October 2009

5 Halloween Cupcake Decorating Ideas

With Halloween fast approaching, and cupcakes being the most popular dessert of the year (if not the decade!) I decided to do some research on Halloween cupcake decorating ideas.  

1. Vampire.  Vampires are hot-hot-hot this year, what with Twilight and all.  Which is kind of too bad, since I'm not a big fan of Twilight, but I do like vampires.

I admit it, it's kind of cheesy, but I have a soft spot for cupcakes which appear to have been bitten by a vampire!  You will want to use a pale white frosting, of course.  Using red velvet cake is optional.  Simply poke two holes in the frosting to represent puncture wounds, then drizzle a bit of red decorating gel for the blood drips.  

What to Do With All That Candy Corn

It’s funny how candy corn is Halloween’s number one bestselling candy, yet so many profess to hate the stuff. Almost 35 million pounds of it will be made this year, and it’s going to have to go down someone’s gullet.

And now that it’s coming in even more flavors than ever—from caramel apple to s’mores—at least the taste we have all come to associate with the candy now comes in different flavors. Still, if you absolutely hate it—and have no one to give it to or trade it with—what do you do with it?

You can toss it, of course, but that’s wasteful. You could use it to fill in driveway holes, but that might get sticky. Instead, maybe you’d like to use one of these ideas.

TV Fondant Cakes: The Debate

I was glad to see this question pop up on Reddit, because it's something I've often thought myself.  The artistic "cakes" (and I do believe the term deserves the use of "scare quotes") you see so often on television reality shows often seem more like constructions of plywood and Tinker Toys, covered with a bunch of fondant.

Don't get me wrong - these art cakes show a lot of truly impressive artistic skill.  But can you really call it a cake?  

I think my problem is that "meant to be eaten" is inextricably bound up with the word "cake" in my mind.  A cake that isn't meant to be eaten is like a car that isn't meant to be driven, or a plate that isn't meant to be eaten off of.  Oh wait, there are lots of those in the world!  After all, what is a Franklin Mint collectible but "a plate that isn't meant to be eaten off of"?

At any rate, a cake that is beautiful but not meant to be eaten - yes, I do sometimes have a problem with this.  However if you watch enough episodes of "Ace of Cakes" you will notice that there is an actual bakery in the front of the store, where they sell actual baked goods.  It doesn't come up very often, because most of the show takes place in the back room.

T'is the Season of Pumpkin Eating!

Halloween is in two weeks and fall is in full swing. The season of comfort food and sweets is upon us and while candy and treats are the sweet stuff of childhood and fond memories... let is remember mum's advice, "all in moderation."

October is the official month of pumpkin eating. Pumpkin spice latte's, pumpkin pies, pumpkin cheesecakes, and pumpkin spice muffins. Pumpkins and pumpkin seeds, are very good for you. No surprise there, right? But, did you know that pumpkin seeds kill parasites? That's right.

In fact, many of the ingredients found in fall desserts- are anti-parasitic.

National Caramel Month

Now this is one holiday that makes sense this month!

Mmm… caramel. There aren’t many people who don’t like it, and for those who don’t, I always have to wonder at your mentality. Are you crazy? Did you have a bad caramel accident in your past that traumatized you? I honestly can’t see why anyone wouldn’t be in love with the gooey, delicious stuff. It’s only second to wildly scrumptious gummy bears and such in my book.

If you’re a fellow caramel lover, boy are you (we) in luck this month. With so many treats on the market and caramel for treat-making available basically everywhere, the only problem we’ve got is choosing which delight we want. We really have endless possibilities…

Pastry Mat Review and Helpful Hints

After buying a rolling pin, my second revolution was to purchase a non-slip pastry mat.  I bought the cheapest one for sale at Amazon, for about $10.  Then of course I discovered that I don't have any counters big enough to lay it out, so I scrounged up a square of plywood that I can set over my kitchen sink, as a rolling board.

The pastry mat has a weird texture that wants to squirm out of your hands.  I swear that it wouldn't take much to dress this thing up for Halloween.  You could hide it inside a box, and make little kids reach their hands in through a hole in the side of the box, and when they felt it, they would squeal in terror.  I don't half want to squeal in terror when I pick it up, myself.