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Halloween poorly pumpkin patch cake - chocolate tahini ganache mini drip cake

Poorly Pumpkin Patch Cake

Kachina @ Sweet Mouth Joy
Ever seen a sick pumpkin? Yep, me neither. But this poorly pumpkin patch cake is delicious. Chocolate cake and tahini ganache - what a treat!

Rate this recipe here:

5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 1 hr 15 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Chill Time 30 mins
Total Time 2 hrs
Course Dessert, Snack
Cuisine Fusion
Servings 6 servings


Chocolate sponge:

  • 2 tablespoon (25 g) dark chocolate
  • tablespoon (65 ml) vegetable oil (or canola or sunflower oil)
  • 1 egg
  • ½ cups (125 ml) milk (room temp.)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¾ cups (170 g) caster sugar (golden or white)
  • cups (25 g) cocoa powder
  • 1 cups (115 g) plain / all-purpose flour (see notes for self-raising flour swap)
  • 2 teaspoon baking powder
  • cups (85 ml) hot coffee (or 1 teaspoon instant coffee powder dissolved in ⅓ cup / 85ml hot water)

Tahini ganache filling:

Chocolate buttercream:

  • cups (150 g) unsalted butter
  • cups (300 g) icing sugar
  • 2 tablespoon cocoa powder
  • 2-3 tablespoon milk
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract

Tahini ganache drip:

  • 1 tablespoon (15 g) light tahini (hulled)
  • 1 tablespoon (15 g) white chocolate

Poorly pumpkin decoration:

  • 1 tablespoon milk chocolate (optional)
  • ½ cups (105 g) orange candy melts (⅙ cups / 35g per pumpkin)
  • 3 - 5 teaspoon vegetable oil (or canola or sunflower oil)
  • Black fondant icing
  • 2 teaspoon sesame seeds (white / hulled)
  • Green fondant icing (optional)


Chocolate sponge:

  • In a heatproof bowl, slowly heat the chocolate and oil in the microwave (30 secs at a time) and stir until smooth.
  • Beat the eggs and sugar together until fluffy, then pour in the chocolate mixture, continuing to mix until combined.
  • Gradually add in the milk and vanilla to the mixture, stirring until smooth.
  • Sieve in the cocoa powder, flour and baking powder and fold into the mixture until only just combined.
  • Gradually add the hot coffee (fresh or instant) to the mixture, stirring as you pour this in. The cake mix will be very liquid.
  • Divide the mixture evenly between three lined cake tins and bake for 15-20mins, until the sponges no longer wobble, are springy to touch and a skewer comes out clean. Allow the sponges to cool on the side while you make the ganache filling.

Tahini ganache filling:

  • For the tahini filling (not the drip), in a heatproof bowl melt together the tahini and white chocolate in the microwave for 30-60secs, stirring until smooth. Allow the ganache to cool in the fridge while you make the buttercream.

Chocolate buttercream:

  • Beat the butter (using an electric mixer or stand mixer) until pale and fluffy. This could take several minutes.
  • Sieve in the icing sugar and cocoa powder, beating until combined.
  • Add the milk and vanilla extract, then beat until smooth.

Cake assembly and filling:

  • Once the sponges have cooled completely, cut off any peaks to give smooth flat tops on all of your layers. You can set aside any offcuts to use for a soil topping for later.
  • Spread a layer of buttercream on top of one of your sponges, then pipe a thick border on top (i.e. around the edge). Add half of your tahini ganache filling, smoothing it out within the border.
  • Sandwich a second sponge layer on top and repeat the above step before gently pressing the third sponge upside-down on top.
  • Smooth a thick layer of buttercream on top of the cake and around the edges, smoothing and scraping until your cake has a relatively thin and neat outside crumb coating. Refrigerate for 15mins.
  • Add the remaining buttercream to the top and outside of the cake. Smooth using a spatula and scraper.

Poorly pumpkins:

  • For your pumpkins, if you’re using only one mould, use ⅓ of the ingredients at a time and repeat this section for each of the three pumpkins. If using three separate moulds, you can make all of them at one, using the full amount on ingredients listed.
  • To create your pumpkins, melt the chocolate in the microwave for 15-30secs, stirring until smooth and carefully pour this into the bottom of your pumpkin mould. Allow this to set in the fridge for 5mins.
  • Melt your orange candy melts in the microwave for up to 30secs at a time, stirring between bouts until smooth. Add the oil and stir until you have a smooth melted candy.
  • Pour the melted candy into the pumpkin mould and set this in the fridge for 10mins before removing from the mould. If needed, repeat these steps for two more pumpkins.
  • Once you have all of your pumpkins set and removed from their moulds, use a small knife to carve out an oval-shaped mouth on each.
  • Pinch off a small amount of black fondant icing and roll this into a small log, cutting it into 4 equal lengths. Using two pieces, make a cross pressing gently in the centre to stick them, then brush the back with water and attach this to the pumpkin for an eye. Repeat this step until you have two sets of cross eyes for each pumpkin.

Decorating and tahini ganache drip:

  • For the tahini drip, melt the tahini and white chocolate in the microwave for 20-30secs until smooth. Place this in the fridge while you decorate the cake.
  • If using, crumble the chocolate sponge offcuts for soil and sprinkle this on top of your cake in the middle, then place your poorly pumpkins in a circle on top of the soil, facing outwards.
  • Add your tahini ganache to a piping bag or a disposable sandwich / freezer bag and cut off the corner.
  • Test a ganache drip at the top edge of your cake. If this creates a thick line and only runs partway down the side, you’re good to go. If it hits the bottom, leave your ganache to cool for 5mins and try another test drip. If it’s too thick to run, microwave for another 5secs (in the piping bag if microwave safe or empty back into your bowl to heat). Repeat until your test drips are to your liking.
  • Drip the ganache at the top edges of your cake until you have enough drips circling your whole cake, then pipe the ganache into the pumpkins’ mouths, connecting them to your ganache at the cake edge.
  • Sprinkle sesame seeds into the pumpkins' mouth and in little pools at their base. As an optional extra, you can create a vine by shaping green fondant icing into thin cylinders.


Calories: 978kcal | Carbohydrates: 118g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 56g | Saturated Fat: 31g | Cholesterol: 87mg | Sodium: 221mg | Potassium: 317mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 93g | Vitamin A: 703IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 195mg | Iron: 3mg

Nutritional information is an estimate based on an online nutritional calculator, actual values may vary.

Keyword Buttercream, Chocolate, Drip Cake, Halloween, Tahini
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