Introduction: Bake a Cake Inside a Pumpkin and Carve It

About: I am married with two children. Spring, summer, and fall are my very favorite times of the year. I enjoy working in the yard, sewing, cooking, quilting, gardening, and creating. I do this to keep my sanity.

Summer is coming to an end and the early fall weather is such a relief from the hot summer days. I have been thinking about the holidays and with so few recipes (online) for cakes baked in a pumpkin; I thought I would try to make my own version. I found a few mini pumpkins that had attractive curly stems and decided to try them as well as a slightly larger pumpkin.

This instructable evolved as I began designing it. I decided to use a box cake mix because this was an experiment. I used chocolate for the contrast because I would be carving the pumpkin and wanted the brown color to be seen.

These pumpkins were perfect for what I wanted to accomplish. I thought it would be fun to bake a cake inside a pumpkin, carve the pumpkin, and add lights to the pumpkin/cake.

Follow through and I will share how I accomplished this.

Step 1: Choose a Flavor and Design

What kind of cake?

Pumpkin, spice, chocolate, and carrot cake flavors could be very tasty with this baked pumpkin depending on what you like. You can use a recipe but I can't guarantee it will work as nicely without experimentation because if you follow an original recipe it might be too moist because of the moisture in the pumpkin and the much longer baking time. I followed the Pillsbury's instructions for mixing and extended the baking time substituting 2 eggs instead of three and 1/4 cup of oil instead of a half of a cup. It was perfect.

I thought it would be really cool to make a frosting for it and tried marshmallow creme by spreading it over the inside of the pumpkin, but I don't recommend it because the cream floats to the top of the pumpkin.

If you prefer a frosted cake I would cut the top of the pumpkin off instead of the bottom. The cakes are very moist so I did not feel they needed frosting, and eating the pumpkin along with the cake kind of serves as a frosting. Another option would be to have the frosting on the side, or add whipped cream.

Design options:

The idea is to place the pumpkin in a deep footed dish so it looks like a regular pumpkin at a glance. Then the guest can carve the pumpkin and eat the cake. After the cake is eaten the pumpkin is inverted so the face lights up. You could have a contest for the best pumpkins.

I made a little carving kit (see picture). I stuck tape to wax paper and taped it to a paint chip card and added a skewer for carving and a light. I used grape leaves to place on top of the pumpkin. You could use non toxic markers to color the pumpkin instead. After I made these I came up with a better idea for the kit, using crinkled brown paper and placing the stick and light in the dessert dish and added a raffia bow and leaf to the stem.

The small pumpkin can be baked and then carved but in my opinion the mini pumpkins worked the best especially if using lights.

Step 2: Ingredients Tools and Supplies


Mini or Xsmall size fresh pumpkins with pretty curly stems

Pillsbury chocolate cake mix with pudding or your favorite box mix

2 Eggs

1/4 Cup of oil

1 Cup of water

Frosting, or whipped cream optional

Grape leaves or pretty colored large leaves optional


Stand mixer or hand mixer, mixing bowls and spoons, cookie sheet, pumpkin carving knives or paring knife and skewers, cups or glasses, Tin foil, scotch tape, small lights,crinkled paper, footed dessert dish,or food grade markers for drawing faces instead of carving.

Step 3: Wash Pumpkins Measure Ingredients

If you will not be using a Pillsbury chocolate cake mix with pudding please remember to adjust the ingredients so the cake won't be soggy.

Wash the pumpkins and leaves and dry with dish towel

Place 2 eggs into warm water to bring to room temperature

1/4 cup of oil

1 cup of water

Step 4: Remove Pumpkin Seeds


Decide if you want the opening of the pumpkin at the top or bottom of the pumpkin and cut off the top or bottom, reserving the top or bottom piece.

Remove the pumpkin seeds and place into a colander.

Run water over the seeds and remove any pulp

Strain and dry pumpkin seeds to roast later if desired.

Step 5: Cover the Pumpkin With Tin Foil

Protect the Stems and pumpkin shell by covering them with tin foil as shown:

Place the pumpkins into the cups as shown.

I used tin foil to stabilize the pumpkins in the cups so they were level.

I did not cover the larger pumpkin with tin foil but think it might help protect it from over cooking like it did with the mini pumpkins.

Step 6: Make Cake Batter

Follow the box instructions for (mixing the cake) or follow your recipe instructions for mixing but reduce the amount of oil and eggs as shown below and pre-heat the oven 350 F.

2 eggs

1 cup of water

1/4 cup of oil

Add cake mix to the bowl and add water, oil and eggs and mix.

Step 7: Fill the Pumpkin Shells


Fill the pumpkins slightly over 3/4 full of cake batter as shown.

I used tin foil to stabilize the pumpkins in the cups.

Step 8: Bake


Place a cookie sheet under the first rack in the oven to catch spills.

Place the pumpkin into the oven centering them the best you can and carefully placing the stems between the wires so the stems are not damaged.

Turn on the oven light and carefully fold the tin foil so the tops can be seen through the oven door to check on them without opening the door. Opening the door too soon could cause the batter to deflate.

Bake for 20-30 minutes and check on them without opening the door. Open the door if you have to. The tops should look done. If they are gooey cook another 5-10 minutes or until done.

The larger pumpkins took about 45-55 minutes to cook.

Remove pumpkins from the oven and allow to cool completely, pulling the tin foil away from the shell.

Step 9: Trim Cake


Remove the tin foil from the pumpkin.

Depending on how you want the pumpkin cake to look, trim off excess cake as shown if desired.

You may decide to leave the rounded top and just remove the excess cake drippings if you cut off the top of the pumpkin.

Frost the cake if desired.

Place the top or bottom piece into the hole of the pumpkin as shown.

Step 10: Plating

Display ideas:

As I mentioned before, you can carve the pumpkin before serving or let your guest carve their own. We loved the idea of letting the guest carve their own and have a contest for the top 3 pumpkins.

Place brown crinkled paper inside the dessert dish.

Place the light and skewer in the dish.

Place the pumpkins inside the serving dish and add a leaf and raffia if desired.

The guest can carve the pumpkin, eat the cake, and place the light in the middle of the dessert dish and repossession the pumpkin to see the lights.

Step 11: Sunshiine's Final Thoughts

Most of the messy work has already been done so when your guest or children carve the pumpkin there is no mess and the pumpkins are easier to carve. The cake was not soggy and had a great texture.These are best eaten within a day or two.

I am looking forward to making these for Thanksgiving and I will try the spice or pumpkin cake. My neighbor loved this idea and said she was going to do this for Thanksgiving.

Have a safe and Happy Halloween and thanks for stopping by~


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Halloween Food Contest 2015

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