Super Easy White Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Cake

Super Easy White Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Cake

I am sharing a super easy recipe for a pumpkin cake with white chocolate chips.  It seems like the only time I make this cake is around Halloween or Thanksgiving, but if you like that pumpkin pie spice flavor, it would be good anytime.  Since this recipe uses a box cake mix as a base, it is very easy.


1 box yellow cake mix (I prefer Duncan Hines -don't use one with pudding in it)
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
3/4 tsp salt
1 cup canned pumpkin (not pie filling-just pumpkin)
1 1/3 cup water
2 TB oil
2 tsp vanilla extract
3 large eggs
3/4 - 1 cup white chocolate chips

This is how I mix it.  Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Put all of the dry ingredients (except chips) in a bowl and mix with a fork or wisk.

In another bowl (this will be your main mixing bowl), put all the wet ingredients.  I take a hand mixer and give the wet ingredients a spin on low just to break up the eggs and incorporate.

While I have my mixer on low, I add the dry ingredients to the wet at one time.  Once both dry and wet are incorporated, mix on medium for 2 minutes.  Throw in the chocolate chips and hand mix to finish.  You may wish to toss the chips in a little flour first so they don't all sink to the bottom.

Pour into pans and bake until done.  Sorry can't tell you how long - it depends on the size pan you are using.  It will take longer than what it says on the box.  If you are baking an 8", let it go for about 25-30 min. then check.  If the top is jiggly, it needs more time.  Test with a toothpick to see if it is done.


Here are a few Halloween or fall cakes where the pumpkin cake recipe works really well:

Halloween cake

fall cake

Halloween cake

Halloween cake


Cakes for Men

Cakes for Men

It can be difficult to design a masculine birthday cake or other celebration cake.  Think about when you order a cake from a grocery store bakery - it normally comes with a few roses and an inscription.  Not very manly.  Even though the below cakes are designed for guys, they can work just as well for the gal who shares these interests. 

Sports Themed Cakes

Cakes with a sports theme are the obvious choice for guys.  Team colors can be incorporated to aid in the design.   One of the sports themed cakes that I made for
football cake
a young Mississippi State football fan incorporated the school colors and mascot/logo.  I added a jersey with his age for more personalization.

Outdoors Themed Cakes

Some guys (including my husband) are more inclined to enjoy outdoor activities like hunting or fishing.  This fishing theme cake uses an airbrush camo technique along with a gumpaste fish and cattails to create an attractive masculine cake.
fishing cake

fishing cake

Game Themed Cakes

Nintendo cake
Maybe your guy is more of the indoor game type.  If so, there are all kinds of designs that translate well in cake.  Here is an Nintendo console with controllers cake for the old-school "gamer".

Or, if your guy is more into the unplugged games, here is a great design that
chess cake
takes advantage of a square cake and molded chocolate pieces.

Cakes for Scholars

book cake
For the avid book reader (or perhaps writer), why not incorporate that love of books into a cake design.  Here is one I did that was a relatively simple stack of sheet cakes with buttercream piping.

Military Themed Cakes

Some ideas for the guy who is or has been in the service or otherwise has an interest in the military is a fondant flag drape, a design that incorporates elements of military uniforms or one that replicates weapons.  Here is one with a red, white and blue patriotic theme and another one shaped like a tank.
red white and blue cake

tank cake

Party Themed Cakes

For the guy who enjoys a good party (or two or three), here are a couple of cakes along that line.  One is geared towards the motorcycle riding "outlaw" and the other is an old-fashioned Red Solo cup cake.
outlaw cake

pouring beer cake


Most guys could probably care less about the "decoration" on the cake, after all, it's food.  Here are a few ideas for undecorated cakes that are still nice to look at, as well.
Senatobia MS cake

Senatobia MS cake

Senatobia MS cake


Free Craftsy Class - Basic Fondant Techniques

Free Craftsy Class - Basic Fondant Techniques

FREE Cratsy Class

Have you heard of Craftsy?  Craftsy is a website full of craft project tutorials.  The tutorials are on video, sort of like Youtube.  Once you have purchased the class, it is yours to access anytime.  The video lessons are divided into segments and you "rewind" when you need to see something demonstrated again.

I have purchased several of the cake decorating tutorials on Craftsy and have not been disappointed with any of them.  The quality of the filming is very good and the instructors are well-known cake artists.  Craftsy normally runs "sales" where you can purchase some of these classes for up to 50% off.

Craftsy also offers several FREE "mini" classes.  These classes are fantastic and I recommend them if you have never used Craftsy before.  Here is a link to the FREE Basic Fondant Techniques.

This class is taught by Elisa Strauss, owner of Confetti Cakes in New York.  Basic Fondant Techniques has 10 lessons covering topics such as:  coloring, flavoring and handling fondant, covering round and square cakes with fondant, making a fondant rose and bow, appliques, inlays and embossing.  Wow-can you believe all that for free?

fondant inlay

See those pink and brown flowers on this cake board?  Those are "inlays".  

fondant applique

These hearts are an example of fondant appliques.

fondant covered cake

Here is an example of a cake and board covered entirely in fondant.

NOTE:  I am a Craftsy affiliate and receive compensation when you purchase classes or join.  I am also a Craftsy member and enjoy their classes!


John Deere Baby Shower

John Deere Baby Shower

I recently had the pleasure of making a baby shower cake with a John Deere theme.  This was not going to be a typical farm theme baby shower because the expectant couple is going to have a girl.  

Cake made by cakecentral member "ranbel"

When the shower hostess contacted me about making the cake, she sent along a picture of a cake with the look they were going for.  The picture was of a 2-tier cake with a small pink tractor, cart and baby on the top.  

The shower hostess didn't need a cake this big and was working within a budget so I suggested they skip the tiered cake design (which adds $) and go for a 2-layer cake big enough for the servings they needed.  We decided a 10-inch round would work.

John Deere girl
I made my pink tractor and cart out of cereal treats, covered in white chocolate, then covered in fondant.  After studying different designs of tractor cake toppers, I settled on a design in which the cab portion sits on top of the engine or hood section.  This was fairly simple to make as I used pre-made Rice Krispie Treats which were almost exactly the size I needed.  I made the cart out of homemade cereal treats - that's when I decided to buy the ones for the tractor.  I found the pre-made ones easier to work with.  I found a couple of good tractor tutorials from Rose Atwater: Tractor Tutorial #1 and Tractor Tutorial #2.

The front wheels of the tractor are also cereal treats but the back wheels are mini-doughnuts covered in fondant.  I covered the cart with fondant that I had imprinted with a wooden board mat and used an extruder gun to make hay.  The tractor is surprisingly heavy and I had to put straws underneath it with a small piece of cardboard for support so that it would not sink into the cake.
John Deere baby shower

I stressed a bit about how to make the baby.  At first, I was going to purchase a mold but decided to try my hand at making one on my own.  It turned out to be very simple since I only needed the head to show.  The rest of the body is hidden under the pink fondant blanket.  I thought it would be cute to make the baby look like it had been picked from the field.

baby shower cake MS

Once I measured around my cake pan and subtracted a few inches for the gate, I used the Jessica Harris wax paper transfer method to get my fence rails on the cake.  I learned this technique from the Craftsy class,  "Clean and Simple Cake Design".  The fence posts were imprinted with the same wood imprint mat I used for the cart.  I decided to go with a more farm-look fence rather than the fence in the inspiration picture and finished it off with a swag of dainty flowers that ran from fence post to fence post.

farm baby shower

Senatobia MS cake


Stack of Books Cake

Stack of Books Cake

When my aunt decided to throw a party for my uncle, her and my cousin for their milestone birthdays, she asked if I would make the cake.  Of course, I said yes then I brainstormed about a design that would incorporate birthdays for three different
Senatobia MS cake
people.  The design I came up with was a stack of books with a title on each that reflected something about the person.

book cake

My uncle will be 80 this year and is known for having a story on just about everything.  My aunt is a blonde and hit 70 this year.  My cousin, who turned 50 in June, loves all animals and has a special fondness for cats.

I decided to poke a little fun at the birthday celebrants:
buttercream book cake

I sacrificed a bit of cleaness in the design because I really wanted these cakes to be iced in buttercream instead of fondant.  Before I started, I did some research into how to get a more realistic looking book cake while using buttercream.  
MS book cake

Before this cake, the only book cake I had made was an open book cake.
open book cake

I am especially happy with how my cake board turned out.  I covered it in fondant, made distress marks, scored it with a ruler and then airbrushed it to look like a wood floor. 
Senatobia MS cake

We had a great time at the party and I got to see old friends and family that I had not seen in a while.


Cupcakes 21 Ways

Cupcakes 21 Ways

There are countless ways to decorate cupcakes.  Here are 21 of them:

"Ice Cream" swirl (left) and "Rose" swirl (right).  Done with Wilton 1M tip.

swirl cupcake

Big Puff of icing done with Wilton 2D tip.
puff cupcake

Giant Rose done with Wilton 127 tip.
giant rose cupcake

Swirl done with Wilton tip 199 and gumpaste bumble bee.
bumble bee cupcake

Hydrangea blossoms done with Wilton tip 2D.
hydrangea cupcake

Old-fashioned rose petals done with Wilton tip 104.
rose petal cupcake

Grass done with Wilton tip 233 and tiny gumpaste flowers.
piped grass cupcake

Thin swirl with star tip and simple fondant rose.
simple fondant rose

Iced in buttercream and rolled in sugar sprinkles.
sanding sugar cupcake

Spiral piped with any medium round tip and "webbed" with toothpick.
spiral web cupcake

Topped with fondant embossed with vintage lace.
embossed fondant

Topped with fondant circle then piped chocolate & 2-tone swirl (middle).
chocolate cupcake topper

Basketweave piped with medium round tip and star tip flowers.
basketweave cupcake

Tip 1M swirl with fondant heart.
valentine cupcake

Giant Sunflower done with Wilton small leaf tip.
sunflower cupcake

Topped with fondant owl.
owl cupcake

Star fill-in done with Wilton tip 18.
star tip cupcake

Ballerina done with Ateco frill tip and gumpaste heart.
ballerina cupcake

Petal technique done with medium writing tips and small angled spatula.
petal technique cupcake