Thursday, 18 October 2012

Hallowe'en Pumpkin Cake

Well it's my favourite time of year again, the countryside is awash with beautiful colours, the air is clean and crisp and All Hallows' Eve is almost upon us. I'd like to think of Hallowe'en as a a great time for children, why not celebrate it with a party, and this fun pumpkin cake as the centre piece.

I bought the baking pan in Aldi, at the start of October, there was the choice of this or a skeleton's head, I decided on this one, although I think that next year, a bloody, decapitated skull cake will be on the top of the party food list!! 

Serves 6-8

For the sponge:
200g Soft margarine plus extra for greasing
200g Self-raising
200g Caster sugar
1tsp Baking powder
4 Medium eggs
A few drops of vanilla essence

To decorate:
1tbsp Smooth apricot jam, warmed
1tbsp Boiled and cooled water
200- 250g Orange sugarpaste
50g Black sugarpaste or black food colouring
20g Green sugarpaste

Pumpkin baking pan ( I bought mine in Aldi for €2.99 on the 4th of October 2012)
10 inch Round cake board
Leaf cutters, various sizes
Star cutter, various sizes
Small paint brush

Preheat the oven to 190ºC/375ºF/Gas Mark 5. Grease and flour the pumpkin baking tin, making sure that you get into all the nooks and cranny's. There would be nothing worse than going to all this effort and then for the cake to stick to the pan!

Place all the sponge ingredients in a large bowl and combine with a wooden spoon or electric mixer until smooth. Tip the batter into the prepared pumpkin pan and spread out evenly (making sure that you get it right into all the edges). Bake in the middle of the preheated oven for 50 minutes until risen and golden or until a skewer comes out clean.

Cool in the pan for 5-10 minutes, then turn onto a wire rack (nerve racking stuff eh!) and allow to cool completely. That's the worst part over, now if it didn't go to plan, don't worry, just patch it up as best you can, your minor hickup will be hidden under sugarpaste in no time :)

Meanwhile knead the orange sugarpaste until it is pliable and smooth. Ready to roll sugarpaste is available in a huge range of colours in speciality cake decorating shops, however if you wish to colour the sugarpaste yourself, the method is very simple. Choose your colours, in this case red and yellow to make orange. Knead the white sugarpaste, then add the two colours drop by drop until you have the desired shade. Disposable latex gloves are a must (otherwise you'll look like you've been Tango'd). Knead on a work surface lightly dusted with icing sugar, this prevents the sugarpaste from sticking. When the colour is fully worked in, cut the paste in half, to check there is no marbling of colour.

Trim the crusty edges off the cooled sponge with a sharp knife, trim the base of the sponge so that it sits level on the round cake board. Stick the sponge into the board with small amount of orange sugarpaste, this will stop it moving around on the board. Brush the sponge and the edges of the cake board with warm apricot jam.

Lightly dust your work surface with icing sugar and roll out the sugarpaste until it is large enough to cover both the cake and board.

Using your rolling pin to lift the sugarpaste, gently lay the orange sugarpaste over the sponge and board. Gently ease the sugarpaste over the sponge and board, coaxing it into place. Smooth with a cake smoother. The lumps and bumps are still visible, but I think this adds character and the homemade look, however if you want to avoid this, cover the cake with a 4mm thick layer of sugarpaste. 

Knead the black sugarpaste and roll out, cut out the eyes, nose and mouth, use the cake tin a guide. Alternatively paint in the eyes and mouth with the black food colouring. Stick these onto the pumpkin with a small brush dipped in a drop of boiled and cooled water.

Use the green sugarpaste to make leaves and vines and stick around the pumpkin with the boiled and cooled water. Specialised cutters are very useful but often the same shapes can be found around the house, for example clean Playdoh moulds are a perfect substitute. Decorate your pumpkin using whatever cutters you have.

This is how I decorated our cake.....

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