Pilgrim Cake Recipe

Looking for a fun cake idea for your Thanksgiving table this year? This Pilgrim Cake makes a fabulous Thanksgiving table decoration, in addition to a great dessert to conclude Thanksgiving dinner. This recipe isn't hard to make, even if you don't have much cake-decorating experience. You don't need any fancy pans, all you need is 1 round and 1 rectangular cake pan.



  • 2 boxes cake mix, and accompanying ingredients
  • 3 – 4 cups decorator icing
  • black food coloring
  • yellow food coloring
  • flesh or blush food coloring
  • large flat cake-decorator tip (like Wilton #789)
  • small flat cake-decorator tip/back of basket weave tip (like Wilton #47)
  • small round piping cake-decorator tip (like Wilton #5)
  • 3 pastry bags
  • 2 melting chocolates
  • cardboard 14 x19 inches (to serve as a cake board)
  • foil wrap
  • tape
  • scissors
  • 9 inch round cake pan
  • 9 x13 inch rectangle cake pan


Step 1: Preheat the oven and mix up the two boxes box of cake mix according to the box or recipe directions.

Step 2: Spray both pans with flour cooking spray. Divide the cake batter evenly between the two pans.

Step 3: Bake the cake according to the box directions; this is usually at around 350F for about 30 to 35 minutes. When the timer goes off check each cake to see if it’s done, it may take an additional couple minutes. (The cakes may not be done at the same time, so check them separately.) The cakes are done when a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Step 4: When you take the cakes out of the oven, let them cool for a minute or two in the pan, then turn them out onto a cooling rack.

Step 5: While the cakes are cooling, wrap the cardboard cakeboard with foil, and tape the edges of the wrap to the bottom of the board.

Pilgrim Cake Recipe - Step 5

Step 6: Using your food coloring, color your decorator icing like so:

  • color 1/2 the icing black
  • leave about 1/3 cup of icing white
  • color 1 tablespoon of icing yellow
  • color the remaining of the icing with flesh, or blush food coloring

Step 7: Once the cakes have cooled, flip them both over and level the tops with a serrated knife.

Pilgrim Cake Recipe - Step 7

Step 8: Spread some of the icing toward the center of the bottom of the cake board, then flip the round cake onto the board, with the cut-side down. This will be the Pilgrim's head.

Pilgrim Cake Recipe - Step 8

Step 9: Ice the round cake with the flesh or blush icing.

Pilgrim Cake Recipe - Step 9

Step 10: Once the cake is iced, let it sit for a few minutes. Then, smooth the icing with a piece of parchment paper and your fingers.

Pilgrim Cake Recipe - Step 10

Step 11: Cut the rectangular in half, so you have two almost square pieces. (The rectangular cake is 13 x 9 inches; cut it so you have two cakes, each 6½ x 9 inches.)

Pilgrim Cake Recipe - Step 11

Step 12: Cut one square cake into strips about 2 inches wide. Use one and a half of the strips to make the Pilgrim's hat brim. Put a little icing on the board just above the pilgrim’s head place end to end over the head so the look like a brim. Put icing between the two pieces, and ice the brim with black icing to hold everything in place.

Pilgrim Cake Recipe - Step 12

Step 13: Put some icing on the cake board above the hat brim (this serves as a glue to hold the cake in place). Place the 6½ x 9 inch cake above the hat brim to make the top of the hat.

Step 14: Ice the whole hat with black icing.

Pilgrim Cake Recipe - Step 14

Step 15: Fill a pastry bag with the white icing. Attach the Wilton large cake-decorator tip #789 to pastry bag and pipe white icing in s strip across the hat brin to make the band around the hat. If you don’t have a wide decorator tip, you can also use your spatula to ice a strip of white icing at the top of the brim.

Pilgrim Cake Recipe - Step 15

Step 16: Fill a pastry bag with the yellow icing. Attach a flat tip like Wilton cake-decorator tip #47 and pipe the yellow icing to make a square yellow buckle on the white band.

Pilgrim Cake Recipe - Step 16

Step 17: Add 2 melting chocolates to the face for eyes.

Step 18: Fill a pastry bag with the black icing. Attach a small round piping tip like Wilton cake-decorator tip #5 and some of the black icing to pipe hair, a nose add a mouth on the pilgrim’s face.