Jack-O’-Lantern Spice Cupcakes

It’s time for another yummy cupcake recipe inspired by the book Cooking For Ghosts by the marvelous bestselling author Patricia V. Davis, who happens to be one of the coolest women I know.  And I’ll put a link right here for those amazing Chocolate Hazelnut Cupcakes in case you missed those, yum!  Today’s recipe features the “Jack O’ Lantern Spice” cupcakes mentioned as part of Angela’s “Haunted Tea and Cakes” event in The Secret Spice Cafe on board the RMS Queen Mary. 


So without further ado, here are the
Ridiculously Easy Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes.
3 fresh large eggs
1/2 cup of oil
1 cup of pumpkin puree (or make your own)
1/2 cup of strong ginger tea
1.5 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg.

Go ahead and mix all that until the eggs are fully incorporated… then add one Duncan Hines White Cake Mix.  Shhhh… that’s our little secret.  Mix until just incorporated with fine lumps.  This is going to be a thick batter and it will make more than the usual 2 dozen cupcakes.

Meanwhile, how about my Ridiculously Easy Spice Buttercream? So here goes… pull one pound of fresh sweet cream butter (salted) straight out of the fridge and cut it into chunks.

Pile that straight into the Kitchen Aid and get it going on a low speed as the chunks will want to fly out.  As soon as the butter has quit flying, turn up the speed.  And don’t worry… it really doesn’t take it long to go from this:

 …to this light and fluffy whipped butter. 

Add two tablespoons of Goldschlager (Swiss cinnamon schnapps) gold bits optional.  Add one teaspoon of ground Tumeric, followed by one pound of powdered sugar.  Whip until the buttercream returns to a beautiful consistency.  Add food color if desired to get a pumpkin color (orange and yellow).

Here are some choices for decorating these cupcakes. 
Give a little swirl to the icing, and top it with a candy pumpkin.
They look smashing!

However, for Angela’s “Haunted Tea and Cakes” these cupcakes need Jack O’ Lantern faces!

And for that, we’ll need chocolate ganache!  And really, what marvelous treat is ever complete without that silken chocolate wonder of warm melted chocolate and cream?  Yum! 

Ganache
The recipe for ganache is also is ridiculously simple.  Warm 1/2 cup of heavy whipping cream in the microwave in a glass container (or in a bain marie or double boiler if you hate microwaves like I do).  Once the cream is warm, add 1 1/2 cup fine dark chocolate and stir.  For the chocolate I use a combination of my favorite dark chocolate, along with my favorite bittersweet chocolate to make ganache that is darker and richer than what I usually reach for.  Since the amount is small and it is paired with a sweet dessert, the ganache itself can be a darker chocolate without adding more sweetness.  Stir until the mixture is silky smooth, warming it as needed.  Since there is so much variation in chocolate products, expect to adjust the ganache by adding more chocolate if needed, bit by bit, stirring a lot.  Put your pastry bag in a glass and fold the top over.  Fill partly with ganache.

 Bring up the sides of the pastry bag carefully to avoid spilling the ganache.

 Close the top of the bag and secure it with a twisty-tie, or binder clip, or whatever you have handy.  With buttercream this isn’t an issue, but with soft runny ganache, once you lay the bag down the ganache will seep out of the bag and make a delicious mess unless you clamp the ends closed.

Now that your ganache is ready, it’s time to pipe on friendly Jack O’ Lantern faces…
or drizzle ganache over cupcakes… 
(ganache in a pastry bag IS the perfect chocolate delivery device).
The pumpkin part looks more complicated than it is.  And if you’re not sure about it, pipe it out on a plate until you get the hang of it.  Start by making a large circle of orange icing around the edge of the cupcake.  Then make half rounds on each side making them a tad fatter in the middle.  Keep building on the other ribs of the pumpkin until it is time to close the gap in the middle with one single last “squish” and your pumpkin is done.  I added a pumpkin stem and curl from chocolate icing, then added the happy faces with ganache.  I should have taken photos of this part but I’ve done it so many times I just didn’t think about it… and swish swish I was done.  I’ll put it on my “to-do list” to show you how to do this part.  They are cute, aren’t they?
Looks like we’re ready for “Haunted Tea and Cakes!”

GREAT NEWS!

Today through November 2nd, 2016,
the Kindle Cooking For Ghosts 
will be ONLY 99 CENTS!
The only thing better than a great book is a great book on sale!

Stay tuned,





 

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