Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Make Mine PINK, Please

A big pumpkin cake certainly has a way of grabbing your attention.  When said cake is also PINK, the effect is greatly amplified.  People wonder why in the world you'd make pink pumpkin--did you run out of orange?  Was there a baby shower?  And then you tell them.  And their expression changes from one of confusion to one of love and understanding as they think about their mother, sister, friend, or daughter...for there are few among us whose lives have not been touched in some way by breast cancer.

As we all know by now, October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.  What better way to spread awareness and honor those who've been affected by breast cancer than to host a baking challenge?   The lovely and talented Jen over at Beantown Baker is hosting "The Power of Pink Challenge" with the challenge to make something pink.  Simple, but powerful.  With so many wonderful sites having high readership out there in the 'blogosphere,' there's no doubt this challenge will promote awareness to many, many people.

I've been wanting to make a pumpkin-shaped cake for some time now, and this challenge provided me the perfect opportunity (excuse?) to make a colossal cake.  Two birds, one stone, right?  Sized to feed a crowd, this pumpkin shaped pumpkin spice cake is a snap to put together.  It's the perfect centerpiece for your next autumn, Halloween, or Thanksgiving party.  Or make it pink and throw an awareness party!  If you're lucky enough to be the owner of two Bundt pans (or are able to borrow one from a fellow baker, like I did), preparation is even quicker!  Let's gather our ingredients:

I used a spice cake mix for the base, but since I like my spicy things extra spicy I added some additional cinnamon and ginger.  The recipe can be found at the end of this post.  You can use a yellow or chocolate cake mix (leave out the spices) as well.  When you use a chocolate base, you can't even tell the pumpkin is in there.  Stealthy way to get your kids (or people who think they hate pumpkin because all they've ever had was really bad pumpkin pie) to eat more pumpkin! 

Here's the batter, ready to go into the oven:

And fresh out of the oven:

When the cakes have cooled, gather ingredients and make the cream cheese frosting (recipe at bottom of post).

Turn one cake upside down (flat-side up) and place on serving plate.  If your flat side is in need of leveling, do so now.  Check the other one too, since they will be lying on top of each other.  Flat + flat = sturdy cake.  Dome + dome = sliding disaster waiting to happen.

(Notice that I've changed serving plates and switched out which cake will serve as the bottom because of size differences.) Top with frosting (about ½ cup), then the second cake, flat side down.  See that big hole on top? 

Plug it with a cupcake!  Then frost the outside of the cake.  Don't worry about getting it too smooth at first.  Just get it all on the cake first (yes, use all the frosting!), then you can pretty it up.

Place a brown or green ice cream cone on top of the cupcake to serve as a stem.  Done! 

Don't have a colored ice cream cone?  Cover a regular one with colored icing.  Or use a swiss roll.  Or a Twinkie®.  Have fun!

Pumpkin Spice Cake (adapted from Chocolate from the Cake Mix Doctor)
Makes 2 Bundt cakes, which will assembled into 1 large cake

2 boxes spice cake mix
4 tsp. baking soda**
4 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. ginger
two 15 oz. cans (1 ¾ cups each) pumpkin
½ cup water
4 eggs

**The baking soda is supposed to keep it light and help with rising.  I ate one of the cupcakes the same night I baked the cakes and could totally taste the baking soda!  There was definitely something funky going on.  BUT...the next day, when I leveled the cake and munched on the scraps, the weird taste was totally gone!  Maybe it was my imagination...

Preheat oven to 325°F.  Grease and flour two 12-cup Bundt pans (and two wells of a muffin pan, optional.  I reserved two scoops of batter to make a cupcake that can be used to plug the hole on the top cake when assembling.  This will allow the ice cream cone "stem" to stand a little taller.  The other cupcake is a treat for the cook!)

Place all ingredients in a large mixer bowl and blend on low speed for 30 seconds.  Stop mixer and scrape down sides of bowl.  Increase speed to medium and continue beating for 2 minutes.  The batter will be very thick.  Spoon some batter into two muffin cups (if using), and divide the rest into the prepared Bundt pans.  Smooth surface with spatula. 

Bake at 325°F for 42-45 minutes, or until cakes test done (cupcakes will need only about 18 minutes or so).  Cool for 15 minutes in pan, then invert onto a foil-lined wire rack to finish cooling before assembly and frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting

1 cup butter, softened
6 cups powdered sugar, sifted if lumpy
2 tsp. vanilla extract
seeds from 1 vanilla bean (optional-adds flavor and fun specks)
pink gel food coloring
2 Tbl. milk
8 oz. cream cheese, cold

In a mixer bowl, beat butter until creamy.  Add two cups of powdered sugar and beat until combined.  Add vanilla extract, vanilla bean seeds, and food coloring.  Stir briefly to combine, then continue adding powdered sugar, one cup at a time.  Beat well after each addition of powdered sugar to incorporate, and scrape down bowl as needed.  Add 2 Tbl. milk and stir to combine.  Cut cream cheese into 8 cubes and add to frosting.  Beat until cream cheese is incorporated and icing is fluffy. 


  1. Thanks for entering in my challenge. I love the pink pumpkin!

  2. cool idea! saves you from buying the "pumpkin pan" they are selling now that you'll only use one a year!
    also, thank you so much for the sweet award! i love it, now how am i going to choose who to give it back to??? decisions !! ;)

  3. The pink pumpkin is absolutely adorable! And a really excellent way to raise awareness for such an important cause!

  4. It turned out beautifully! What a great idea to make it pink! You did an amazing job! Thanks for the award!

  5. I love it! Using a bundt pan and a green sugar cone is a great idea.

    Thanks for stopping by my silly Cinderella post. :)