Halloween is one of my favorite “festivities” of the year.
I love the build up when I start to see the decorations, costumes, all the bits and pieces in stores. I love the colours, the way it marks the start of Fall in the States, with all the pictures of warm glowing candles, falling autumn leaves, and delicious and comforting pumpkin recipes. I don’t love the scary aspects, so I go light on those, but I guess overall the abundance of hype around it (more so abroad), feeds my creative soul.
The truth is, I love a dress up, and Halloween is a great excuse to embrace that!
Halloween is not a major festival here in South Africa, yet…
Over the years, and as we become more westernized and more exposed to global trends, it’s become more popular for kids to dress up and go trick or treating, and more people are becoming aware of the need to stock up on candy for 31 October, and some are embracing it in decorating their homes, and dressing up for the event, or throwing Halloween parties for friends. I have noticed a lot more shops stocking Halloween everything, and making their store fronts pop with all sorts of exciting goods.
So in an effort to embrace Halloween this year, I made these pumpkin cupcakes, filled with chocolate ganache surprise centre, and topped with sweet cream-cheese frosting. And I combined the sprinkle mix myself to achieve that fun, orange and black halloween look.
The flavours are warm, inviting, sweet and delicious, and the perfect excuse to embrace Halloween!
Halloween Surprise Cupcakes
(makes 24 cupcakes)
3 cups all purpose or cake flour
2t baking powder
1t baking soda
1t mixed/all spice
1 ¼ cups salted butter (softened)
1 cup white granulated (caster) sugar
¾ cup brown sugar
2T canola oil
3 egg whites
2 whole eggs
1 cup pumpkin puree
1t vanilla extract
1 ¼ cups buttermilk
1t orange gel coloring
- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C, and line cupcake trays with paper cups.
- In a bowl fitted to an electric mixer, cream the butter until smooth. Then add the white caster sugar in small amounts, mixing after each addition.
- Once all the sugar is added, whip on a high speed for five minutes, until the mixture is pale and fluffy.
- Add the brown sugar and mix until combined.
- In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites, whole eggs, vanilla and oil, then add to the butter mixture and combine on a low speed until it comes together.
- Add the pumpkin puree and combine. Scape down the sides of the bowl and ensure all ingredients are incorporated, but be sure not to overmix.
- In a separate large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, mixed spice and salt, and whisk to mix.
- Add the flour mix, and the buttermilk to the butter mixture in three parts, mixing on a low speed after each addition.
- Finally add the orange color. Scrape down the sides, and give a final mix so all ingredients are incorporated.
- Scoop the batter into the cups 2/3 of the way full.
- Bake for 15 minutes, or until a toothpick or cake tester inserted comes out clean.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 15 minutes, before transferring the cupcakes to a wire rack to cool completely before filling and frosing.
1 cup cream
200g dark chocolate chips
- In a pot over a medium heat, warm the cream to just boiling.
- Place the chocolate chips into a bowl and pour the boiling cream over the chocolate. Allow to stand for a few seconds then mix with a fork until smooth and glossy.
- Allow the ganache to cool to room temperature to thicken for piping.
250g salted butter
500g good quality cream cheese
3 cups powdered sugar (sifted)
1t vanilla paste
Method and assembly:
- In a bowl fitted to an electric mixer, cream the butter until smooth and pale.
- Add the soft cream cheese to the butter mixture and mix until no lumps are present.
- Add small amounts of the sifted sugar, mixing after each addition.
- Add the vanilla and combine.
- Refrigerate the frosting for 20 minutes whilst piping the ganache into the centre.
- To pipe the ganache into the centre of the cupcakes, make a criss-cross X shape in the centre of each cupcake with a bread or palette knife.
- Use a small round nozzle fitted to a piping bag. Fill the bag with the ganache, and gently place the tip into the centre of the cupcakes, squeezing the ganache into the cupcakes and drawing out carefully.
- Frost with the cooled cream cheese frosting, and decorate as desired. (I used a large round tip nozzle fitted to a piping bag to achieve the frosting as shown in photos.
Until next time…