Jack-O’-Lantern Halloween Cake
This chocolate Jack-O’-Lantern Halloween Cake is perfect the spooky holiday season cake! It’s simple to make, fun to decorate and is made of my delicious chocolate Bundt cake recipe. Carving the pumpkin face out of the frosting makes this cake eye catching and impressive enough to put on your Halloween dessert table. No rolling fondant out here, get the kids involved and get creative!
So many things to love about this Jack-O’-Lantern Halloween Cake!
- Cake – the cake is made of two of my chocolate Bundt cake recipes put on top of each other to give you an easy pumpkin shaped cake. No carving here and no waste!
- Frosting – I use my American buttercream frosting to fill. Crumb coat and cover my pumpkin cake. I also use it to create the decorations that help make this cake look so spooky!
- Carving and shaping the decorations – the beaty of making this cake is that you don’t need to have fancy decoration tools. You can make it look just as impressive using regular tools in your kitchen. Although, I would recommend using a leaf and small round piping tip to pipe the vines and leaves on top of the pumpkin.
Note: the whole recipe, including the ingredient quantities, can be found at the bottom of this page – just scroll down to the bottom, or click the ‘Jump to Recipe’ button at the top of this post.
The ingredients you’ll need to make an amazing Jack-O’-Lantern Halloween Cake!
Butter – I used unsalted butter to coat the cake tin and in the cake batter.
Cocoa powder – I used Dutch process cocoa powder for the cake batter and to coat the cake tin.
Flour – I used all-purpose flour in this recipe. You don’t want to use cake flour.
Caster sugar – otherwise known as superfine sugar is what I used in this cake batter but if you don’t have it you can use granulated sugar.
Bicarb soda – also know as baking soda. This helps give the cake batter a rise in the oven making it fluffy and light.
Salt – I used fine salt.
Eggs – I used large, room temperature eggs.
Milk – I used cow’s milk but plant based milks like soy or almond will also work. The original recipe has canned coconut milk which I didn’t have on hand on the day I made this cake but it helps make this cake even softer and more moist.
American Buttercream Frosting – I have a really great recipe for this that you can grab here! It’s great for cupcake, cakes and buttercream decorations! I used this frosting to fill and crumb coat my cake but decided to switch to Swiss Meringue Buttercream covering the cake because it’s shiny and smooth. You can use ABCF for the whole cake if you wish. You will want to use AMBF for the stalk and vines, not SMBF.
Food gel – I used food gels to color this frosting and not liquid food gel.
Let’s go through the steps! Making a Jack-O’-Lantern Halloween Cake is so fun!
Cake Tin Coating
- Brush your Bundt pan with butter
- Dust with cocoa powder. Set aside.
Chocolate Bundt Cake
- Add the flour, sugar, bicarb soda, salt and cocoa powder into a large bowl and whisk to combine.
- Add the butter while the mixer is on low speed.
- Add the eggs and milk.
- Pour half the batter into a large Bundt pan and bake. Once baked, allow to cool.
- Trim the tops off the cakes.
- Add a dab of frosting on your cake board or serving plate. Add the first layer of cake on top.
- Add frosting on top and spread around.
- Add the next layer and cover in a thin coat of frosting. Chill.
- Cover in more frosting.
- Smoothen out.
- Carve out the face.
- Fill in with black frosting.
- Pipe stalk on top and smoothen out.
- Pipe leaves and vines.
Tips and Tricks For Recipe Success!
- Use food gel coloring to color your orange and green food gel, not liquid food coloring.
- To make black frosting really black, start with my chocolate buttercream frosting and mix in black food gerl. To learn how to make my buttercream frosting, check out my American buttercream frosting recipe here!
- Use a serrated knife to flatten the cakes before putting them together to make them sit on each other nice and stable
- Add a dab of frosting on your cake board or serving plate before adding the first cake layer to help it stick securely to your cake board.
- Make your Halloween cake in two batches to make things much easier for yourself than I did trying to make it all in one go!
- Use a cake turntable to decorate your cake. Makes things so much easier!
- Never get sticky bundt cake again! Simply brush melted butter on your bundt tin and dust with cocoa powder.
Frequently Asked Questions about making this pumpkin cake.
What does it taste like?
This cake is made up of my chocolate Bundt cake recipe which is moist and rich in chocolate flavor. The frosting is vanilla and chocolate flavored and makes this cake an all-round favorite!
How do I store this?
Store this cake in an airtight container for up to 4 days in the fridge. Simply thaw for 30 min before serving.
Can I make this ahead of time?
Yep! Make the cakes up to two days before. Decorate the day before serving and you’re good to go!
What size Bundt pan did you use?
I used the Nordic Ware Anniversary 6-cup Bundt pan.
Which piping tips did you use?
- Leaf – I used the Wilton leaf tip
- Vines and leaves – I used a #4 round piping tip
Gave this a go? Don’t forget to rate the recipe and leave a comment below! Hungry for more? Join me on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest and TikTok for more great recipes!
If you loved this recipe, check these out!
Jack-O'Lantern Halloween Cake
Serves 30 people
Cake Tin Coating
- 1/2 cup (125 g) unsalted butter, melted
- Cocoa powder to dust
Chocolate Bundt Cake
- 4 cups (700 g) all-purpose flour, spoon and leveled
- 4 1/2 cups (900 g) caster sugar, spoon and leveled
- 2 tsp bicarb soda
- 2 tsp fine salt
- 1 cup (100 g) cocoa powder, sifted
- 3 cups (700 g) unsalted butter, softened
- 8 large eggs room temperature
- 3 cups (700 ml) milk, room temperature
- 3 batches American Buttercream Frosting
- 8 drops orange food gel
- 4 tbsp cocoa powder
- 1/2 cup (100 g) 100g dark chocolate, melted
- 3 drops green food gel
- 5 drops black food gel
Learn How To Make it! [VIDEO]
Cake Tin Coating
- To make this recipe you’ll need a large Bundt cake tin. I used the classic Bundt cake tin from Williams Sonoma. If you’re using a small cake tin, halve the recipe. Use a pastry brush or paper towel to coat the inside of the cake tin with butter. Then dust with cocoa powder. Turn the cake tin over into the sink or a baking tray and tap gently to get rid of excess cocoa powder. Set aside.
Chocolate Bundt Cake
- A note before you begin. The measurements listed in this portion of the recipe make two bunt cakes. You will need to bake them separately if you only have one Bundt pan. Unless you have a really large mixing bowl or stand mixer, I would recommend making this batter in two batches by halving the ingredients in the ingredients list.
- Preheat your oven to 140C / 285F.
- To a large mixing bowl, add the all-purpose flour, sugar, bicarb soda, salt and cocoa powder. Use a whisk to combine.
- While the mixer is on low speed, add the softened butter, one tablespoon at a time until it’s all in there. Then slowly add the eggs and allow to mix before slowly pouring in the milk. Allow to mix for 3-4 minutes then stop the mixer and scrape down the bowl. Mix for another 1-2 minutes.
- If making the batter all at once, pour half the mixture into the cake tin and use a spoon to spread around evenly and smoothen off the top. Bake for 45-50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Once baked, allow to cool for 10 minutes before flipping over onto a cooling rack. Carefully lift the tin to release the cake. Wash and dry the Bundt pan and repeat the cake tin coating process again before baking the second cake. Allow both cakes to cool to room temperature before using a large, serrated knife to carefully level off the bottom of the Bundt cakes.
- To fill, coat and decorate this cake you will need 3 batches of my American buttercream frosting recipe. You will use 2 batches to fill, crumb coat and coat the cake. To prepare that frosting add the orange food gel and mix until evenly coated. Split the remaining frosting into 3 bowls. To color the green frosting add the green food gel and mix. Add the cocoa powder and melted chocolate to the remaining 2/3 of frosting and mix until well combined to make chocolate frosting. Then halve that and add the black food gel and mix to make black frosting.
- To crumb coat - Add a dab of orange frosting onto a 10-inch cake board or large serving plate. Add the first cake, curved side down. Then add some frosting on the flat side and spread around using an offset spatula. Add the second layer, flat side down. Cover the cake in a thin layer of orange frosting to trap any loose crumbs. Place in the fridge to chill for 2 hours.
- Second layer - cover the cake in the remaining orange frosting and spread around evenly. Then, using the spatula start smoothing out starting from the bottom up the top to create multiple flat edges around the cake giving it the look of a pumpkin.
- Pumpkin face - we’re going to do some ‘pumpkin carving’ here using a small spatula or knife. Begin by using a skewer to shape out where you’ll be carving the face. Then use the spatula or knife to carve away the frosting. Take your time with this and be as neat as you can be. Fill in the carved out frosting with black frosting. Then spread around as flat as you can.
- Stalk - Pipe the chocolate frosting on top of the pumpkin to create the stalk. Use a small spatula to smoothen out the sides.
- Vines - Divide the frosting between two piping bags. One fitted with a leaf tip and the other with a small round tip. Pipe the vines first using the round tip. Then pipe little leaves around the vines and up the trunk.