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Super EASY Pumpkin Cakes Hack

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These RIDICULOUSLY easy pumpkin cakes will be your new favorite fall tradition! Whether you're making them with your family this Thanksgiving, Halloween or offering them up to your cake clients, this little hack is going to save you so much time with wow-that-was-so-easy results.

The idea for this "hack" had been rolling around in my brain since last year when I created the Carveable Ganache Pumpkin tutorial for our online school, but I didn't have a chance to try it before the season ended. So, as I do, I put a note in my planner to make sure tried it this season and I'm so glad I did because it WORKED!

One of the things I love most about this technique is that it requires no fondant, no modeling chocolate... which, do not get me wrong, I love both of those sugar mediums BUT sometimes it's just nice (and some of our clients prefer) the simplicity of just buttercream (or just ganache). It most definitely saves time, energy and product... so who doesn't love that? We even made the stems out of buttercream!

Ok, let's talk about allllll the different ways you could use these pumpkins...

Perfect for either Thanksgiving OR Halloween!

This could be a great family activity for your next Thanksgiving because honestly, anyone could do this! With some supervision, it's even a kid-friendly project (my apologies ahead of time for any buttercream you find on the walls).

As a pumpkin lover, these would be perfect gifts! Nothing like receiving yummy AND realistic individual pumpkin cakes as a gift from a friend to say "I'm thankful for you". You could even personalize them with special colors and piping names or sayings on them.

Fall wedding favors, anyone?

Personally, if I were still doing customer cakes, I'd be offering these up as one of my options this year. I would probably offer up the 4" pumpkins and larger versions. An easier going dessert that people can order ahead of time.

And then of course they work perfectly for my favorite holiday of them all... Halloween! You can pipe designs onto this for a boho look -or- go classic Halloween and paint up a creepy jack-o-lantern cake.

Really, the possibilities are endless and I can't wait to see what you come up with (please do share!)

Different Size Pumpkins

Minis

You can make these minis if you'd like by simply using cupcakes as your cake! I've used one cupcake in the center of the orange one and two cupcakes in the white one (see end of video for step by step!) You could go one size up and use mini bundt cakes for this also!

Small

One size up from there could be what I chose to make in the video, which is a 4" pumpkin. I baked a thin sheet of pumpkin cake and then cut out 4 circles with my circle cutters (2x 4" and 2x 3.75"). I started and ended with the 3.75" when stacking to start to get the natural shape of a pumpkin. Then all I need to do was round of the top edge and little and cut a divot in the top where the stem will go.

Medium/Large

To do a full-size pumpkin, you can of course use regular cake rounds OR regular size bundt cake pans. Either will work, the procedure will be the same except I suggest placing your cake board under the twine before stacking, so you can easily move the larger cake to the fridge. Also, of course, be sure that you have enough twine a plastic wrap to go around! You may want to measure with measuring tape first because it's easy to mismeasure by eye.

How to Make an Easy Realistic Pumpkin Cake (with Buttercream!)

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Super Easy Pumpkin Cake Hack

Create a realistic pumpkin in seconds with this super easy pumpkin cake HACK! Using buttercream or ganache, these pumpkin cakes will be your most beloved Hallowen or Thanksgiving tradition.
Active Time5 mins
Chilling Time30 mins
Total Time40 mins
Yield: 1 pumpkin
Author: Avalon Yarnes

Equipment

  • Turn Table
  • Scissors
  • Small Spatula
  • Flat Paintbrush
  • Array of Paintbrushes
  • Circle Cutters

Materials

  • 1 each Cake or cupcake See notes above for sizes, recipe listed below
  • 1 batch Buttercream or Ganache (orange or color of choice for the pumpkin) amounts depend on preference, recipe listed below
  • 1/2 cup Butttercream or Ganache (brown or color of choice for the stem)
  • 1-2 pieces Plastic Wrap You'll need more depending on the size of your pumpkin
  • 1 roll Butcher or Bakers Twine
  • 1 Cake Board
  • 2 Disposable Pastry Bags
  • 1 Coupler
  • 1 Small open star tip (Wilton 32)
  • 1 Large Round Tube Tip (Ateco 809 or similar) You dont NEED this tip, you can simply cut a larger hole in your bag .
  • 1 Small Round Tip (#2 or #3)
  • 1 piece Dried Spegetti

Painting (optional)

  • 1 Yellow + Red to make Orange I used Portaleo PaintsI used this, but you can use anything fat-friendly, see video for suggestions
  • 1 Green I used Portaleo PaintsI used this, but you can use anything fat-friendly, see video for suggestions
  • 1 Yellow I used Portaleo PaintsI used this, but you can use anything fat-friendly, see video for suggestions
  • 1 White I used Portaleo PaintsI used this, but you can use anything fat-friendly, see video for suggestions
  • 1 Slow Dilution (or Vodka) I used Portaleo PaintsI used this, but you can use anything fat-friendly, see video for suggestions

Instructions

  • Layout 6-8 butcher twine evenly spaced in a pie slice pattern. Place a cake board down on your cake turntable. Cut 6-8 twine (make sure they are long enough to go around your cake and then some) on your cake turntable in a pie slice pattern.
    1 roll Butcher or Bakers Twine, 1 Cake Board
  • Layout plastic wrap over the top of the twine. Lay the plastic wrap over the top of the twine. You want to again make sure your pieces are long enough to wrap around your cake. For my 4" cake I needed two strips, for my cupcake pumpkins I only needed one. Try to keep the plastic as wrinkle-free as possible.
    1-2 pieces Plastic Wrap
  • Pipe a "pancake" of icing from the center out. This should be a little larger than your cake circumference.
    1 batch Buttercream or Ganache (orange or color of choice for the pumpkin), 1 Large Round Tube Tip (Ateco 809 or similar), 2 Disposable Pastry Bags
  • Ice your cake. This does not need to be perfect, just a nice base coat of icing around 1/3" thick.
    1 each Cake or cupcake
  • Pull the plastic wrap up and around the cake, gathering at the top. Tie off with some twine. Try to keep the plastic wrap as smooth as possible to avoid an overabundance of wrinkles. Use your hands to shape and round out the shape.
  • Take each string of twine and wrap it around the top, pull taut. This will make your pumpkin ridges. Do this for each string, making sure to take care in your placement.
  • Place in the fridge or freezer until solid.
  • Once solid, remove from fridge and unwrap. Be careful when unwrapping, as you don't want to pull any buttercream off the cake.
  • Using a flat paintbrush and some fresh buttercream, fill and smooth any wrinkles left behind from the plastic wrap.
  • Pipe your stem. Using your brown buttercream, attach a small star tip (I used the Wilton 32 tip) to your pastry bag. Place the tip over the top of the spaghetti, and while turning your turntable, pipe the stem. This will result in a twisted stem. Use a small round tip (#2or #3) to pipe the base and added texture.
    1 Coupler, 1 Small open star tip (Wilton 32), 1 Small Round Tip (#2 or #3), 1 piece Dried Spegetti
  • (Optional) Paint for more dimension. To paint this cake, you'll want to make sure you're working with it right out of the fridge as you want it to be cold so your brush strokes don't ruin any of the texture. See video for painting tips.
    1 Yellow + Red to make Orange, 1 Green, 1 Yellow, 1 White, 1 Slow Dilution (or Vodka)

Video

Sweet Cinnamon Pumpkin Cake

Recipe by guest contributor Shannon Bond. Delicious from scratch pumpkin cake perfect for celebration or tiered cakes!
PRINT
Yield:8 cups

Equipment

  • Electric Stand Mixer, Kitchen Aid
  • Paddle Attachment
  • Bowl

Ingredients

  • 252 g Granulated White Sugar
  • 140 g Brown Sugar
  • 1/2 c Unsalted Butter - softened
  • 1/2 c Vegetable Oil
  • 4 each Egg(s) - lightly beaten
  • 2 tea Vanilla Extract
  • 425 g Pumpkin Puree - not filling - Libby's brand is my favorite
  • 1/2 c Whole Milk
  • 368 g AP flour
  • 1 tea Baking Powder
  • 1 tea Baking Soda
  • 3/4 tea Salt
  • 1 tea Cinnamon
  • 1/2 tea Nutmeg
  • 1/2 tea Ground Ginger

Instructions

  • Sift together flour, soda, powder, salt and spices in glass bowl and set aside.
  • In second mixing bowl, combine milk and pumpkin and set aside.
  • In mixer bowl, combine sugars, butter and 1/4 c. oil. Beat on medium for 5 minutes.
  • Scrape down sides of bowl and add the rest of the oil mixing for additional 2 minutes.
  • Scrape down bowl again and add eggs, one at a time combining well before adding each one.
  • Scrape bowl again and add vanilla, mixing until combined.
  • Add 1/3 of the dry ingredients and mix on low until well incorporated. Add 1/2 of wet ingredients and mix on low until just combined. Add 1/3 dry, mix and add last 1/2 wet and finish with last 1/3 dry, scraping occasionally.
  • Removed mixing bowl from stand mixer and scrape the bottom with rubber spatula to make sure all ingredients from the bottom are mixed into the batter.
  • Prepare 2 - 7" cake pans with parchment paper around the sides and especially the bottom.
  • Spray lightly with baker's spray. This is a very moist cake and will stick to the pan if not prepared correctly!
  • Divide batter between pans and tap pans lightly on counter to release and trapped air.
  • Bake at 325 F for 30-40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  • Let cool in pans for 15 minutes, then turn out onto cooling rack and cool completely before torting.

Easy and Delicious Buttercream V.2

This recipe has been altered from Lauren Kitchen's recipe to better suit some palettes (sweeter) and also I find it a little better for piping/flowers. It's great for underneath fondant also as it gets nice and solid in the fridge.
PRINT
Yield:11 cups

Ingredients

  • 7 oz Egg Whites, Pasteurized
  • 2 lbs powdered sugar - sifted
  • 3 lbs Unsalted butter - SOFT, *if HUMID or hot hands, see notes below
  • 2 Tbs Vanilla Extract

Instructions

  • Measure egg whites in your mixing bowl.
  • Tare. Measure powdered sugar in bowl. (Or in separate bowl, either way, add powdered sugar at this time)
  • Using the paddle attachment, beat on medium/high (6 on KA) for 5 minutes. You are essentially creating a soft peak, glossy royal icing at this point. If it does not "peak", do not worry, our main concern is to dissolve the powdered sugar. You can incorporate more air into it down the line.
  • Make sure your butter is SOFT. Room temperature often isn't soft enough for me, so I'll put it in the microwave for 10 more seconds to make sure it's super soft to the touch. This will allow air to beat into the mixture easier.
  • Set mixer to medium, gradually add butter. Scrape bowl.
  • Don't forget to add your vanilla! Now, beat for 5-10 minutes on medium/high (6 on KA) until light and fluffy. To help remove larger air bubbles that may have formed, I reduce it to a low setting and let it mix for approx 2 minutes.
  • Fluffy delicious buttercream! Nom nom nom. See below for storage and other notes!

Notes

Notes via Lauren Kitchens:
Storage: The day after you make the buttercream, you will need to whip it at medium speed for 5 minutes. Store at room temp (68-74 degrees F) for up to 2 weeks. (Yes, you heard her correctly). Store in the fridge for up to 2 months. Store in freezer for up to 6 months.
Color: Use gel paste or oil colors to color your buttercream.
Egg Whites: Purchase the pasteurized egg whites in the grocery store next to the eggs. Most carton eggs are pasteurized. You can use fresh egg whites but it will decrease the shelf life of the buttercream unless you pasteurize them yourself. I do not recommend using meringue powder as a replacement.
Tips from Avalon:
For hot and humid areas, you have the option to take anywhere from 1/4 to 1/3 of the total amount of butter out and replace it (in weight) with shortening. If you have particularly warm hands and are doing a lot of piping (that includes buttercream flowers), I suggest this recipe with 1/4 of the total amount of butter replaced with shortening. I'm not a huge shortening icing fan, BUT some places *need* it for climate purposes.
 
 
 Published: 10/01/2021

Last modified on October 22nd, 2021

meet the author

Avalon YARNES

Avalon Yarnes is multi-award winning cake artist and educator. Her work has been featured on tv shows, in magazines, books and more. She has been named one of the top 10 Cake Artists in America by Cake Masters Magazine and Dessert Professional Magazine. She's always cooking up something innovative that she can share with her students. Learn with Avalon here inside Avalon Cakes Online School of Sugar Art, where her (and her friends) teach you how to make incredible art with of cakes, cookies and more!

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