It’s very much like a pumpkin patch in miniature with mini cupcakes frosted to look like little pumpkins and crushed dark chocolate as dirt, so little kids will appreciate the playfulness of the mini cupcakes and choose their own pumpkin. Adults will appreciate a more substantial slice of the cake.
The most fun and also challenging step is to create the realistic little pumpkins. It took me a couple of unsatisfactory trials before I mastered the technique and achieved the effect I love. The ingredients are not demanding except orange food color and orange sanding sugar. I have searched several local stores with no findings. So the orange frosting was achieved by mixing yellow food color and red food color in about 3:1 ratio; I created the orange sanding sugar by adding red food color to yellow sanding sugar.
Below are ingredients needed to create this pumpkin patch cake:
1 box Betty Crocker® SuperMoist® devil's food cake mix
Water, oil and eggs called for on cake mix box
1 container (12 oz) Betty Crocker® Whipped cream cheese frosting
Red food color
Yellow food color
Green food color
Orange sanding sugar (yellow if you couldn’t find orange sanding sugar)
Green sanding sugar
12 pretzel sticks
1/2 cup chocolate wafers, crushed
2 fresh mint sprigs
Let's get started:
Step 1: Prepare Oven and Baking Pans
Grease and lightly flour 8 by 8 inches square pan (That’s what I have, you can use 9 by 9 inches as well) as following: place it in the preheated oven, when it’s hot, run butter stick over the bottom and sides of the pan to grease it. You can use a brush to grease it evenly. Use 1 tbsp flour and a fine strainer or sieve to flour the bottom and sides of the pan evenly.
Place baking cup (preferably black or dark color) in each of mini muffin cups.
Step 2: Prepare Cake Batter
In another mixing bowl, place water (1 ¼ cup), oil (1/2 cup) and eggs (3) as listed on the cake mix box together. Beat them well. Pour it to the cake mix bowl and mix well. Fill paper baking cups 3/4 full. Pour remaining batter into square pan.
Step 3: Bake the Cupcakes and the Square Cake
Bake cupcakes 15 minutes; bake square cake 25 minutes or until cake springs back when touched lightly in center. Cool completely, at least 30 minutes.
Step 4: Create Little Pumpkins: It's Magic!
Place one-third of frosting in a small bowl. Add 3 drops of yellow food colors and 1 drop of red to it at a time, mix it well with the frosting until light orange color is achieved.
Frost mini cupcakes with orange frosting.
Cover frosting completely with orange sanding sugar by lightly rolling and dipping in the sanding sugar. Create orange sanding sugar from yellow sanding sugar as following: pour half of the yellow sanding sugar in a zip log bag, add 2 drops of red food color at most, mix them well, transfer the orange sugar to a plate to let off moisture.
Break pretzel sticks in half; press half pretzel into center of each cupcake. Press vertical lines into sides of each cupcake with the side of ice pop stick or flat toothpick to make ribs of pumpkin.
This is the most fun and also challenging step of this project. I succeeded after a couple of not satisfactory trials. Once it worked, it felt like magic. If you try this project and run into questions, please feel free to ask me.
Step 5: Frosting the Square Cake
Add several drops of green food color to the remaining frosting, mix well. Place square cake on serving plate or tray. Flat and smooth the top of the cake with a knife if necessary. Frost cake with green frosting. Designate 1 corner of cake to become black; cover the corner with crushed chocolate wafers. Sprinkle wafers over center of cake, leaving some of green frosting showing at other edges of cake.
Step 6: Assemble the Pumpkin Patch
Arrange mini cupcake pumpkins on top of crushed chocolate wafers. Sprinkle green edge of cake with green sanding sugar. Press small mint leaves onto pumpkin cupcakes near pretzel “stem.” Arrange remaining mint sprigs between pumpkins to create appearance of vines.
Step 7: Enjoy!
Please vote it for Pumpkin Contest and Halloween Food Contest if you liked it. Thanks a million.