My little man has been off school today, as he is not feeling well. He spent most of the day in bed, watching the CBeebies and sleeping. To cheer him up, I baked a batch of spiced pumpkin cupcakes, though it is still two weeks until Halloween.
The weather has been ghastly for the last few days, and baking cakes is always a good way of spending day indoors.
I love culinary challenges, and was thrilled to be invited by Unilever Kitchen to join in a Halloween and Bonfire night challenge, testing my cooking skills - spooky style.
"Now, we much prefer the ‘treat’ to the ‘trick’ here at Unilever kitchen , so we’d like to challenge you to whip up some ‘treat’ snacks and dishes to keep the family warm during the Halloween and Bonfire season. The most inventive dish will then be awarded the top place, with the creator receiving tickets to the London Dungeon Experience for four people.
To help you on your spooky challenge we’ll provide you with a delicious foodie Halloween and autumn themed hamper, full of mouth-watering seasonal treats, Unilever products as well as some Halloween inspired surprises. Whether it’s ghostly cupcakes, banging stews or frighteningly good soups, the choice is yours!"
Since the hamper arrived, my son Eddie kept asking me when I was going to bake the spooky cupcakes.
Earlier today I had a delivery of glorious pumpkins from Abel & Cole, and just had to use some of them in baking.
Spiced pumpkin cupcakes (makes 20+)
140 g cooked pumpkin
1/3 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2tsp ground ginger
1/3 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp baking powder
3 medium eggs
200g caster sugar
100ml olive oil
1tbsp golden syrup
240g plain flour
80+ ml water
Start by cutting a small sized pumpkin into big chunks and scoop out the seeds. Slightly brush with oil and roast at 180C for half an hour. I used 3 pieces of pumpkin for the cupcakes ( the rest I served for dinner with venison steaks).
Remove the skin from the pumpkin pieces and mash with a fork in a big mixing bowl. Add all the spices, sugar and mix well. Add the olive oil, yogurt, molasses and golden syrup, and mix well again. Finally add the flour and cornflour. At this point the cake mix will be very thick. Add water a little bit at a time, until you have a smoother consistency, which is easier to ladle into the muffin cases.
Place the muffin cases in a big muffin tin and pour the cake mix leaving 1cm at the top.
I also used a silicone cupcake mold, as my son Eddie was very eager to try fancy-shaped cupcakes.
Bake the muffins/cupcakes at 180C until the wooden skewer comes clean (about 20+ minutes).
Let the cupcakes cool completely before decorating with the glace frosting.
For the frosting mix 250g icing sugar with 4tbsp lemon juice and 2tbsp coconut oil. You might want to add a little bit of water, to make it easier to spread over the cupcakes. Also add a bit of food colouring. The actual frosting is much more orange in real life than in the photos, but the light is abysmal today, and I couldn't get it right when I took the photos.
I used Dr Oetker icing writing pens to add a few touches.
We also did some ghostie cupcakes by adding the marshmallows on top of the frosting and painting faces with Dr Oetker icing pens.