Halloween was 2 days ago… Thanksgiving is less than a month away… and Christmas is a month after that. It’s safe to say that pumpkins are on everyone’s brain!

Is it orange enough for pumpkins?

I got an order last week to make some halloween inspired cupcakes, but the trick was they needed to be Happy Hour-inspired cupcakes (AKA: FULL of booze).

So how do you combine pumpkins and booze?!

I did some research… and then some thinking… and then some more research… before I finally decided that a spiced rum would be the most complimentary alcohol to pumpkin treats. I finally decided to make Pumpkin Cupcakes with Maple and Rum based on a recipe from the Cupcake Project.

Fresh out of the oven!

I topped the cupcakes with Martha’s trusty swiss meringue buttercream that had been flavored with a heavy dose of spiced rum. Combined I thought the cupcakes tasted just a hair on the buttery-sweet side. They were really good, but maybe just a bit rich for my liking. In the future I’d consider adding a hint of maple syrup to the buttercream to enhance the flavor in the cupcakes and to mellow the afterbite of the rum. 🙂

OmNoms indeed...

That night I baked 2 dozen Pumpkin Rum cupcakes, 2 dozen Irish Delight cupcakes, and 6 dozen pumpkin whoopie pies. The whoopie pies were absolutely adorable and alcohol free…

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies... Mini-sized of course!

… but I think I was most proud of the cupcakes. The flavors were spot on, but the fondant pumpkins and witches hats really made them shine!

Fondant pumpkins & witches' hats atop Pumpkin-Rum cupcakes.

Finished Irish Delight cupcakes

Lots of OmNom Treats... 🙂

Hope everyone had a safe and happy Halloween!

Photos by Maurice Trudell

 

I know I’ve left you hanging for a couple of weeks and I’m sorry… but there’s a good reason! Here’s some sneak peaks of the cakes that I’ve been working on over the past several weeks… Enjoy!

A birthday dress for a birthday girl!

 

 

The Fashionista!

 

 

Spotted! A birthday cake!

 

Ahhhhhhhh so you’ve heard about cake pops, right??

Cute, right?

(Image from here)

From what I can tell these treats were created & perfected by the fabulous baking blogger, Bakerella. I’d stumbled across her blog last year when looking for halloween treat ideas and was COMPLETELY blown away by her array of halloween cake pops.

The mummies were my favorites. 🙂

(Image from here)

After the halloween pop find I began following Bakerella’s blog, but didn’t try to make any of her treats. Then maybe a month or two ago, I noticed that my friend Megan began making cake pops. She did some AWESOME Mr. Potato Head pops, and these super cute Ferdinand the Bull type pops too.

(I’d show you a photo, but the only ones I’ve seen are on her private Facebook page and I don’t want to compromise anyone’s privacy.)

I talked to Megan about her pops, and decided that I’d finally give them a try. I had held off because I wasn’t sure how I felt about using candy melts (aka. fake chocolate), but in the end I decided to give it a shot. I could always find a way around candy melts later.

So I go into my kitchen today armed with the necessary fixin’s: Red Velvet cake, cream cheese frosting, chocolate-flavored candy melts, and red non-pareils. And much to my dismay, I’m sorry to report that today’s attempt at Red Velvet cake pops was an EPICCCCC FAILLLLL.

Everything started fine! The cake baked up nicely and the frosting tasted rich and creamy. I crumbled the cake into extra-fine pieces, and mixed in the frosting per Bakerella’s instructions. Then I had a taste and…

…I was NOTTTT impressed.

Maybe I used too much frosting?? Maybe it was too hot of a day for baking, and I was turned off from sugar?? Maybe I hate the texture of mashed up cake & icing?? I have no idea, but something about the filling just wasn’t jiving for me.

Still, I trudged along. I told myself I was going to dip a couple just to see how they tasted.

To be completely honest, I kinda wish I had just stopped there.

While the centers were chilling down in the freezer, I worked on the candy melts. I melted them in the microwave per the directions on the packaging, but the consistency was still too thick. I thinned it down with some oil, but it still wasn’t thin enough for actual dipping. Using a spoon I lowered the pop into the melted coating, and spooned coating onto the pop until everything was covered

Unfortunately the heat of the candy melts combined with the chill of the cake pops did not work out in my favor. The hot candy coating made the cake pops melt a little, and crumbs of the cake ended up in the coating! Blobby and crumb-ey.

Pun intended.

So how did this all taste? Believe me, I was praying to the cake gods that somehow all of this would taste good together. Did they answer my prayers? HELL NO.

My gut instincts were right: the center was too ‘wet,’ and the texture was not appetizing at all. The candy melts were overly sweet, and the fake chocolate flavor was really distracting. I literally spit out my test bite, and promptly shoved everything in the trash… only THEN realizing I should have taken some photos for you.

Oops. 😀

Have I sworn off of cake pops?? Absolutely not. I’m going to try them again one of these days, and I’ll get them figured out! I do think I’ve sworn off of candy melts though… Next time I’m going to find some white chocolate and color & flavor it rather than use the fake stuff.

Cake pops... I'll conquer you someday!

(Image from here)

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