Trick or treat, is it a pumpkin or is it a cake? It’s not a trick! It’s the best of both, it’s a pumpkin cake! Once before we baked a cake inside a pumpkin, but this entire pumpkin is actually a cake. Even better. :) Make a pumpkin patch cake this season that is both colorful and fun. Plus this pumpkin cake recipe includes little pumpkin cake babies which are crazy adorable added to the mix… A little pumpkin for the kids, and a big pumpkin cake for the mommas!
Don’t be afraid, this cake isn’t too hard to make and the neon colors are a great way to add a bright pop to the season.
Pumpkin Cake Recipe
To make this colorful pumpkin patch cake you will need:
- 2 layers cinnamon maple cake (recipe below)
- 1 recipe maple buttercream frosting (recipe below)
- 2.5 pounds White Fondant
- Gel Food Coloring, I used pink for our pumpkin cake and orange, yellow & pink for the mini fondant pumpkins
For the Cinnamon Maple Cake (makes two 8” layers*) portion you will need:
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 ½ cups granulated sugar
- ½ cup packed brown sugar
- 2 ½ tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- 4 eggs
- 2 tsp maple extract
For the maple buttercream you will need:
- 1 ½ cups butter, softened
- 6 cups powdered sugar
- 2 tsp maple extract
You will also need two 8” round cake pans
1. To create the pumpkin patch cake – preheat the oven to 350 degrees and prepare the cake pans with parchment paper and a little butter.
2. In a bowl, sift together dry ingredients. In a separate bowl, combine all your wet ingredients. On low speed (with a stand or handheld mixer) slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients. Once combined, scrape down your mixing bowl to make sure everything was incorporated well.
3. Divide the batter evenly between your two cake pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 – 40 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cakes cool completely before assembling.
Next make the Maple Buttercream
4. In the bowl of a stand mixer (or handheld) with the paddle attachment, cream 1 1/2 cups of butter on medium speed until it’s a light yellow color. Slowly begin to add in the 6 cups powdered sugar. Once combined, mix in 2 tsp maple extract. The buttercream should be a smooth spreadable consistency.
Note* This is also an amazingly yum frosting for an oatmeal cookie sandwich, but that’s for another time. ;)
Carving the Pumpkin Patch Cake
First, don’t be scared of a little pumpkin cake carving. And, if you aren’t sure you want to dive into cake carving, you can bake your cake in two Bundt cake pans for the top and bottom of your pumpkin cake, much like we made our ever famous Piñata Cake. In other words… Easy!
1. Before carving, level and fill the cake with buttercream frosting, and place in the fridge to let your filling firm up.
2. Remove your cake from the fridge and get carving. I first carved out the indents around the cake for the pumpkin sections (you’ll want about 5 to 6 sections) and then I rounded off the edges on the top and bottom of each section. Having a reference photo was super helpful and this was my first time carving a pumpkin shaped cake too.
3. Once you’re happy with your pumpkin shape, crumb coat your cake with a thin layer of buttercream and place back in the fridge.
How To Color Fondant
4. Take half of the fondant and knead in your color.
5. With a rolling pin, roll out your fondant to about ⅛” circle.
6. Remove cake from the fridge and frost with another even coat of buttercream. It doesn’t have to be totally perfect and smooth you can even out your pumpkin shape once the fondant is on.
7. Cover your cake with your rolled out fondant and smooth around the shape of your pumpkin, cutting any excess from around your cake. You’ll tuck the fondant under the bottom of your cake and cut the rest away when you’re done. You’ll want an even bottom for your fondant to sit on.
How To Make Fondant Pumpkins
8. One of the cutest parts of this “pumpkin patch” are the miniature fondant pumpkins! Here’s how to make them: divide and color your remaining fondant for your pumpkin patch, stem and vines. You can make your fondant pumpkins any size, color, and shape you want for a super cute little pumpkin patch.
9. Roll out small ropes of fondant and wrap around a straw to create the fondant pumpkin vines and a larger rope for a fondant pumpkin stem. Make sure to let all of your fondant pieces dry completely before attaching with buttercream to your cake.
You can make several of these fondant pumpkin cakes and stack for a unique cake. Or make a faux cake base like I did here to set your neon pumpkin patch scene. All you need is a round cake dummy, chalkboard paper and powdered sugar for that real fondant pumpkin patch effect.
(Project recipe, styling, and photography @A Subtle Revelry by Brandi Van Leer).