October 28, 2022 at 12:05 p.m.
It's spooooooooooky season!
I don’t normally like to share the types of recipes that need pictures to show how cool they are. It’s hard to convey in this space and in black and white, and usually, a lot less work could make the same-tasting dish. It might just not look as creative.
But, this week, I’m going to try to get some recipes in here that are spooky looking and great tasting for your Halloween parties this week, yet are also easy to explain so that you don’t need the extravagant pictures that you might find in some magazine or on some web site.
I hope you all have a safe and wonderful Halloween early next week and enjoy partying this weekend, bringing your kids trick or treating, or just turning the lights down low and putting on some spooky horror movies!
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I don’t typically like dark chocolate very much, but this cake is rich, homemade and definitely spooky looking!
BLACK MAGIC CAKE
2/3 c. vegetable oil, plus more for greasing the baking pans
1 c. cocoa powder
1 c. boiling water
2 c. granulated sugar
1 3/4 c. all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. fine salt
1 c. whole milk
2 large eggs
1 tbsp. pure vanilla extract
FROSTING & FILLING
1 1/2 c. heavy cream
3/4 c. cocoa powder, sifted
8 oz. semisweet chocolate, chopped
1 tsp. espresso powder
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
Pinch fine salt
2 tbsp. unsalted butter
1/3 c. confectioners' sugar, sifted
2 c. mini marshmallows (about 4 oz.)
1 or more candy spiders or 2 candy eyes, for decorating
For the cake: Position an oven rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F. Line the bottom of two 9-inch round cake pans with parchment and grease the parchment and the sides of the pans with oil.
Stir together the cocoa powder and boiling water in a small bowl and let sit to bloom for 5 minutes (this step intensifies the chocolate flavor in the cake).
Whisk together the granulated sugar, flour, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. Whisk together the bloomed cocoa, oil, milk, eggs and vanilla in a medium bowl. Pour the cocoa mixture into the sugar mixture and stir until smooth (the batter will be thin). Divide the batter evenly between the prepared cake pans. Bake until the cakes bounce back when pressed in the middle and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 30 to 40 minutes. Let cool completely in the pans on a rack.
For the filling and frosting: Heat the cream in a double boiler over low heat, whisking occasionally, until it begins to steam. Whisk in the cocoa powder, chocolate, espresso powder, vanilla and salt until the mixture is smooth, about 2 minutes. Whisk in the butter until melted. Whisk in the confectioners' sugar until incorporated. Let the frosting cool completely.
To assemble: Put one cake, bottom-side up, on a serving plate or cake stand. Spread about 1 cup of the frosting over the top but not all the way down the side. Top with the other cake, bottom-side up, and frost the top and sides with the remaining frosting.
For the spider web or mummy decoration: Microwave the marshmallows in a microwave-safe medium bowl until they swell and are soft enough to stir, about one minute. Let sit a few minutes until cool enough to touch. Spray your hands with cooking spray. For a spider web, pick up a tablespoon-sized blob of the melted marshmallow and stretch it over and around the cake; repeat so that the strings of marshmallow crisscross one another in many directions, and continue until you have what looks like a spider web. For a mummy, stretch the marshmallow so that all the strings on the top of the cake run in the same direction, leaving a small gap between strings for the mummy's eyes to peek out. Garnish with a candy spider or several candy spiders for the web cake or candy eyes for the mummy cake.
Note: The candy decorations are a nice touch, but the cake will be fun and delicious without them as well.
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Don’t mistake this for an actual pumpkin recipe. It’s just a cheese ball that looks like a pumpkin with the help of cheese puffs!
3 c. orange cheese puffs
2 lbs. cream cheese, at room temperature
3 c. shredded Cheddar
1/4 c. chopped chives
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 bell pepper with a long stem
Crackers, for serving
Put the cheese puffs in a food processor and process until finely ground. Transfer to a rimmed baking sheet.
Combine the cream cheese, Cheddar, chives, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a large bowl and mix to combine. Mold the mixture into a ball, pressing the top of the ball with your hand to flatten it a bit. With the tip of a butter knife, carve lines down the sides to resemble a pumpkin.
Roll the cheese ball in the ground cheese puffs. Remove the entire bell pepper stem with a paring knife and put it on top of the cheeseball as the pumpkin stem. Seed and slice the bell pepper. Serve the cheeseball on a plate with crackers and slices of bell pepper.
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Since the cake took up a lot of space, we’re going with a drink recipe to end, since I needed it to be short! But,
I had this last Halloween at a friend’s house and told her
I was going to use it this year!
1 oz. vodka
1 can pineapple juice, 6 oz.
1/2 oz. blue curacao
eyeball ice cubes, for spooky effect
In a rocks glass filled with ice add vodka, pineapple juice and blue curacao and stir until mixed.
Add a few eyeball ice cubes and enjoy!
I know you’re probably wondering— what are eyeball ice cubes. It’s a product that’s sold that looks like an eyeball and you can fill it with water and freeze it.
It’s a great prop to have for any Halloween party. It works great for just individual cocktails like this recipe, or for big punch bowls. They are always a hit!
TFD: "There is a child in every one of us who is still a trick-or-treater looking for a brightly-lit front porch." - Robert Brault