Pink and White Pumpkin Cake

Pink may not be a traditional Halloween color, but after I made this cute tablescape and matching pink and white pumpkin cake, I’m adding it to my list of favorites!  

I wanted to do a tablescape that featured white pumpkins, and while I could have used orange pumpkins for an accent, I figured pink would be more fun. The idea came to me over the summer while I was repainting my china cabinet. I had pulled all the dishes out and stacked them haphazardly across the dining room table. By chance, the pink plates ended up near the white pumpkin bowls, and I couldn’t stop thinking about the combo.

I’m sure we’ve all seen similar ideas on Pinterest for pink ghost themes — I have several ideas pinned on my profile. It was something I always wanted to do, but there didn’t seem to be a lot of decoration options out there. And after seeing Michael’s blush line this year, the juices really got flowing, but I didn’t want to spend a ton of money on items I was really only using to satisfy an urge.

Instead, I waited for Target to stock the Bullseye’s Playground with pumpkins and bought several of the $3 orange ones. They were fluorescent and plastic-y, but they were perfect. A few quick coats of acrylic paint transformed their look and feel. I planned on doing a base coat of white before the pink to make it more vibrant, but on a move of pure laziness, I skipped that step and ended up loving the look. The littlest bit of orange and yellow gave the pink some dimension.

With the exception of the pumpkins, I threw this whole table together with stuff I already had around the house. Pink candles I use for Valentine’s day, pink plates for Easter, and pink tissue paper paired perfectly with my darker elements for Halloween.

And of course, the centerpiece of it all, the pumpkin cake. I knew I wanted to pipe white buttercream pumpkins around the base and leave the rest of the cake pink to go with the theme. To make the pumpkins a bit easier, I printed off a sheet of several cartoon pumpkins and laid it at the bottom of a cookie sheet. I put a piece of wax paper over it and piped directly over the images like a template. Those need to chill in the freezer for at least 30 minutes before being stuck onto the cake.

I could have made the cake itself any flavor, I suppose, but I’m nothing if not thorough. The crumb is a classic pumpkin cake with a cream cheese frosting. This did make for quite a dense cake, so I didn’t make a ton of layers. The smaller slices make the perfect pairing with a morning cup of coffee. I regret nothing. 

For the Cake

Ingredients

1 cup butter, softened

1 cup granulated sugar

1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 can of pumpkin puree, 15 oz.

4 large eggs

3 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup buttermilk

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. 
  2. In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat butter, vanilla, and both sugars at medium speed until fluffy. Beat in pumpkin puree. 
  3. Add eggs one at a time, and beat well after each addition.
  4. In a large bowl, whisk the flour, ginger, cinnamon, baking soda, salt, allspice, and cloves, and then set aside.
  5. In a separate bowl, mix together flour, baking powder and baking soda, cinnamon, and salt.
  6. Add portions of dry mixture and buttermilk to wet ingredients, alternating to end with adding the final portion of the dry mixture last. Only mix until just combined before adding the next portion.
  7. Grease and line three 9-inch baking pans and divide the batter evenly between them.
  8. Bake 18-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out cleanly.
  9. Let cool completely on a wire rack.

For the Frosting

Ingredients

1 stick unsalted butter, softened

1 package of 8 oz. cream cheese, softened

4-5 cups powdered sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions

In a large bowl, beat butter and cream cheese together until well-combined and soft. Mix in vanilla extract. Add powdered sugar, a little at a time, until fully incorporated and frosting begins to stiffen. 

Decorating the Cake

Ingredients

2 cups unsalted butter, softened

5 to 6 cups powdered sugar

1 tablespoon almond extract

Milk or heavy cream, optional

Pink gel food coloring

Brown gel food coloring

Directions

Stack and assemble cake using cream cheese frosting, including a crumb coat. Chill for at least 30 minutes.

Fit a mixer the whisk attachment and mix together the butter and powdered sugar, one cup at a time. Begin on low speed until crumbly, and then increase to high and beat for 3 minutes.

Add almond extract and beat again for another minute. If the buttercream is too stiff, add milk or heavy cream 1 tablespoon at a time until the mixture is spreading consistency. Beat until light and fluffy.

Divide frosting into two bowls. In one bowl, turn the frosting pink and set aside. From the other bowl, put most of the frosting into a piping bag. Reserve some frosting to turn brown for stems and vines. 

Cover cake with pink frosting and return to the fridge to chill. Pipe white pumpkins on to a sheet of wax paper. Freeze for at least 30 minutes before attaching to cake.

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