On Wednesday evening, Andrew asked if I could do some baking for an office Halloween party on Friday. Actually, he didn't 'ask' me so much as he 'emailed me from his business trip'.
No problem, I have a hundred recipes I could make. He then emailed me back and said they had to be decorated in a Halloween theme.
Well. I bake, but I don’t decorate. But Andrew has such innocent faith in my ability to whip up any recipe that it’s hard to be cross with him. I desperately cast my mind back to when the girls were young and any kind of Halloween decorations impressed them. I did a ghost cake one year, and another time I made meatballs and passed them off as eyeballs. I didn’t think either of those would cut it with Andrew’s co-workers.
I was stumped until I remembered the pumpkin muffins I’d made a week ago. I don’t usually frost muffins, but of course these would require something special. I found a wonderful frosting recipe on Cinnamon Spice and Everything Nice to accompany them. And the decorations were bat, ghost and pumpkin sprinkles bought at the cake decorating store.
Andrew was back in town Thursday evening and the plan was in place. And he called from work Friday morning to tell me that everyone, including him, loved the muffins.
I loved them too, both with and without adornment. But I might love them even more when they’re decorated for Halloween and wearing a delicious orange cream cheese frosting.
Adapted from Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan
Makes 12 muffins
2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
1/8 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup canned unsweetened pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
1/4 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup plump raisins
1/2 cup dried cherries
Preheat oven to 400F. Grease muffin tin or fill it with paper liners.
In a small bowl combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices.
Cream together the butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one by one, beating after each addition, then add the vanilla. Lower the mixer speed and add the pumpkin and buttermilk.
Add the dry ingredients and finish mixing by hand. Stir in the raisins and dried cherries.
Spoon the batter into the muffin tin and bake for 20-25 minutes, until a knife inserted in the centre comes out clean.
Orange Cream Cheese Frosting
From Reeni at Cinnamon Spice and everything nice
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
4 Tbsp butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla extract
zest of one orange
2 – 4 Tbsp milk
3 – 4 cups icing sugar
In a medium bowl, beat cream cheese and butter together until light and fluffy. Beat in vanilla, orange zest, and a tablespoon of milk. Beat in 3 cups icing sugar, adding more milk and sugar as needed to get a spreading consistency. Beat until light and fluffy.