Pumpkin Cake – For Halloween or Thanksgiving

Pumpkin Cake decorated like a pumpkin | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

Pumpkin season is here, which is the only reason I can send this short summer off with a smile. It is nature’s way of creating balance. We give up the sunny days, and get bright orange pumpkins to cheer us up. Much like zucchini, there is an endless bounty to be made from these winter gourds. Here is a spiced pumpkin cake that is absolutely delicious and needs no adornments to be appreciated. But, decorate it like a pumpkin and it becomes a centerpiece for any fall holiday table. The recipe makes two pumpkin cakes, so you can have one for home and bring one to a party.

Pumpkin Cake decorated like a pumpkin | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

Pumpkin Cake

1 cup vegetable oil

1 cup granulated sugar

1 cup brown sugar, well packed

3 eggs

1 (14-ounce) can pumpkin puree

3/4 cup sour cream

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon all spice

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

Buttercream:

3/4 cup egg whites

1 1/2 cups sugar

4 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature

pinch salt

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

4 ounces marzipan

food coloring for buttercream and marzipan

Preparing Pumpkin Cake | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter and flour four 6-inch stainless steel mixing bowls (2 1/2 cup capacity).

In a stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the oil, sugar, brown sugar, and eggs. Once they are well combined add the pumpkin puree, vanilla and sour cream. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt and spices. Add the dry ingredients to the pumpkin mixture and mix until it all comes together in a smooth batter.

Divide the batter in the four bowl and place them on a baking sheet.

Two Baked Pumpkin Cakes | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

Bake for about 40 to 50 minutes (this may depend on the shape of your bowls).

Two Baked Pumpkin Cakes | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

It is okay if they don’t bake completely flat, chances are they won’t.

Two Baked Pumpkin Cakes | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

Turn them out onto a sheet and allow them to cool completely. They can be made ahead and refrigerated for up to 2 days or frozen for 2 weeks.

Pumpkin Cake buttercream frosting colored with orange food coloring | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

Make the buttercream icing (follow these directions). Separate out all but a 1/2 cup of the buttercream. Use the food coloring to create the orange. Save the remaining buttercream to use for writing on the cake.

Assembling Pumpkin Cake | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

Spread a thin layer of buttercream over the flat sides of the cakes.

Assembling Pumpkin Cake | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

Sandwich the two pieces together to make a sphere.

Assembling Pumpkin Cake | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

Spread a thick layer of icing over the entire cake, just leaving the very bottom free of icing.

Assembling Pumpkin Cake | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

Use a spatula to create the stripes along the sides of the pumpkin, then flatten out the top just slightly.

Assembling Pumpkin Cake | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

Refrigerate the pumpkin cake to set the buttercream. Repeat with the other two half rounds to create a second cake.

Marzipan colored green with food coloring | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

While the cake is chilling, color the marzipan with green food coloring. Use gloves to keep your hands clean.

Green marzipan vines and stem for pumpkin cake | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

Sculpt stems and the curly tendrils from the green marzipan. Allow them to sit out at room temperature for a few hours or overnight so they will hold their shape.

Pumpkin Cake Shaped Like a Pumpkin | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

Set the chilled cake on a stand and decorate with a stem and curly tendrils.

Pumpkin Cake Shaped Like a Pumpkin | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

For a Halloween cake, you can pipe Trick on one of the cakes and Treat on the other.

Pumpkin Cake Shaped Like a Pumpkin | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

Serve at room temperature. It is ok to leave the decorated cake at room temperature for up to 24 hours.