Ask A Chef: Spooky Halloween Treats

(Photo by: FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images)

(Photo by: FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images)

Make Halloween extra special this year by creating a spooktacular sweet from scratch. For cooking inspiration, three of DFW's best pastry chefs, Jacqueline Martinez and Maricsa Trejo of Oak Restaurant and Tida Pichakron of Haute Sweets Patisserie, have shared some elegantly spooky cake recipes that are sure to wow all of the monsters in your home.

Chefs Jacqueline Martinez and Maricsa Trejo
Oak Restaurant
1628 Oak Lawn Ave, Suite 110
Dallas, TX 75207
(214) 712-9700

Not only does Oak have executive chef Brian Zenner creating a menu of fabulous global cuisine, but it also has two very talented pastry chefs whipping up a scrumptious seasonal menu of desserts. Pastry co-chefs Jacqueline Martinez and Maricsa Trejo say that this recipe is a combination of all of their favorite fall memories and flavors enveloped into one cake ball.

Cinnamon Pumpkin Cake Ball Eyeballs

Ingredients for the cake:

  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 1 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups canned pumpkin puree
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

Ingredients for icing:

  • 8 ounces cream cheese (room temperature)
  • 4 ounces butter (room temperature)
  • 1 pound powdered sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • milk as needed to thin out icing

Ingredients for decoration:

  • 1 bag of white coating chocolate pieces
  • 1 tube red decorating icing
  • 1 package of M&Ms

Directions for the cake:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the sugar and oil together. Then incorporate the vanilla extract and pumpkin into the mixture.
  3. Slowly add in eggs one at a time.
  4. Gradually mix in the dry ingredients.
  5. Spread batter into a greased baking pan and cook for 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.

Directions for the icing:

  1. Cream together the cheese and butter until fluffy.
  2. Add in powdered sugar and vanilla extract. If icing is too thick, add enough milk to thin it out.

To assemble the cake balls:

  1. Crumble cake up into a large bowl. Add enough icing so that cake will clump together when formed into balls.
  2. Melt chocolate in microwave on high, stirring occasionally until smooth.
  3. Use a small ice-cream scoop to measure out balls and roll with hands to form.
  4. Dip balls into melted chocolate using a fork. Place coated balls on waxed paper to set.

For spooky eyeballs, make veins by piping red icing over top half of balls and place one M&M in the center.

Related: Get Your Halloween Costume On A Budget In DFW

Chef Tida Pichakron
Haute Sweets Patisserie
3015 Gulden Lane
Dallas, TX 75212
(214) 856-0166

Chef Tida Pichakron and her shop's partner chef Gianni Santin originally opened Haute Sweets Patisserie as a catering facility to provide wholesale high-end desserts to DFW metroplex hotels and restaurants. However, due to the public demand for their macarons and other pastries, they will be opening a retail location later this year. Pichakron has shared one of her favorite fall pumpkin cake recipes that incorporates pumpkin and chocolate together. She says that the cake can either be decorated with a spooky pumpkin face on top or cooked in two bundt pans and then stacked together to make a 3D jack-o-lantern.

Chocolate Pumpkin Cake


  • 1 1/4 cups butter (room temperature)
  • 1 cup cocoa powder
  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 cups light brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon espresso powder
  • 1/4 cup espresso
  • 1/2 cup cream
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree
  • 5 eggs
  • Any icing as needed for decoration


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Grease 3 cake or 2 bundt pans and line bottom with parchment.
  3. Sift dry ingredients and set aside.
  4. Using paddle attachment in a stand mixer, cream butter and sugars together. Add vanilla and eggs, one at a time, and then beat until fluffy.
  5. Dissolve espresso powder in freshly brewed espresso. In a bowl, whisk together espresso mixture, cream, applesauce and pumpkin.
  6. Gradually alternate adding dry ingredients and pumpkin mixture to butter mixture in mixing bowl, scraping down sides after each addition.
  7. Divide batter into greased pans and bake for 25-35 minutes until a toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean. Cool before decorating with icing.

To make a 3D jack-o-lantern cake:

  1. Spread frosting on flat sides of cakes and stick together.
  2. Cover cake in orange, black or any color frosting you like.
  3. Place an upside-down ice cream cone on top for the stem and cover it in frosting.
  4. Pipe out different color frosting or use candies to make facial features.

Related: Decorate Your Home For Halloween Without Breaking The Bank

Ilene Jacobs is a freelance writer living in Dallas, Texas. Ilene enjoys writing about a variety of topics, ranging from food, fitness and travel, to kids, pets and senior care. You can find some of her work at