As a child, my town’s local Fall Festival defined the autumn months. The bake sale table, always filled with candied apples, decadent cakes, and tins of homemade cookies was typically my favorite attraction.

One year I cashed in two raffle tickets for a cupcake, selecting one with intricate spider web designs on top. A plastic spider ring rested on the icing, a bonus that definitely influenced my selection.

Drawing inspiration from this fond memory, I set out to make a spider-themed treat of my own this year and combined the design with one of my favorite fall desserts. To make this pumpkin bread with cream cheese frosting and add your own spider web design you’ll need the following ingredients:

For the bread

This recipe was taken from

  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 3/4 cup canned pumpkin puree*
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 cup flavorless oil
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

*Make sure to get pumpkin puree and not pumpkin pie filling (despite the recipe being clear about this, I made this mistake and had to make two trips).

For the icing

This recipe was taken from

  • ½ cup butter softened
  • 8 ounces cream cheese
  • 4 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract


  • Tube of black decorating icing
  • Powdered sugar (optional)
  • Spider rings (optional)

To make the bread start by preheating the oven to 350 degrees and greasing a 9×5” loaf pan. Mix together the sugars, flour, baking soda, salt, and pumpkin pie spice. Make a crater in the center of your dry mixture and add the remaining ingredients. Stir everything well and pour the batter into the pan. The recipe says to bake it for about an hour, but mine needed about 10 more minutes; test for readiness with a toothpick.

To make the icing simply beat together the butter and cream cheese, then beat in the powdered sugar and vanilla. After the loaf cools down, apply the icing and sift powdered sugar over top if desired.

Although I originally intended to leave the sides of the loaf bare, the fast melting icing had other plans. Be sure to wait until the bread is completely cool before icing! I improvised and opted for a light orange border and achieved the color by mixing a drop of red and yellow food coloring into a separate bowl of icing.

Now for the fun part. To make your spider webs start by drawing a small hexagon with your black icing for the center of the web. Next, make long lines stemming outward from each corner of the hexagon. Connect the stems horizontally with downward curved lines to resemble the shape of a spider web. Repeat the process and you’re done! To add to the effect, give the webs some residents by adding plastic spider rings for decor.

Diana Ramirez/ Courier
A Halloween dish cooked by Lisi Burciaga for the Courier in Pasadena, CA on Friday, October 16, 2020. Burciaga made a pumpkin bread load with cream cheese frosting.
Photo Courtesy: Lisi Burciaga

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