On the plus side, however, lots of baking time! And as such I have a number of delicious things to post.
I'd like to begin with (slightly late, I'm aware!) the traditional Halloween Cupcake. I say traditional... What I mean is, "I made some last year, and this year, and will probably do so next year as well". I'm trying to create a tradition, OK?
Anyway, here they are in their Halloweeny glory!
In more detail, the cake parts are a simple chocolate cupcake, the frosting is orange cream cheese, and they're filled with orange curd. All topped off with some adorable pumpkin & bat sugar sprinkles, and a Haribo spider!
Aren't they cute?
I went a little over the top, and baked them in some adorable little skull-patterned cases that a friend of mine bought for me. My friends know me so well...!
So, on to the recipe!
Halloween Themed Chocolate & Orange Cupcakes (makes 12)
For the orange curd filling:
- 1 large egg
- strained juice of one orange
- 80g granulated sugar
- food colourings, as desired, for that "slime" or "blood" effect
Once the sugar has dissolved, slowly pour the syrup into the egg in a thin trickle, whisking the whole time. Continue whisking for a minute until well combined & frothy.
Return the mixture to the saucepan and cook over a medium heat until the mixture begins to bubble & has thickened. Stir frequently. (Beware! If you cook it too quickly you'll have orange flavoured, sweet scrambled eggs!)
Add the colourings, if using, while the curd is cooking.
Once thick, pour into a bowl, cover with clingfilm, & refrigerate until cold.
For the cakes:
- 2 large eggs - weigh them in their shells, and note the weight
- Self raising flour equal in weight to the eggs
- Caster sugar equal in weight to the eggs
- Butter equal in weight to the eggs
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 heaped tbsp good quality cocoa powder (I used Green & Blacks)
- a few tbsp milk
Cream the butter & sugar together in a big bowl until light & fluffy, then beat in the eggs one at a time. Add a tablespoon of flour with each egg to prevent curdling.
Combine the cocoa powder & baking powder with the remaining flour, gradually add this to the butter mixture and beat until well mixed (no lumps of cocoa powder should remain!)
Beat in milk, one tablespoon at a time, to loosen the mixture to a soft dropping consistency.
Divide between the cupcake cases, and bake for 25-30 minutes, until a skewer comes out clean when inserted into the centre.
Cool in the tins for 5 minutes, then remove to a rack to cool completely before the next stage.
Filling the cakes:
To fill the cakes, you need to remove a cone of cake from the centre of each one. The easiest way to do this is to get a small, sharp knife and pierce the top of the cake about a third of the way from the edge and at an angle towards the centre. Run the knife around, following the shape of the cake and retaining the angle/distance from the edge. This should enable you to remove a nice cone-shape chunk of cake!
Carefully trim off the majority of the cone, leaving you with a lid made from the top of the cake. It should fit back on to the cake nicely.
Fill the cavity left behind in the cake with a good dollop of orange curd. Don't fill it to the top or it will splurge out and make decorating difficult later! Replace the lid.
You can always excavate the cavity further if you want to fit more filling in, though try not to damage the shape or size of the hole where the lid will sit.
Once complete for all cakes, on with the frosting!
For the frosting:
- 1 quantity of cream cheese frosting
- Grated rind of 1 orange
Decorate with sweets or sprinkles as desired.
I think this topping would also make a good carrot cake frosting, I might have to try it out! ;)