I don’t really do Halloween, to be honest. I sort of like the idea, but it isn’t big in these parts (not being a festival generally favoured by the Greek Orthodox or Muslim communities), and my mother always disapproved of it. She cunningly told us for years that we were too young to go trick or treating… until suddenly one year we were too old to go! Which is not really playing fair, if you ask me (but as you can see, I’ve totally got past this and I certainly don’t take the opportunity to grumble about it every time trick or treating is mentioned in my presence.).
But, ashamed as I am to admit it, I succumbed to peer-group pressure. What can I say? I like spooky pancakes. And skull-shaped pumpkin damper, for that matter. Or maybe I just like an excuse to be silly…
It’s not really pumpkin weather here, which is a pity, because I’ve never tried pumpkin pie and keep meaning to and then forgetting when it’s autumn. So that was out. But then I remembered my little heart-shaped cupcake pan, and the idea of little pink heart cupcakes that oozed blood when you bit into them became instantly irresistible. I intended that they would be intensely pretty and cute, thus making the bleeding a bit more appalling, but then I managed to accidentally tint my ganache a sort of fleshy pink which looked like melting skin and seemed hideously appropriate, so I went with it. These cupcakes, then, are not pretty (decorating never was my strong suit), but they are delicious and also mildly disgusting to look at, which is surely in the spirit of Halloween.
Be warned – the raspberry filling is quite runny and wants to go all over your benchtop, so let it cool a bit and have your finger ready to block the nozzle, or your kitchen will look like it has been visited by Titus Andronicus. Only with fewer severed hands. (There’s a biscuit for that, you know.)
Oh dear me, and I just thought of the most hideous pun imaginable, and you guys are just lucky that I don’t have foot-shaped cookie cutters or I would be absolutely *compelled* to make All Soles Day biscuits tomorrow. Maybe next year…
Your Shopping List125 g butter, softened 110 g dark brown sugar 55 g caster sugar + 25 g for the filling 1 tsp vanilla 2 eggs 300 g self-raising flour 50 g cocoa 200 ml milk 60 g dark chocolate 100 g frozen raspberries 1/4 cup blood orange juice 90 ml thickened cream 175 g white chocolate (either little buds or chopped) (225 g if you want a less runny ganache) red food colouring. Because it isn’t Halloween without food colouring…
Now what will you do with it?
Melt the chocolate in the microwave (use 50% power and check every minute or so – it took about 3 minutes for this quantity), and leave to cool a little. Preheat the oven to 180° and line either 12 muffin cups or prepare a couple of racks of heart-shaped cupcake molds.
Beat together the butter and sugars, then beat in the eggs and vanilla once the butter and sugar are well combined (I’m too lazy to cream the mixture properly, but that does help. Then again, I use a fork for all my mixing, hence my inclination to skip straight to the next step.
If you are sensible, you could then mix the cocoa and flour together and add them alternately with the milk, and then fold in the melted chocolate. I’m too lazy, so I dumped in the flour and cocoa, mixed it in a little, then added the milk and melted chocolate, and mixed everything together until it looked like a nice batter.
Divide between your muffin cups or heart cups, and bake for around 20 minutes, or until they pass the skewer test.
Let cool and remove from their tins.
Make the filling, by mashing together the raspberries, blood orange juice and sugar in a small saucepan, heating the mixture to a boil, and letting cook for a few minutes, or until it thickens slightly (only slightly – mine went boringly jam-like when it cooled, which was quite disappointing – I wanted runny blood, drat it!).
Use a piping bag to poke deep holes in your cakes and pour in (it really isn’t piping) the filling.
Make the ganache by bringing the cream to a rolling boil, removing from the heat and adding all the white chocolate immediately. Swirl it around a bit so that all the chocolate is covered and let it stand for a minute or two until the chocolate melts.
Stir it all together, adding enough food colouring to get the level of pinkness you deem fitting for the occasion. Let it cool to a point where you can pour it onto the cakes and it spreads out a little but doesn’t just slide right off. This may take a few test runs.
Decorate, if you like, with veins, or with pretty heart-like things such as sprinkles or silver cachous. Feed to your unsuspecting friends. Provide serviettes.
This recipe is not notable for its veganness or gluten-freedom, though it is nut-free (that’s about all it has going for it diet-wise, however). The cake itself could be made with Nuttelex and almond milk if you are avoiding dairy; it’s pretty crumbly, so I think if you were avoiding eggs, it would be tricky to fix. I’d try making my chocolate, coconut and raspberry cakes as a base instead.
For a gluten-free version, I would use a gluten-free flour mix – this recipe doesn’t lend itself well to substituting with almond meal or the like.
The filling is fine for everyone who isn’t fructose intolerant – if you want a low fructose version, I suggest using the rhubarb and blood orange filling from my fresh ginger cupcakes, and maybe halving the pectin. You want this filling runny!
Chocolate ganache works just fine with rice milk, but of course white chocolate does tend to have dairy in it. You could either use a dairy-free white chocolate, or go with dark chocolate ganache and just use a stencil to make a heart out of red sprinkles or similar.
And of course, there’s no reason this has to be a chocolate cake – any cake you like with a red filling will work. If it comes to that, you could also cheat by using warmed jam for your filling instead of making your own – it will still taste excellent.
Just don’t forget to appall your guests with the wrongness of bleeding cupcakes, OK?
This time last year…
Recipe: Chocolate and Raspberry Truffle Cake (I sense a theme here…)