Halloween Pumpkin Cake

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This Jack-O-Lantern-style pumpkin cake is a great way to get the kids in the spirit of Halloween. It is an easy project to have them join in and help. They will have fun creating their own unique face and will love adding the little spiders to the pumpkin cake.

The recipe below calls for a 2-layer white homemade cake and homemade frosting. You can make it the easy way with a cake mix and/or use canned frosting if you prefer. You can make any flavor of cake you desire. Make your family's favorite and they will be even more anxious to dig in.

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Halloween Pumpkin Cake


  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 5/8 cups flour
  • 3/8 cup cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 cup milk


  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons butter - softened
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • Food coloring (yellow, red, green)
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp. milk
  • 1 tsp. Light Karo Syrup

Preparing the Cake

  • Preheat oven to 350° F. and grease and flour bottom and sides of cake pans.

  • In a mixing bowl, cream butter until light and fluffy. Add sugar and mix.

  • Gradually add eggs and vanilla; mix well.

  • Combine dry ingredients together; then add alternating with the milk. Mix until just well blended together.

  • Pour batter into prepared cake pans. Divide evenly.

  • Bake for approximately 30 minutes, until golden brown on the top and center is firm. Or the cake is done when a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. If the center seems fairly firm but the toothpick comes out just a little moist, remove the cakes from the oven. If you over bake them the cakes will be dry.

  • Allow the cakes to cool for 10 minutes in the pan and then turn them out onto a cooling rack. Allow to cool completely before starting to decorate.
Note: 3 cups of cake flour can be substituted for the 2 5/8 cups of all-purpose flour, along with the 3/8 cup of cornstarch if preferred.

Preparing the Frosting

  • Combine powdered sugar, butter, vanilla, and a small amount of milk in mixing bowl, beat on low speed.

  • Gradually add a little milk to obtain the consistency that you are looking for. Be sure the frosting is firm enough to hold its shape.

Note: Store bought frosting could be used or any of your favorite homemade frostings recipes could be used as long as it is firm enough.

Decorating the Cake

  • Once you have reached the desired consistency take out about 1 or 2 tbsp. of frosting and set aside to color later for the stem.

  • Add yellow food coloring and a little red coloring to the remaining frosting to create the orange frosting. Keep adding until you have reached the desired color.

  • Place the first layer of cake on a plate and cover the top with a layer of frosting; then place the second layer on top.

  • Spread and even layer of frosting on the top and sides of the cake. Smooth the tops and sides as much as possible.
  • Cut black licorice pieces to make the eyes and mouth of the pumpkin face. Place the licorice on the pumpkin to make your face design.

  • Add spider rings to the cake.

  • Color the reserved frosting green and spread on cake to resemble a stem.

  • The cake is then ready to serve at a special Halloween party or to just enjoy with the kids. If not serving immediately, cover and place in the refrigerator.

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