Halloween Pumpkin Cake

Happy Halloween! I’ll be honest- before we had kids, I actually hated Halloween. Even when I was a kid. Now, it’s one of my favorite “holidays”- seeing the kids dressed up and having fun. As I write this, my oldest kids are working together to fill treat bags for trick-or-treaters tonight, while my 4 year old is watching Halloween Wallykazam (really, the worst show). 

I made this cake for a birthday last week- the request was for classic Halloween decorations. The cake was pumpkin with cream cheese frosting.   

The recipe for my favorite pumpkin cake is here. It can be made in a 9″x 13″ pan (no need to layer). Have a fun and safe night!

Chocolate Cake with Hazelnut Buttercream

Halloween countdown day 3! I’ve now posted more in the past 3 days than the past year and a half. 

So, I make a lot of cakes. But before I made cakes, I had never really heard that people didn’t like chocolate cake. And when I say “people,” I mean humans over the age of 10. Yeah, little kids don’t like chocolate cake. But adults?! No! 

Then I started making cakes for other people and not liking chocolate is like a “thing.” There’s actually a lot of people who don’t like it. And then one day, my daughter, my own flesh and blood, and BEANSY no less, tells me she doesn’t like chocolate cake. 


So this post is for all those other people. People who like chocolate cake. Smart people. Just kidding!

This is my favorite chocolate cake recipe. This isn’t the one I use for my cakes because it’s too soft and isn’t study enough. It’s moist and super easy. I usually replace the coffee with milk because I don’t normally have coffee lying around, but you could stop by Starbucks and grab a cup. 

For the hazelnut buttercream, I use Italian Merengue or French buttercream and Hazelnut paste. I buy my hazelnut paste at Orson Gygi, but I’m sure you can get it online. 

And now for the chocolate cake recipe:

Beatty’s Chocolate Cake (Serves 8)

Copyright 2006, Barefoot Contessa at Home by Ina Garten, Clarkson/Potter Publishers, All Rights Reserved

Butter for greasing the pans 

1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pans 

2 cups sugar 

¾ cups good cocoa powder 

2 teaspoons baking soda 

1 teaspoon baking powder 

1 teaspoon kosher salt 

1 cup buttermilk, shaken 

½ cup vegetable oil 

2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature 

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 

1 cup freshly brewed hot coffee 

Chocolate Frosting 

6 ounces good semisweet chocolate such as Callebaut 

½ pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature 

1 extra-large egg yolk, at room temperature 

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 

1¼ cups sifted confectioners’ sugar 

1 tablespoon instant coffee powder 

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter two 8-inch round cake pans. Line with parchment paper, then butter and flour the pans. 
  2. Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and mix on low speed until combined. In another bowl, combine the buttermilk, oil, eggs, and vanilla. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry. With mixer still on low, add the coffee and stir just to combine, scraping the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Pour the batter into the prepared pans and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool in the pans for 30 minutes, then turn them out onto a cooling rack and cool completely. 
  3. Place one layer, flat side up, on a flat plate or cake pedestal. With a knife or offset spatula, spread the top with frosting. Place the second layer on top, rounded side up, and spread the frosting evenly on the top and sides of the cake.

Chocolate Frosting 

  1. Chop the chocolate and place it in a heat-proof bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Stir until just melted and set aside until cooled to room temperature. 
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium-high speed until light yellow and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the egg yolk and vanilla and continue beating for 3 minutes. Turn the mixer to low, gradually add the confectioners’ sugar, then beat at medium speed, scraping down the bowl as necessary, until smooth and creamy. Dissolve the coffee powder in 2 teaspoons of the hottest tap water. On low speed, add the chocolate and coffee to the butter mixture and mix until blended. Don’t whip! Spread immediately on the cooled cake. 

Stenciled Halloween Cookies

I don’t make sugar cookies often, but I started seeing posts on Instagram from the Cookie Countess and I had to try it. I have an air brush and I’m always looking for ways to use it. So, a few weeks ago she had free shipping on any purchase so I took advantage. 

I got the polka dot stencil and the thin stripes stencil, along with the magnets to hold he stencils in place. I also got a few others, but I’ll save those for another day! 
I made pumpkin cut outs and a couple kitties- the cats were small so I didn’t make many of those. I outlined and flooded them with 20 second royal icing and let them dry completely.  I then used my airbrush with Americolor airbrush colors.  

 This was my first try with a chevron stencil, where I learned to point the airbrush straight down instead of at an angle like I do with cakes. 😳

Below is the finished product:  

These were made with Americolor Orange and Yellow sheen, bright orange and super black. If you don’t have an airbrush, you could try Wilton’s Color Mist to try to achieve similar results. 

Below is a royal icing recipe from Sweet Sugar Belle. Check out her site for the cutest cookies you’ve ever seen. 

Royal Icing

Yield: Approximately 5 cups

2 pounds {one bag} confectioner’s sugar {907 grams}
5 tablespoons meringue powder {approximately 53 grams}

2-3 teaspoons oil-free extract or emulsion

1/2-3/4 cups warm water


  1. Begin by stirring the flavoring into half the water.
  2. Using a paddle attachment, gently mix the sugar and meringue powder. It’s not necessary to sift the sugar beforehand, but you can if you like.
  3. With the mixer on it’s lowest setting slowly add the water/flavoring mix to the dry ingredients. As the water is added, the icing will become thick and lumpy.
  4. Continue to add the remaining water {this may or may not be the entire amount} until the mixture reaches a thick, honey like consistency. At this point, turn the mixer to medium speed and whip 2-4 minutes until this icing is thick and fluffy. Mixing time can vary greatly so watch carefully and stop mixing when the icing is this enough to form a soft peak.

Pumpkin Bread (Quick n Easy)

What? It’s been over a year since I posted? How did that happen? Well, I believe those last posts were me on my phone in the middle of the night with a newborn baby who didn’t like to sleep. Fast forward a year later and we’re in a new state, and I get to stay home with my kids. New chapter and we’re loving it. 

Halloween is quickly approaching and fall is in the air. Actual fall, not the fall in Southern California where it’s 90 degrees and you go to a pumpkin patch in the parking lot of a mall. Fall where the leaves are changing and you get earaches when you run in the morning. You take the good with the bad. 

I’m counting down to Halloween this week with some fun recipes. This pumpkin bread comes together in less than 10 minutes and doesn’t even require a mixer. Awesome. You could add a glaze or crumb topping but it’s delicious all on its own.   

Pumpkin Bread

Prep time: 5 min

Bake time: 40 min

Serves: 1 loaf (can easily be doubled)


1 cup canned pumpkin

1 1/2 cups sugar

1/2 c canola or vegetable oil

1/3 c whole milk

2 eggs

1 3/4 cups all- purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon cloves


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9″ x  5″ loaf pan with cooking spray. 
  2. Mix together pumpkin, sugar, oil, milk and eggs in a large bowl until blended. 
  3. Add flour, soda, salt, cinnamon and cloves. Mix until just blended. 
  4. Pour batter into prepared pan, smoothing the top so it’s equally distributed. 
  5. Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean. 
  6. Cool in pan for 20 minutes, then turn out on rack to cool completely.