Halloween Dessert: Jack-o'-Lantern Candy Bucket Cake

Inspired by the classic pumpkin-shaped candy carrier, this treat-filled Halloween cake is a not-too-spooky yet oh-so-fun way to ring in the season. The round jack-o'-lantern shape is made easily from two bundt cakes stacked together and frosted.

August 31, 2020

Photo by: Heather Baird, SprinkleBakes.com

Heather Baird, SprinkleBakes.com

Cake Ingredients

YIELD 1 bundt cake, 20 servings Note: Double this recipe and prepare two bundt cakes to form the jack-o’-lantern.

  • 2 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cloves
  • 15 oz. can of solid-pack pumpkin

Buttercream Frosting Ingredients

  • 1 lb. unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 lb. confectioners' sugar
  • milk or cream to thin
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp. orange gel food color

Decors & Special Equipment

  • 8 chocolate candy chews
  • 2 cups assorted candies such as candy corn, chocolate pieces, candy coins, lollipops, sour belts and candy dots
  • 1/4 lb. licorice laces
  • 10 pieces fabric-coated florist wire, 14" long

Bake Cakes

Preheat oven to 350°F. In a large mixing bowl, combine sugar and oil until blended. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and cloves. Add to egg mixture alternately with pumpkin, beating well after each addition. Evenly coat a 10-inch fluted tube pan with non-stick cooking spray. Fill pan 3/4 full with cake batter (Image 1). Bake 60-65 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack. Remove pan and let cake cool completely. Repeat this process so that you have two cakes to form the jack-o’-lantern. Trim the bottoms of the bundt cakes flat (Image 2).

Make Frosting

In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the butter and confectioners’ sugar. Mix on low speed until crumbly. Add milk or cream a little at a time while mixing on low speed until mixture is of spreading consistency. Increase speed to high and whip until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add vanilla extract and food color. Beat until the buttercream is consistently orange with no white streaks remaining.

Photo by: Heather Baird SprinkleBakes.com

Heather Baird SprinkleBakes.com

Build the Cake

Place a bundt cake cut-side-up on a cake board or serving plate. Place 1 cup of frosting on top of the cake and spread evenly (Image 1). Top with a second cake cut-side-down (Image 2). Frost the entire cake with a crumb coat of frosting and let chill until firm, about 20 minutes. Frost the cake with the remaining buttercream using an offset spatula, spreading it as evenly as possible (Image 3). Chill again until firm, about 20 minutes.

Cut Out Jack-o'-Lantern Face

Press together two chocolate candy chews and heat in the microwave for 5 seconds until soft, then immediately roll flat using a rolling pin (Images 1 & 2). Repeat this step with two more chews. Using a small 2-inch triangle cookie cutter, stamp a triangle shape from each rolled piece. You can also use kitchen-dedicated scissors to cut two triangle shapes. Press together the remaining four candy chews and heat for 8 seconds in the microwave. Roll flat using a rolling pin. Use kitchen scissors to cut a rough jack-o’-lantern mouth (Image 3). Use leftover frosting to attach the eyes and mouth to the front of the cake (Images 4 & 5).

Decorate

Gather assorted candies (Image 1). Measure out 1 cup of smaller candy pieces and pour into the center hole of the stacked bundt cakes (Image 2). Arrange remaining candies on top of the cake so that they appear to overflow the edges. Place lollipops on top of the cake standing upright and finish with a few wrapped or packaged candies (Images 3 & 4).

Add a Licorice Handle

Twist together eight pieces of florist wire so that you have one sturdy piece (Image 1). Wrap and twist the licorice laces around the wire and secure each end with the remaining two pieces of florist wire (Image 2). Trim away the excess licorice laces at each end. Insert each end of the licorice piece on opposite sides of the center hole. Place candies around the bottom edges of the licorice piece to camouflage any exposed wire.

Dig In!

This creative cake is sure to be the star of your next spooky shindig. Serve slices at room temperature for best flavor.

Photo by: Heather Baird SprinkleBakes.com

Heather Baird SprinkleBakes.com

More Spooky Sweets to Try

Next Up

Spooky Swap: Turn Your Lemonade Stand Into a Halloween Treat Station

Some purple and black paint mixed with a little glitter give an outdated lemonade stand a makeover just in time for the spooky season. Use this Halloween treat stand as a dessert and drink bar, or as a fun, interactive way to hand out Halloween candy.

Halloween Dessert: Candy-Covered Apple Pops

Kiddos will love this fun treat that uses leftover Halloween candy to decorate dipped apple slices. Serve these handheld desserts at your next Halloween party or whip some up with the family after the trick-or-treating is over.

Halloween Dessert: Witchy Cauldron Brownie Bites

Double, double toil and trouble! Bewitch your party guests with these two-bite, bubbling brownie cauldrons. Short on time? Use a family-size boxed brownie mix in place of our scratch-made recipe.

Halloween Craft: Mini Pumpkin Lanterns

Decorate your walkway or garden path with these delightful mini carved pumpkin lanterns.

Halloween Pumpkins: Faux Can Be Fabulous

Forget fresh! For crafty Halloween pumpkins you can display year after year, faux is your new best friend.

Halloween Treat: Candy-Coated Ghosts and Jack-O'-Apples

Looking for a fun Halloween project to do with the kids? Well, look no further! These candy-dipped apples look just like a friendly jack-o’-lantern or ghost and are as much fun to decorate as they are to munch. 

Halloween Dessert: Marshmallow Spider Web Donuts

Serve up some creepy-crawly fun this Halloween with these purple candy-dipped donuts covered in marshmallow "webs." A spider candy mold is needed for this recipe and can be found at most well-stocked craft stores and online. You can also use ready-made gummy spiders for an easy shortcut.

It's Halloween! Celebrate With a Hallo-Wine Pumpkin Keg

Trick-or-treat isn't just for the kids. 

How to Make a Halloween Jack-O'-Stack

Add some personality to your entry and welcome trick-or-treaters with a silly stack of jack-o'-lantern faces. All it takes is a few faux pumpkins, basic craft supplies and a little imagination.
More from:

Halloween Ideas