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Halloween Tombs & Cupcakes

In Cakes & Cupcakes, Holidays On October 6, 2010 2 Comments

A few weeks ago, I was shopping at an arts and crafts store and noticed candy molds for skeletons and cakes. Making Halloween desserts with such fun decorations is a great art project for kids and adults. You’ll have a blast assembling the tombs and decorating the cupcakes. During this graveyard project, you won’t be able to resist tasting the candies and cakes. However, be sure to leave a few for your guests!

Prep time: 45 minutes (for the green skeleton candies & cupcakes)
Bake time: 25 minutes
Frosting time: 15 minutes
Makes: 8 tombs & 8 cupcakes

MAKE THE SKELETON CANDIES:
One 14-ounce bag Wilton® White Candy Melts
4 drops green food color
Pastry bag fitted with a star tip
Skeleton design candy molds

1. Melt the candies in a double boiler or in a microwave (follow microwave directions on package).

2. Using a wooden spoon, immediately stir the green food color into melted candy.

3. Set container with melted candy on a counter to cool 5 to 8 minutes.

4. Carefully spoon the melted candy into the bottom of a pastry bag fitted with a star tip.

5. Squeeze the pastry bag to overfill each skeleton mold – the top of each mold should look like it has a cloud of melted candy over it. Using a long metal spatula, scrape off the extra candy.

6. Set the mold in freezer, about 8 to 10 minutes or until candies have hardened.

7. Unmold candies onto a flat surface and set aside. Repeat filling the mold, freezing and unmolding the hardened candies until there are enough candy parts to form 8 complete skeletons.

8. If making ahead, set the skeleton candies in layers with paper towels in between each candy layer – inside a sealable plastic container. Make sure the candies do not touch. Freeze candies until ready to use.

FOR THE TOMBS & CUPCAKES:
5 mini loaf pans (5 X 3 X 1-7/8), greased and floured
8 Halloween baking cups, set in a muffin baking pan
One box Devil’s Food cake mix (1 lb. 2.25 oz.)
One Wilton® Orange Decorating Icing tube (4.25 oz.)
Decorating Plastic Tips to attach to icing tube
Halloween candies or decorations

1. Preheat oven to 350˚F. Prepare cake mix per package directions.

2. Pour a scant 2/3 cup cake batter into each loaf pan and divide remaining batter evenly among 8 baking cups set in a muffin pan.

3. Set the loaf pans on bottom oven rack. Set the muffin pan on top oven rack.

4. Bake 18 to 20 minutes or until knife inserted in center of loaves and cupcakes comes out clean. If knife is coated with batter, bake an additional 5 minutes.

5. Transfer the loaf pans and muffin pan with cupcakes to a counter to cool completely. Unmold the loaves.

6. If making a day ahead, set loaves and cupcakes on a flat plate. Cover them with aluminum foil wrap and set aside on counter overnight.

PREPARE THE FROSTING & GARNISH:

1. With loaves right side up, horizontally slice off the rounded tops.

2. Set two of the sliced-off tops in a bowl and crumble – this will be used as edible earth around the loaves or tombs.

3. Arrange candies in each of the 8 tombs to form a complete skeleton and set aside.

4. Frost the cupcakes with the orange icing tube (fitted with a decorator tip).

5. Arrange tombs and cupcakes on a large platter with crumbled “earth” around them. Add Halloween candies as part of the decoration.

Happy Halloween!

Note: White Candy Melts, candy molds, pastry bags, premade orange frosting tubes, decorator tip attachments and Halloween baking cups can be found at party supply and/or arts and crafts stores.

Text and Photographs ©2010 Nancy DeLucia Real

Pouding Chômeur (Pudding of the Unemployed)

In Cakes & Cupcakes On August 29, 2010 2 Comments

Pouding Chômeur (sometimes called “le gâteau chômeur”) is literally the poor man’s pudding or cake. Originating in the French province of Quebec, Canada, the cake was created in 1929 by some female factory workers – this was the time of the Great Depression. Traditionally, it was made with flour, brown sugar and other inexpensive ingredients. Then and now, the most common ingredient of this cake, pure maple syrup, hails from an abundance of trees in the forests of Quebec.

This vanilla-infused cake is bathed in a delicate maple cream sauce. In essence, this is what turns the cake into a moist, pudding-like dessert. I have created this version of Pouding Chômeur in honor of Labor Day.

Enjoy le pouding “avec une bonne tasse de café” (with a good cup of coffee).

Prep time: 30 minutes
Bake time: 35 minutes
Makes: One 9 X 18-inch Cake

FOR THE CAKE:
2 cups all-purpose, unbleached flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter (room temperature)
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-1/3 cups milk
Strawberries (for garnish)
5-Minute Sweetened Whipped Cream (found in our Recipes, under “Desserts, Creams & Sauces”)

1. Preheat oven to 350F˚. Grease and flour a 9 X 13-inch rectangular baking pan and set aside.

2. In a 1-quart mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt; set aside.

3. In a 2-quart mixing bowl, using a hand mixer, beat together the butter, sugar, eggs and vanilla extract.

4. Stir in the dry ingredients alternately with the milk. Pour the cake batter into prepared pan.

5. Place pan on rack positioned in center of oven. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until a knife inserted in center of cake comes out clean.

6. Remove cake from oven and set on a counter to cool.

FOR THE SAUCE:
1-1/2 cups pure maple syrup (12 ounces)
1-1/2 cups brown sugar, lightly packed
1 cup heavy whipping cream

1. Combine all ingredients in a 1-quart saucepot and bring to a boil; lower heat to medium.

2. Stir the sauce with a wire whisk until heated through and it turns golden-opaque.

3. Transfer the sauce to a 2-cup glass or porcelain bowl and cool to room temperature.

SERVING THE CAKE & SAUCE:

1. Drizzle a little maple cream sauce onto individual dessert plates.

2. Cut the cake into 3-inch squares and place over sauce on plate.

3. Drizzle a little more sauce over cake.

4. Garnish with strawberries and 5-Minute Sweetened Whipped Cream (found in our Recipes, under “Desserts, Creams & Sauces”).

Note: The cake and maple cream syrup can be made a day ahead. Place cake on counter 4 hours before serving so that it can warm to room temperature.

Text and Photographs ©2010 Nancy DeLucia Real