If, like me, you feel festive but not ready for an all-out costume.
And yes, navy and black make happy when done right. Don’t you agree?
Would you like your heels to have a costume of their own?
Wear it with out without the detachable cape…
Or maybe you would rather have a little fluff in your day?
Stunners! Costume conundrum solved.
Remember our sneak peek from Friday? Here’s a behind the scenes look at our Halloween table for The Daily Meal.
Mini pumpkins and one medium-sized pumpkin for spray painting, plus some white mini pumpkins for keeping natural.
Spray paint. We went with an enamel finish in black and gold to add some gloss.
Painter’s tape (for covering the pumpkin stems)
Burlap (available at Michael’s or other craft stores)
Black spiders or spider rings (available at the drug store or craft store)
Candles and candlesticks
White place settings
Note: spray paint the day before your party so your pumpkins have time to dry.
Shake your enamel can and start spraying. Keep the spray can a good 6 inches away from the pumpkin. Otherwise the force of the spray will wipe off your first coat. This photo was taken before I learned that lesson.
1-2 coats only. Repeat as necessary to paint all your pumpkins.
In case any of the enamel was still sticky, we put parchment paper under each pumpkin to protect our plates.
Gold pumpkin, white plates, pewter flatware, and black and white tenugui cloth napkins.
Now the centerpiece. Arrange your burlap strips so they have some height.
Ground your display with one medium-sized pumpkin. A leopard print sweater really adds something!
Layer in the rest of the pumpkins.
Add in your candlesticks and votives. We only had silver votives so we wrapped them in thick black ribbon and secured with double-sided tape. Work with what you have!
Creepy and elegant.
This, my pretties, is not a new recipe. It may even be familiar to you A & O faithful. But because I use it at least once a month and because my last photo was heinous and failed to showcase the pools of fudgy frosting I adore, I’m sharing this with you once again. It makes 48 mini cupcakes, 24 regular-sized and 1 9-inch round cake with batter left over (or 1 9-inch plus a 6-inch round cake for a two-layer chocolate cakeaganza). It goes gluten free without a hitch. Flexibility is part of its charm.
Our pal Beth photographed my last batch with blue sprinkles. Tonight I’m topping them with orange sprinkles and little white ghosts for a Halloween-themed progressive dinner. I’ll also be serving some of Ina’s blood-red velvet minis. The recipe’s in her new cookbook.
You need this and one good flourless chocolate cake recipe and you’re good-to-go chocolate-wise for life.
Buttermilk Chocolate Cake
2 sticks unsalted butter
1/2 cup Dutch processed cocoa powder (I like Droste or Green & Black)
1 cup water
2 cups AP flour (or gluten-free equivalent)
2 cups granulated sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup buttermilk
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract (for the gluten-free version, I use 2 teaspoon vanilla extract and a tablespoon of espresso to cover the chickpea flavor of the gluten-free flour. You can add espresso to the traditional recipe as well)
1/2 stick unsalted butter
1/4 cup Dutch processed cocoa powder (I like Droste or Green & Black)
3 tablespoons buttermilk
2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
you can also add 1/2 cup chopped walnuts or other nuts to the frosting if desired.
1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Butter and flour the cake pan of your choice or line your cupcake tins.
2. Make the cake. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in the cocoa powder and water. Bring to a boil them remove from the heat. Let cool.
3. In a large bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, baking soda and salt. Add the eggs, buttermilk and vanilla. Blend well using a hand held mixer or a strong hand and whisk. Add the cooled cocoa mixture, stirring until just combined. The batter will be thinner than regular cake batters, but this only means you are on your way to making a great cake. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out almost clean, about 20-25 minutes for large cakes, about 12-15 for cupcakes and 8-10 for minis. Let cool completely before frosting.
4. Make the frosting. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in the cocoa powder and buttermilk. Bring to a boil then remove from the heat and let cool. Pour into a large mixing bowl.
5. Using a handheld mixer, beat the confectioners’ sugar, vanilla and walnuts into the cocoa mixer. Mix until thoroughly combined and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Pour or spread over cooled cake. The frosting will set into a shiny glaze that crackles like thin ice when you cut into it. Beautiful.
6. The secret step. Wrap the cooled and frosted cake loosely in cling wrap and refrigerate it, even if only for an hour or so before serving. Whereas refrigerating tends to dry out baked goods, it dampens this cake so that it’s amazingly dark, dense and moist, just how I envisioned mud pies when I was little.
For your table
Am I alone in thinking that eating off an eye is creepier than eating off a snake? Gives me the willies.
P.S. What Halloween character are you? I’m Dracula : )