Friday, 26 October 2012

Pumpkin Cupcakes


I'm sorry - I have not been around here much lately. Very remiss of me, I know. Life has just been so busy this last few weeks, it really has. I know life is always busy, and it's that way for everyone, but it has felt extra hectic lately. But today the schools break up for the half term holiday so next week will be easier. Less too-ing and fro-ing all day long. Well, it will be easier after Tuesday. Tomorrow I am going to London, on Sunday we have friends coming for the day so there will be much cooking, on Monday morning I have to bake two cakes for Free Cakes For Kids and on Monday afternoon seven of Bella's school friends are coming round for a little Autumn themed play date. I don't know in which weak moment I agreed to this, but before I knew it we were making invitations and I was ordering toffee apple sticks and leaf shaped cookie cutters from the internet. Foolish woman! I've also been busy making things for Christmas stalls, stitching away every evening, and I will have something to show you soon. Oh, and I am training for the Leeds Abbey Dash which is only three weeks away too. But Tuesday, oh on Tuesday...we are going to stay with John's family in Durham for a few nights...crochet by the wood burning stove, relaxing, walks, eating and drinking...I can't wait.

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Anyway, to today's business. Pumpkin cupcakes. We don't really do much for Halloween in this house. It's not that I particularly dislike Halloween, but it's often the way that the traditions we create for our own families stem from the ones we knew as children, and for Halloween I don't really have any point of reference. Neither John or I celebrated Halloween as children - some people would have pumpkins or go trick or treating, but it wasn't really the norm. This has changed a lot in the last twenty years and dressing up for trick or treating and carving a pumpkin is very common now. In my childhood, the main autumnal excitement was reserved for Bonfire Night...fireworks, food, parties, lots of fun. I still love Bonfire Night so much and get much more excited about it than Halloween.

But one thing I do like to do at this time of year is make pumpkin cupcakes. These little cakes are so delicious. This recipe requires a tin of Libby's pumpkin puree, (very tricky to get hold of, let me tell you) which I believe is imported from America. Well, I like to think it's American as it makes me think of pumpkin pie and Thanksgiving and other autumn traditions from the US which fascinate me and lend an air of excitement to the whole affair.

You can find the whole recipe here. The recipe for a dozen cupcakes requires only half the tin of pureed pumpkin, so I baked double quantities. After filling the cupcake cases, I put the rest of the batter into two small round sandwich tins and made a sort of pumpkin layer cake that way. It didn't rise that much, but it was deliciously moist and tender. They are topped with cream cheese icing and sprinkled with orange sugar crystals and cinnamon. They are so good. They need to be eaten with a fork, as they are messy, but they are a little slice of autumnal cake heaven, and all the more special as I only make them at this time of year.

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What Halloween traditions do you have in your house? Do you carve a pumpkin? I've noticed on a lot of American blogs that it's traditional to go and choose your pumpkin, and that this outing is part of the fun and ritual of Halloween celebrations, similar to the way we make an afternoon of selecting our Christmas tree. I'll leave you with a photo of a carved pumpkin which did make me giggle, it's so silly. Thank you for being here and for reading and commenting, you have no idea how much pleasure this brings me.

Source: Pinterest



27 comments:

...Tabiboo... said...

I really need to pull my finger out, I haven't bought one pumpkin yet - I know the kids are going to nag me this week though.

I love the thought of pumpkin cupcakes - I always end up turning the scooped out innards into soup...definitely not sweet enough.

Have a lovely weekend

Nina x

Jo said...

We don't really do much for Halloween here, especially now the kids are older. I always have chocolate at the ready for trick or treaters though. It sounds like you've got a hectic weekend planned, you'll be ready for the rest on Tuesday. Thank you for your comment on my blog about Archie, and for your good wishes. We're all hoping for the best.

Leanne said...


It was always Bonfore night in our house too. I have fond memories of the whole family comming round for the firework display, the bonfire, potatoes in tin foil, Black Forest Gateau and the smell of woodsmoke.

Love the pumpkin picture too!

xx

bee @ thelinencloud said...

We love Halloween here and I have great memories of it as a child ... we try to create the same traditions for our little ones ... here in Ireland it is an important time and is linked to celtic tradition ... it is celebrated as 'The Feast of the Dead' ... sounds creepy ... but simply it is a time to remember souls who have passed on ... we have lots of traditions including bonfires, special halloween foods, dressing up and parties ... the boys went to school yesterday dressed up and went on a trip to the Halloween Ball at Florencecourt Castle .. there will be many more activities until the 31st October when our local town has a fireworks display ... hope you enjoy your day with Bella's little friends ... it sounds like you have a lot of fun planned ... the cupcakes look delicious ... Bee xx

Tammy Chrzan said...

I just went through and did a little catch up on your blog... LOVE the post card from Germany posting, and that framed photo of a child's drawing... perfection. I do like your happy blog! Thanks for letting me enjoy your world with you! Happy Pumpkin cupcake eating!

Caroline South said...

Pumpkin cakes look good. We usually carve or decorate some pumpkins here and the kids dress up but we have never been trick or treating. We are hopefully going to find a pumpkin farm this weekend. I deffinately do more Halloween stuff with my kids now than when I was younger. Have a great weekend, hope the play date goes ok. xx

Thomasina Tittlemouse said...

Those cup cakes look utterly yummy! Must give them a whirl especially with the cream cheese icing which is, I agree, messy but SO delicious! Pumpkin cheesecake made with the same tin of pumpkin puree is also extraordinarily good! I am afraid i am so greedy I always end up cooking and eating the pumpkins I get rather than carving them! When H was little we used to have little low-key Hallowe'en parties of around ten small boys after school on Hallowe'en and we made black pom-pom spiders suspended on thread elastic and decorated jam jar lanterns and things like that - nothing too spooky - it went down a treat! Especially the year I made, God knows why, an enormous black spider sponge cake with black icing, great long black pipe-cleaners for legs and two solid paper balls about the size of ping pong balls stuck out on cocktail sticks and painted up to look like googly eyes! It was terrifying to behold quite frankly but the assembled throng of small boys thought it was great and tucked in with gusto. I was relieved to see the back of it! One year we turned my study (tiny at the time) into a witch's grotto too which was huge fun to construct and for the partying small boys to run amok in, as partying small boys do! She had a papier mache face (painted green), a pointed witch's hat and a large black fleece of mine from the sleeves of which protruded a pair of stuffed rubber gloves as well as the obligatory witch's broom purloined from the garden shed! What fun you have in store with your little ones at this age! Enjoy! I miss those days.... E x

Anna said...

I can't believe you're doing an Autumn party for Bella's school friends. The mums must LOVE you! What a lovely idea. It reminds me of the Strawberry Parties Mum used to do for us in the summer when we were young, as all our birthdays were celebrated in the Winter months. You really will need a rest come Tuesday. The cupcakes look and sound delicious. I love anything with cream cheese icing and cinnamon. About to go and make some spinach balls now to go with our meal for tomorrow eve. Mum and Dad are coming for dinner. Sounds weird but they are really tasty when fried. An Antonio Carluccio recipe, darling...! xxx

Lisa said...

Hope you enjoy all you have planned for the half term week. I bet the children will have a wonderful time at the party.
Enjoy the cupcakes1
Lisa x

Monica said...

the time in Durham sounds LOVELY, no wonder you can't wait. any cake is good cake. i must visit america just to stock up on that canned stuff.

that pumpkin pic is hilarious.

Jen said...

These sound yum. Made a spiced pumpkin fruit cake last year (which was lush, but am sure a great disappointment to the trick or treaters who stumbled our way on the lookout for sweets) so might give these a go this year! x

Bristol Parenting Cafe said...

Mmmm, I'm a little with you on Halloween. Luckily we've been invited to a friends for the evening, so we can celebrate without too much trouble. I'd like to take the children to choose a pumpkin and carve it though - that sounds quite fun!

Julie said...

Ha, ha. I think you might have a touch of déjà vu in a few days if you visit my blog as I'm also making pumpkin cakes for Halloween! But, like you, we didn't really celebrate it as children. LOVE the pumpkin!

Morten and Me said...

Those cakes look divine! I too feel a bit overwhelmed at the moment. We have too many people coming over( don't know why I agreed) and lots of work to do! Argh! Stress! Xx

Gillian said...

Bee, thanks for sharing this. So interesting to hear about your Irish Halloween traditions. I went to a catholic high school and you've reminded me how All Saints Day on Nov 1st was a big event in the school calender. x

Gillian said...

Tammy, thanks for stopping by and for such a nice comment.

Gillian said...

Elizabeth, WOW! I am slightly in awe! What wonderful memories you made for your son, and the effort that went in to creating these parties. They sound legendary. x

Gillian said...

I suspect the other Mums think that, as I don't "work", I have endless time on my hands for playdate nonsense! ;-)

I do remember those strawberry parties, they were the stuff of happy childhood summer days indeed. Good luck with the spinach balls - I love those - let us know how they turn out! xx

Jenny said...

That's so interesting that canned pumpkin is such a US thing. We truely do have towers and towers of canned pumpkin in our grocery stores this time of year (but you can find it year-round too) and baking with pumpkin is something everyone does this time of year. Pumpkin pies (especially for our Thanksgiving dinner in November), pumpkin bread, pumpkin muffins, etc.

Trick or treating has always been a big deal here, but honestly I'm not a huge fan, especially as the mom. Tooooo much candy.

Americans are very into the holiday though - I've heard we spend more on this holiday than any other except Christmas. Yikes.

Have a good weekend Gillian!

kindly,
Jenny

Little Paper Trees said...

love the pumpkin cupcakes! As an American in Sydney I'm loving that we are finally getting into Halloween here!

A Normandy kitchen said...

Hello Gillian,
Lots planned, sounds like fun! Hope you get to rest a bit in Durham! We sometimes celebrate Halloween, but we always grow pumpkins - so I at least carve one out! Our cousin is having a Party (nearby) for his small children this year, so that will be funny... fancy dress, too many sweets and lots of screaming (that's just the adults!!)
OMG it has just started SNOWING (alot) outside!!?
Ivan

Col | Hello Olive said...

Hello, we don't celebrate Halloween much here in South Africa, however this year a friend has organised a little Trick or Treating trip around the neighbourhood. Should be fun for the boy although I am slightly worried he'll get (and eat) too many sweets! x

Julia said...

The cupcakes look so delicious! I am loving everything pumpkin right now. So glad you have a nice break coming up. I hope you have a wonderful time visiting your husband's family. And yes, we carved our pumpkin tonight and are ready for Halloween. Charlotte is looking forward to dressing up and trick-or-treating.

Jen Walshaw said...

I need to find tinned pumpkin to try those. I love traditions, I love they reinforce the everyday. They make memories and in my book that is brill. I love Halloween for all its crafting and making. I love that it gets the boys excited and as seven and six year olds, anything that gets them wanting to craft is good in my book

bee @ thelinencloud said...

I too went to a catholic grammar school and we always celebrated All Souls Day (31st October) and All Saints Day ... as well as Halloween ... Bee xx

cassie said...

i live in the states and grew up celebrating, and loving, halloween. we have taken our daughter to the pumpkin patch for the last two years. it's a fun family activity. we hosted a pumpkin carving party last year, which was a lot of fun. we had friends carving their pumpkins in the backyard, while i warmed cider and set out apple cobblers and many homemade pumpkin themed baked goods. i posted a link to my favorite easy pumpkin dessert on my blog today: icebox pumpkin-mousse pie. my daughter is still too young to trick or treat, but we are looking forward to having tricker or treaters come to our door. and of course, she's going to wear her ladybug costume all day long so she 'can fly' as she likes to say.

Anonymous said...

Hello! I just came across your blog today and wanted to comment straight away! I am American and am living a few hours from you in Birmingham =) And I have been buying pumpkin like crazy at the moment (getting ready for Thanksgiving and Christmas!) and you can get Libby's from Waitrose for £1.99!!