I can honestly say I don’t think anyone was more excited than me when heirloom pumpkins became readily available at the market and garden store. Originating in tropical locations like Florida, and European countries like France and Italy, the offbeat varieties range in colour from muted blues and greens to traffic-cone orange, and are often dressed in pleats, divots, tiny bumps, warts, and marbled skin.
My favourite of these varietals is the Cinderella pumpkin with its softly flattened top and wide round shape. I scour the stores for them and use the full size ones to decorate my front stoop and garden tables (I hold my Thanksgiving dinner in the backyard every year), and the mini fairytale ones to adorn my mantle (I stack them in three like a snowman, chopping off the stems from all but the one on the top).
When I was thinking about my Thanksgiving menu this year, I decided to incorporate pumpkins in a variety of ways. There will be pumpkin biscuits in the bread basket (recipe coming next week!), and a pumpkin-shaped cake on the dessert table. A Cinderella-style pumpkin-shaped cake, to be more specific.
For starters, the method for making this cake works with almost any recipe or box mix you feel like using. You can make a classic pumpkin cake, an applesauce cake, a boxed caked mix or a traditional bundt cake recipe. Anything goes here so use the flavour of cake that your family likes best. Here’s what else you’ll need to complete the cake:
- 1 classic bundt cake pan
- 1 muffin tin
- Non-stick muffin liners (I use parchment paper muffin liners)
To make the Cinderella-style pumpkin cake, simply prepare your cake according to the recipe or box instructions. Line a muffin tin with 3 paper liners and fill each 75% full with the cake batter, and then pour the remainder into the greased Bundt pan. Bake the cupcakes for 15-20 minutes and the Bundt cake as per the recipe directions.
To assemble the cake, invert the cooled cake onto a cake stand or plate. Unwrap the muffins and set them inside the centre of the cake in a tower shape to mimic the stem of the pumpkin. Voila! A Cinderella-pumpkin shaped cake ready for glazing or icing. You can prepare a batch of orange-hued buttercream and cover the entire cake to replicate the authentic look of the pumpkin, or you can just pour a glaze over the cake to give it a shiny finish.
This type of cake can also be used for birthday parties or Halloween, and leaves lots of room for being as creative as you like. I keep mine simple for Thanksgiving, but there is definitely no limit to how fancy you can get with your decorations!