Candy-Filled Pumpkin Pail Cake for Halloween

Jack O Lantern Cake feature image
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
14-18 servings

Bursting with colourful candy and pumpkin spice, this charming Jack O’Lantern cake is the ultimate Halloween dessert. A little less spooky and a lot more whimsy, celebrate the haunting holiday with treats instead of the creepy crawlies. Made from two Bundt cakes sandwiched together to create the pumpkin shape, even the inside has a candy surprise! The pumpkin spice cake is the perfect seasonal flavour, but feel free to fill and top the cake with whatever candies you’d like.




Bundt Cakes

3 ¼
cups all-purpose flour
Tbsp baking powder
tsp pumpkin spice
tsp salt
tsp vanilla extract
cup pumpkin puree
cup whole milk
cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled
Tbsp vegetable oil
1 ½
cups granulated sugar
cup light brown sugar
whole eggs
egg yolks

Vanilla Spice Frosting

1 ½
cups unsalted butter, softened
5 ½
to 6 cups confectioner’s sugar
Tbsp vanilla extract
tsp cinnamon, or to taste
to 5 Tbsp milk
Orange food colouring



To create the pumpkin design, two cakes will be needed. Repeat recipe for each bundt cake.

Step 1

Pre-heat oven to 350°F. Liberally grease and flour a 10-cup Bundt pan and set aside.

Step 2

Sift together the flour, baking powder, pumpkin spice and salt in a large mixing bowl. In a separate bowl or liquid measuring up, whisk together the vanilla, pumpkin and milk. Set aside.

Step 3

In a separate bowl, whisk together the melted butter, sugars and oil with an electric mixer. Add in the eggs and yolks, 1 at a time, and mix until combined. Stop the mixer and scrape down the bowl.

Step 4

With the mixer on low, add in half of the dry ingredients. Once incorporated, slowly stream in the milk mixture. Add in the remaining dry ingredients and mix until smooth.

Step 5

Spread the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 50 to 60 minutes, or until a thin knife inserted into the cake comes out clean. Allow the cake to cool on a wire rack until it is safe to handle before inverting the cake out of the pan. Allow the cake to completely cool, about 1 hour, before assembly.


Step 6

Once the cakes have completely cooled, turn upside down and trim the bottoms so that they are flat. Reserve the cake scraps for later.

Step 7

Stack the cakes on top of each other. Using a serrated knife, begin carving the cakes until they resemble the shape of a pumpkin. Depending on the initial shape from whatever pan you are using, be sure to trim so that the gap between the 2 cakes is fairly seamless. If desired, go back and define the ridges on top by cutting grooves into the cake to resemble that of a pumpkin. Most importantly, save the cake scraps.

Jack o Lantern cakes stacked
Step 8

Once trimmed, separate the 2 cakes. Place the bottom cake on a serving dish or cake board. Press the cake scraps into the hole to create a bottom layer about 1-inch thick. Fill the center with chocolate candies.

Step 9

Spread on a thin layer of frosting on the top of the cake. Place the second cake on top to form the pumpkin. Continue to fill the center with candy. Press the remaining cakes scraps to cover the top of the hole. Crumb coat the entire cake with frosting before giving it a smooth finish.

Lightly frosted Jack o Lantern cake
Step 10

Roll out the black fondant to 1/4 to 1/8 inch thick. Using a parking knife and round cutters (or the large end of a piping tip), cut out eyes, a nose, and a mouth. Stick the cut pieces on the cake to form the Jack O’Lantern. Cover the top with an assortment of candy and enjoy!

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