Ah, the day is getting closer… candy is being purchased by the bucketful, recipes are being bookmarked, costumes are being made and decorations are being dusted off and hung.
Since the small one was old enough to understand and enjoy Halloween I have bought little items each year to dress up the house – inside and out – and have now built up a collection of eerie decorations that would put Jack Skellington to shame.
This year I’m planning a wee Halloween gathering and have been googling and oogling and testing recipes to feature on my festive menu for a few weeks now, in a bid to entice the child within us adults, aswell as the small ones, who of course are really quite content with anything colourful or ghoulish looking.
The choice is somewhat overwhelming and possibilities endless. For me baking can sometimes be a little like designing – taking inspiration from something you like and making it your own. I would often wake up at night excited about what I thought was an original idea, only to discover something similar online the next day.
I was almost giving up when, rummaging through some kitchen cupboards, I came across a box of tiny Halloween cookie cutters that I’d never used because they really are so tiny. And an idea struck me, which had to be put to test. NOTE: These cakes start out as a tray bake and are then individually cut out so be warned there will be cake waste or not! But I froze my leftover cake pieces and the cutout bat shapes for another fun Halloween recipe I want to try out, so check back on October 31st.
Spooky chocolate cakes
150g soft butter
100g castor sugar
50g light brown sugar
2 medium eggs plus 1 yolk (beaten together)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons milk
120g self-raising flour
3 tablespoons cocoa powder
For the butter cream icing
60g soft butter
120g icing sugar
1 tablespoon cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1. Preheat the oven to 180c/Gas 4/160c (fan). Grease and line a 20cm (8”) square baking tin.
2. Cream the sugars and butter together until light and fluffy.
3. Slowly add the eggs with a little flour at each addition to stop any curdling. Mix in the vanilla extract and milk.
4. Sieve the flour and cocoa powder together and fold into the mixture.
5. Pour the cake mixture into the prepared tin and bake for 25-30 minutes until firm to the touch and slightly coming away from the sides. Leave to cool in the tin for 5 minutes, then turn out on to a wire tray.
To make the butter cream
Sift the icing sugar into a bowl and beat together with the butter, milk and vanilla extract until white and fluffy. Mix in a little food colouring until you get your required shade.
1. Using a 2″ pastry cutter, cut 8 cakes out of the traybake, then cut each cake in half.
2. Spread butter cream icing over one half of the cakes.
3. Using a small Halloween shaped cutter (I used a bat shape cutter), cut into the top of the other half and place on top of the butter cream icing.
4. To finish dust with a little icing sugar and sprinkles.
Note: Freeze leftover cake in a freezer bag for use at a later date.