Sunday, 4 November 2012

Happy Halloween!

I haven't really got into Halloween properly for a few years now - it seems to be a celebration reserved mainly for children and students. However this year is different as I have been planning cupcakes and window decorations since I started my new job 6 weeks ago.

Here are some of the cupcakes I have been making in the shop. I've seen these ghosts around a lot now and think they're really effective - I'll be making snowmen verisons for christmas. My personal favourites however though are the pumkin cupcakes which are topped with maple cream cheese frosting. It may be too sweet for some but I have a huge soft spot for maple syrup!

And I tried out some themed cake pops - not sussed out how to get the candy melts nice and smooth yet but hopefully I'll get there!

I have also been working on some Halloween creations at home. One of my friends hosted a Halloween party at the weekend so of course I promised a cake! I had wanted to make a pumpkin cake but all the delis and supermarkets within reasonable reach failed me and I had no time to order it on online so in the end I settled for a chocolate cake. I baked the cake as one and then cut into three layers and sandwiched them togethr with green buttercream. The idea was for the buttercream to create a visual contrast with the dark chocolate sponge but the buttercream had soaked into the sponge. I don't know whether this was because the buttercream was on a surface of cake that had been cake and so wasn't 'sealed'.

The fingers are made from sugarpaste with a flaked almond nail. The eyeballs are cake balls covered in candy melts and decorated with sugarpaste and food colouring. The 'blood' is a mixture of egg whites and icing sugar and red food colouring gel. It is far from perfect but considering most of the decorating was done in the dark sans icing smoother or edible glue and surrounded by what seemed to be a small party, I was pretty pleased with the final effect.

I used the same recipe for this cake which was made at the request of my boyfriend's mum for a childrens party. The skeletons are gingerbread and the spiders are again cake balls with sugarpste eyes and legs. This time I did just two layers and baked them separaely. I levelled offthe tops but turned the bottom layer upside down so that the bottoms of each cake are being sandwiched together with cream cheese frosting. I used orange frosting in another attempt to create a colour contrast - fingers crossed it has worked!

I have never been very good at the decorating side of cakes and baking and I think that this is the cake that I'm most proud of.

This is the recipe I used for both cakes. I would normally be wary of chocolate cake recipes with no actual chocolate in it but this serves well as a layered celebration cake as the buttercream and fondant keep the sponge moist. It's the recipe we use at Dixies, or at least a variation of it. It is certainly not perfect but is useful as a basic chocolate cake recipe.I'll From these quantities I made one 8 inch cake and 12 cupcakes ) I would add that I don't think this recipe is as good for cupcakes.

330g butter
330g brown sugar
330g caster sugar
250ml soured cream
12 eggs
510g self-raising flour
165g cocoa powder
4 tsp baking powder
30ml coffee

Preheat the oven to 160 C.

Cream together the butter, sugars and soured cream until well mixed and fluffy. Add in half the eggs and beat well. Mix in half the flour. Beat in the rest of the eggs and finally fold in the rest of the flour, the cocoa powder and the baking powder. Pour into a lined and greased baking tin and bake until a skewer comes out clean. Check it after 45 minutes and cover with foil if the edges look like they're catching.

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