Jack-o’-lantern pinata cake

You’d be smiling too if you were filled with candy and made of cake!

 Jack-o'-lantern pinata cake

Is this pinata a cake? Or is this cake a pinata? Yes and yes. This jack-o’-lantern pinata cake is filled to the brim with festive candies, but you wouldn’t know it by looking at it from the outside. That’s because the candy is hiding on the inside of the cake. Once the pinata is “broken” or the cake is cut, out comes the candy for all to share and enjoy. This cake is so easy to make and filled with holiday fun inside and out. Now you know why this jack-o’-lantern has so much to smile about!

Jack-o’-lantern pinata cake recipe

Inspired by A Subtle Revelry

Serves 5 to 6


For the cake

  • 2 boxes white or yellow cake mix, about 16.25 ounces per box (don’t use the moist type of cake mix)
  • Egg, water and canola oil, according to the cake mix directions
  • 1 tablespoon softened butter (for greasing the oven-safe bowl)
  • 1 tablespoon flour (to flour the oven-safe bowl)
  • 1.5 quart oven-safe bowl

For the frosting

  • 1 (16 ounces) container premade white vanilla frosting
  • Red food coloring (about 75 drops) 
  • Yellow food coloring (about 50 drops) 

For the jack-o’-lantern pinata cake

  • 1-1/2 to 2 cups assorted small Halloween candy (Hershey’s Kisses, M&M’s, Reese’s pieces, candy corn)
  • Orange candy crystal sprinkles (for garnish)
  • One churro (found in the frozen section of the grocery store)
  • About 7 Oreo cookies



Mix cake batter

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. In a large mixing bowl, add the eggs, water, and canola oil. Beat until creamy. Grease the oven-safe bowl with butter. Add the flour to the oven-safe bowl and tilt the bowl on each side so the flour adheres to the butter. Tap the bowl to discard the excess flour. Add the cake batter to the bowl.

 Jack-o'-lantern pinata cake


Bake cakes in oven-safe bowl

Bake in a preheated oven for about 1 hour or until the cake is done. Let the bowl cool, then drag a knife gently between the edge of the cake and the bowl to loosen the sides of the cake. Then remove the cake from the bowl, set on a rack and let the cake completely cool. Repeat the process with the second box of cake mix.

 Jack-o'-lantern pinata cake


Color the frosting

Remove about 2 tablespoons of frosting from the container and set aside for use later. In a medium-size bowl, add the remaining frosting. Add the red and yellow food coloring but not all at once. Gradually add the drops and stir in between to get the desired color. Mix together until the frosting is a bright orange color. Set aside.

 Jack-o'-lantern pinata cake


Cut and shape the cakes

Using a large sharp knife, evenly cut off the domed top of each cake. On the inside of each cake, score a line with the tip of a knife about 2 inches from the edge of the cake but don’t cut all the way through to the bottom. Leave about 1-1/2 inches of thickness at the bottom of each cake. Using a small spoon, remove the cake within the inside of the area that was scored to form a bowl.

 Jack-o'-lantern pinata cake


Fill cake with candy

Add the assorted candy on the inside of just one cake. Pile the candy as high as it will go without falling onto the edges.

 Jack-o'-lantern pinata cake


Put the cakes together

Spread the reserved white frosting along the edges of the cake with the candy. Invert the other cake (without the candy), onto the cake with the candy as if putting a lid on a pan. With a sharp knife, trim a small amount of the top edges of the cake just enough to round the edges into a pumpkin shape.

 Jack-o'-lantern pinata cake


Frost and decorate cake

Frost the cake with the orange frosting. Cut a 2-inch size piece off of the churro with a diagonal cut. Add the piece of churro to the top of the cake, diagonal side up, to resemble the stem of a pumpkin.

 Jack-o'-lantern pinata cake

Use a toothpick or skewer to lightly draw lines from the bottom to the top of the cake to resemble a pumpkin.

 Jack-o'-lantern pinata cake

Sprinkle orange crystal sprinkles on top of the cake.

 Jack-o'-lantern pinata cake


Make the jack-o’-lantern’s face

Open the Oreo cookies and scrape off the filling. On a cutting board, using a sharp knife, cut three triangles out of a cookie for the jack-o’-lantern’s eyes and nose. Next cut 4 smaller triangles for the teeth. Then cut off 2 edges of the cookies for the sides of the mouth.

 Jack-o'-lantern pinata cake


Show off your pinata cake!

Serve the cake soon after assembly to prevent the candy from getting sticky from the moisture in the cake.

 Jack-o'-lantern pinata cake

Slice it open to reveal the fun treats inside!

 Jack-o'-lantern pinata cake

More fun Halloween treats

Bottles of “boos”
Frightful fruit kebabs
Bloody teeth treats