Thank you to everyone that linked up in October! There were some seriously spooky treats for Halloween, and lots of signs of Autumn’s arrival like pumpkin recipes and bonfire night treats. Don’t forget to give the blog’s featured some comment love and social media sharing if you like or make any of the recipes featured!
Now for November’s link up! Enter anything you like, just remember the Treat Petite rules below…
Treat Petite is for all of those delicious bites, which can be individually portioned. Tray bakes are fine, cookies, cupcakes, brownies, macarons and so on. No whole cakes, loaves, large pies or tarts – you get the idea… Both sweet and savoury treats are accepted, as well as no-bakes such as individual cheesecakes, or ice lollies for example.
1. Add your petite treat to the Linky Tool at the bottom of this page by the 25th of the month, midnight at the latest
2. Post your bake onto your blog and link back to The Baking Explorer
4. If you tweet use #TreatPetite and mention @BakingExplorer and @MrCakeyboi (Cakeyboi will still retweet any #TreatPetite tweets he’s mentioned in!)
5. Add the challenge logo to the post and ‘Treat Petite’ as a label to the post
6. Use any recipe as long as the source is noted
7. If you like, add your photo to the ‘Treat Petite’ Pinterest board (The Baking Explorer will add all entries to the board – please include pinnable images in your post)
8. Only 2 entries per blogger per month
9. Feel free to enter old posts as long as you update the post and meet all the requirements above!
I will share all linked up treats on Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram Stories and Twitter. I’ll also leave comments on all blog posts and like on Instagram (please tag me so I can do this – @thebakingexplorer) as well as regramming some posts.
I absolutely love Halloween and all the spooky themed food that comes with it. These Slime Cupcakes fit the bill perfectly as they look rather scary with their black “burnt” sponge, bright green “toxic” buttercream and creepy candy eyes, but don’t be fooled – they taste absolutely yummy! Once you bite into their menacing exterior you’ll find gooey “radioactive” slime inside! I used a lime marmalade to create this effect, but you could use strawberry jam for a “blood and guts” theme inside too. Kids and adults alike will love making these fun slime cupcakes to disgust and delight their family and friends over the Halloween season!
To make the cupcakes sponges I creamed together the butter and caster sugar, then added the black food colouring.
I whisked in the eggs, vanilla extract and then the self raising flour.
I divided the batter into the black cupcake cases.
They baked for 20 mins, I had to use a cake skewer to check they were done as they were so black!
When they fully cooled, I used a cupcake corer to make holes in the middle of each cake.
I added a little bit of lime green food colouring to the lemon and lime marmalade, then spooned it into each cupcakes.
I made the buttercream by mixing together the butter and icing sugar. I added the vanilla extract and the lime green food colouring until I had a nice bright green colour.
I piped it onto the cupcakes then added the candy eyes!
Despite the spooky appearance of the slime cupcakes, they were extremely popular. Everyone was attracted to their bright and unusual colours. My friends and family were pleasantly surprised by the light vanilla flavour of the sponge and buttercream, and they loved the citrus zing of the lime marmalade filling.
Happy Halloween everyone! I really love this time of year, my flat is currently decorated with pumpkins, candles, cobwebs and skulls, and I’ve also spread the Halloween ‘fear’ into the office as well. I always get involved in dressing up and carving pumpkins, it’s so much fun! One of the best parts for me is Halloween and autumn themed baking. I love to bake with pumpkin and try and make my bakes suitably scary. These Ghostly Gingerbread & Pumpkin Cake Truffles are no exception, filled with autumn flavours and then surrounded by Halloween spookiness! Here’s how to make them…
I started by making the gingerbread biscuit middle of the truffles. I made a few more than I needed as this was an idea I invented, but it’s better to make too many than too little so I’ll give you the amounts I used. I started by whizzing up 200g ginger biscuits in a food processor.
I melted 75g butter and mixed it into the biscuit crumbs.
I grabbed bits of the the mixture and rolled them into small balls, about the size of a blueberry. I placed them onto a lined baking tray. I then put them in the freezer for 3 hours.
To make the cakes I used Two Chicks new product – free range whole egg. You may have seen their liquid egg white before, which is super convenient for making meringues without having to worry about what to do with the leftover egg yolks. Now they’ve also released this one which includes the yolks, so you can bake with it, or make omelettes and quiches for example. I found it very useful for recipes where you want to change the quantities, you can’t halve an actual egg, but with this product you can!
To make the cakes I started by mixing together 115ml vegetable oil, 90ml Two Chicks liquid whole egg, 200g caster sugar and 1 tsp vanilla extract.
I then added 225g plain flour, 3 tsp cinnamon, 1 tsp mixed spice, and 1 tsp baking powder and mixed in. Finally I folded in 200g pumpkin puree (I use Libbys).
I put the batter into 12 cupcake cases to bake them. It doesn’t really matter how you bake the mixture, but I find cupcakes quick to cook and to cool.
I baked them on 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 for 20 minutes. I left them to cool fully.
When the cake was cool I crumbed it in the food processor.
Depending on how much your cake weighs, you need half the amount of full fat cream cheese. Mine weighed 700g so I used 350g cream cheese. I mixed it all together.
I got the ginger biscuit balls out of the freezer, grabbed some pumpkin cake mixture and made a patty. I placed a ginger biscuit ball in the middle.
I then wrapped the cake mixture around the biscuit and rolled it into a ball.
Once all of the cake was used up, I put them back into the freezer for another 3 hours, or until frozen fully.
To cover the cake truffles I used Renshaw Colour Melts in white. I simply dipped the cake truffles in and then set them onto baking paper. The chocolate sets really quickly because they are so cold from the freezer. You can also use white chocolate to cover them, but it creates a more yellowish appearance. To paint on the ghost eyes and mouth I melted a few blocks of dark chocolate and painted them on with a small paintbrush. I also painted ‘Boo!’ on a few of them too.
I was so pleased with the reaction I got for these cake truffles! There were ‘wows’ all round, and they all disappeared in less than an hour. Even people who weren’t convinced about pumpkin were loving them. It was such a great feeling. The pumpkin and ginger flavours went together perfectly. Let me know if you make these and what you think!
I’m entering these spooky treats into this month’s Treat Petite, hosted by Cakeyboi. The theme is Black and Orange. I’m also entering them into Tea Time Treats hosted by Lavender & Lovage where the theme is Halloween & Bonfire Night Treats.
Start by making the gingerbread biscuit middle of the truffles. Whizz up the ginger biscuits in a food processor
Melt the butter and mix it into the biscuit crumbs
Take bits of the mixture and roll them into small balls, about the size of a blueberry. Place them onto a lined baking tray and put them in the freezer for 3 hours
Then make the cakes. Mix together the vegetable oil, liquid whole egg, caster sugar and vanilla extract
Then add the flour, cinnamon, mixed spice and baking powder. Finally fold in the pumpkin puree
Put the batter into 12 cupcake cases and bake them on 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 for 20 minutes. Leave them to cool fully. When the cake is cool, crumb it in the food processor
Depending on how much your cake weighs, you need half the amount of full fat cream cheese. Mine weighed 700g so I used 350g cream cheese. Mix the cake crumbs and cream cheese together
Get the ginger biscuit balls out of the freezer, grab some pumpkin cake mixture and make a patty. Place a ginger biscuit ball in the middle then wrap the cake mixture around the biscuit and roll the whole thing into a ball
Once all of the cake is used up, put the cake truffles into the freezer for another 3 hours, or until frozen fully
Melt the white chocolate, dip the cake truffles into it and then set them onto baking paper. Melt the dark chocolate and paint designs on with a small paintbrush
These spooky spiderweb cookies are Spiced Pumpkin Cookies from Corina at Searching For Spice. She made these using a home grown pumpkin!
Next up we have Gruesome Green Popcorn from my Treat Petite co-host Stuart at Cakeyboi. A fantastic simple idea which creates such a great effect!
Linzi from Lancashire Food made a Gingerbread Loaf. A classic comforting recipe perfect for this time of year. It’s definitely one of my favourites, although I have not seen it with sultanas in before. I’m going to have to try that next time!
You would never guess these pretty Roasted Beetroot & Raw Cacao Nib Cupcakes from Elizabeth’s Kitchen Diary were so healthy! It’s a great way to get kids eating vegetables, and Elizabeth’s son loved these!
Wow aren’t these Halloween Chocolate Apples impressive?! Camilla from Fab Food 4 All sent these in. I love the spiderweb pattern it’s so cool!
These little beauties are Ginger & White Chocolate Hi Hat Cupcakes from Helen at Casa Costello. I’ve never heard of Hi Hats before, but buttercream frosting encased in chocolate sounds pretty good to me!
Kevin from The Crafty Larder sent in these gorgeously bright Spiced Pumpkin In A Jar. I love the presentation, they look so great in the jars so you can see the layers of the cake!
My Halloween bake this month were these Halloween Cupcakes. I did three designs; a brain, broken ‘glass’, and scratched cupcakes. I thought they looked pretty gruesome!
Dominic from Belleau Kitchen made these creepy looking Halloween Witches Eyeballs. They are actually sponge covered in chocolate ganache, not as scary as they look!
There are so many macarons around nowadays it’s nice to see some Macaroons for a change! These green macaroons from Keep Calm & Fanny On would make a perfect Halloween treat.
Eeek! I am not a fan of spiders but Kate at The Gluten Free Alchemist has managed to make these Halloween Cake Pop Spiders look a little less frightening. Don’t think my arachnophobia is quite cured just yet, but Kate is doing better than me!
The letters on these Spiced Honey Shortbread by Family Friends Food were stamped on using a letterpress cookie set. You can change the letters in the set to say anything you like, very clever! I love the cute pumpkin in the background too.
Ruth from Makey Cakey entered her Franken-Biscuits. These would be great for making with kids as they can get creative and make a scary Frankenstein face!
Another American style treat from Caroline Makes… with this Halloween Candy Corn Rocky Road. I love candy corn! It’s really yummy and I would love to try a piece of this.
The final bake for this month are these spooky Halloween Cake Pops from Helen at Casa Costello. They look brilliant and are really well decorated!
Wow such an amazing array of bakes this month. Thank you to everyone who got their spook on this month! Please check out the blogs above if a recipe takes your fancy. Look out for November’s theme announcement soon over on Cakeyboi.
Happy Halloween! I love celebrating Halloween and have decorated both my home and office already. It’s such a fun time of year and a great opportunity to get creative with baking. I love the look of these cupcakes, although I did struggle with the recipes I followed. I got a book called ‘A Zombie Ate My Cupcake’ for my birthday and used a few recipes out of it to make the different elements of the cupcakes. My sugar glass went a bit wrong, I found the cherry ‘blood’ sauce to be to jelly like, and the sponge was quite dense. I’ll go through what I did anyway as they did taste good!
I started with the sugar glass. First I covered a baking tray in foil and brushed it all over with oil.
In a large pan I heated up 500ml water, 785g granulated sugar, 250ml liquid glucose and 1/2 tsp cream of tartar. I let the mixture boil until it reached 300F.
I think my thermometer is slightly off as the sugar slightly caramelised and went golden. It is meant to stay clear! I also think you need two baking trays for this as the sugar was very thick. Pour it in and leave to cool for a couple of hours. When I bashed it up into shards it was much too thick for one single shard in the cupcake, so I used several smaller ones instead.
To make the sponge I first mixed 60g butter, I used Stork, and 140g caster sugar together. I added 1 large egg and mixed in. Then I added 30g cocoa powder, 1/2 tsp vanilla extract, a pinch of salt, and some Sugarflair Extra Red food colouring. After that I added 120ml buttermilk and 225g plain flour. Finally 1/2 tsp cider vinegar and 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda.
It was a very thick mixture and not the kind of cake batter I’m used to seeing. I spooned it into 12 muffin cases.
I baked on 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 for 15 minutes.
To make the cherry sauce I gently heated 125g mashed up tinned black cherries, 50g caster sugar, 120ml juice from the cherries, 1/2 tsp lime juice and 1 tbsp cornflour.
I brought it to the boil and let it bubble for about 5 minutes until thick. I then sieved it.
As the cherry sauce was so jelly like, I decided to core the cupcakes and use it as a filling!
To decorate the clawed cupcakes (an idea I saw on Pinterest!) I rolled out some white icing and cut out cupcake sized circles. I used a little bit of buttercream to help it stick and placed it over the cupcake sponge. I used a knife to make rough scratches in the icing. Then I dipped a cocktail stick in red food colouring and dragged it along the scratches.
For the broken glass cupcakes I made some buttercream with 80g butter, 160g icing sugar and 1/2 tsp vanilla extract. I piped it on with a star nozzle, stabbed the cake with some of the sugar glass shards and drizzle over some shop bought strawberry sauce I had in the cupboard.
To decorate the brain cupcakes I made some buttercream with 80g butter, 160g icing sugar, 1/2 tsp vanilla extract and some pink food colouring. I smoothed it over the cupcake then using a plain circular nozzle I pipe a line down the middle and squiggly bits down each side.
Despite me having a bit of trouble, or ‘tricks’ with the recipes I used, I think the final result looks really spooky and fun! They also tasted good. Everyone at work loved them and they all disappeared pretty quickly! I am entering them into myself and Cakeyboi’s monthly challenge Treat Petite where this month’s theme is ‘Trick or Treat’.
Start with the sugar glass. Cover a baking tray with a lip in foil and brushed it all over with oilIn a large pan heat up the water, granulated sugar, liquid glucose and cream of tartar. Let the mixture boil until it reaches 300F on a candy thermometerPour it into the baking tray and leave to cool for a couple of hours. Bash it up into shards once coolTo make the sponge mix 60g of the butter and 140g of the caster sugar together. Add the egg and mix in. Then add the cocoa powder, 1/2 tsp of the vanilla extract, salt, and red food colouring. After that add the buttermilk and plain flour. Finally mix the cider vinegar and bicarbonate of soda together and add to the batterSpoon into 12 muffin cases. Bake on 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 for 15 minutesTo make the cherry sauce, gently heat the tinned black cherries including the juice in the can, 50g of the caster sugar, the lime juice and the cornflourBring it to the boil and let it bubble for about 5 minutes until thick. Then sieved it. Core the cupcakes and fill with the sauceFor the broken glass cupcakes make some buttercream by mixing 80g of the butter, 160g of the icing sugar and 1/2 tsp of the vanilla extract. Pipe it on with a star nozzle, stab the cake with some of the sugar glass shards and drizzle over some strawberry sauceTo decorate the clawed cupcakes roll out the white icing and cut out cupcake sized circles. Use a little bit of the buttercream to help it stick and place the icing over the cupcake sponge. Use a knife to make rough scratches in the icing. Then dip a cocktail stick in red food colouring and drag it along the scratchesTo decorate the brain cupcakes make some buttercream by mixing 80g of the butter, 160g of the icing sugar, 1/2 tsp of the vanilla extract and some pink food colouring. Smooth thin layer over the cupcake then using a plain circular nozzle pipe a line down the middle and squiggly bits down each side
Can you believe it was the semi finals of The Great British Bake Off on Tuesday?! That means next week is the final! And then it’s all over for another year. The episode began with the first challenge – to make savoury canapes. Three types were requested, one to be made with choux, one with pastry, and the third was baker’s choice. Beca knew already what the judges wanted, for the canapes to taste good and look amazing!
Mary warned that so much can go wrong when making canapes and the baker’s must pace themselves to get everything done. She wanted the finish of the canapes to be absolute perfect. Paul was also after precision, uniform size, and flavours that pack a big punch in small space. I loved Frances’ theming of her canapes (pictured above), and they really did look great. Paul was blown away by the taste and even shook her hand!
Kimberley also did very well, with great flavour and originality, and the judges were very happy to eat up all of her food! Ruby had mixed results, but it was overall quite pleasant. Beca did not fair so well and received the most negative comments.
The technical challenge was to make a Charlotte Royale, which I have never heard of, but Sue helpfully told the bakers that it looked like a brain! This dessert involves slices of swiss roll filled with jam, that form a dome around a set fruit custard, also called a bavarois. It involves several techniques that you must perfect to make it turn out right. The custard must not seep through the swiss rolls, which must be packed tightly in the bowl whilst retaining their shape.
In typical style, everyone except Kimberley looked a bit concerned about this challenge. I love how Kimberley approaches everything so positively! It worked for her too as her Charlotte Royale came out beautifully and she won the challenge, Frances came in second and Beca in third, both with decent looking Charlotte’s. Unfortunately Ruby’s was a bit of a disaster and she was last.
For the final challenge, an Opera Cake was requested. This is an elaborate French dessert made from seven even layers, which primarily involve a sponge called Joconde made from egg whites and ground almonds. The layers of sponge are sandwiched together with buttercream, syrup, ganache and finally covered in a chocolate glaze. It’s purpose is to represent the four acts of opera.
The judges wanted to layers to be clearly defined and of an even size. Although an Opera Cake is traditionally make with coffee, the baker’s could choose their own flavours. Mary wanted sheer perfection, and Paul said that this is one of hardest cakes to do properly.
Frances’ White Chocolate, Lavender and Lemon Opera Cake (pictures above) was the most good looking, although sadly it let down on flavour. Kimberley’s modern looking Passion Fruit & Lime Opera Cake (pictured top) looked great with tuilles and truffles as decorations, but was let down also on flavour. Ruby’s Opera Cake (pictured middle) suffered issues with a collapsed side, but Paul and Mary liked the flavours and textures. They didn’t like Beca’s Banoffee Opera Cake, as the banana flavour came from an artificial essence.
Sadly it was Beca that left us this week. Ruby was once again saved by flavours, but Frances and Kimberley both really shone this week, with Kimberley claiming star baker. Beca was very upset at leaving so close to the final, but said it had been an amazing experience. Next week it’s the final!! And I saw what looked like basket pies and three tired cakes in the preview.
Although a Charlotte Royale looked and sounded unappealing to me, I was discussing it with my colleague and mentioned how Sue had called it a ‘brain’. He suggested that I make a Zombie Brain Charlotte Royale for Halloween. I thought this would be brilliant! Suddenly a Charlotte Royale seemed very appealing! I changed a few elements, such as making a chocolate sponge, using bright green buttercream, and making the custard bloody red. I also omitted the fruit.
I started with the chocolate swiss roll. I followed the same recipe I used to make a Bûche de Noël (Yule Log) last year, which is a Mary Berry recipe. I started by whisking up 4 eggs and 100g caster sugar in my food mixer until it was frothy.
Then sifted in 65g self-raising flour and 40g cocoa powder and folded it into the egg mixture gently so as not to lose the frothiness.
I put it into a lined baking tray (I don’t have a swiss roll tin, but this works just as well) and baked on 200C/400F/Gas Mark 6 for 8-10 minutes. It sprang back up when I pressed it with a fingertip.
I prepared a sheet of baking paper dusted generously with icing sugar, I tipped the sponge out onto this while it was still hot, peeled off the baking paper it was baked in, and used a knife to make a grove along one end about 2cm from the end. Then I rolled the sponge up as tight as I could, taking the paper with it. I left it to cool fully still wrapped in the paper. This gives the sponge a ‘muscle memory’ so to speak, so it will not crack.
Once it was cool I prepared a buttercream filling using 100g butter, 200g icing sugar and Sugarflair Mint Green food colouring. If you have a neon green this would be even better. I gently unrolled the sponge, smoothed on the buttercream, then rolled back up again this time removing the baking paper.
I lined my bowl with cling film. I used a Pyrex 2L bowl from Tesco. I cut the swiss roll into slices and lined the bowl. There were a lot of gaps so I cheated by using some of the roll to fill in the gaps! I held the bowl up to the light to help me see where the gaps were. I didn’t want any filling seeping through!
For the bavarois, which is the custard mousse filling of a Charlotte Royale. I used an Anna Olsen recipe. First I made custard by simmering 225ml whole milk and 1 tsp vanilla extract in a pan. In a bowl I whisked up 4 egg yolks and 135g caster sugar until smooth. I slowly poured the hot milk into the egg yolk mixture, whisking constantly. I then returned it to the pan and turned up to a medium heat. I stirred it constantly for about 6 minutes until it had thickened. I then added a good blob of Sugarflair Extra Red food colouring, and 4 pre-soaked leave of gelatine (follow the instructions on the packet) and left it to cool to room temperature.
Once the custard was cool, I popped it into the fridge for 15 minutes. Meanwhile I whipped up 345ml double cream (you can also use whipping cream) until soft peaks formed. You want it to hold it’s shape but still be quite soft.
I folded the cream into the custard using a whisk. At this point I had to add a lot more food colouring as the whiteness of the cream dulled the red down a lot. Eventually I got a fantastic blood red!
I poured the mixture into my swiss roll lined bowl. I did not have enough swiss roll to cover the bottom, I quickly made 4 chocolate cupcakes, cooled them quickly by an open window, sliced them into discs and placed them on the bottom. I put it into the fridge overnight to set.
Turning it out was very easy thanks to the cling film. I came out straight away and retained it’s shape very well.
I made the glaze as suggested in Mary Berry’s Charlotte Royale recipe by boiling 75g caster sugar in 125ml water, and then adding 1 tbsp arrowroot powder that had been dissolved in 2 tbsp cold water. I let it cool, then brushed over my “Zombie Brain” Charlotte Royale. It didn’t give as much of a sheen as I expected and I’m not sure if it’s a necessary addition for my Halloween version.
My only decorations around the Charlotte Royale was some Halloween confetti in the shape of skulls, spiders and pumpkins! It was difficult to cut into as too much force on the swiss rolls just pushes them into the filling. The best approach is to cut slowly and gently. The filling was a shocking bright red inside!
Despite it’s spooky looks, this “Zombie Brain” Charlotte Royale was delicious! The custard mousse filling is to die for, so tasty! It went down really well with everyone and the Halloween theme was a big hit. It was fun to make such an unusual recipe that I had never heard of before, and this is my second time of making custard from scratch – I love how GBBO encourages me to learn new techniques! Have you tried anything new thanks to GBBO?
“Zombie Brain” Charlotte Royale
370g Caster sugar
125g Self raising flour
40g Cocoa powder
200g Icing sugar
Green food colouring
225ml Whole milk
1 tsp Vanilla extract
4 Egg yolks
4 Gelatine leaves
Red food colouring
345ml Double cream
1 tbsp Arrowroot powder
2 tbsp Cold water
Start with the chocolate swiss roll. Whisk up 4 of the eggs and 100g of the caster sugar in a food mixer until frothy
Then sift in 65g of the self-raising flour and cocoa powder and fold it into the egg mixture gently
Pour it into a lined baking tray or swiss roll tin, and bake on 200C/400F/Gas Mark 6 for 8-10 minutes
Make 4 chocolate cupcakes for the base. Cream together 60g of the butter and 60g of the caster sugar. Add 1 of the eggs and whisked in. Fold in 60g of the self raising flour. Fill 4 cupcake cases and bake on 18C/350F/Gas Mark 5 for 20 minutes. Leave to cool then slice into discs
Dust a sheet of baking paper generously with icing sugar, tip the swiss roll sponge out onto it while it is still hot. Peel off the baking paper it was baked on and used a knife to make a grove along one end about 2cm from the end. Roll the sponge up as tight as you can, taking the paper with it. Leave it to cool fully still wrapped in the paper
Prepare a buttercream filling by mixing 100g of the butter, the icing sugar and green food colouring. Gently unroll the sponge, smooth on the buttercream, then roll back up again, this time removing the baking paper
Line a 2 litre glass bowl with cling film. Cut the swiss roll into slices and line the bowl. Use more of the roll to fill in any gaps
For the filling start by simmering the whole milk and vanilla extract in a pan. In a bowl whisk up the egg yolks and 135g of the caster sugar until smooth. Slowly pour the hot milk into the egg yolk mixture, whisking constantly. Then return it to the pan and turn up to a medium heat. Stir it constantly for about 6 minutes until it thickens. Then add the pre-soaked leaves of gelatine (follow the instructions on the packet) and leave it to cool to room temperature
Once the custard is cool, pop it into the fridge for 15 minutes. Whip up the double cream until soft peaks form
Fold the cream into the custard using a whisk. Add enough red food colouring to get a bright red
Pour the mixture into the swiss roll lined bowl. Use the discs of chocolate cupcakes to lined the bottom. Put in the fridge for at least 4 hours to set
Turn it out and make the glaze by boiling 75g of the caster sugar in the 125ml water, then dissolve the arrowroot powder in the 2 tbsp of cold water and add to the sugar mixture. Let it cool, then brush it over the Charlotte Royale
Halloween approaches and these scary bones filled with cream and dripping with blood (ok, strawberry sauce) are a perfect spooky treat! Making meringues is easy too and they can be made in advance as they last for 5 days unfilled in an air tight container.
I started by whisking up 6 egg whites and 1 tsp cream of tartar in a mixer until soft peaks formed, then slowly added 164g caster sugar with the mixer still on. I also added 1 tsp vanilla extract. Once they were mixed and stiff peaks had formed, I folded in another 164g caster sugar. The way to get perfect meringues is to measure your egg whites, then mix in that same amount of sugar, and finally fold in that same amount of sugar again.
I put the meringue mixture in a piping bag with a large circular nozzle and piped ‘bone’ shapes onto a lined baking tray. I got 24 shapes out of my mixture. Some of the bones were neater than others!
I baked the meringues on 120C/250F/Gas Mark 1/2 (half) for 1 hour. They are done when they come off the baking paper easily and sound hollow when you tap the bottom. Exactly an hour baked mine perfectly. I turned the oven off and left the meringues to cool in the oven. Then I left them to cool completely on a wire rack.
I whipped up a pot of cream and used a piping bag with a star nozzled to pipe the cream onto half of the bones. I then added a drizzle of strawberry dessert sauce and sandwiched another meringue on top.
I was so pleased with the meringues as they had that perfect combination of crunch and chew! They are delicious filled with the cream. These would be so easy for a Halloween party as you can make the meringues days in advance, then fill with cream and sauce before your guests arrive. I would advise they are served immediately or as soon as possible so the cream doesn’t make the meringues go soggy.
Whisk the egg whites and cream of tartar in a food mixer until soft peaks form, then slowly add half of the caster sugar with the mixer still running, also add the vanilla extract. Take the bowl off the mixer and fold in the other half of the caster sugar
Put the meringue mixture in a piping bag with a large circular nozzle and pipe ‘bone’ shapes onto a lined baking tray
Bake the meringues on 120C/250F/Gas Mark 1/2 for 1 hour. They are done when they come off the baking paper easily. Turn the oven off and leave the meringues to cool in the oven. Then remove to cool completely on a wire rack
Whip up the double cream and use a piping bag to pipe the cream onto half of the bones. Then add a drizzle of strawberry sauce and sandwich another meringue on top
Welcome to the pièce de résistance of my pumpkin baking, the crowning glory you might say – Pumpkin Pie! This is my third year of making this pie. The past 2 times I used ready made pastry, with varying results. I feel like I have mastered pastry now after making Key Lime Pie and Tarte Tatin successfully, and can say with confidence that I don’t think you’ll find me buying ready made shortcrust ever again! I don’t remember exactly how I made the filling each year, probably different ways each year knowing me! But this year it had a lovely custard flavour and was very yummy. Pumpkin pie is ‘Marmite’ food – you either love it or you hate it!
There are several different ways to make short crust pastry (or you can buy it ready made). I chose this method because I have used it before and it’s worked really well for me. I started with 350g plain flour and 170g butter.
I rubbed the butter into the flour with my hands until it formed fine crumbs, as above. This is quite a relaxing thing to do as it takes a few minutes.
I added in two eggs and used an ordinary cutlery knife to bind the mixture together. Once it started to formed a dough I got my hands in there to form it into a ball.
I kneaded this briefly for a couple of minutes on a floured surface until it looked like the above photo. Smooth and well combined. I wrapped it in cling film and chilled it in the fridge for 1 hour.
Meanwhile I made the filling by slowly heating 275ml double cream, 75g soft brown sugar, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp nutmeg, and 1/2 tsp ground ginger. You can also add 1/2 tsp cloves or allspice if you have it.
In a separate bowl I beat together 2 eggs and 1 egg yolk. I poured the heated cream mixture into the eggs, whisking as I poured bit by bit. I then added a full can of pumpkin puree (425g) and whisked till combined.
I rolled out the pastry till it was bigger than my loose bottomed pie tin (about 22cm).
I placed it in the tin, pressing around the sides. Make sure the edges hang over a little as the pastry will shrink slightly. I used a fork to pierce all over the bottom to prevent air from getting trapped.
Line the pastry with baking paper and baking beans (or dry rice if you don’t have baking beans).
I baked on 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 for about 10-15 minutes until the pastry started to brown around the edges, I then removed the baking beans and poured in the pumpkin filling.
I popped the pie back in the oven for about 35 minutes. Until the filling firms up and goes a nice rich orange colour. I roasted a few pumpkin seeds in oil and used them to decorate the centre of the pie. You can decorate any way you want.
I also made these cute little ‘taster’ pies with leftover mixture and pastry. These are best done in a cupcake baking tray, but there wasn’t one to hand at the time so these silicone cupcake cases were a handy replacement.
And so ends my pumpkin baking fun. I’ve used all the pumpkin puree I bought this year, with some great results, and new discoveries about baking with pumpkin. I’m ready to move onto other Autumn baking now and maybe even start thinking about…dare I say it…Christmas baking!
I love celebrating Halloween and I think it’s a great time of year! This year my boyfriend held a party at his flat and I decided to make some cupcakes for the guests. I dressed up as Poison Ivy from Batman, also attending were the Donnie Darko rabbit, Bat Girl, various Zombies and some animals too! We also carved pumpkins which is messy, but very fun. I have a stencil kit and a carving kit which is what we used to get the cat and spider patterns above. My boyfriend also made toffee apples and covered his flat in cobwebs, fake spiders and ‘blood’ spattered sheets – it looked very creepy!
I started by sifting 1 cup plain flour, 2 tsp baking powder, 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp nutmeg, 1/4 tsp ginger, into a bowl, and also added 1/2 cup of sugar and 1/2 tsp salt.
I added 60g butter cut up into cubes and rubbed it into the flour mixture until it formed fine crumbs.
In a separate bowl I mixed 1 heaped cup of pumpkin puree, 1/2 cup evaporated milk, 1 egg, 1 1/2 tsp vanilla. You can also add 1/2 cup of dried fruit (sultanas, raisins or cranberries) if you wish. I chose not to.
I then folded the pumpkin mixture into the flour until it was just combined.
This recipe makes 12 cupcakes in a muffin tray, but will make more if you use a smaller fairy cake tray. Make sure to only fill the muffin tray half full, otherwise you will run out of mixture. I filled the tray with mixture. In a bowl I mixed 2 tbsp sugar, 1 tsp cinnamon and 1/4 tsp nutmeg and sprinkled it over the top of the batter.
I baked on 200C/400F/Gas Mark 6 for 15 minutes. Until lovely and golden brown.
I made cream cheese icing using 170g butter, 340g icing sugar and 4-5 tsp cream cheese. I mixed together the butter and icing sugar first, then added the cream cheese bit by bit until I got the consistency I wanted. I recently purchase a large open star nozzle from JaneAsher.com, if you would like to create the same effect here is the link for the nozzle I bought.
I piped the icing onto each cake and then added an edible Pumpkin head decoration which I bought from Top Tier cake decorating shop in Sale Moor.
I also made 12 chocolate cupcakes for those that may be unsure about pumpkin (it turns out there are people that don’t like it!). I made a simple chocolate sponge by weighing 2 eggs, and matching the weight of my flour, sugar and butter. I creamed the sugar and butter together first, then added the eggs and finally folded in the flour. I then added 55g cocoa powder and about 3 tbsp evaporated milk leftover from the pumpkin cupcakes to balance out the consistency.
I also baked these on 200C/400F/Gas Mark 6 for 15 minutes.
To make the chocolate icing I used 170g butter, 255g icing sugar and 85g cocoa powder. I used the same method as before, adding 4-5 tsp cream cheese until I got the consistency I wanted.
I again used my open star nozzle to pipe the chocolate icing on the cupcakes once they were fully cool.
Finally I added some ‘ghost and bat’ decorations that I got from Aldi a few weeks ago.
I safely transported the cupcakes to the party in a cupcake carrier. And then they were all eaten up by a variety of ghosts and goblins! I got some great comments about the cupcakes, I am so pleased with the icing nozzle and love the professional effect it gives!