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Indian Corn Cakes – Harvest Cake Recipe – Thanksgiving Centerpiece

This do it yourself project for Indian corn cakes will really brighten up your Thanksgiving table. The cakes are authentic looking and are easy to make.

The only problem with this harvest cake recipe is keeping the kiddies from eating the cakes until it’s time to serve this sweet Thanksgiving dessert.

If you’re looking for a kid friendly activity this holiday season, check out our free Thanksgiving word search and word scramble, and don’t forget to search for the word ‘corn’!

Fall display with pumpkins leaves and harvest cakes.
Indian corn is a traditional fall decorating material that is one main symbols of Thanksgiving. It is rustic and can be used in many ways.

The ears are edible, although this requires quite a bit of processing. Until today, that is.

These Indian corn cakes require normal baking and then some creative crafting and you’ll be able to serve them for Thanksgiving.
Ears of Indian corn in a basket with garlic.

For this project we’ll be duplicating the look of Indian corn in a cake that can be used as an edible centerpiece for your Thanksgiving table!

For another Native American inspired recipe, be sure to also check out my teepee dirt cups. The kids will love them!

Let's decorate with Indian corn for Thanksgiving - edible style. These fun cakes are shaped like ears of Indian corn and covered in Reese's pieces for a Thanksgiving centerpiece that the kids will love. Get the tutorial for the… Click To Tweet

For another fun first Thanksgiving inspired recipe, be sure to check out my Pilgrim hat cookies. They are super easy to put together and the kids will love to help you make them.

Note: Hot glue guns, and heated glue can burn. Please use extreme caution when using a hot glue gun. Learn to use your tool properly before you start any project.

Making the Indian corn cake centerpiece

This project is part baking and part DIY. Having fun with food is one of the neat parts of the holidays, for me. I love to share my gratitude for the people in my life by making them sweet treats. 

This Indian corn cake recipe is also a great way to engage kids in a cooking project that they will love. They’ll enjoy the process of making it, and I’m sure they’ll enjoy eating it too!

Yellow cake mix, frosting, Reese's pieces, peanuts, frosting, corn stalks, jute and toothpicks.

To make this harvest cake recipe, you will need the following ingredients:

  • A yellow cake mix
  • Chopped peanuts
  • Vanilla frosting
  • Reese’s pieces
  • Toothpicks
  • A baking pan
  • Stalks of Indian corn (can also paper twist ribbon)
  • Jute
  • Large serving platter
  • Hot glue gun and glue sticks

Make the cake batter according to the directions on the package and then fold in the peanuts. Cook as directed.Peanuts in yellow cake mix with spatula.

Cool for 10 minutes and then remove from the pan to cool completely on a wire rack. When the cake is completely cool, freeze it so that it will cut easily.

Cut the cake into three pieces resembling ears of corn as shown in the photo below.

Circle with a pattern in the shape of ears of corn.Place the cake “ears” on your serving platter. Frost the top and sides of the cake pieces with 1 1/2 cups of the frosting.

Leave the top of the ears un-frosted for now. Decorate the ears with the Reese’s M&M pieces, angling them slightly so they look like ears of Indian corn.

Frosting on cake pieces with MMs to the top of the cake.

Be sure to alternate the colors of the Reese’s pieces randomly to make the ears life-like looking. When you are done, you’ll have three ears of Indian corn, ready for your Thanksgiving centerpiece display.

Arrange the ears on your serving dish so that they are angled out from the center piece.

Three cake pieces with Reeses pieces on top of frosting.

Tips for adding the Reese’s pieces

Like all “fun with food” projects, I learn as I work it. These tips will make the process of adding the Reese’s pieces go much more quickly.Reese's pieces with a cake on a white plate.

I found it easiest to work on one ear at a time, with the other pieces in the freezer until it was time to add the frosting to them.

Then, start with the top of the cake, and add the Reese’s pieces until it is completely covered. 

When you move to the side pieces, it works best to add the pieces with your left hand and hold them in your right hand. 

For the right side, the opposite works best: hold the pieces with your left hand and add them to the cake with your right hand.

Doing this makes the angle of the Reese’s pieces on the side of the cakes easier to achieve.

A final tip is to work on a small cutting board or serving dish that can be angled as you add the pieces.  Then transfer the completed ears to your serving dish.

Making the corn stalk ends

Cut the ends of the Indian corn and tie with the jute. Trim well and wrap the jute with a piece of the corn stalk and secure it with a dab of hot glue.

Corn husks wrapped next to cake slices with Reese's pieces.

Spread some of the remaining frosting on the top end of the cake “ears.”

Press the stalks of the Indian corn against the frosting on the top of the ears. Secure them with toothpicks, hiding them under the wrapped area.Corn husks on the end of Indian corn cakes.

Gently gather the three sections of corn stalks together in the middle and tie with the jute.

I added some silk leaves and pumpkins to my display. This finished off my Thanksgiving centerpiece in style.Thanksgiving centerpiece with pumpkins, leaves and ears of edible Indian corn.

Displaying the Indian corn cakes

These edible Indian corn cakes will be the highlight of your Thanksgiving dessert table. All you need are a few simple fall decor pieces to turn the harvest cakes into a Thanksgiving centerpiece.

Wait for compliments that tell you how talented you are! When the dinner is finished, slice up the the ears for dessert! The kids have been waiting for this moment, after all!

The idea for this harvest corn cake is shared from an old issue of Crafting Traditions (the magazine is no longer in print.)

Edible harvest cakes with Reese's pieces.

What do you use as a centerpiece for your Thanksgiving table? Is it edible or decorative, or both? Please tell us about it in the comments below.

Find out more about corn by checking out the two national days dedicated to it: Maize Day (the day after Thanksgiving) and National Corn on the Cob Day (June 11).

Do you also like to have fun with food? Check out my Rice Krispie turkeys and pilgrim hat appetizers. They both are  perfect for Thanksgiving.

Pin these Indian corn cakes for later

Would you like a reminder of this edible Thanksgiving table centerpiece? Just pin this image to one of your Thanksgiving boards on Pinterest so that you can easily find it later.Display of pumpkins, leaves and colorful cakes with text reading "Indian corn cakes."

Admin note: This post for my harvest corn cake recipe first appeared on the blog in November of 2013. I have updated the post with new images, a printable project card and a video for you to enjoy.

Yield: 16 servings

Indian Corn Cakes - Harvest Corn Cake Recipe

Thanksgiving centerpiece with pumpkins, leaves and ears of edible Indian corn.

These Indian corn cakes make the perfect centerpiece for your Thanksgiving dessert table. The kids will love them!

Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 25 minutes
Additional Time 1 hour
Total Time 2 hours 25 minutes


  • Yellow cake mix
  • 1/2 cup of chopped peanuts
  • 1 can of vanilla frosting
  • 32 ounces of Reese's pieces


    1. Preheat the oven according to your package directions.
    2. Make the cake batter according to the directions on the package and fold in the peanuts.
    3. Bake and cool for 10 minutes.
    4. Remove from the pan and cool completely on a wire rack. 
    5. When the cake is completely cool, freeze it for at least an hour so that it will cut and frost easily.

    Making the Indian corn cakes

    1. Cut the cake into three ears of corn as shown in the diagram above.
    2. Place the cake ears on a serving platter. 
    3. Frost the top and sides of the ears with 1 1/2 cups of the frosting.
    4. Leave the top of the ears un-frosted for now.
    5. Use the Reese’s M&M pieces to decorate the cake ears, overlapping them slightly.
    6. Cut the Indian corn stalk into 8-12″ lengths and tie them with the jute into three sections
    7. Trim well and wrap a piece of the corn stalk and secure with a dab of hot glue to hide the jute.
    8. Spread some of the remaining frosting on the top of the ears.
    9. Press the corn stalks against the frosting on the top of the ears.
    10. Secure it with toothpicks.
    11. Gently gather the corn stalks together in the middle and tie with the jute.
    12. Arrange the platter with silk autumn leaves and other seasonal decor items.
    13. Display with pride.


To make the Thanksgiving centerpiece display, you will also need the following supplies: a 9 inch baking pan, some toothpicks, corn stalks from Indian corn (paper twist will also work), 1 yard of jute, some hot glue and a large serving platter.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 580Total Fat: 26gSaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 16gCholesterol: 4mgSodium: 516mgCarbohydrates: 81gFiber: 3gSugar: 62gProtein: 8g

Nutritional information is approximate due to natural variation in ingredients and the cook-at-home nature of our meals.

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Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are "affiliate links." This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive a small commission from the sale, but the price is the same for you. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

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