It’s already that time of year again – the days are getting shorter, there’s a chill in the air and pumpkin spice lattes are back in fashion. Yes, it’s almost Halloween. And the supermarket shelves are chock-full of commercial packaged sweets.
why not take an original approach this year, and treat family and friends to these delicious homemade treats!
Spiced Pumpkin Cupcakes
100g unsalted butter, softened
280g pumpkin puree
½ tsp fine sea salt
325g light brown sugar
4 medium eggs
240g plain flour
2½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
¾ tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
¾ tsp ground nutmeg
¼ tsp ground cloves
Preheat the oven to 175°C/Gas mark, and line two 12-hole muffin trays with cases.
Melt the butter and leave to cool slightly. Place the pumpkin puree, salt, buttermilk and sugar in a large bowl. Mix well with a balloon whisk. One at a time, add the eggs, whisking well between each addition.
Sift together the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and spices. Gently whisk the flour mixture into the pumpkin mixture, adding it in two batches. Pour in the melted butter and mix until just incorporated.
Use a piping bag or tablespoon to fill the cases until two-thirds full.
Bake the cupcakes for 15-20 minutes. They are cooked when the tops are golden-brown and spring back to the touch. If in doubt, insert a clean knife or skewer into each cupcake; it should come out clean.
Leave the cupcakes to cool for a few minutes in their trays before placing them on a wire rack to cool completely.
Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting
250g full-fat cream cheese, slightly softened
625g icing sugar, sifted
½ TBSP ground cinnamon
250g unsalted butter, softened
Place the cream cheese in a bowl and beat until smooth and creamy.
Sift together the icing sugar and ground cinnamon.
Place the butter and one-third of the sugar mixture into a separate bowl and cream together until very pale and fluffy. Add another third of the sugar and repeat. Add the remaining sugar and beat again, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula to ensure there are no lumps. Gradually add the cream cheese, mixing at a low speed until combined. Chill until firm enough to pipe.
Pipe the cinnamon cream cheese frosting onto each cupcake, then top with a sugarcraft pumpkin.
Ghost & Skeleton Gingerbread Cookies
Makes approximately 10 ghosts & 10 skeletons
5 TBSP water
201g light brown sugar
3 TBSP treacle
3 TBSP golden syrup
3 TBSP ground ginger
3 TBSP ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground cloves
250g salted butter, cold and diced
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
560g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
Line 4 baking trays with greaseproof paper.
Place the water, brown sugar, treacle, golden syrup, ground ginger, cinnamon and cloves in a deep saucepan. Bring the mixture to the boil over a medium heat, stirring continuously.
Remove from the heat and gradually add the diced butter. Stir until combined. Add the bicarbonate of soda – take care as the mixture will swell up. Leave to cool to room temperature.
Once cool, transfer the mixture to a large bowl. Sift in the flour and slowly mix together to form a slightly wet and sticky dough. Wrap in cling film and chill for 2 hours, or until cool and firm.
Place the dough on a lightly floured surface and roll it out, until about 5-6mm thick.
Use ghost and skeleton gingerbread man cutters to cut out the cookies and place them on the prepared baking trays. Chill again for at least 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 200° C/Gas mark 6.
Bake the cookies for 8-10 minutes, or until they spring back to the touch and the edges are slightly darkened. Leave to cool completely on a wire rack.
500g royal icing
Black food colour
You will need 1 paper piping bag of soft-peak black royal icing, as well as 1 paper piping bag of soft-peak white royal icing. Adjust the remaining royal icing to flooding consistency.
Take the piping bag filled with white soft-peak icing, cut a small section from the tip of the piping bag and pipe the outlines of the ghosts. Fill the outlined sections with white flooding icing and leave them to dry completely. Once dry, use the black soft-peak icing to pipe on the eyes and mouths. You can also use black soft-peak icing to pipe cobwebs on some of the ghosts. Leave them to dry completely.
To decorate the skeleton cookies, take the piping with white soft-peak icing and pipe the outlines of a skeleton onto each cookie. Fill the outlined sections with white flooding icing and leave to dry completely.
The recipe for Spiced Pumpkin Cupcakes is from Peggy Porschen’s book ‘Cupcakes’ (Published by Quadrille, £6.99). It is available for purchase here.
The recipe and decorating instructions for the gingerbread cookies are from Peggy Porschen’s book ‘Cookies’ (Published by Quadrille, £6.99). It is available for purchase here.
Images courtesy of Georgia Glynn Smith.
Learn to make Peggy’s delicious Christmas cupcakes at the Peggy Porschen Academy. The next available classes are Saturday 22nd November and Saturday 6th December. There are also a number of exciting Christmas cookie classes coming up on Saturday 29th November, Sunday 7th December and Saturday 13th December. For more information, please visit the Academy site.