Saturday, 31 October 2015

Halloween Cake Pops - Skulls and Ghosts



Halloween is definitely more fun if you have kids - or if you are in your 20s and want an excuse to dress in a sexy costume! This year I'm not doing anything for Halloween - I was going to carve a pumpkin but it's 5pm on October 31 and I haven't been to the supermarket yet!
 

I suddenly remembered a cake pop mould I bought in the Selfridges January sale and had put in a cupboard; I also had some offcuts of another cake in the freezer so I decided to make cake pops.



This mould is made of silicon and is designed so you can actually bake your cake mixture into the appropriate shapes, but I found you can also use it as a mould.



I mixed the crumbled cake with some buttercream until I had a dough-like consistency - I've written several posts before on how to make cake pops so won't explain in detail again.

I then pressed the mixture into the silicon mould, put both sides of the mould together and put it in the fridge for an hour to set.



The shapes came out of the mould very easily - there was a skull, a ghost, a pumpkin and a ball that you can decorate as an eyeball. I stuck the end of some cake pop sticks into some melted candy melts and put them into the cake balls and left them to set.




Unfortunately I hadn't left them quite long enough (or my dough was too soft - you can always pop them in the freezer if you are worried) because the pumpkins and eyeballs fell apart when I was dipping them into the candy melts (I was only making one or two of each as they were only for my fiancé and I - I don't get trick or treaters where I live!).



However, the skulls and ghost turned out really well and you can still see the detail of the shapes, eg the hollows of the skulls eyes.



I dipped them in melted white candy melts and left them to set, then used a brush and a little black food colouring to paint on the details.



For the final touch I stood them in these mini pumpkins, called 'munchkins' - I had to make a hole with a skewer first, then pushed the cake pop sticks in.


Last year I made ghost and Frankenstein cake pops, which you can see here.

The Food Year Linkup on Charlotte's Lively Kitchen is still open so I am sending her these Halloween cake pops.
Food Year Linkup Badge
 
I've also just got time to share this with Treat Petite hosted by Stuart at Cakeyboi and Kat at the Baking Explorer, as their theme is black and orange.
 
 

Friday, 30 October 2015

Haunted Halloween Gingerbread House



Gingerbread houses are really cute, aren’t they – and actually a bit tricky to make, as it turns out!
 
For a few years now I’ve wondered about asking for a set of gingerbread house cutters for Christmas but then thought there was no point, as it’s something that people really make in the run-up to Christmas, not after. A few weeks ago my fiancé mentioned something about gingerbread and I explained why I’d never asked for one as a gift for the reason I’ve just explained, and we left it at that. Two days later a parcel from Lakeland turned up containing a gingerbread house kit! That was very sweet of him – one of the many reasons I’m marrying him J

 
He also had a great suggestion – that rather than just using the kit before Christmas, I make a haunted gingerbread house for Halloween. Of course, that way he gets more gingerbread, but I’m not complaining!
 
The Lakeland kit comes with instructions for making the gingerbread itself which was very easy to do. I was worried the mixture was a bit sticky but once I rolled it out on a floured board it was fine.


 
 
I cut the front and back of the house out first and they were so large I couldn’t get anything else on the baking tray, so I realised I was going to have to bake the gingerbread in batches.

 
Each piece only spread slightly when it came out of the oven and I used the cutters again after baking but while the gingerbread was still a little soft to cut off the excess again. I was worried that if I didn’t do this, the pieces wouldn’t fit together exactly. As it happened, they still didn’t fit together exactly! I don’t know how I ended up with such big gaps and whether it was down to the baking or the assembly. It held together and looked pretty much OK but there must be a knack to doing it perfectly!

 
Once I had left the house sections to cool, I made up some royal icing using egg whites according to the instructions on the house kit. It said to use 3 egg whites and 500g icing sugar which seemed a lot, so I used two egg whites, and was going to use two thirds of the icing sugar but ended up having to put in nearly another 100g of icing sugar to get it stiff enough. And it meant I had far more icing than I needed, so I suggest – since royal icing goes hard quite quickly – that you use 1 egg and reduce the other ingredients by a third and then make more if you need it.

 
 
I used a piping bag to apply the icing along the edges of the building sections. The assembly instructions were quite minimal and not that easy to follow – I have no idea how to stick the chimney onto the roof and could have worked it out I’m sure, but decided not to bother with the chimney! 

 
 
 
First you stick the walls to the cake board – I happened to have a black cake board in the cupboard which was perfect for Halloween – and then put the front and back on the house. Each time you have to leave it to set for about 20 minutes and use a cup or glass to keep the sides propped up. Finally we stuck on the roof – my sister was helping and I do think it’s easier with two people!

 
 
Once the house was set I added the doors and windows and decided to decorate the roof first. I had a packet of candy corn M&Ms and another of pumpkin spice M&Ms which I’d bought in America. Each packet didn’t quite have enough to cover the whole roof so I did one side one way and the other side another. I think the white, orange and yellow looks more like Thanksgiving colours than Halloween but never mind.





I made some ghosts out of giant marshmallows and black food colouring and made a path out the front from more M&Ms.




 


I had some Haribo Halloween sweets which I used to decorate the front of the house – you can’t see too well but they are ghosts, spiders and witches heads. I wasn’t sure that I liked the overall effect but wasn’t sure how else to decorate it – I think this would be good for kids but if you want a more professional look I wouldn’t use the gummy sweets. I have an idea for how to decorate the gingerbread house at Christmas which I think will be smarter so you will have to wait and see!




For my first ever gingerbread house I don't think this was bad at all, and it certainly tasted good!

I'm sending this to the Food Year Linkup, hosted by Charlotte's Lively Kitchen, as it's Halloween!

 
Food Year Linkup October 2015

Thursday, 29 October 2015

Halloween Toffee Apple Cupcakes



Halloween toffee apple cupcakes by Caroline Makes




It was announced at work yesterday that we were going to have a bake sale - today. A bit short notice for my liking but I really wanted to make something! I didn't have time to buy any extra ingredients so had to make do with what I had at home (and one thing I picked up in M&S at the train station) - but this is me after all. I had plenty of stuff at home!
 

I decided cupcakes would be quickest and easiest and I could decorate them with different Halloween toppers. I was originally going to make chocolate cakes but decided to use a flavour combination that you get a lot at this time of year: toffee apple.

I decided to go with a basic recipe and then add my flavourings and see how it turned out; the result was a light, bouncy cake with both flavours definitely coming through.

Toffee Apple Cupcakes - an original recipe by Caroline Makes

175g butter
175g caster sugar
3 eggs
175g apple sauce
175g Carnation caramel
175g self-raising flour

to decorate:
400g icing sugar
2 egg whites
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
assorted coloured fondant and mini cookie cutters
I also used Marks & Spencer meringue ghosts to decorate - you can easily make your own but I didn't have time

Preheat oven to 175C.

Cream the butter and sugar and add the eggs, the mix in the apple sauce and the caramel.



Finally fold in the flour.



Spoon into cake cases - I had some Halloween ones left over from last year. Bake in the preheated oven for 15-20 minutes until cooked but still springy to the touch.



Allow to cool. When the cakes are cool, decorate them however you wish.



I made up some royal icing for another recipe, by  whisking egg whites and cream of tartar with the icing sugar, and spread this on top of several of the cupcakes.

I sat the M&S meringue ghosts on top of some of the cupcakes, and for others used black fondant and a mini cookie cutter to cut out bat shapes. I also moulded a skull and some pumpkins from white fondant that I coloured orange and green. I made a monster's head with the rest of the green fondant.









I am sending these to the blog challenge Food 'n' Flix, hosted this month by Elizabeth at the Lawyer's Cookbook, as the film she has chosen is perfect for Halloween - Hocus Pocus.


I'm also sending this to the Food Year Linkup, hosted by Charlotte's Lively Kitchen, as she welcomes recipes that fit to the time of year or topical events that are happening.

Food Year Linkup October 2015
 
Finally I am sharing these with Treat Petite, hosted by Stuart at Cakeyboi and Kat aka the Baking Explorer. Their theme is black and orange, or anything Halloween related.