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.
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.
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.