It’s a Cupcake Graveyard.

I love Halloween. It’s my favorite holiday. Anyone who knows me, wouldn’t have a hard time figuring that out – I love dressing up and I love candy. But I also love Halloween-themed desserts. For me, they are the most fun to make. I’ve already started this year, with my first batch of sweet Halloween fun, in the form of Graveyard Cupcakes.

Rest in delicious peace.

Rest in delicious peace.

I used a chocolate cake for the cupcakes themselves, and made my soon-to-be-famous cookies and cream buttercream (a girl can dream.) I piped large uneven dollops of the icing on top of the cupcakes, making the perfect base for a cookie grave.

Soon.

Soon.

Then, I wrote on the cookie tombstones, and put them into place on the tops of the cupcakes.

Death by Chocolate?

Death by Chocolate?

The result was a Halloween treat to die for.

————————————————————————————————

Jeanine’s Soon-To-Be-Famous Cookies and Cream Buttercream.

What you’ll need:

8 oz butter

5 oz shortening

1 lb 4oz confectioner’s sugar

1 tsp vanilla

2 tblsp water

8 crushed oreos (or faux-reos)

What you’ll do:

In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and shortening. Add the sugar, vanilla, water, and crushed cookies. Beat until smooth, light, and fluffy (about 5 minutes).

Mummies and Spiders and Eyes, Oh My!

DSC_0609

I made some Halloween cupcakes today, for no real reason or purpose, other than it’s almost Halloween and I felt like being creative. I baked up two dozen apple caramel cupcakes, which, although quite tasty, kinda reminded me of that apple cinnamon oatmeal from the pouch I used to eat as a kid. In this case, the cupcakes were to serve more as a canvas anyway, so I wasn’t too concerned, and besides, I liked that oatmeal. I decided to do four different Halloween-ish designs.

Design #1: Pumpkin.

the obvious choice.

the obvious choice.

I had recently made these same cupcakes for a wedding, and I still had some of the candy corn pumpkins left over, and I wanted to put them to some good use. So I did.

Design #2: Mummies.

mummy is so yummy.

mummy is so yummy.

A friend had posted a pic of similar cupcake mummies to my facebook page, and I thought they were just so darn cute, I had to try them myself.

Design #3: Spiders.

is that a spider on your cupcake?

is that a spider on your cupcake?

I had done these a few years ago, but with mini Oreos. All I had were a bunch of regular Oreos in the cabinet, so I opted to try these using those this time, instead. Plus, I had a tub of cookies and cream frosting leftover from that same wedding a couple weeks ago (I made Oreo cupcakes for it as well), so I busted it out,slathered it on, and slapped a giant killer Oreo Spider on top.

Design #4: Eyeballs.

Eat with your eyes...

eat with your eyes…

I was thinking of these the other day when I was telling a friend I made eyeball cupcakes like 6 years ago, using a green lifesaver for the retina. I had no lifesavers, but I did have a ton of light purple icing…so that happened.

All in all, I think they turned out pretty cute, and I think I’ll bring them in to work to share with my coworkers on Halloween. Let’s just hope they all liked that cinnamon oatmeal in the pouch as much as I did growing up….

taste like...oatmeal?

tastes like…oatmeal?

Recipe: Pumpkin Pumpkin Cake.

pumpkin small

I really wanted to use the rest of the can of pumpkin that I opened for the Soft and Chewy Pumpkin Cinnamon Chip Cookies before it went bad, so I just had to make another pumpkin dessert, stat. Also, while on the hunt for pumpkin cider, we stumbled across this, and I had to make it mine:

have your pumpkin and drink it, too.

have your pumpkin and drink it, too.

As if these weren’t signs enough, the universe was truly speaking to me, when I came across this perfect pan:

perfect pumpkin pan.

perfect pumpkin pan.

Now that all the pumpkin planets were aligned, I went to work. First, I started brainstorming (while drinking Pumpkin Cider for inspiration) until I came up with a new pumpkin cake recipe that pleased me. (Note: the cider is NOT in the recipe, but does make an enjoyable accompanying refreshment).

Pumpkin Cider not included.

Pumpkin Cider not included.

Next, I baked the cake. I was concerned that due to the shape of the pan, the cake would stick, so I really really greased it. (Like REALLY greased it).

greased up.

greased up.

The over-greasing worked, and the cake popped out perfectly – no breaks, no uneven parts. I then went ahead whipped up some pumpkin buttercream using the liqueur, and proceeded to create some art.

still life with pumpkin.

still life with pumpkin.

I shared it with friends, and it was a big hit! And you can make it, too! Here’s how.

Pumpkin Shaped Pumpkin Cake.

What you’ll need:

1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed

1 egg

1 tblsp canola oil

1 tblsp baking powder

1 1/4 cups flour

1/2 cup pumpkin liqueur

1/4 cup pumpkin puree

What you’ll do:

Preheat the oven to 350. In a large bowl, combine the brown sugar, egg, and oil. In a separate bowl, whisk together the baking powder and flour. Add the dry ingredients to the wet. Add the liqueur and pumpkin puree, and mix until smooth. Pour into a very well greased pumpkin shaped pan. Bake for 18 – 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean, and the cake pulls away from the sides of the pan.

Pumpkin Liqueur Buttercream.

What you’ll need:

1/2 cup shortening

1 lb confectioners sugar

1/4 cup pumpkin puree

2 tblsp pumpkin liqueur

What you’ll do:

In a large bowl, cream together the shortening sugar and pumpkin puree. Add the liqueur, a little at a time, until the desired consistency is reached.

The ice your cake and decorate it as you see fit! The icing will already be orange from the pumpkin puree, so there’s that. ūüôā

 

Recipe: Soft and Chewy Pumpkin Cinnamon Chip Cookies.

pumpkin cookies3

I love pumpkin. I love the fact that everything has a seasonal “pumpkin” or “pumpkin spice” flavor. I want to buy it all and hoard it for the rest of year. But I fear that if I do, I will be poor and hungry, since I’d grow sick of eating nothing but pumpkin. So for now, I’ll just continue to love it in the fall.

Because it’s such a small window of time, I try and take full advantage, making as many pumpkin desserts as I possibly can. This will be number 2 so far this season. Since the last thing I made was a Pumpkin Almond Spice Cake, I wanted to do cookies for this next round. I thought I’d made pumpkin cookies before, but I found no record of such a thing in my binder, so I started from scratch and began a search for a recipe to use as a foundation. I found this one, and it sounded like a perfect platform from which to jump right in and create.

there's something pumpkin going on.

there’s something pumpkin going on.

I mixed up the recipe, pretty much as it was written, but I didn’t like the glaze idea, so I decided instead to add two cups of one of my absolute favorite baking¬†accoutrements, Cinnamon Chips.

it's beginning to look a lot like pumpkin.

it’s beginning to look a lot like pumpkin.

I used my trusty mini ice cream scoop, which is perfectly cookie-sized, and scooped them out onto parchment paper-covered cookie sheets.

here's the scoop.

here’s the scoop.

I baked them at 350 for about 15 minutes, and they were perfect. Seriously. They were not burned, yet were cooked all the way through, and remained soft and chewy and delicious throughout their entire lifespan.

soft. chewy. cinnamon chip-y.

soft. chewy. cinnamon chip-y.

The recipe made a lot of them, too. I had baked 3 trays of 15 cookies each, and had to stop because someone was nagging me about using the oven. In his defense, it was dinner time. So I wrapped the rest of the dough and put it in the fridge and plan to bake it off this week!

 

Recipe: Almond Butter Cupcakes with Almond Butter Buttercream.

almond butter cupcake

I am a super huge peanut butter fanatic. However, there is one thing better than peanut butter – almond butter. If you have never had almond butter, I suggest you run out right now and get yourself some (unless you’re allergic to nuts – then DO NOT DO THAT). But if you like peanut butter, and you like almonds, then you’ll love almond butter. And what’s the one thing that’s even better than almond butter? Dessert made with almond butter, of course!

I had purchased a jar of it recently, and was sitting around daydreaming about what to bake next, when images of said jar floated into my mind…and I decided to try baking almond butter cupcakes with almond butter buttercream. I started with a recipe for a regular cake made with brown sugar, and carefully adjusted the ingredients based on the addition of the almond butter. The batter looked (and tasted) pretty fab. So far, so good.

almond butter makes batter better.

almond butter makes batter better.

I baked the cupcakes, and while I waited for them to cool, I made almond butter buttercream to top them. If you’re gonna do it, you might as well go all out.

cooling time.

cooling time.

I just did a simple spiral top with a large round tip. They looked like so:

all almond, all the time.

all almond, all the time.

Because it was right before Halloween, I even used orange and black baking cups. I put them in a box, and sent them out into the world to be enjoyed (but kept three for myself and my boyfriend as he LOVES almonds even more than I).

what's in the box?!

what’s in the box?!

People went nuts over them. (See what I did there?). Anyway, here’s the recipe…Enjoy!

Almond Butter Cupcakes.

What you’ll need:

1/2 cup dark brown sugar

1 egg

1 tablespoon canola oil

1 teaspoon almond extract

1 tablespoon baking powder

1 cup flour

1/2 cup fat free milk

1/4 cup almond butter

What you’ll do:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, beat the sugar, egg, oil, and almond extract. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour and baking powder, and add to the first bowl, along with the milk, and beat together until just combined. Add the almond butter, and beat until smooth. Line a muffin tin with paper liners, and fill each about halfway. Bake for 15-18 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Makes about a dozen cupcakes.

Almond Butter Buttercream.

What you’ll need:

1/2 cup butter, softened

2/3 cup almond butter

2 cups confectioners sugar

1 teaspoon almond extract

4 tablespoons heavy cream

What you’ll do:

In a large bowl, cream together the butter and almond butter. Add the almond extract, and the sugar – one cup at a time, beating well between each cup. Add the heavy cream, one tablespoon at a time – you may want to add more or less than 4 tablespoons, depending on your desired consistency. I found 4 to be perfect.

Save the Cake!!

I’m beginning to get a bit of a reputation among my baking friends and colleagues as a kind of “cake environmentalist,” in regards to my love of saving and reusing leftover cake scraps. In school, they nicknamed me “the leftover queen” because¬†I couldn’t bear to throw anything away, and always wound up taking bags of dough, cake scraps, fillings, mousse, whatever – home with me. And truth be told, it rarely went to waste. Often times I was able to use¬†it in another dessert¬†concoction. Other times, I just ate it. At least it didn’t wind up in the trash.

Anyway, last week, a baking friend of mine (who, let me just say is the best cake sculptor¬†I know – just check out¬†her photos at Sweet Simplicity Cakes)¬†was working on a wedding cake, and wound up with some leftover cake scraps. She texted me immediately and asked if I wanted them, to which I replied “Abso-freaking-lutely!” So she bagged the scraps and brought them to me. Granted, she did tell me there were a lot, but I was still not prepared for what I was presented with – the motherload of cake scraps. O joyous day!

bags of cake!

I carried the bag of bags home (it was not light, I¬†tell ya), and I started thinking about what to do with them. A week went by, and I found that all I’d done was eat half of one of the bags, grabbing a scrap or two every time I opened the fridge. This was NOT going well. Something had to be done, ASAP. So tonight, I mixed one of the bags with some leftover cream cheese icing I had, and made cake balls.

balls of cake!

I dipped them in chocolate (milk and white) and sprinkled them with a little Halloween flair to keep things seasonal.

chocolate covered balls of cake! with sprinkles!

And then I ate two of them. So much for that 10 mile run today…

The Scary Eyeball.

Happy Halloween everyone! Hope you’re having a boo-tiful day, full of treats (and maybe even a few tricks). In honor of this spook-tacular day, I’ve made some ghoulish cupcakes you¬†won’t be able to¬†take your eyes off of.

gives new meaning to eating with your eyes.

The cupcakes themselves are festively pumpkin flavored, while the whites of the eyes are cream cheese icing. Although looking at them now, red velvet cake would have also been a bloody good choice.

Anyway,¬†here’s to dressing up, eating¬†treats, and scaring¬†the crap out of people. And remember,¬†anything can happen on Halloween….

get pumped for pumpkin.

It’s that time of year – the air gets a little brisker, the days get a little shorter, the desserts¬†get a little better. Maybe I’m biased, but I don’t think it gets any better than the seasonal desserts of autumn. Throw in Halloween, and you’ve got your work cut out for you, especially when it comes to cupcakes!

So, with that being said, this post is dedicated to fall-themed cupcakes, both past and present. Maybe you’ll see something that tickles your autumn taste buds, and then proceed to email me and place an order for it. I’m here to help.

Let the games begin!

all pumpkin, all the time.

This is a cinnamon pumpkin cupcake with a buttercream flower on top, and sprinkled with cinnamon. Perfect companion for that spiced latte you’ve been waiting all year for.

sprinkles add instant autumn.

These are also pumpkin, but pumpkin spice, with a whipped cream frosting, and “autumn medley” sprinkles. Kid’s love ’em. And just so no adults feel left out…

the adult version.

Same pumpkin spice cupcake, but with more elegant grown-up icing.

Moving right along,..
 

spider - he is our hero.

These are not pumpkin, they’re chocolate, but the cups are orange and they’re Halloween themed. Plus they have an oreo¬†on top. Who doesn’t love an oreo spider?

Keeping with the Halloween theme…

scary good.

Also not pumpkin, but Halloween themed, these buttercream ghosts are perched atop a vanilla mini cupcake, and with mini M&M eyes that scare you into eating them.

Now for something completely different…¬†

it's all about the leaves.

These were an actual request for “autumn themed” cupcakes. I was given free rein on decorating, the only requirement was that they were chocolate.

And finally, to bring it all full circle…

autumn in ball form.

Pumpkin cake balls topped with a dollop¬†of pumpkin buttercream. Can you eat just one? I don’t think so. But why don’t you order some from me and try?

So that’s a just a sampling of what I can do to make your autumn a little sweeter. So what are you waiting for? Before you know it, fall is over and its Christmas. And what have you done?