Pumpkin Flavoured Pumpkin Cake Challenge
Does anyone remember those amazing Women’s Weekly birthday cake books; you know, the ones that had the rocket ship cake and the clown cake and the princess castle cake? I spend hours on the floor as a child, poring over them and carefully choosing my favourite. Little did I know that one day in the future I would be making my OWN novelty shaped cake for Halloween. And before you ask: yes, it was the best fun ever.
My friend Emma’s birthday rolls around at Halloween. While others decided to embrace the time of year by partaking in some creative pumpkin carving, my flatmate Hannah (who happens to be a superb baker) and I decided to take up the pumpkin cake challenge.
Challenge Part 1: Make a cake shaped like a pumpkin
Challenge Part 2: Make it pumpkin flavoured.
The result was spectacular: a delicious, slightly lopsided pumpkin shaped cake with pumpkin flavoured icing that was incredibly delicious. Needless to say, Emma was chuffed and the cake disappeared within 30 seconds of being “carved”.
Step 1: Make a stock standard butter cake. Actually, make 2. We used the Women’s Weekly recipe and baked in a round tin. Set aside to cool.
Step 2: Make the pumpkin flavoured icing. We cut around 500g of pumpkin into small 1cm cubes, covered it in some maple syrup and baked on a really low heat (around 120 degrees) for about an hour. The pumpkin came out soft and gooey. Blend this with a 250g block of philly cheese, a good squeeze of lemon juice and 2-3 cups of icing sugar. Don’t be afraid to add more icing sugar if you think it needs it. Blend it together until smooth. Add lots of yellow and red food colouring.
Step 3: Once the cakes are cooled, pile one on the other, putting a layer of pumpkin icing between them. Cut the top and bottom edges of the cake to round them, and redistribute the pieces to the top of the cake (to add height). Cut a little hole in the top of the cake (where the stalk will go).
Step 4: Cut small wedges at 8-10cm gaps around the cake to create the curves. Have a taste of the parts you cut out to make sure the cake is delicious.
Step 5: Lather the whole thing in LOTS of icing. Here’s where having thick icing helps, so make sure it is well chilled before popping it on the cake.
Step 6: Pop in a “stem”. We used a slightly stunted broad bean from the garden, but any greens would do: long beans, end of a thin zucchini, broccoli floret if you’re feeling creative.
Step 7: Cut up some liquorice to make a pumpkin face. Ours ended up looking a little angry, but if you get scared at Halloween or have small children, I recommend slanting the eyebrows in the other direction.
Step 8: Present to excited host. Happy birthday Emma!
Step 9: Slice and serve.
Though we often ignore the occasion on this side of the world, Halloween can be a lot of fun, and a good excuse to get creative. If anyone else has any other ideas for Halloween, please share them!