And it's easier to make than you might think.

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overhead shot of a slice of pound cake sliced to reveal a pumpkin-shaped pumpkin spice cake baked into it.
Credit: Jessica Furniss

When you slice into this rich, buttery pound cake you're met with the cutest pumpkin surprise! Warmly spiced pumpkin bread in the shape of a pumpkin is hidden throughout the entire cake. This surprise cake is not only impressive to see, but is absolutely delicious too. Read on to see how to make this clever cake, including the simple recipes, gear, and tips you'll need.

The concept of surprise cakes has been around for a while, but it really gained popularity on the popular series "The Great British Baking Show" when contestants were challenged to create holiday-themed cakes with a surprise inside. They created cakes with ornaments, penguins, and a variety of festive holiday themes that are only revealed when the cakes are sliced open.

While this pumpkin spice surprise cake does require attention to detail, it is definitely beginner-friendly. Be mindful not to skip any steps and you'll end up with a gorgeous surprise cake!

How to Make a Pumpkin Spice Surprise Cake

What you'll need

Directions

Step 1: Bake pumpkin bread according to instructions. To amp up the orange color you can add a small amount of red gel food coloring.

using a pumpkin-shaped cookie cutter to cut out pumpkin shapes from slices of pumpkin spice cake
Credit: Jessica Furniss

Step 2: Once your pumpkin bread has baked and cooled completely, cut it into slices equally thick to your cookie cutter. Grab your pumpkin cookie cutter and gently cut out pumpkin-shaped pieces of bread. Be sure that the bottoms of your cutouts are flat, as seen above. You may need to set the cookie cutter lower on the slices to do this. It's important that the pumpkin pieces are flat on the bottom, as we need them to stand up in the loaf pan.

pouring pound cake batter over pumpkin-shaped pumpkin spice cake cutouts lined up in a glass baking dish
Credit: Jessica Furniss

Step 3: Prepare your pound cake batter. Note: The recipe might make more batter than you may need. Don't let it go to waste; bake the extra separately for snacking.

Step 4: Prepare your loaf pan. I used Crisco and flour, and inserted a small piece of parchment on the bottom, and the cake came out with ease.

Step 5: Line up your pumpkin shaped slices in your prepared loaf pan standing up, as seen above. 

Step 6: Very gently pour the pound cake batter over the pumpkin bread slices. If any topple over simply straighten them out. Be sure that all the pumpkin bread is standing straight up and is covered by the pound cake batter. It's best not to pour directly over the stems because they may break. Gently spread the cake batter with a spatula to even out the surface. The batter will be all the way to the top of the loaf pan.

loaf of pumpkin spice surprise cake topped with confectioner's sugar glaze and sliced to revel a hidden pumpkin-shaped pumpkin spice cake baked into it.
Credit: Jessica Furniss

Step 6: Bake and cool your cake according to the pound cake directions.

Optional Step 7: Once your cake is fully cooled, you can add a simple glaze made of powdered sugar and milk. Add 1 cup of powdered sugar to a bowl and whisk in milk 1 teaspoon at a time until it reaches a thick but pourable consistency. Pour or spoon over the unsliced cake.

Step 8: Slice your cake and enjoy the surprise pumpkin inside! 

This cake is sure to get everyone in the mood for cooler weather as the seasons change. It's great for dessert, an afternoon snack, or my favorite way: for breakfast with a warm cup of coffee. 

Source: this piece was partly inspired by a lovely cake by Sandra Denneler.

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