Trisha Leonard

Back to: Entertainment
October 30, 2013
Follow Entertainment

Trisha Leonard: Halloween cake packs a double dose of pumpkin

It’s time to jump on the pumpkin bandwagon. Pinterest is exploding with fall recipes and Starbucks has its Pumpkin Spice Latte back in stores. Two occasions at the end of October provided a good reason to bust out my cans of pumpkin puree. The first was a co-worker’s last day. The second is my dad’s birthday, which falls on Halloween.

This dessert has a double dose of pumpkin, as both the cake and frosting contain it. But it isn’t overwhelming, and neither are the spices in the cake. The flavor is balanced, which is why I enjoyed them so much.

I’ve provided the cake recipe at regular altitude. The high-altitude cupcake recipe can be found on my blog, If you want to make one dozen cupcakes at regular altitude, cut the cake recipe in half. Or, if you want to make two dozen, leave it as is.

Happy Halloween, everyone.

Cake (at regular altitude)

3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cloves

1 teaspoon ground allspice

1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon fine salt

2 3/4 cups granulated sugar

1 cup vegetable oil, plus more as needed

4 large eggs

1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin purée (not pie filling; about 1 3/4 cups)

Heat the oven to 350 degrees and arrange a rack in the middle. Grease and flour one regular-size Bundt pan — or two, if you have them.

Place the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, cloves, allspice, nutmeg, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl and whisk to aerate and break up any lumps; set aside.

Place the sugar and measured oil in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on medium speed until the sugar is incorporated, about 1 minute. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl and the paddle with a rubber spatula.

Return the mixer to medium speed and add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition, about 1 1/2 minutes total mixing time. Reduce the speed to medium-low, add the pumpkin, and beat until just combined, about 30 seconds. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl and the paddle with a rubber spatula.

Turn the mixer to low speed, slowly add the flour mixture, and beat until almost completely incorporated, about one minute. Remove the bowl from the mixer and fold in any unincorporated flour at the edges with a rubber spatula, making sure to scrape to the bottom of the bowl.

Put half of the batter into the Bundt pan. Bake the cake for 40-55 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.

Let the cake cool for five to 10 minutes, or until you are able to remove the cake from the pan cleanly. Let cake cool on a plate or wire rack. Leave the oven on and let pan sit for another 5 minutes, then grease and flour the pan again and put the remaining half of batter in it. Bake the cake for 40-55 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.

Meanwhile, make frosting (recipe below).

Once cakes have cooled, turn so the part of the cake that was facing up when it was baked is once again facing up. Using a bread knife, cut convex part off, so the top becomes flat. Set the cake scraps aside. Repeat on the other Bundt pan.

Put frosting on the flat side of one bundt pan. Top by turning over the other bundt and placing it on top. Fill the hole in the middle with the scraps. Spread frosting all over the cake. To achieve the effect shown in the photo, drag the back of a spoon from the bottom to the top of the cake. Repeat around the entire cake. To create leaves, add about 10 drops of green food coloring to remaining frosting. Use a knife to make leaves. Use a piping bag or plastic bag filled with frosting to draw tendrils.

Pumpkin-and-cream-cheese frosting

4 cups powdered sugar, sifted

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg

12 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature

8 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 stick), at room temperature

1/3 cup pumpkin purée (not pie filling)

Place the sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg in a medium bowl and whisk to combine; set aside.

Place the cream cheese and butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and beat on medium speed until fully combined and smooth, about one minute.

Reduce the speed to low, slowly add the powdered sugar mixture, and beat until fully incorporated and smooth, about three minutes. Stop the mixer and scrape down the paddle and sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula.

Turn the mixer to medium speed, add the pumpkin and mix until fully incorporated and smooth, about one minute. Use immediately.

Trisha Leonard is the editor of the Tahoe Daily Tribune. Check out her food blog at

Stories you may be interested in

The Nevada Appeal Updated Oct 30, 2013 12:47AM Published Oct 30, 2013 12:47AM Copyright 2013 The Nevada Appeal. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.