continue to heat in two or three 10-second bursts, stirring well after each burst. Cool slightly, then pour the melted chocolate into a small ziplock bag. Cut a tiny bit off one corner of the bag and pipe a triangular nose and eyes high up on one side of the cake, then a jagged pumpkin grin. (You get only one shot at this on the cake so you may want to melt extra chips and practice on a piece of wax paper or a plate first.) Serve immediately, or store, covered, for 2 to 3 days.