There are several ways to make a pumpkin shaped cake for fall entertaining, whether you want a cake jack o’lantern for Halloween or a simple spice cake that doubles as a centerpiece for Thanksgiving. The easiest option is to buy a pumpkin-shaped pan. This is all well and good if you have space to store one during the off season, or simply plan on baking quite a few pumpkin cakes in a short period of time each year, but it is not necessarily the most practical option. Another choice is to make a square cake and try to sculpt it – Cake Boss or Ace of Cakes-style – into a pumpkin-shaped showpiece. This option is easier said than done, and it is worth noting that you’ll, have better results when you start with with a bigger cake, so this will be the most time consuming choice.
The third and final option is really the most practical of the three. I’ll admit to having sculpted cakes in the past, but this is the way to go for most home bakers who don’t want to buy pans for every season. This option is to take two oven-safe, round mixing bowls (either metal or pyrex) that are the same size and use them in place of regular cake pans to bake your cake. Just grease and flour the bowls and your cakes should pop right out. When the cakes are done – you will have to test them with a toothpick since most recipes don’t give you mixing bowl baking directions – you can turn one on top of the other for a rounded cake that requires no special equipment and no intricate cake-sculpting. You can use just about any cake for this type of project, but most recipes that make bundt cakes work well because they provide plenty of batter and are easy to handle when baked.