>Marble Witch Hat Cupcakes

I have hardly felt like it is Halloween yet, school has loaded me up with so many midterms and papers I haven’t had much time to think about much else. I thought for Halloween I would get a break but no the day after Halloween I have two exams and a paper due, terrific! Just because I have a lot of school work though doesn’t mean I haven’t been baking; my mums work is having a really big Halloween party today so I made these witch hat cupcakes and a few other goodies. I got this idea from two really awesome blogs Back to the Cutting Board and Whisk Kid. Right now everything I have been baking has not just been pumpkin because of the season but the Giants are in the world series!!! Everywhere you look around here people are wearing black and orange it’s really been fun!
Chocolate-Pumpkin Marble Cupcakes Adapted from Back to The Cutting Board

1 1/4 cup pumpkin puree
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
3/4 cup butter, softened*
4 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
2 3/4 cups cake flour, divided
3 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
2 tsp. baking powder, divided
1 tsp. salt, divided
3/4 cup Dutch-processed unsweetened cocoa
1 1/3 cup regular or low-fat buttermilk, divided

Preheat oven to 350 degrees (F). Put 24 cupcake wrappers in the cupcake pans.
Meanwhile, in a large mixer bowl cream butter until light. Add both sugars in a steady stream and mix on medium for about 5 minutes.

Add eggs, one at time, mixing well after each. Add in vanilla.

Transfer half of the mixture into another large bowl (another mixer bowl would be helpful, but any large bowl will work). Set aside.

Add pumpkin to the first bowl. Mix well.

In a smaller bowl combine 1 3/4 cup flour, pumpkin pie spice, 1 tsp. baking powder and 1/2 tsp. salt.
Add half of the flour mixture to the pumpkin mixture and mix well. Mix in 1/3 cup buttermilk. Then add the remaining flour and mix until combined. Set aside.
In the smaller bowl combine 1 cup flour, 3/4 cup cocoa, 1 tsp. baking powder and 1/2 tsp. salt.
Add half of the flour/cocoa mixture to the other large bowl and mix well with a whisk or your mixer. Mix in 1 cup of buttermilk. Then add the remaining flour and mix until combined.
Spoon about a tablespoon of pumpkin in each cupcake liner, then a tablespoon of chocolate batter, then another tablespoon on pumpkin. Using a toothpick swirl the layers together.
Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few moist crumbs. Cool on wire rack for 20 minutes.
Then Frost with Cream Cheese frosting.
Witch Hats via Whisk Kid
Chocolate kisses
Chocolate coins
Red royal icing

Pipe a thick line of icing around the bottom of a chocolate kiss. Press firmly onto the center of a chocolate coin so the icing spreads around the kiss to hold it in place. Stick on top of Cupcakes and enjoy!


>Apple Pancakes

A couple of weeks ago I went to Apple Hill with my family. We have been going since I was about 10 and it’s my favorite part of fall. I will do a whole post on it later. So while we were there we bought over 40 pounds of apples because their so cheap their, and so I have been baking apple desserts like a mad women. I made these Apple pancakes for my parents with a Apple cinnamon syrup we bought there to go on top. They were delicious.

Apple Pancakes via Smitten Kitchen2 eggs, well beaten
1 1/2 cups of milk or yogurt (I used milk and am only assuming that the yogurt will work as well)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup sugar
3 medium apples, peeled and coarsely grated (I used yellow delicious, but will use a more tart variety next time)
Extra flavorings (see recipe notes)
Vegetable oil, for frying
Confectioner’s sugar, for dusting

1. Mix the eggs with the milk or yogurt in a large bowl.
2. In a smaller bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar together.
3. Combine the wet and the dry ingredients and stir in the apples and whatever other flavorings you see fit.
4. Heat a thin layer of oil in a skillet over low to medium heat. Drop large spoonful of batter into the pan and flatten it out a little (otherwise, you might have trouble getting them to cook in the center) and cook until golden brown underneath. Flip the pancakes and cook them for an additional two or three minutes.
5. Either dust with powdered sugar and serve immediately, or keep on a tray in a warmed oven until you are ready to serve them.


>Cream Puffs

About month ago I did a dessert table for a party and on that dessert table was cream puffs. I love this recipe more then any that I have tried. It’s really nice because the tart dough adds a nice crunch to the other wise soft texture. I made them bite size which is great because these are really rich.
Pate a choux
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
4 large eggs, plus 1 large egg white
1.Bring butter, sugar, salt, and 1 cup water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Remove from heat. Using a wooden spoon, quickly stir in flour. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until mixture pulls away from sides and a film forms on bottom of pan, about 3 minutes.
2.Transfer to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on low speed until slightly cooled, about 1 minute. Raise speed to medium; add whole eggs, 1 at a time, until a soft peak forms when batter is touched with your finger. If peak does not form, lightly beat remaining egg white, and mix it into batter a little at a time until it does.
Tart Dough
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
2 large egg yolks
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons heavy cream
1.Put butter and confectioners’ sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on low speed until combined, about 2 minutes. Add egg yolks, and mix until combined, about 1 minute. Add 3/4 cup flour, and mix just until flour is incorporated. Add remaining 3/4 cup flour, the salt, and cream; mix until just combined, about 1 minute.
2.Shape dough into a disk; wrap in plastic, and refrigerate 2 hours or overnight.

Pastry Cream
2 cups whole milk
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise, seeds scraped and reserved
Pinch of salt
4 large egg yolks
1/4 cup cornstarch
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1.Bring milk, 1/4 cup sugar, vanilla bean and seeds, and salt to a simmer in a medium saucepan over medium heat.
2.Whisk egg yolks, cornstarch, and remaining 1/4 cup sugar in a medium bowl. Whisking, slowly pour about 1/2 cup of hot milk mixture into yolk mixture. Slowly add remaining milk mixture until incorporated. Pour mixture back into the saucepan, and cook over medium-high heat, whisking, until it begins to bubble in center and registers 160 degrees on an instant-read thermometer, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat; discard vanilla bean.
3.Transfer to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add butter; beat on medium speed until butter has melted and mixture has cooled, about 5 minutes. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing it directly onto surface to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate until cold, at least 2 hours or up to 2 days. Just before using, beat on low speed or whisk by hand until smooth.

1.Line 3 large baking sheets with parchment paper or with nonstick baking mats, such as Silpats. Dip a 2-inch round cookie cutter in flour, and mark circles 2 inches apart on prepared sheets. Transfer pate a choux to a pastry bag fitted with a 5/8-inch plain tip and pipe puffs to fit in flour circles. Smooth peaks with a moistened finger, rounding tops to ensure even rising. Freeze pastry puffs on baking sheets until firm, about 30 minutes.
2.Meanwhile, sprinkle a clean work surface with 1/2 cup granulated sugar, and place tart dough on top of sugar, patting it into a round. Sprinkle another 1/2 cup sugar over dough, and roll to a scant 1/8-inch thick, coating both sides of dough with the sugar to keep it from sticking. Using a 1 1/2-inch cookie cutter, cut out 36 rounds, and place a round on top of each frozen puff. Return to freezer until firm, at least 15 minutes. Preheat oven to 375 degrees with racks in upper and lower thirds.
3.Bake puffs until pale golden brown all over, 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool completely on baking sheets on wire racks. Puffs can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature overnight.
4.Put heavy cream in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form. Whisk the pastry cream to soften. Working in 2 batches, fold whipped cream into pastry cream. Transfer to a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2-inch plain tip. Insert tip into bottom of each puff, and fill. Dust with confectioners’ sugar. Cream puffs are best eaten within a few hours; refrigerate in an airtight container.


>Turtle Cake

The month of October is filled with birthday’s in my family, so there are lots of gifts to get and lots of party’s to be attended, but also many cakes to be made. A few weeks ago was my fathers birthday and he loves chocolate and those turtle Candy’s so I knew this would be the perfect cake. I ended up making two for his birthday weekend because we had two separate parties and although it’s a large cake we really didn’t have much left over.

1 C heavy cream
6 oz bittersweet chocolate chopped
2 T. light corn syrup
1 pound soft caramel Candy’s(if you buy soft caramels go with Kraft I did experimenting and Kraft worked the best)
1/8 tsp. salt
3 (8 inch) chocolate cake rounds (the recipe i have only makes two rounds so you will have to make 1 1/2 of the recipe in the link.)
For the icing:In medium saucepan, cook 1/2 C heavy cream, chocolate, and corn syrup over medium-low heat, whisking constantly, until smooth. Transfer mixture to medium bowl and refrigerate mixture overnight until set. Let sit at room temperature until softened and spreadable, about 1 hour.)
For the caramel:Finely chop 1 1/2 cups pecans. Heat caramels, remaining cream, and salt in saucepan over medium-low heat, whisking constantly, until smooth. Reserve 3/4 C caramel mixture topping. Stir chopped pecans into the remaining caramel mixture.
To assemble: Place 1 cake layer on cake serving platter. Spread half of pecan-caramel mixture in even layer over top, leaving 1/2- inch border around edge. Place second layer on top and repeat with remaining caramel pecan mixture. Top with third cake layer. Spread chocolate icing over top and sides of cake and refrigerate until set about 30 minutes. Spread reserved caramel mixture over the top of cake, allowing caramel to drip over sides. Decorate with remaining pecans. Slice and serve!


>Pumpkin Scones with Cinnamon Drizzle

School has taken over my life, it’s made it rather difficult to bake, but with fall in the air, pumpkin patches setting up I had to bake something with pumpkin. This morning it was just me and my mum in the house it was chilly so we went to Starbucks and I got a pumpkin spice chai latte and she had tea, we came back home, snuggled up with our tea and talked. That’s when a pumpkin scone came to mind. I got to work right away, I gently mixed the dough, rolled it out and cut it. A few minutes after putting the triangles in the oven a sweet pumpkin aroma filled the house. Then when they were cooled I drizzled a cinnamon frosting on top, the perfect combination.
2 C. Flour
1 1/2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. ground cinnamon
1/2 t. ground nutmeg
1/4 t. ground allspice
1/4 t. ground ginger
6 T. unsalted butter
1/3 C. pumpkin puree
1/3 C. heavy cream
6 T. brown sugar
1 t. vanilla
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Get out a baking sheet and line with parchment paper. Cut the butter into small pieces, put it in a small bowl and put it back in the refridgerator. In a medium bowl, combine both flours, baking powder, salt, and all spices. Whisk together well.
2. In a separate bowl, combine pumpkin, heavy cream, brown sugar, and vanilla. Whisk together well. Get the butter pieces out of the fridge and dump them into the bowl with the flour mixture. Cut the butter into the flour using a pastry blender or rub it in with your fingertips until it resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in the raisins if you are using them.

3. Get the liquid mixture and pour into the flour mixture all at once. Stir with a wooden spoon until everything is just moistened. The dough will be very crumbly, this is the way it should be. Turn the mixture out onto the counter and push the pile together with your hands. It should stick together fairly well. Knead it just a couple of times until everything is together. Don’t knead it too much or the dough will get too sticky.
4. Pat the dough out into a rough circle, 3/4 to 1 inch thick. Cut it like a pie into 8 pieces. Place pieces on the baking sheet so that they are not touching. Bake scones for about 15 minutes at 425 degrees. They should be light brown on the bottom, the tops will darken as they cool.
5. Cinnamon Frosting:
1 C powdered sugar
2 T. milk
2 t. cinnamon
Mix above ingriedents and drizzle ontop of cooled scones.