Halloween Party Cakes Ghoulish Sweets: recipes and tips
Posted 18 October 2010 - 06:51 AM
Graveyard cake — a pumpkin spice cake with bleeding chocolate glaze — is the pumpkin pie of a spectral Halloween menu. Espresso shortbread headstones mark each slice. This spiced pumpkin cake can be made one day ahead and refrigerated, without the glaze. Several hours before serving, make the glaze and finish the cake.
* 8 ounce(s) (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened, plus more for pan
* 4 cup(s) cake flour, plus more for dusting
* 4 teaspoon(s) baking powder
* 1 teaspoon(s) baking soda
* 1/2 teaspoon(s) salt
* 2 teaspoon(s) ground cinnamon
* 1 teaspoon(s) freshly grated nutmeg
* 1/2 teaspoon(s) ground cloves
* 2 1/2 cup(s) packed light-brown sugar
* 4 large eggs
* 1 cup(s) buttermilk
* 1 1/2 cup(s) canned solid-pack pumpkin
* Bleeding Chocolate Glaze
* Espresso Shortbread Headstones
* 1 tablespoon(s) ground ginger
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Generously butter a 9-by-13-inch cake pan. Line with parchment paper; butter lining. Dust with flour; tap out excess. Set pan aside.
2. Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves in a large bowl; set aside. Put butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment; beat on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Reduce speed to low; alternate between adding flour mixture and buttermilk, beginning and ending with f lour. Add pumpkin, and beat until completely combined.
3. Pour batter into the prepared pan. Bake until golden and a cake tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 40 minutes. Let cool in pan on a wire rack 15 minutes. Unmold; peel off parchment. Let cool completely on rack, top side up.
4. Set cake and rack on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Pour warm chocolate glaze over cake. Using a small offset spatula, gently smooth glaze over top of cake, letting it drip down sides. Let stand at room temperature, or refrigerate until set. Arrange 6 headstones on top; serve with the remaining.
Posted 18 October 2010 - 06:55 AM
A band of monsters, ogres, and madmen casts an ominous spell from the tops of otherwise innocent cupcakes.
* Vanilla or Chocolate Cupcakes
* Swiss Meringue Buttercream
* 3 cup(s) sweetened shredded coconut, lightly toasted
* Assorted candies, for decorating
1. Frost tops of cupcakes with a smooth, even layer of buttercream. Place toasted coconut in a bowl. Holding cupcake at an angle over the bowl, press coconut into frosted top of cupcake, letting excess fall back into bowl. Add candies to create facial features.
Posted 18 October 2010 - 07:00 AM
Use store-bought stencils to make a bevy of bats, a swarm of spiders, or an assortment of other scary designs atop these luscious homemade cupcakes.
* 1 1/2 cup(s) all-purpose flour
* 3/4 cup(s) unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
* 1 1/2 cup(s) sugar
* 1 1/2 teaspoon(s) baking soda
* 3/4 teaspoon(s) baking powder
* 3/4 teaspoon(s) salt
* 2 large eggs
* 3/4 cup(s) warm water
* 3/4 cup(s) buttermilk
* 3 tablespoon(s) vegetable oil (such as safflower)
* 1 tablespoon(s) pure vanilla extract
* Confectioners' sugar, for dusting
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 standard muffin tins with paper liners. Whisk together flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl.
2. Mix in eggs, water, buttermilk, oil, and vanilla until smooth, about 3 minutes. Divide batter evenly among prepared muffin tins. Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until tops spring back when lightly touched, about 20 minutes. Let cool in tins on wire racks.
3. Before serving, place a stencil atop each cupcake, and dust with confectioners' sugar. Carefully remove stencil.
Posted 18 October 2010 - 11:49 AM
Corn Syrup – Forget ketchup. Corn syrup doused with red and blue food coloring bears a striking resemblance to blood. And because corn syrup is very sweet, you can add it as an accent to just about anything. Drizzle on ice cream, cupcakes, or whatever you choose. It’s bloody good.
Lunch meat – There really is so much room for creativity here. Ham, in many incarnations, happens to shape up really well when you want to go for that muscular, fleshy look. Liverwurst is moldable, like putty, and you can add food coloring to it for a really eerie appearance (green pate, anyone?). Salami, in spite of being delicious, can be cut into various shapes. And then there’s head cheese. Which is terrifying all by itself. Same goes for blood sausage (not saying it isn’t delicious, just that eating blood is perfect for the season).
Tonic water – The magic of tonic water is not in its taste, unless you dig that sort of thing. However, when placed under black light, it glows. You can make ice cubes out of it, for an accent, or use it as a basis in drinks. Gin and tonics have never been so spooky!
Gelatin – Ah, gelatin. It comes in plain, which is totally tasteless, which can be used as a bonding agent for almost anything. Use green Jello and grind it up, then sprinkle in bits of red-dyed bloody fruit (or use blood oranges if you can find them, no dye required). The flavorless stuff can be used to make wiggly, weird savory dishes, filled with horrifying vegetables and unidentifiable meat. Let your creativity go with this one. Jello shots with floating eyeballs, wiggly worms floating in Gelatin… the sky’s the limit.
Oreos – Nothing makes dirt taste so good. Crumble up Oreos, and you’ve got dirt for any use. I made graveyard cupcakes last year (see below), and to get the dirt to stick I first dipped the tops in ganache, then coated with the Oreo dirt. Tasted delicious. I’ve also seen many riffs on the famous Dirt Desert.
Pasta – Worms, anyone? If you’re feeling saucy (get it?) you can splurge on some squid ink noodles, which are black and very worm-like. But there are also plenty of cheaper, multicolored and odd looking pastas out there. Linguine can easily be mistaken for tapeworms. Not to mention the origins of the word vermicelli.
Chocolate – And its counterpart, white chocolate. You can buy this in bricks and melt it down and mold it into anything. It makes custom chocolates super cheap and wonderfully creepy. Mix in things like rice crispies (fried maggots, perhaps?) or other cereals to play with texture.
Any ingredients you’d suggest adding to this list? I’d include Borax, but that’s not edible!
Posted 27 October 2011 - 11:30 AM
Once you see how easy it is to make your own sugar cookies, you’ll never turn to store-bought dough again. Cut these chocolatey ones into seasonal shapes, and you’re good to go for any holiday.
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 large egg
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
6 to 7 tsp milk
Black sanding sugar
Orange decorating frosting or cookie icing (sold in tubes)
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, 1/2 cup cocoa, the baking soda and salt. Using an electric mixer, beat the butter, granulated sugar and vanilla in a large bowl until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in the egg. Reduce the speed to low and add the flour mixture, mixing until incorporated. Divide dough in half.
- Roll each half between 2 sheets of wax paper until 1/4 in. thick. Refrigerate until firm, 30 minutes. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Using a floured 3-in. spider cookie cutter ($1.49; confectioneryhouse.com), cut out cookies. Use the end of a chopstick to help release the dough from the leg sections of the cutter. Place on the prepared baking sheets. Reroll, refrigerate and cut the scraps.
- Heat oven to 350°F. Bake, rotating the baking sheets halfway through, until set, 8 to 10 minutes. Cool slightly on the baking sheets before transferring to wire racks to cool completely.
- In a medium bowl, mix together the confectioners’ sugar, the remaining 2 Tbsp cocoa and just enough milk so the frosting is spreadable. Place the sanding sugar on a plate. Spread frosting onto cooled cookies, dip into the sanding sugar, then let dry completely. Pipe eyes with the orange frosting.