Chocolate Spiced Pumpkin Pinata Cake

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For the cakes:

  • 550g butter, plus extra for greasing
  • 200g cocoa, plus extra for dusting
  • 500g caster sugar
  • 500g light brown muscovado sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 8 large eggs
  • 680g self-raising flour
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tbsp mixed spice
  • 2 tsp cinnamon

To decorate:

  • 450g soft unsalted butter
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 800g icing sugar
  • 6 x 10g tubes orange gel food colouring
  • ½ tube green gel food colouring
  • 200g white marzipan
  • 300g small sweets or Smarties (we used green and orange chocolate beans, available online)


Get ahead

The decorated cake can be made up to a day ahead. Make the sponges up to 2 days in advance; store in an airtight container. The uniced sponges can also be frozen.
  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C, fan 160°C, gas 4. Grease a 2.5 litre capacity bundt tin with butter, then dust with cocoa, and shake off the excess.
  2. Put 100g cocoa in a small bowl and pour over 200ml boiling water, whisking to make a smooth paste. Set aside to cool a little. In a large bowl, beat 275g butter until softened, then add 250g of each of the sugars and beat until light and fluffy. Add the cocoa mixture and 1 tsp vanilla extract, beat well, then beat in 4 eggs, one at a time. Sift over 340g flour, 2 tsp baking powder, 1 tbsp mixed spice and 1 tsp cinnamon and fold in. Pour the mixture into the tin and bake for 55 minutes-1 hour, until risen and a skewer inserted comes out clean. Leave in the tin to cool for 5 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack and leave to cool completely. Repeat with the remaining cake ingredients to make a second cake.
  3. While the cakes cool, make the buttercream. In a food processor whiz the 450g butter until soft, then add the vanilla and half the icing sugar and whiz until well combined. Add the remaining icing sugar and orange food colouring and whiz again until smooth. Work the green food colouring into the marzipan. Form into a cone shape and twist to make the stalk.
  4. Trim the domed top of one of the cakes just enough to make it sit flat and place this cut-side down on a serving plate or cake board. Spread all over with a layer of the orange buttercream. Trim the flat base of the other cake (if needed, to make it even and place it domed-side up on top of the iced base. Spread the rest of the buttercream over the cake and pull a palette knife through it from top to bottom to create the shape of the pumpkin. Pour the sweets into the centre of the cake and pop the circle of card over the top of the hole, spreading the buttercream over it and place the marzipan stalk on top.
Ashford Finalist