Halloween (like most other holidays) has never been that big of a deal for me, but right now, I look at pretty much everything as an excuse to bake. My office had a small celebration and my friends had a gathering as well, so this was a two-dozen cupcake holiday.
I made one batch of Vampire Bites and one of Mummy Cakes. I saw recipes for these posted on Curious Cupcakes this summer and knew I just HAD to have them. Then, Vegan.Chicks.Rock. posted a veganized version of the Vampire Bites last week, saving me the trouble of sorting it all out myself. Win!
So in the end, all I needed was:
A double batch of VCTOTW's Golden Vanilla Cupcakes
A batch of VCTOTW's Old Fashioned Velvet Icing
A can of cherry pie filling
Some phyllo dough, margarine and brown sugar
Sounds easy enough, right? Ha!
I was so in the mood to make something that I actually prepared the icing a day in advance and stored it in an airtight container in my fridge just to have something to do on Monday night. I just couldn't stay out of the kitchen last week. Craziness, I tell you!
Vampire Bites: These came out pretty well and were really fun to make since they're kind of an "advanced" cupcake. Once the cupcakes cooled, I cut a cone out of the center of each, spooned in some cherry pie filling and put the top, flat part of the cone back on, so I had a bunch of closed, cherry-filled cupcakes. Of course, I didn't pay attention to which cones came out of which cupcakes, so none of them fit back on properly, but I think the discrepancy only caused a real problem a couple of times (problem = cherry mixing in with the icing, making the whole cake look like a bloody mess). Icing them was kind of tricky because of the wobbly tops, but I quickly discovered a messy yet practical solution: fingers. I think I've seen other recipes that call for cutting, filling, re-topping and icing cupcakes, so here are my personal steps for icing wobble-top cakes:
1. Spoon the icing onto the cupcake in your usual way.
2. Hold the cupcake in your non-writing hand, with one finger holding down the wobble top.
3. Spread the icing using a finger or two on your writing hand, turning the cake as necessary until your icing is relatively smooth.
4. Repeat as necessary for all cakes.
5. Lick your fingers clean.
DO NOT SWITCH THE ORDER OF STEPS FOUR AND FIVE!
Also, please do everyone a favor and wash after you lick.
After that, wiggling a toothpick around in the icing made the holes and I wiped a bit of cherry pie filling below each hole to look like the dripping puncture wounds left by a vampire on the prowl. Yum!
I cannot tell you how much cherry pie filling and icing I ate without the cake while preparing them. It's gross. After that, I thought the cupcakes would be too sweet for me to stomach, so I let all my coworkers and friends eat them first. Once they assured me they weren't disgustingly sweet, I ate the last one and loved it. It's a shame I'm the sort of person who won't make the same dish for the same holiday ever again if I'm celebrating it with the same people. I mean really. Who wants to be known as Vegan Vampire Cupcake Girl?
Mummy Cakes: These were far easier and plainer than the Vampire Bites. Once the Golden Vanilla Cupcakes were done baking, all I was supposed to do was cut some phyllo dough into strips, soak it in a marinade of 1/4 cup melted margarine and brown sugar, "wrap the strips around the top of the cupcakes, starting from the center and moving out to the sides and put them back into the oven for 5 to 10 minutes, until the filo strips are crisp and golden." No one but me could possibly fuck that up.
Apparently someone in my house (I'm not naming names) doesn't know the difference between puff pastry and phyllo dough. I was told there was phyllo dough in the freezer, found some dough with "P..." on the packaging, assumed it was phyllo and started cutting it up and soaking it. It wasn't until I was actually wrapping it around the cupcakes that I realized just how thick it was and looked at the package. Puff pastry. Great. And, of course, we didn't actually have any phyllo dough, so I just followed the instructions using the puff pastry instead.
Obviously, the cupcakes looked nothing like mummies. Some looked like roses, the rest looked like shit. The edges puffed up nicely, but I was afraid to keep the cupcakes in the oven too long, so the centers and other areas where the dough was really thick ended up nearly raw.
Personally, I liked them, raw dough and all. Maybe I'm weird. Nobody but my mother complained about them, so I guess they couldn't be that bad, but only eight of twelve were eaten (compared to eleven of twelve of the vampires) so maybe they were that bad. The raw dough peeled off the top of the cupcakes easily and I wouldn't have been at all offended if people did that if it allowed them to enjoy the cupcake below, but no one except my mother did. Also, I think the cupcakes turned out a bit more muffiny than usual because the margarine from the topping seeped in as they were rebaked. Still tasty, but muffiny.
(And yes, I did intentionally wait until after midnight to post this so it could count as Sunday's VeganMoFo post.)