I can finally bring to you a glimpse into how the mad ideas in my mind sometimes manifest themselves in reality! Halloween, well in this case ‘Day of the Dead’, as I have mentioned, is such a fun theme to cook for – the slightly morbid side makes baking a little challenging, and mixes the idea of grotesque and delicious. Well, my contribution this year was in the shape of cupcakes – and they fit this description so well! It all started with the ‘A Zombie ate my Cupcake’ book, which I bought on Saturday and consequently spent the entire of Sunday baking with a friend to make our favourite creations from it. The results were fantastic, so I won’t withhold them from you any longer…
First of all, I thought decorate-your-own gingerbread would be a fun idea, but unfortunately it didn’t really catch on. On the other hand, the gingerbread all disappeared within minutes – so it must have been quite popular after all!
This is… dare I say it… finger food. That’s right – golden marzipan with flaked-almond fingernails, what a fabulous idea of Lili Vanilli’s! They look so creepy in a row here. Despite looking so effective and therefore quite tricky in the book, I’m really proud of our efforts! Behind them you can see our lime green, lime-flavoured cupcakes which weren’t quite the same success due to my one major frustration: the oven. So far, I just can’t quite cook cupcakes the way I want to with it – they end up being too hard, or not cooked through. Still, the chocolate cupcakes came out better.
Next, and the most anticipated item to make by Seb and me on Sunday was edible, sugar glass! Here is our first attempt. The only problem came with the fact that, probably due to the fact that I don’t have a sugar thermometer and so don’t know exactly when the sugar/glucose/water mixture has reached exactly 150 degrees, after we put them in the cupcakes they had a bit of a drooping problem overnight. So the next day I added more water than the previous time, boiled it for longer, and made a better sheet! Still, if you try and recipe I would recommend making them only just before you use them, because they still melt after a day or so. However, for the effect, they are a genius idea! And the best bit is… well… shattering it with a rolling pin of course!
Glistening in the background is an example of real ‘brain-food’, to the left are the results of our handy-work and… oh dear so many puns so little time! Perhaps one of my favourite products however, are the mummified cupcakes, which frankly look terrified in a cute way that I didn’t really think possible from a cupcake. The brain cupcakes are actually a disguised rescue-mission. The first round of shattered-glass cupcakes which drooped, after removing the ‘glass’, were a bit of a modgy mess. But too good to waste, I dyed a little butter icing pink, dropped on some red food colouring and sprayed them with my pearly edible lustre spray (as you do) and voilà – the perfect solution!
Sometimes the most simple idea is the most effective. And gingerbread tombstones fit the bill exactly – they look great and were so simple to make.
Here is a close-up of our fantastic, favourite cupcake to make. Again, I had a problem when I found that I only had chocolate-iced cupcakes left – since we knew that the glass would look so much more effective on white. So I cut a little round from some white fondant and stuck that on before piercing it with the glass and it looks so good that I think next time I would do the same again! I thought that the rather gruesome appearance might put people off, but everyone wanted to try one of these.
As you can see, I went a little over the top when I went to Wilkinsons the day after Halloween and found that everything had 75% off. If you are a friend of mine and know my obsession with bargains, you will understand how excited this made me! Perfect for Day of the Dead parties.
Other people from our Good Food Society exec made some great contributions – we had home-made salsa which was delicious, we had CHURROS!!!! which remind me of festivals and therefore excite me by association I think! We even had tequila shots provided. And of course my piñata which I scoured Birmingham to find and went down a storm.
And finally, the geniuses behind the cupcakes! Don’t we look a team… straight from the Adams Family. In fact, I had so much fun back-combing my hair and spraying it purple, I might make it a more frequent look…
So a lot of cupcake-making, nachos, tequila, a piñata, lovely people, a couple of churros and a lot of laughter later and what am I thinking about? The next event, of course!
But just a last note before I forget… Warwick TV came along and filmed us! So hopefully I’ll be able to share with you soon some footage from our event. How exciting! Watch this space…