Seriously, guys. One. Week.
Where in the heck has the year gone?! I feel ike I was just making Valentine’s Day treats last week, and now I’m whipping up festive Halloween goodies already.
It’s no surprise that the year has flown by for me…I am, like, the worst judge of time.
Ask me how long I’ve been reading something and I’ll tell you something so completely off that you’ll think I’m lying to you.
If I’m having fun, I’m always convince it’s only been about five minutes.
I’m like a toddler who throws a tantrum because they barely got to play when it’s actually been three hours.
If I’m not having fun, though, I usually end up pouting about how I’ve been at something for hours…and it’s been all of about 15 minutes.
I guess most people are probably like that…time flies when you’re having fun and all that, but I seriously think I may have the worst internal clock of anyone I know.
I’m not allowed to “run into Michaels real quick” while the Hubster and the boy wait in the car anymore. Whenever I get back out there, they are always either seething with frustration or comatose from boredom.
And I’m all, “What? I was only 10 minutes!”
And they’re holding each other back from strangling me because it’s actually been about 45 minutes and they’re starving, or thirsty, or tired, or bored.
Um. Hello?! Isn’t that why we have these cute little flat screen computers that we carry around with us everywhere?? You could have texted me when you were done waiting.
Then they’re all like, “Um. Hello?! That cute little flat screen computer that you carry around with you everywhere?? Yeah. It has a clock.”
So now, the Hubster has deemed it necessary for me to have a timer when I’m going to be “running into Michaels really quick.”
I don’t judge him, though. I don’t know how I survived the last trip…with the whole “if looks could kill” thing, you know? I barely got out alive.
I think I owe him an afternoon in the fly fishing section of Cabela’s or an evening of standing around watching him pick out a new drill at the hardware store or something.
Or maybe I’ll just bake him a cake.
There’s always cake at our house. I’m convinced that it’s the only reason they haven’t abandoned me at Michaels. Yet.
A few weeks ago, I saw these little darlings on Pinterest, and, as often happens when I’m pinning away, I was completely taken away and inspired. These pumpkins are so simple, but they are just beautiful and I immediately wanted to eat a cake version of one of them. So…I made some.
The cake had to be pumpkin spice, of course. I’m loving Pinterest so much…not only has it inspired my creative side, but my culinary muscles are getting a workout, too. I’ve never made pumpkin spice cake before…but now I’ll definitely be making it again!
When I set out to create this recipe, I looked no further than my pumpkin bread recipe. I love the flavors and texture of that recipe, and it always turns out beautifully, so I knew it would make a delicious cake.
I only tweaked a couple of things, and the recipe turned out wonderful on the first try. I removed the water, and reduced the sugar and flour slightly. Then, I added some baking powder, and everything was great. The cakes were moist and spicy, and tasted perfect with cream cheese frosting.
Since I was inspired by the adorable mini pumpkins on Pinterest, I used this Wilton pumpkin pan to make my cakes.
The pan is nonstick, but I still sprayed it with nonstick cooking spray for baking (contains flour), to help release the cakes easier.
I also made a few of the cakes using my handy dandy hemisphere, or mini ball, pan. You’ll notice on my pin that the little pumpkins used in the photo are very round and smooth, so this pan is actually a little more accurate, but I love the pumpkin pan, and it was a great excuse to buy it.
One thing to note, the pumpkin pan needed three tablespoons of batter per mold, while the ball pan only needed to tablespoons per mold (like a standard cupcake), so you will get a lot more from the ball pan, or a standard cupcake pan, than you will from the pumpkin pan.
Once the cakes are cooled, trim the tops to level them, if necessary. I had to trim all of the pumpkin pan cakes, but only about half of the ball pan cakes. I’m not sure why, but it was nice not having to trim all of them.
Now, you could totally stop here, if you wanted to. The cakes are cute, delicious, and festive. You can also make a sweet glaze to drizzle over the top of the cakes that would make them even yummier.
I like using Tootsie Rolls for decorating, on occasion. They model nicely and hold their shape relatively well. Plus, they’re delicious. So. Yeah.
If you’re working in a particularly warm or humid climate, I recommend that you keep your decorations somewhat short, to prevent them from falling over or melting.
I used standard chocolate Tootsie Rolls for the stems of my pumpkins. I just cut the Tootsies in half (you’ll get two stems per roll), rolled them in my hands to warm them up, then squeezed and pulled them into stem shapes. I also used a small paring knife to add texture to the stems. After adding the lines to the stems with the knife, I gave each stem a slight twist to give the lines a more natural look.
You can also very easily model leaves by hand, just like I did with the stems. The Tootsie Rolls are super easy to work with.
I finished the cakes off with some fondant ribbons, just like my Pinterest pin, but I added some cute little bows, too, as well as sweet sugar pumpkins.
The ribbons wrapped around the cake were simply strips of rolled fondant that I “glued” on with frosting. I covered some of them in sparkly edible disco dust (in black and white), or drew cute stripes or polka dots on others, using food writers.
For the bows, I used the same strips of rolled fondant, so that they matched the ribbons. I simply trifold the strips so the the ends met in the middle, overlapping very slightly. I pinched the centers together to help the ends stay in place, but also to give the bows some little wrinkles, making them more realistic. I finished each bow by wrapping a small piece of fondant around the center, and I glued them on using more frosting (stay tuned for photos of the process).
As totally cute as these are, let’s not forget the deliciousness inside of these cuties, either. Of the two ways that I filled the cakes, I preferred the ones that I had cored and filled. I love the surprise of the cream cheese frosting inside, and the cake is so good on it’s own that it doesn’t need a lot of filling or frosting.
I have to admit, I am completely smitten with these little cakes. They are terribly adorable, and I love that they’re festive for Halloween, but they are more subtle and elegant than a lot of Halloween treats and decor. These would be just as great for a grown up Halloween party, as they would for the kiddos. Or they would make a lovely addition to a more Fall themed dessert table.
They may seem time consuming and labor intensive, but they were relatively quick, and very easy to make. You can make all of the little candy decorations and fondant bows a few days in advance, and the cakes freeze beautifully, so you can wrap them in plastic wrap once they’re cooled and store them in the freezer until you’re ready to use them. Even the frosting can be made in advance. Then, all you have to do is assemble everything on the day you want to serve these. Easy peasy! Enjoy!
Mini Pumpkin Spice Cakes [Printable Version]
Makes 30 standard cupcakes, or 10 to 12 mini pumpkin cakes
2 cups (254 grams) all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 cup (125 ml) canola or vegetable oil
1/2 cup apple sauce
1 1/4 cups (250 grams) sugar
1/2 cup (127 grams) brown sugar, packed
4 eggs (or 1/4 cup ground flaxseeds combined with 3/4 cup (187 ml) water, for vegan/dairy free)
1 15-ounce can pumpkin puree
about 1 dozen green fruit flavored Tootsie Rolls
about 1 dozen regular sized chocolate Tootsie Rolls
1/2 recipe cream cheese frosting
Preheat oven to 350 degrees (165 C). Lightly spray mini pumpkin pan, hemisphere pan, or cupcake pan with nonstick cooking spray with flour, or grease and flour each one; set aside.
In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves; set aside.
In a large bowl, or the bowl of a standing mixer, combine the oil and apple sauce. Stir in the sugars until combined, then add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well between each addition. Stir in the pumpkin until thoroughly combined. Sprinkle about half of the flour mixture over the wet ingredients and mix until just combined. Add the remaining flour mixture, and mix just until no streaks of flour remain.
Place 3 tablespoons batter in each mold of a mini pumpkin pan, or 2 tablespoons batter in each mold of a hemisphere or standard cupcake pan.
Bake cakes for 15 to 18 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool completely before filling and assembling.
Recipe by Darla
Check out my other Perfectly Pinterest posts here.