Monday, October 25, 2010

Pumpkin Cake How-To

 I did this cake for a baby shower this past weekend, and actually had the presence of mind to take pictures of the steps to make it.

First, I used two 9" layers and two 10" layers, and they were stacked and dowelled like a regular two-tiered cake. There was a  7" board and dowels supporting the two top layers. The board was 7" so that I could carve down the sides of the cake without worrying about hitting the board.

Next, I carved the general shape of the pumpkin.
Then I carved out the center at the top and the ditches on the sides. Make the grooves on the sides deeper than they should be when the cake is finished, since the fondant will fill some of that in and it won't be as deep when it's done.

 Then comes the crumb coat.

I carved out the eyes and mouth next and filled the holes with a little icing so that the fondant will stick to the inside of the eyes.
 Now comes the fondant. I used a mixture of fondant and modelling chocolate so that it would have a little more stretch for the strange shape. Having the modelling chocolate in the mix also lets you pinch the edges of the areas that need to be sharper, and helps it keep its shape a little better than fondant on its own. I used yellow because it would give the pumpkin a depth of color once the orange was applied in the next few steps.
 Next I painted the whole thing orange.
 After that, I took a damp paper towel and patted/blotted the orange off. This accomplishes a few things. It takes some of the shine off, it removes any brushstrokes from where I painted the orange on, and it reveals a little more of the yellow underneath it and makes it look more realistic.
While the orange dried a little, I painted in the facial features.

After that I brushed some darker oranges and browns onto the grooves to give it more depth of color.

Then I added the baby wearing a witch's hat. You can substitute a stem here, or if you want to stay with the Halloween theme, a little ghost or a regular (non-baby) witch.

 And the finished cake, after the stems and leaves were added.

 Kara Buntin owns A Cake To Remember LLC in Richmond VA, and cake supplies online at and


Anonymous said...

That looks fabulous. It's interesting to see how it was made, although I know I still wouldn't be able to replicate it. Sheet cake is enough of a challenge for me. I'm curious about how long it took you to make.

Kara said...

I started stacking the cake right after lunch, and finished right before the school bus arrived, so I guess it was about 3 1/2- 4 hours?? Somewhere around that. I always think it will take less time than it actually does.

DAlobeidy said...

The mixture of fondant and modeling chocolate probably made it taste a lot better than just fondant. This is something I could blog about...

Kara said...

There's a brand of fondant called Chocopan (I think) that has white chocolate in it. It's probably just a mixture of white chocolate clay and regular fondant, and it's supposed to taste better. I, of course, am too cheap to buy it so I don't know for sure.

SweetThingsTO said...

Thanks for the idea of the blotting technique. Happy Halloween!

Miss Lucky Piggy said...

great job! i love that little baby with witch hat :)

k parker said...

Hi Kara. What's the modeling chocolate/fondant ratio you use? Thanks!

Kara Buntin said...

Depending on the weather, half and half, or anywhere from one-fourth part chocolate to one part fondant if it's going to be hot.

Paola said...

Hi Kara, great cake, loved it. It looks very real! I was wondering what you painted with, gel color diluted in vodka/lemon extract? Hand brush or airbrush? Thanks!

Kara Buntin said...

Paola, I use airbrush color when I paint large areas like that, I must have used a brush or a sponge brush to put the color on.