This post will walk you through how to stack, fill, crumb coat, and decorate a cake with the popular 1M Pumpkin trend along with a striped buttercream finish.
The first time I saw this cake was on Instagram and I fell totally in love with it. I’m not sure about the origin of this design, but I first saw it from Katie from @bakingbutterlylove. It’s fun and festive, without being over the top or tacky. It’s both understated, yet show stopping. I knew I had to make one, and figured I wasn’t the only one. So I’ve gathered all my best tips and tricks, and linked everything I used here in this post, along with step-by-step photos so you can make one of these bad boys with no trouble at all.
I baked a Chocolate Cake and made a chocolate ganache filling and a Maple American Buttercream, and the recipe for those can be found at the bottom of this post in the recipe card. Okay, let’s get to it!
Tools You’ll Need to Make a 1M Pumpkin Cake
- Piping Bags and Wilton 1M tips.
- This cake is referred to as the 1M Pumpkin Cake because you will use Wilton’s 1M piping tip to create the pumpkins. Not only is it the perfect tip for this cake, but also the tip I reach for most often in general. Stock up on a few of them.
- Food Color Gels
- To color the frosting, I used Americolor Food Color Gels. For the rusty orange color, mix pumpkin with a small amount of chocolate brown. For the teal stripes, mix wedgewood, navy, forest green, and a tiny bit of gun metal. Add a little bit of bright white to brighten the white frosting. And use some more chocolate brown for the stems and vines. You can buy them individually, or really splurge and get the huge pack of 70 colors, which is a true dream.
- Cake Smoothers
- You will need a striped cake comb and a smooth one to get this look. That link will take you to one that has a striped edge on one side and a smooth one on the other.
- This will help to be able to easily turn the cake while smoothing and applying the stripes and pumpkins. I use this lazy susan from Ikea, and actually have several of them throughout my house to organize cabinets.
How to Fill and Crumb Coat the Cake
Start with a cake that is at fridge temperature. It is much easier to frost a chilled cake, and you won’t get so many crumbs in your frosting if you do it this way.
Put about 1 tsp of the ganache down on your cake stand or foam core cake drum. This will act as glue, keeping your cake from sliding around while you decorate. Lay the first layer of cake down and spread a small amount of frosting in an even layer using your offset spatula. Here, you just want enough frosting for a thin layer covering the cake.
Next, fill a piping bag with some frosting and pipe a border around the edges of the cake. I like to use a star tip for this because it creates crevices that do a great job of preventing any filling from leaking out the sides of the cake. Wilton 1M and 8B are my go-tos for this step.
Add about 1/4 C of the chocolate ganache filling. Resist the urge to overfill, or it WILL leak out the sides. Spread the filling evenly all the way to the buttercream border. Then, stack the second cake layer on top. Get down so that your eyes are level with the cake, and make sure the edges are lined up with the bottom layer.
Repeat these same steps again so that all three layers of cake are stacked, and filled.
Now, we’ll add a thin layer of frosting to the outside of the cake and smooth it out. This is known as the crumb coat, because it kind of traps all the crumbs in this layer of frosting, allowing the final coat to be smooth and crumb-free.
Add some frosting to the top of the cake and smooth it out using your offset spatula, pushing the frosting out slightly further than the sides of the cake. Then, use your straight spatula to apply frosting to the sides of the cake. Use the smooth cake comb to smooth the sides of the cake. Hold the cake straight up against the cake and use your free hand to spin the turntable counterclockwise. Fill in any gaps with more frosting, and smooth again. Create straight edges on the top by using your offset spatula to pull the rough edges back toward the center of the cake. Once the crumb coat is applied and smooth, place the cake in the fridge for 30-45 minutes,
How to Create a Striped Finish
To make the teal stripes, first apply a thick layer of white frosting to the top and sides of the cake. Then, use the striped cake comb to create striped grooves in the cake. Fill in any gaps, then repeat until the stripes are smooth. Use an offset spatula to smooth the edges again. Chill the cake for 30 minutes.
Once the cake is cold, fit a piping bag with a small round tip and fill it with the teal frosting. Pipe teal frosting into the grooves. It’s ok if it doesn’t look perfect. It’s going to look worse before it looks better, but just trust me! Once all the grooves are full of teal frosting, use the smooth side of the cake comb to smooth it out. Fill in any gaps, and continue. It might look scary at first, but just keep scraping until the stripes are crisp.
How to Create the 1M Pumpkins
I used both white, and a rusty orange color for the pumpkins. So fit two piping bags with a 1M tip and fill one with white frosting and one with orange. Pipe the pumpkins by making two rounded edges about 1/2 way up the cake, then pipe the middle. Use a small round tip and some brown frosting to create the stem and vines.
Keep the cake in the fridge until about 1-2 hours before you’re ready to serve. And be ready to impress everyone at your holiday parties.
Chocolate cake filled with chocolate ganache and maple American buttercream, then decorated with stripes and pumpkins.
For the Chocolate Cake
- 1/2 C + 2 TBSP Vegetable Oil
- 2 C Granulated Sugar
- 2 Lg Eggs + 1 Egg Yolk, at room temp
- 2 tsp Vanilla Extract
- 2 1/2 C All Purpose Flour
- 1 C Dark Cocoa Powder
- 2 tsp Baking Powder
- 1 tsp Baking Soda
- 1 tsp Salt
- 1 1/2 C Buttermilk, at room temperature
- 1 C Strong Brewed Coffee
For the Ganache Filling
- 5 oz Dark Chocolate, chopped
- 5 oz Heavy Cream
For the Maple Buttercream
- 2 C Unsalted Butter, at room temp (4 Sticks)
- 1 tsp Beyond Good Vanilla Extract
- 1/2 tsp Salt
- 8 C Powdered Sugar, sifted
- 1/4 C Real Maple Syrup
- 2–4 TBSP Heavy Cream, at room temp
For the Chocolate Cake
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and spray 3 8″ cake pans with non stick baking spray (one that contains flour is best)
- In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, cream the oil and sugar for 3 minutes. Add the eggs and vanilla and beat another 2 minutes.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
- With the mixer on low, alternate adding the dry ingredients and the buttermilk to the mixer, starting and ending with the dry ingredients.
- With the mixer on low, slowly pour in the hot coffee. Use a rubber spatula to do a final mix. Divide evenly among the cake pans and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out mostly clean with a few moist crumbs attached.
- Allow cake to cool, then refrigerate until chilled.
For the Chocolate Ganache Filling
- Heat the heavy cream in a medium sized bowl for 1 minute in the microwave.
- Chop the chocolate into fine pieces.
- Add the chocolate to the hot heavy cream. Let it sit for 1 minute.
- Stir until smooth. Let cool to room temp before filling in cake.
For the Maple Buttercream
- In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, beat the butter alone for 10 minutes, scraping down the bottom and sides of the bowl half way through.
- Add the salt and vanilla, mix to combine.
- Add the powdered sugar in 2 additions (4 C at a time) and mix for 3 minutes after each addition.
- Add the maple syrup, mix to combine.
- Add the heavy cream 1 TBSP at a time until you reach your desired consistency. You want the buttercream soft, but still able to hold its shape.
Keywords: 1M Pumpkin Cake, fall cake decorating, thanksgiving cake