Halloween Pumpkin Cupcakes

halloween spooky pumpkin face cupcakes decorated

Happy Halloween! This bake is another inspired by my baking calendar (as was my lemon & lavender cake back in the summer). Spiced pumpkin cake with ginger icing? Yes please!

baking calendar cake a month october halloween pumpkin cupcakes recipe inspiration

I altered the recipe a little, to include more pumpkin, no sultanas, and added some cream cheese to the icing. Finished with a glittered pumpkin fondant topper – scary and sweet all at the same time! A slight confession – hopefully you’ll forgive – as these cakes are made with oil rather butter, and mixed rather than creamed and folded, they’re actually more muffins than cupcakes. But they still taste as good!

Ingredients (makes approx. 15 medium muffins)

350g mashed pumpkin
125ml olive oil
150 light muscovado sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
300g plain flour
1 1/2 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda
2 teaspoons nutmeg
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg

Method

– In a large bowl, beat together the pumpkin, oil, sugar, eggs and vanilla
– Sieve in the dry ingredients, and mix until just combined
– Spoon into cupcake / muffin cases, filling to about 2/3
– Bake at 180 degrees for 15 – 20 minutes, until an inserted skewer comes out clean

pumpkin cupcakes easy recipe and method for autumn or halloween baking

Spiced cream cheese icing

50g butter
125g cream cheese
275g icing sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons ginger
Pinch of cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence

– Mix together the butter and cream cheese until smooth
– Add the remaining ingredients and mix well. Don’t beat too much or the cream cheese will start to melt.
– Refrigerate for 15 minutes before using to top the cooled cakes. Keep the cakes in the fridge until they’re ready to be eaten

pumpkin cupcakes with spiced cream cheese frosting autumn recipe

The lovely My Cake Decorating Halloween special came with this great pumpkin plunger cutter, perfect for making scary-faced pumpkins every time!

orange fondant pumpkin shapes for halloween cupcakes

I used a little black + red edible glitter to fill in the eyes, nose and mouth for extra spooky effect.

painting fondant orange pumpkin faces with edible glitter for halloween baking Trick or treat! What do you think?

halloween pumpkin cupcakes spiced recipe using vegetable flesh cream cheese frosting halloween pumpkin cupcake flavoured and decorate spooky glitter face halloween pumpkin cupcake spooky face orange fondant and edible glitter

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Pumpkin Pie Cheesecake

halloween autumn or fall dessert recipe ideas for the family pumpkin pie cheesecake healthy and low fat

It’s definitely that time of year again – no, not the dark, cold, grey one (although that does seem to be advancing at an alarming rate), but the one where everything growing in the garden seems to be ready at once. Personally our garden is over-whelmed with tomatoes, so every other meal seems to be bolognese-based, but from my Dad’s side, his garage seems to be overflowing with giant pumpkins!

I’m not sure if this one was bigger than last years – but certainly big enough for me, it took over 2 hours to chop up and freeze all the flesh!

giant halloween pumpkin homegrown british allotment pie recipe

For dinner at the in-laws last weekend, I wanted to make a dessert and there was really only one thing that could go in it – with my fridge and freezer both filled to the brim, it really had to use up a good amount of pumpkin flesh. It’s a very sizeable cheesecake but would work just as well if you used, say, half the recipe.

Once you have your pumpkin ready (and you could use canned puree if you don’t have any fresh), it’s really very quick to put together. The end result is a creamy cheesecake with all the taste of pumpkin pie.

Ingredients

250g digestive biscuits, crushed
125g butter, melted
Pinch each of cinnamon and nutmeg
1 teaspoon cocoa powder (optional)
1 tablespoon light muscovado sugar

450g mashed / pureed pumpkin
500g quark or cream cheese
150g light muscovado sugar
150ml sour cream
5 eggs
2 teaspoons nutmeg
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ginger

Method
– Mix together dry ingredients for the base in a large bowl, before stirring in the melted butter
– Press firmly into the bottom of a large spring-form or loose-bottomed tin, and put in the fridge whilst you make the topping
– In another large bowl, mix the pumpkin, quark, sugar, spices and sour cream, and beat until smooth. Have a quick taste test – add more sugar or spices if you feel needed.
– Add the eggs and stir together until just-combined; don’t over-mix at this stage- Pour over the biscuit base, you should not need to smooth as it will settle to a flat top
– Bake at 180 degrees for 1 – 1 1/2 hours, until the top is set (it should only wobble slightly if you shake the tin)
– Remove from the oven and run a knife all around the edge, this will allow the cake to shrink away from the edges as it cools
– Leave in the tin until completely cool (overnight ideally), as the inside will continue cooking
– Remove from the tin and serve in large slices!

buttery biscuit base for cheesecake recipe low fat pressed buttery biscuit based in loose bottomed tin cheesecake recipe pumpkin pie cheesecake healthy dessert ideas autumn fall halloween recipe family size pumpkin pie cheesecake orange and browns for autumn fall on check tablecloth halloween recipe browned top of pumpkin pie cheesecake with recipe and how to

I’d intended to take a photo of the inside before we tucked in, but was a little fork-happy! What I can tell you was that the inside was smooth and tangy, with a lovely treacly flavour from the muscovado, perfectly offset by the spices and sour cream. Yummy!

pumpkin pie cheesecake thick treacle base creamy insides halloween recipe

GBBO Pièce Montée

ferris wheel piece montee coloured spun sugarwork wheel profiterole stack

Well it has come to the final week of #greatbloggersbakeoff2014 – and here is my final showstopper!

I wanted to challenge myself, as the bakers had done in the tent, so embarked on the very final challenge of the series. This was the pièce montée – a decorative celebration or centrepiece cake, featuring different baking elements, decorations, and techniques.

Well this certainly was a learning experience for me – planning shapes and sizes and doing things in the right order are just two points to note! Nevertheless, everything came together to create, kind of, my ferris wheel pièce montée (what do you mean you can’t see it!)

ferris wheel pièce montée showstopper greatbloggersbakeoff2014 sugar work macarons ombre cake biscuits choux profiteroles ferris wheel pièce montée cake profiteroles choux white chocolate biscuit macarons sugar work

The different elements I used were as follows:

– Ombre chocolate cake base (adapted from Nigella’s recipe), filled and covered with raspberry butter cream
Macarons, decorated with a light dusting of edible glitter
– Chocolate and ginger biscuits (adapted from a Christmas gingerbread house recipe)
– Profiteroles, filled with raspberry cream and decorate with white chocolate
– A golden and red sugar decoration, to represent the wheel (simply made by creating a sugar syrup in a heavy bottomed pan)

white chocolate mud cake ombre gbbo showstopper raspberry buttercream macarons on pièce montée cake raspberry buttercream finished with edible glitter raspberry cream profiteroles decorated with white chocolate biscuit and choux profiterole constuction on pièce montée cake gbbo ferris wheel spun sugar pièce montée with biscuit and profiterole supports great bloggers bake off

The individual elements I was very pleased with – the putting together a little less so! I had not filled and iced my cake early enough, so it was not set enough by the time I came to build everything up, and things started to slide a little…
I had also vastly over-estimated the size of the sugar wheel, it was too large for the cake and dwarfed the profiteroles and biscuit behind!

white

Nevertheless, everything tasted good, and pulling it to pieces and eating was definitely the most fun part 🙂

piece monte chocolate ombre cake with raspberry butter cream and edible glitter macarons inside raspberry cream profiteroles white chocolate decorations foodporn greatbloggersbakeoff chocolate and ginger biscuits decorated with white chocolate lines leaning cake in background spun sugar ferris wheel decoration Thank you to Jenny for hosting the GreatBloggersBakeOff again this year – it was great fun and I definitely learnt some new techniques, watch out for some more choux pastry coming soon!

greatbloggersbakeoff2014

Sprinkles & Checkerboard Birthday Cake

inside pastel checkerboard cake method and how to

This weekend just gone was the 3rd birthday of Derby’s Clandestine Cake Club, which I have proudly been a member for 2 years – doesn’t time fly when you’re having fun!

What better theme to celebrate with, than big, sticky birthday cakes. I’d been wanting to try a checkerboard cake for a while, and this was the perfect opportunity.

I started off with three different flavoured round cakes, tinted with pastel colours to match the sprinkles I wanted to use on the outside. The peach-coloured cake was flavoured with Sugar and Crumbs raspberry ripple icing sugar, the green had the juice and zest of a small lime, and the yellow a couple of teaspoons of lemon juice. I baked them in foil trays as 1) I don’t have 3 tins of the same size and 2) I wanted to minimise on washing up!

tricolour cake batter lime lemon raspberry pastel foil trays

Once cool, I scouted round the kitchen for suitable crockery to cut the circles. Posts I’d read online suggested cups, bowls, jam jars, but then had the brainwave of using my concentric circle cookie cutters. The largest and smallest were the perfect size to cut 3 even-thickness bands out of each cake.

making checkerboard cake with round biscuit cutters orange yellow and green

A quick reorganisation later and I had 3 dart-board-esque cakes:

checkerboard cake layers like target boards

Using a vanilla buttercream, I layered up the three tiers…

buttercream layering with pink palette knife checkerboard cake

… and gave the outside two good coats of icing, refrigerating in between.

butter cream on sides of checkerboard cake

After the second coat of buttercream, it was time for the sprinkles! And one of the trickier, stickier steps – rolling the sides of the cake in the bowl of hundreds and thousands. It took a bit of patching up but actually was quite effective, even if my kitchen was left covered in the sprinkles as well!

covering cake in sprinkles rolling sides in hundreds and thousands

cake covered in hundreds and thousands

The top was much simpler, a final coat of buttercream with hundreds and thousands poured and smoothed over. There were quite literally hundreds and thousands of them too – two whole packs for the entire cake!

sugar sprinkles hundreds and thousands cake topping

I’m really pleased with the way it turned out, although it does remind me a little of a giant liquorice allsort 🙂

sugar sprinkles and checkerboard birthday cake clandestine cake club derby sugar sprinkle covered cake hundreds and thousands looks like a liquorice allsort

Our cake club birthday party was a great feast of sugar and everything gooey and good, we gossiped for hours over tea and cake.

clandestine cake club derby third birthday party

And the checkerboard looked great inside!

checkerboard cake pastel layers hundreds and thousands covered outer inside checkerboard cake lemon lime and raspberry with sugar sprinkles covering birthday ideas

Or at least… what brief snaps I had time to take, before the cake-clubbers demolished the lot!

empty cake plate ccc

I’m entering this post into the #greatbloggersbakeoff2014 showstopper. This is not the last of my GBBO entries though – watch this space (and cross your fingers!) for a finale pièce montée in the next few days.

greatbloggersbakeoff2014

 
This post is also part of Celebration Cakes and Bakes – click the image for more info.

CelebrationCakesAndBakes

Schichttorte

schichttorte 20 plus layers finished cake with chocolate glaze

The semi-final of Great British Bake Off and indeed #greatbloggersbakeoff2014 – my kitchen will be distinctly less chaotic after the final this week.

This week I was caught up in the grilling frenzy that is the 20 layered Schichttorte. Developed from the traditional German Baumkuchen (tree cake), the cake is made by cooking thin layers of batter under the grill, to create the distinctive layered inside.

I followed the BBC recipe for my cake, although am a little dis-inclined to say that is Paul Hollywood’s as I’m certain he’s not a traditional German!

The recipe is certainly fitting for a technical challenge, starting with 10 eggs…

start of recipe for german schichttorte 10 eggs layered cake.

… and going through the stages of beating, sieving…

sieving flour into cake batter home baking

… whisking…

kitchenaid whisking egg whites soft peak stage black and silver

… and finally folding:

folding whisked egg white into cake batter schichttorte recipe greatbloggersbakeoff2014

With the batter finished it was time to start layering up. Placing the bowl on the scales I calculated each layer should have about 50 grams worth, and barely covered the surface!

schichttorte finished batter and first thin layer in tin to bake gbbo

After a couple of minutes under the grill, it came out, resembling, well, a pancake!

schichttorte first layer pancake like lightly baked

The next layer and a little darker…

grilled layers in german traditional schichttorte gbbo

.. and the cats soon got to wonder what was going on in there.

cat watching oven home baking grilling schichttorte

I must admit I lost count of the layers around the 6 mark, as I was trying to do a million other things at once. I kept going until all the batter was used up, and finally reached the top.

nearly full tin of schichttorte baked layers

A short while cooling and I was glad for it to come out in one piece, albeit looking slightly ombre…!

baked layers ombre effect of schichttorte schichttorte freshly baked layered cake gbbo

After all those layers the finishing and icing was surprisingly simple. A quick coat of apricot jam (to help the icing stick):

covering cake in warmed apricot jam for glaze to stick schichttorte recipe

And a generous coating of dark chocolate glaze:

pouring dark chocolate glaze onto jam covered cake dark chocolate glaze covered schichttorte

Finally, a finishing touch of piped white vanilla icing:

vanilla icing piped design on dark chocolate glaze schichttorte gbbo semifinal

And the cake was finished! The sides I wasn’t particularly pleased with as the chocolate and icing didn’t stick particularly smoothly.

finished iced schichttorte chocolate and vanilla layered cake

It was then rather a waiting game – I wanted the icing to set a little before slicing up, so put the cake in the fridge until it was ready to eat, and finally the moment of truth:

sliced into schichttorte 22 layers greatbloggersbakeoff

Hooray! I’m so pleased with the layers. And yes you can count them… there are in fact 22 🙂 Big slices were enjoyed and I was pleasantly surprised by the taste – a delicate light cake with a slightly lemon tang, and wonderfully complimented by the chocolate and vanilla icing.

generous slice of gbbo schichttorte layers of grilled cake

So much excitement for the final this week! Who do you think will win? And more importantly, what on earth will they be challenged to bake this week?!

Read more about #greatbloggersbakeoff2014 over on Mummy Mishaps.

greatbloggersbakeoff2014