We made the most of the extra hour today and worked our way through a whole load of pumpkins. Both a carving tutorial and a cupcake recipe on the blog this week.
Today has been Pumpkin Sunday round our way, starting Halloween preparations early for next weekend. Halloween’s got bigger and bigger as our kids have got older and they’re really looking forward to going trick-or-treating. We always put carved pumpkins in our front windows to show that trick-or-treaters are welcome, as do many of our neighbours. Today, not only have we been pumpkin carving, but I made the pumpkin cupcake recipe below and we also had chicken and pumpkin panang curry for dinner tonight. A very pumpkin-heavy day!
Our elder daughter requested a ‘Book Of Life‘ themed pumpkin this year, so this afternoon I spent a good couple of hours making her the one pictured above while we listened to the Book Of Life soundtrack on loop. It’s one of our favourite animated films and I’d really recommend it if you haven’t seen it already. It’s set in Mexico around the Day of the Dead festivities, which also take place next weekend. I think we’ll be making skull iced biscuits next weekend, using the recipe in my video recipe here.
Our younger daughter wanted a Hello Kitty pumpkin, so I put together the photo montage above to show how easy this was to make. Once you’ve hollowed out your pumpkin, draw a template onto paper and sellotape it onto your pumpkin. While I did most of the skull carving freehand, for this one, I found a template on Pinterest, which I traced onto paper from my iPad. I then used a pin to prick through the picture and transfer the pattern onto the pumpkin. When this was done, I went around the dotted lines with a washable felt tip pen. I find serrated steak knives are the easiest to carve with so I cut out the pattern with the knife and hey presto, Hello Kitty pumpkin!
I hope you enjoy the recipe below as much as we have. See you next week!
Pumpkin and Pecan Cupcake Recipe
Ingredients (makes around 24)
For the cupcakes
- 275g plain flour
- 250g pureed pumpkin
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 100g unsalted butter
- 200g caster sugar
- 75g light brown sugar
- 75g finely chopped pecans
- 2 large eggs
- 175ml milk
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ground ginger
- 1/2 tsp ground all spice
- 1/2 tsp ground cloves
For the icing
- 150g cream cheese
- 40g unsalted butter
- 450g icing sugar
- orange food colouring
- 1 tsp vanilla paste
- 1/2 tsp ginger
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 100g dark chocolate
- To purée the pumpkin, take about half of a small pumpkin and cut it into inch cubes. Put this into a saucepan, cover with water and bring to the boil. Simmer for about 20 minutes, or until the pumpkin is tender. Drain the water and then when cool, using a potato masher, mash the pumpkin into a purée. Weigh out 250g of this to use in the recipe.
- Preheat the oven to 180oC / 160oC fan / gas mark 4
- Weigh out the sugar and butter and beat together with an electric hand whisk until creamy. Add in the two eggs and continue to beat. Fold in the milk and the puréed pumpkin. At this point the mixture will split but don’t worry, it will come back.
- Sift together all of the remaining dry ingredients except for the nuts and fold this into the wet mixture. Fold the finely chopped nuts in too.
- Divide the batter between the cupcake cases in a muffin tin. If you want to be really precise, I used about 55g in each case – about two thirds full.
- Bake for 20 minutes and you’ll know it’s done when a cocktail stick comes out clean. Put the cupcakes onto a cooling rack to cool completely.
- To make the icing, beat the cream cheese, butter and icing sugar together in a bowl with an electric hand whisk. Add the vanilla, ginger, cinnamon and orange food colouring – it’s up to you how orange you want to go. Depending on the type of food colouring you use, you might need to top the frosting up with a little more icing sugar – it should be fairly thick.
- Spread the frosting on top of the cupcakes and smooth them level with the top of the cupcake cases – I use a palette knife for this but any table knife will be fine.
- Place a heatproof bowl on top of a saucepan of water on a medium heat, ensuring that the bottom of the bowl doesn’t touch the water. Add 50g dark chocolate to the bowl and stir until melted. As soon as it’s melted, take the bowl off the heat and allow to cool for 10 minutes. Finely chop the remaining 50g of dark chocolate and stir half of this into the melted chocolate until completely absorbed. Wait another 5 minutes and add the remaining chocolate, stirring until absorbed.
- Transfer the chocolate to a piping bag and pipe pumpkin faces onto the top of your cupcakes. Happy Halloween!