Angoissant

Halloween Cookies | La Pêche Fraîche

Do one thing everyday that scares you.

Halloween Cookies | La Pêche Fraîche

Yesterday, I took over The Feed Feed’s snapchat to make these cookies!  It was a first for me, and it was so. fun.

At first, I was super nervous, but as I had some practice (and reassurance from my amazing cameraman Nati), I loosened up.  Now, I’m toying with the idea of changing my snapchat, or creating a new account, to be more blog-focused.

I had a blast, and a huge thank you to The Feed Feed for the opportunity! They really are a fantastic site.

You can check out the video of my takeover here.

Halloween Cookies | La Pêche Fraîche

These cookies use my typical recipe (3-2-1-1-2-3 dough), which you can find here.
The royal icing is Bridget’s trustworthy recipe, which is always my go-to. I use it for all my cookies!

Halloween Cookies | La Pêche Fraîche

Pumpkin Head

Pumpkin and Condensed Milk Cakes | La Pêche Fraîche

“Most dazzling human achievements are, in fact, the aggregate of countless individual elements,
each of which is, in a sense, ordinary.”
― Angela Duckworth, Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance

Pumpkin and Condensed Milk Cakes | La Pêche Fraîche

It’s the 2016 Virtual Pumpkin Party!! Woohoo!!
This party is hosted by the amazing Sara of Cake over Steak and Aimee of Twigg Studios.

There is a whole lot of pumpkin purée that’s about to inundate the internet, your instagram feed, and Pinterest.

There are some amazing, drool-worthy recipes, both savory and sweet, included in the link list below, and I absolutely encourage you to click through to whatever piques your interest!

Pumpkin and Condensed Milk Cakes | La Pêche Fraîche

When my siblings and I were babies, our parents gave us (ridiculous) nicknames, each with their own backstory.

My older brother Michael was pumpkin head, because he had a giant, bald, blocky head as a newborn. LOL.
Unfortunately, this nickname didn’t stick around enough for us to tease him with it much.

My nickname was punky beef, and I have no good answer for why.  It is a nickname of inexplicable origins and uncanny endurance—my dad still calls me punky beef to this day.
I’m sure my parents could explain it… but I’ll leave that for another day.

Pumpkin and Condensed Milk Cakes | La Pêche Fraîche

These hexagonal pumpkin cakes are cute, a little unexpected, and a little blocky, if you will.
They’re more elegant (and geometric) than typical cupcakes. They definitely lean closer to a petit four or a tea cake.

Dense, spicy, and with a good measure of dark molasses, they are delightfully and unmistakably pumpkin-hued. They’re finished with a sticky condensed milk glaze and a puff of whipped cream.  You can eat them in two bites and demolish multiple without even realizing it.

Pairing a light frosting like whipped cream with a dense pumpkin cake actually works incredibly well, in spite of the fact that you usually see pumpkin cake with thick cream cheese icing.

The milkiness of the glaze and whipped cream is a delicate, sweet match for the moist pumpkin cake below.
Those with whom I shared these cakes thought they were absolutely delicious, so I consider this recipe to be a real winner!

Pumpkin and Condensed Milk Cakes | La Pêche Fraîche

Cake Over Steak • Quick Pumpkin and Kale Risotto + Arancini
Twigg Studios • Sausage Stuffing Baked in a Pumpkin
Donuts, Dresses and Dirt • Pumpkin Spice Latte Popsicles
Cloudy Kitchen • Pumpkin Cake with Vanilla German Buttercream
Vegetarian Ventures • Smoky Pumpkin & Black Sesame Hummus
Eat Boutique • Pumpkin Scallion Dumplings
A Little Saffron • Pumpkin Stuffed Shells
Two Red Bowls • Pumpkin & Maple Caramel Baked French Toast
Wallflower Kitchen • Mini Pumpkin & Cinnamon Sugar Donuts
Wit & Vinegar • Pumpkin Butterscotch Banana Split
Style Sweet CA • Pumpkin Creme Brulee Cake
Nommable • Pumpkin Biscuits with Mushroom Thyme Gravy
With Food + Love • Cinnamon Raisin Pumpkin Seed Bread
Hortus • Creamy Roasted Squash Soup + Pumpkin Risotto
Sevengrams • Vegan Pumpkin Pie Ice Cream
Jojotastic • 1 Pumpkin, 2 Ways: Pumpkin Trail Mix & Dog Treats
Grain Changer • Pumpkin Spice Baked Oatmeal
Girl Versus Dough • Pumpkin Cranberry Flax Crisps
Earthy Feast • Pumpkin Grits + Pumpkin Home Fries + a Fried Egg
Harvest and Honey • Truffled Pumpkin Papardelle Alfredo With Frizzled Sage
Tasty Seasons • Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cake
Broma Bakery • Pumpkin Butter Pop Tarts
Tending the Table • Roasted Pumpkin and Barley Salad
The Sugar Hit • Super Soft Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls
Delicious Not Gorgeous • Waffles with Spiced Pumpkin Butter and Brown Sugar Walnut Crumble
Taste Love and Nourish • Pumpkin Bread Pudding
The Green Life • Pumpkin Spice Chocolate Chunk & Hazelnut Skillet Cookie (Vegan)
Foolproof Living • Pumpkin Creme Fraiche Pasta with Sage
The Monday Box • Pumpkin Mini Bundt Cakes
Design Crush • Pumpkin Bourbon Hot Toddy
The Road to Honey • Pumpkin Pie & Chocolate Layer Cake
My Name is Yeh • Roasted Pumpkin with Yogurt and Hazelnut Dukkah
Give Recipe • Orange Chocolate Pumpkin Bread
Heartbeet Kitchen • Magic Vegan Pumpkin Pie Fudge
Beard and Bonnet • Marbled Pumpkin Muffins
Eat Within Your Means • Vegan Pumpkin Blender Muffins
Snixy Kitchen • Pumpkin Tapioca Pudding with Candied Pumpkin Seeds
Ruby Josephine • Moroccan Sweet Pumpkin + Beef Tagine
Lab Noon • Pasta Bake with Roasted Pumpkin and Saffron Sauce, Pistachio and Goat Cheese
An Edible Mosaic • Pumpkin Spice Chia Seed Pudding
Hey Modest Marce • Mascarpone Pumpkin Pie
Inspired By the Seasons • Pumpkin Applesauce Smoothie
CaliGirl Cooking • Pumpkin Praline Cinnamon Rolls with Spiked Cream Cheese Glaze
Sally’s Baking Addiction • Pumpkin Cream Cheese Bundt Cake
Well and Full • Spicy Chipotle Pumpkin Hummus
Appeasing a Food Geek • Cheese Fondue Stuffed Roasted Pumpkin
SweetPhi • Pumpkin Chili Biscuit Bake
Warm Vanilla Sugar • Buttermilk Pumpkin Doughnuts
Mademoiselle Poirot • Cinnamon-Pumpkin Mousse on Honey Panna Cotta topped with Hazelnut Brittle
Heart of a Baker • Pumpkin Sticky Buns with Vanilla Bean Frosting
Flourishing Foodie • Massaman Curry with Pumpkin and Chickpeas
Ginger & Toasted Sesame • Pumpkin Jeon
Lindsay Jang • Best Ever DIY Pumpkin Spiced Latte
Fix Feast Flair • Hokkaido Pumpkin + Sage Mac and Gouda
Will Frolic for Food • Pumpkin Kale Patties with Coconut Cilantro Rice
A Couple Cooks • Pumpkin Pecan Baked Steel Cut Oats
Vermilion Red • Pumpkin Pie Souffle
B. Britnell • Vegan Pumpkin Pie
Displaced Housewife • Brown Butter Pumpkin Donuts
Sweet Gula • Pumpkin Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
La Pêche Fraîche • Pumpkin and Condensed Milk Cakes
Kitchen Konfidence • Pumpkin Ricotta Gnocchi with Rosemary Brown Butter Sauce
Loves Food, Loves to Eat • Savory Pumpkin Bread Pudding
Kale & Caramel • Goat Cheese & Sage-Stuffed Pumpkin Challah
Okie Dokie Artichokie • Pumpkin Chorizo Chili with Sweet Potatoes + Pinto Beans
Salted Plains • Easy Pumpkin Bread
Liliahna • Chicken Legs with Pumpkin and Tortellini
TermiNatetor Kitchen • Whole Wheat, Pumpkin & Brown Sugar Brioche
Vermilion Roots • Sweet Rice Dumplings with Pumpkin
Celebrate Creativity • Pumpkin Mini Cheesecake Tarts
Serendipity Bakes • Pumpkin Chocolate Cheesecake
So Much Yum • Vegan Maple-Glazed Pumpkin Spice Doughnuts
The Brick Kitchen • Pumpkin, Pecan & White Chocolate Ice Cream Sandwiches
Lisli • Pumpkin Pie Cake
Cookie Dough and Oven Mitt • Pumpkin Pie Dip
Fig+Bleu • Pumpkin Granola
The Speckled Palate • Pumpkin Caramel Cream Cheese Swirl Blondies
Cook Til Delicious • Fall Cliche Cake (Pumpkin Spice Cake / Maple Cream Cheese Frosting / Apple Cider Caramel Sauce)
Floating Kitchen • Chicken and Pumpkin Chili
The Wood and Spoon • Pumpkin Pecan Cake with Burnt Sugar Frosting
Fork Vs Spoon • Pumpkin Streusel Muffins
Lemon & Vanilla • Pumpkin and Coconut Caramel Flan
Dunk & Crumble • Pumpkin Chocolate Icebox Cake
Chicano Eats • Pumpkin Butter Pan de Muerto
On the Plate • Pumpkin Pancakes, Salted Caramel & Pecans
Rough Measures • Cosy Pumpkin Spice Latte (Caffeine and Dairy Free)
Brewing Happiness • Pumpkin Ginger Breakfast Cookies
A Butterful Mind • Pumpkin Cheesecake with Vanilla Whipped Cream
The Little Loaf • Pumpkin Oatmeal Chocolate Chunk Cookies
Fork to Belly • Pumpkin Gnocchi
The Little Epicurean • Chocolate Hazelnut Pumpkin Pie
Bourbon and Honey • Spicy Roasted Pumpkin with Honey and Feta
What to Cook Today • Spicy Pumpkin Noodle Soup
Food by Mars • Pumpkin Pie (Grain-Free, Diary-Free)
The Bojon Gourmet • Pumpkin Butterscotch Pudding
Oh Honey Bakes • Pumpkin Cake with Gingersnap Toffee
Long Distance Baking • Layered Pumpkin Cheesecake
The Jam Lab • Pumpkin Madeleines Dipped in White Chocolate
The Lemon Apron • Pumpkin Gingerbread Loaf with an Olive Oil Glaze
Sun Diego Eats • Thai Pumpkin & Sticky Rice Cakes
A Cozy Kitchen • Pumpkin Chai Scones with Black Tea Glaze
A Cookie Named Desire • Pumpkin Shrubs
Eating Clean Recipes • Vegan Pumpkin Chia Pudding
Kingfield Kitchen • Vegan Fresh Pumpkin Soup
Drink and Cocktail Recipes • Pumpkin Dirty Chai
The Pig & Quill • Pumpkin Sage Cannelloni (Dairy-Free)
My Lavender Blues • Pumpkin, Banana & Olive Oil Bundt Cake
Betty Liu • Pumpkin + Pear Butter Baked Melty Cheese
Happy Hearted Kitchen • Cinnamon Roasted Pumpkin with Tahini Yogurt + Hazelnut Dukkah
InHappenstance • Pumpkin Scones with Maple Butter
Live Eat Learn • Pumpkin Gingerbread Hot Cocoa
Pumpkin and Condensed Milk Cakes | La Pêche Fraîche

Pumpkin and Condensed Milk Cakes
makes 9 small cakes or 1 9×9 inch cake

ingredients:
for the cakes:
55 grams (4 tablespoons) butter, melted
56 grams (4 tablespoons, 60 mL) oil
267 grams (1 1/3 cups) granulated sugar
2 tablespoons molasses
244 grams (1 cup) pumpkin purée
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon cloves
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
2 eggs
200 grams (1 2/3 cup) AP flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

for the glaze:
100 grams (5 tablespoons) condensed milk
2 tablespoons powdered sugar

to decorate:
240 grams (1 cup) heavy cream
1 tablespoon powdered sugar

directions:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and grease and flour a 9x9inch baking pan.
Place oil, melted butter, sugar, molasses, pumpkin, spices, and salt in a large bowl and whisk to combine.
Add in the eggs one by one and whisk vigorously to combine.
Add in the flour and baking powder and stir until combined.
Pour batter into the prepared pan.
Bake for 25-30 minutes, until a tester comes out with only a few moist crumbs.
Allow to cool completely.
Cut and level cake into the shape you desire, or leave whole (you may want to level the top if leaving it whole, just so the glaze can soak in).
Whisk condensed milk and powdered sugar together to make the glaze; pour all over the cake(s).
Whip cream; whisk in powdered sugar.
Spread or pipe whipped cream on top of cake, then decorate with crumbs left over from leveling the cake.

Spooky Spooky

Spooky Chocolate Pumpkin Cake | La Pêche Fraîche

There’s a ghost in my lungs and it sighs in my sleep,
Wraps itself around my chest as it softly weeps.
Then it walks, then it walks with my legs
To fall, to fall, to fall at your feet.

There but for the grace of God go I
And when you kiss me, I am happy enough to die.

Ghosts, Florence and the Machine

Spooky Chocolate Pumpkin Cake | La Pêche Fraîche

Happy almost-Halloweenie, my little ghouls, goblins, vampires, zombies, sexy cats, and everyone else in between!

It is the witching week.

Spooky Chocolate Pumpkin Cake | La Pêche Fraîche

Also, today is technically National Pumpkin Day, so this cake is perfectly timed.  Accidentally or not.  Whatever.
I am soooo seasonally aware.
Get on the autumnal train, people, or you will be LATE.

My advice is to do so with cake, not cinnamon-apple-scented Yankee Candles, but hey—à chacun son goût!
Grab your infinity scarves!
And tiny, tiny gourds!
And plaid, plaid, plaid.

Spooky Chocolate Pumpkin Cake | La Pêche Fraîche

So. 10/26: National Pumpkin Day.  Wauuuww.
As if we weren’t pumpkin obsessed enough already…!

But, to be fair, pumpkin spice lattes are, like, the ultimate representation of Fall, so National Pumpkin Day must be kind of, like, a big deal.

To be even fairer, though, there are so many amazing things about autumn that have nothing to do with a certain orange squash.  Keep your pants on, butternut, I’m not talking about you.
(Quick aside: I’m definitely making butternut squash mac and cheese for the third year in a row for Thanksgiving. So dang good.  Praise be to Jessica.)

Spooky Chocolate Pumpkin Cake | La Pêche Fraîche

Here, I’ve collected a boatload of sweet foody links, pumpkin or no, that strike me as particularly autumnal.

Speaking of pumpkin round-ups, Cake over Steak hosted an enormous pumpkin party.
So many amazing savory and sweet recipes!
No, seriously: so many.

Some of my favorites from the punkin’ party include:
Courtney from F2B made an amazing orange pumpkin brûlée pie—I had never thought of that combination before, but golly it sounds good now that I have…

HEY what’s up helloooo—Alana turned all my pumpkin cheesecake dreams into a fluffy, cloud-like Japanese ones, and then added caramel and pecans.

Cindy and I had the same thought process with the whole pumpkin + chocolate situation.  All those buttery crumbs make me reconsider my preference for layer cakes over coffee cake.

Speaking of chocolate and pumpkin, the hot cocoa glaze on Tieghan’s baked buttermilk pumpkin donuts is mesmerizing.

Spooky Chocolate Pumpkin Cake | La Pêche Fraîche

Maple syrup/maple flavored goods are my favorite fall/winter flavor, by far.
Laura’s quinoa porridge with maple roasted pears is such a glorious way to start the day.  Maybe at some point I’ll get my life together and be able to have a composed breakfast.

Alanna takes the best photos, my Lord.
And these maple chestnut pudding chômeurs are incredible.
Listen, the Québécois know autumn, and know winter, and they definitely know maple.  I trust their choice to have such a delectable, classic dessert.
(Fun fact/knowledge drop that Alanna included: chômeur/chômeuse means unemployed individual in French.  These puddings were said to bring comfort to these Québécois during the Great Depression.)

Spooky Chocolate Pumpkin Cake | La Pêche Fraîche

Finally, chocolate and cakes are always welcome:
Megan’s wreaths would be so cute during the holidays, and they’re legitimately the prettiest brioche I have ever laid eyes upon.  Brava!

Michelle’s naked chocolate and hibiscus cake is so pretty.
Naturally pink frosting is particularly appropriate for breast cancer awareness month!

Yossy’s is the most attractive carrot cake ever.
Those process shots always impress and inspire me, since I never photograph them.

Spooky Chocolate Pumpkin Cake | La Pêche Fraîche

I told you that was going to be a lot of links.

But now, I’m going to bring it back around to my little contribution to Halloween/National Pumpkin Day.
This isn’t quite as scary as my heart cake was, but I think the poor unfortunate souls trapped in the salted ganache are adorable and just the right amount of spooky.
You may want to make the tops of your ghosts a little more rounded or folded over.  My piping bag may or may not have been uncooperative, leading to some not unkind, worried probes into what exactly these little white ~hoods~ were supposed to be.
Well. IMHO they are clearly ghosts.  So let that conversation be terminated, thank you and goodnight.

Spooky Chocolate Pumpkin Cake | La Pêche Fraîche

Little crunchy meringue ghosts haunt this cake.
They sit atop a wash of salted dark chocolate ganache that drips down the sides of a moist, heavily spiced pumpkin cake frosted with fluffy, 3-ingredient chocolate buttercream and filled with spicy sweet pumpkin butter.

Each bite balances rich and salted chocolate with spicy pumpkin—it’s a more complex twist on the traditional cream cheese/pumpkin combination, and it keeps the cake from being cloying.
This cake is incredible with or without the crunch of the meringues, so don’t stress if you don’t feel like drawing faces on fifty thousand little cookies.
You can totally leave out the pumpkin butter if you can’t find any—just add a little extra frosting between the layers!

This would be such a cute centerpiece for a Halloween celebration!  It’s definitely an attention grabber.
It somehow tastes even better on the second day, so you can make it ahead (just leave the meringues off until before serving)—
this is the perfect spooky party cake!

Spooky Chocolate Pumpkin Cake | La Pêche Fraîche

Chocolate Pumpkin Cake with Meringue Ghosts
makes 1 3x6inch layer cake
cake portion adapted from Cooking Classy

ingredients:
for the cake:
55 grams (1/4 cup, 2 ounces) butter, soft
50 grams (1/4 cup) neutral oil
135 grams (1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons) sugar
85 grams (1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons) brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
220 grams (7 1/2 ounces, 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons) pumpkin purée
30 grams (2 tablespoons) milk
195 grams (1 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons) flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder

for the whipped ganache frosting:
225 grams (8 ounces, 1 cup, 2 sticks) butter
180 grams (6 ounces) dark chocolate, chopped
1 tablespoon corn syrup, optional
small pinch salt

for the ganache drip:
45 grams (1.5 ounce) dark chocolate, chopped
45-60 grams (3 tablespoons-1/4 cup) heavy cream
small pinch salt

for the meringue ghosts:
3 egg whites
150 grams (3/4 cup) sugar
45 grams (3 tablespoons) water
1 tablespoon corn syrup, optional
pinch salt
black food writing pen

to assemble:
pumpkin butter, if desired

directions:
Make the meringue ghosts, up to 2 days before: preheat oven to 200 degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment.
Prepare a piping bag with a round tip.
Place egg whites in a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.
Place sugar, water, corn syrup, and salt into a small pot over medium heat, and start the egg whites to whipping.
When the egg whites reach stiff peaks, the sugar syrup should be at 245 degrees F.
Remove from heat and carefully pour into whipping egg whites.
Allow to whip until somewhat cooled, about 4 minutes, then fill the pastry bag and pipe out little ghost shapes.
Bake for 2 hours, then turn off the oven and allow to dry in the oven overnight.
When dry, use a black food color pen to draw on little ghost faces!
Now, make the cake: preheat oven to 350 degrees F and butter and flour 3 6-inch pans.
Place butter and oil in the bowl of a stand mixer with both sugars and the salt.
Beat on high speed for 4 minutes, until very light and fluffy and not gritty.
Add in the eggs, vanilla, and spices, and beat for 3 more minutes.
Scrape the sides of the bowl and stir in pumpkin purée and milk.
When almost homogeneous, add in the flour and baking soda and baking powder all at once.
Stir for another minute or so until fully homogeneous.
Portion out into the prepared pans.
Bake for 22-25 minutes until a tester comes out with only a few moist crumbs.
Allow to cool completely.
Meanwhile, make the whipped ganache: place butter, chocolate, corn syrup, and salt into a microwave safe bowl and microwave in 30 second bursts until 2/3 of the way melted.
Whisk vigorously until smooth and shiny.
Allow to cool to room temperature.
Whip at high speed for 3-4 minutes until very fluffy and light in color.
Frost cake right away by spreading a tablespoon or two of pumpkin butter on a layer, then adding a 1/4 cup of frosting, then repeating until all layers are used up.
Frost with a generous layer of fluffy ganache, then refrigerate while you make the ganache drip.
To make the liquid ganache, place chocolate and salt in a microwave safe bowl and microwave until 2/3 of the way melted.
Microwave the heavy cream until lukewarm, about 30 seconds, then whisk vigorously into the chocolate until the ganache is smooth and shiny.
Allow to cool for 10-15 minutes until somewhat thickened.
Meanwhile, to get the mottled look that I’ve gone for, use a hot offset spatula to smooth and slightly melt the chilled frosting, then carefully pour the still-warm ganache over the edge of the chilled cake.
Refrigerate until the drip is set, then place the ghosts on top!

Between Two Lungs

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“I’m so glad I live in a world with Octobers.”

-L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables

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Happy Halloween, y’all!

Have some cake.

Go ahead; dig right in.

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This cake won first place in a “study break”  competition in my residence hall!
Meaning it won my house points in the house cup (yes, just like the Harry Potter house cup!)!
!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

(DGH fo’ lyfe.)

I was so nervous/excited.
Now I’m excited/proud/tired.
Writing this at 2 am 3 am 4 am 10 am. FML.

(Yes, I actually tried to write this at all those times… I don’t want to talk about it.  I want to whine about it.)

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Guyyyyzzzzzz I was supposed to be doing a 12 problem calculus p-set last night, but I was at the study break celebration/competition (study break is a tradition at uChicago: it’s any treat that someone volunteers to make on Wednesday for the house to enjoy and take a break with) until 11, so I didn’t start the problem set until around then.

I did 6 problems in about an hour…

and then realized

that I did them

in the wrong section.

like WHAT I am taking calc at uChicago you would think I could tell the difference between

12.2 and 12.3 but NOPE no way so

I was up until 4am last night finishing this damn p-set for my 9am class this morning.

Moral of the story: I am a zombie and more so than ever, I want to eat this bloody heart cake.

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Let me give you a brief overview of this cake: (don’t be overwhelmed!)

it is a 12 inch, 5 layer cake

3 layers of tangy red velvet
2 layers of rich chocolate
enrobed in fluffy, silky Italian meringue buttercream
topped with a bleeding heart sculpted from rice krispies treats and covered in homemade marshmallow fondant.

It’s over the top, and somewhat grotesque.
But isn’t that what Halloween is all about?
I mean, c’mon.

Creepy bloody hearts are prime Halloween subjects.
Grab a fork and knife and tuck in!

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Bleeding Heart Cake

You’ll need:
3 batches red velvet cake (recipe below), baked in a 12×2 inch pan
2 batches chocolate cake (recipe below), baked in a 12×2 inch pan
2 batches Italian meringue buttercream (recipe below)
1 1/2 batches classic rice krispie treats (recipe from the Rice Krispie website, here) (I recommend only using a total of 2 tablespoons butter, instead of 4.5, to firm up your krispie treats)
1/2 batch royal icing (Bridget is the queen of royal icing… Go forth and prosper with her amazing and fail-proof recipe)
1/2 recipe marshmallow fondant, tinted red with a touch of green and purple (Annie’s directions are AWESOME and you should check them out… As well as the rest of her blog… It makes me swoon.  Love!)
Raspberry jam mixed with corn syrup and red food coloring to create a purple-red, thick fake blood (you have to eyeball this to your best ability)

directions:
While your krispie treats are warm, crunch them up a bit with oiled hands.
Begin to work the treats firmly, packing tightly, into an egg shape.
Mold a small, rectangular lump on the upper right “corner” of the heart; this will be your pulmonary artery and vein.
Make a slight indent that cuts from the upper right side to the middle/lower left side (refer to pictures!!!).
Freeze until hard; meanwhile, roll your fondant out to 1/4 inch thickness.
Cover the krispies with royal icing to smooth out any lumps, then cover in fondant, making sure there are no gaps where royal icing may seep through.
Seal the edges with a little bit of water and the dull side of a butter knife.
Begin to add on fondant on either sides of the diagonal indent to create slightly raised ventricles; adhere 3 balls at the top left “corner” and smooth them into cylinders to create your aorta- stick a dowel or pinky finger into the center to create the interior.
Do the same ball technique for the pulmonary vein and artery on the right upper corner.
Continue to smooth with water and a knife.
Once you are content with the shape (again, refer to pictures!), use the remaining fondant to roll tiny little veins, arteries, and capillaries.
Use a little bit of water to adhere the blood vessels to the outside of the heart, mapping them out so that all of the smaller vessels stem from a larger, central artery or vein.
Drape with plastic wrap and allow to dry slightly- I recommend overnight, but make sure it is covered in plastic lightly so that it doesn’t crack and dry out too much.
For the cake itself, layer a red velvet, then 1/3 cup frosting (the filling is very thin between the layers- they are moist enough that it is unnecessary, and too much filling will compromise the structure, so beware.), then a chocolate layer, then red velvet, and so on and so forth.
For red velvet and chocolate, a crumb coat is key.
Apply a thin layer of frosting to trap the crumbs, then refrigerate until completely set- about 30-45 minutes.
Ice the cake with the remaining buttercream, piping on details if you wish.
Place the heart in the center of the cake and stab it with a fork or knife, if desired.
Strategically drip some of your fake blood on the cake to give the illusion of a bleeding heart.
Go scare people!

Red Velvet Cake
adapted from the Food Network
makes 1 12×2 inch layer
ingredients:
150 grams (1 1/4 cups) flour
150 grams (3/4 cup) sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
pinch salt
5 grams (1 tablespoon) cocoa powder
150 grams (1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons) oil
120 grams (1/2 cup) milk, plus 1 tablespoon vinegar
1 egg
14 grams (1/2 ounce) red food coloring (the liquid kind)
directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and grease and flour a 12×2 inch pan.
Whisk the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder together.
Whisk the oil, milk, vinegar, egg, and food coloring together.
Whisk the wet into the dry ingredients and whisk well to combine.
Pour into pan and bake for 25-30 minutes, until a tester comes out clean.

Chocolate Cake
adapted from the Kitchn
makes 1 12×2 inch layer
ingredients:
200 grams (1 cup) sugar
105 grams (3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons) flour
30 grams (1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons) cocoa powder
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
big pinch salt
1 egg
60 grams (1/4 cup) oil
120 grams (1/2 cup) hot water
directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and grease and flour a 12×2 inch pan.
Whisk the sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together.
Whisk the egg and oil into the dry ingredients.
Whisk the hot water into the batter; it will be very, very thin.
Pour into prepared pan and bake for 25-30 minutes, until a tester comes out clean.

Italian Meringue Buttercream
more in-depth directions here
ingredients:
5 egg whites
200 grams (1 cup) sugar, plus 20 grams (scant 2 tablespoons) (divided)
56 grams (scant 1/4 cup) water
500 grams (4 1/2 sticks) butter, cut into chunks and softened but still quite cool
directions:
Whisk the egg whites with 20 grams of sugar.
Meanwhile, heat the rest of the sugar with the water in a saucepan until it reaches 240 degrees F.
At this point, the meringue should be at softly stiff peaks.
Drizzle the hot syrup over the meringue and beat until cooled to body temperature.
Beat in the butter 1 tablespoon at a time; keep beating until frosting is light and silky.

Scavenged

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This cake soothed some of my OCD tics for a beatific hour or so.

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It was very fulfilling to separate the Reese’s Pieces by color.  I felt good, even though it ate away at 45 minutes of my free time, which is precious little here in college.

I ended up sorting through almost twice as many as I needed.  Oh well.

While I was mindlessly dropping each color into its own bowl, I stopped biting my lips, something which has become quite a subconscious and destructive tic.

Cake works wonders, I tell ya.

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The inspiration for this cake hit me in a CVS candy aisle, like all good ideas do.
I was buying Robitussin for this ridiculous cold I still have.
They were selling bags of Reese’s Pieces, 2 for $6.

My first thought was

CAKE.

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Reese’s Pieces have never been among my top candy choices.
To be honest, I would almost certainly choose m&ms over them any day.
That being said, they are purrrfect for Halloween treats.

Other times of the year, the colors leave something to be desired.
When Halloween rolls around, though, it’s go time.

Armed with lots of Reese’s Pieces, I began to plan for a Halloween cake.

Obviously, it had to be peanut butter

and therefore

also chocolate.

But most recipes I found were chocolate cakes covered in some sort of peanut butter frosting.
I had my heart set on the opposite- peanut butter cake with chocolate frosting.

Mainly because, well, have you seen how many chocolate cakes are on this blog?  It’s a little ridiculous.
I feel like I make a chocolate cake every two weeks.

I needed change.

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In the end, the cake was a two layer peanut butter cake which was soft and flavorful, covered in whipped peanut butter and bittersweet chocolate ganache, and decorated with Reese’s Pieces and PB cups.

It was supposed to be three layers

but

I dropped one of the pans and it fell on the ground and broke into a million pieces and my friends and I gobbled it up, fresh and hot, right then and there.  RIP.

This is a scavenged cake because I swiped the peanut butter for it from the dining hall.
I convinced my friends to each grab me a few of the little tablespoon-sized packets.

I myself grabbed a few and the resultant ridiculous amount of PB was smuggled out in my backpack, which ended up being the perfect amount for this cake.
Hooray!

P.S. note that this is another Halloween post sans pumpkin.  Ahem.

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Peanut Butter Cup Cake
cake portion adapted from Simply Gloria
ingredients:

for the cake:
1 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 1/4 cup sugar
big pinch kosher salt
2 eggs
splash vanilla
1 cup milk, plus 1 1/2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
2 1/4 cup flour
1 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder

for the ganache:
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons cream
6 tablespoons butter
8 ounces (1/2 pound) chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup peanut butter

for decoration (optional):
Reese’s pieces
peanut butter cups, chopped

directions:
Make the cake: preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease and flour 3 6-inch pans.
Whisk flour, baking powder, and baking soda together; set aside.
Beat peanut butter and butter together until completely smooth, about 4 minutes.
Add in the sugar and salt and beat until combined well, about 2 minutes.
Scrape the sides of the bowl and add the eggs and vanilla; beat until completely combined, 2 minutes more.
While mixing very slowly, stream in the buttermilk while simultaneously shaking in the flour mixture.
Mix until completely combined then scrape the sides of the bowl and mix a little more.
Spread into your pans and bake for 25-27 minutes.
Allow to cool completely.

Meanwhile, make the frosting: melt the cream, chocolate, and butter together in a microwave safe bowl; gently stir together and put in fridge to cool.
Once the ganache is semi solid and chilled, whip it until it becomes fluffy; add the peanut butter and whip until the ganache is fluffy, light-colored, and spreadable.

Decorate to your heart’s content!

Orange You Glad

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Orange you glad I didn’t make these with pumpkin?

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Because guys, seriously.  I know it’s fall.  You know it’s fall.  And pumpkin is exciting, (in fact, I have some yeast-raised pumpkin goodies coming for you soon…)
BUT good gracious gravy everyone has been blogging about pumpkin pumpkin pumpkin… Similar to all the white girls tweeting about PSL. (Sorry, not sorry.  At all.  lol.)

So, I rebelled.  These orange-colored cookies are actually made with oranges, not pumpkin.
I regret nothing.

These are super simple, using my 3-2-1 dough as a base recipe.  I made three batches- one vanilla, one chocolate, and one orange, then divided each in half.
The doughs were rolled up tightly, sliced, and baked into adorable little spirals.
They’re so cute I could squeal!!
SO cute, SO easy, and SO yummy.  It’s the trifecta of cookie perfection!

Can we just talk about how great slice-and-bake cookies are?  In love.

Anyways, these cookies are perfect for a Halloween party.
You can make the dough in advance, keep in the fridge all rolled up and ready, and whenever you want cookies, all that you have to do is thaw the dough, cut however many cookies you want, and bake!
*Note: these cookies bake best (hold their shape best) when baked from room temperature.

See you soon for more spooky treats!

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Orange, Chocolate, and Vanilla Swirl Cookies 

ingredients:

For the vanilla dough:
225 grams (2 sticks, 16 tablespoons) butter
200 grams (1 cup) sugar
Two big pinches (scant 2 teaspoons) kosher salt
1 egg
Splash vanilla
360 grams (3 cups)flour

For the orange dough:
225 grams (2 sticks, 16 tablespoons) butter
200 grams (1 cup) sugar
Zest of 2 oranges
Orange gel food coloring (optional)
Two big pinches (scant 2 teaspoons) kosher salt
1 egg
Splash vanilla
360 grams (3 cups) flour

For the chocolate dough:
225 grams (2 sticks, 16 tablespoons) butter
90 grams (scant 1/2 cup unpacked) brown sugar
110 grams (heaping 1/2 cup) sugar
2 big pinches (scant 2 teaspoons) kosher salt
1 egg
300 grams (2 1/2 cups) flour
45 g (1/2 cup) cocoa powder

Directions (for all the doughs):

(For the orange dough only: rub the zest into the sugar with your fingertips before beating the orange sugar, butter, salt, and food coloring together)
Beat the butter, salt, and sugar(s) together for 3 minhtes.
Scrape the sides of the bowl, add the egg and vanilla, and beat for 2 more minutes.
Scrape the sides of the bowl and add the flour (or flour and cocoa powder, for chocolate dough).
Mix until a thick dough forms.
Divide into equal halves and form into rectangles.
Refrigerate, wrapped in plastic, for at least 30 minutes.
Roll out each half into a rectangle between 1/8 and 1/4 inch thick.
Layer one chocolate half over a vanilla half, the other vanilla half over an orange half, and the other orange half over the leftover chocolate half.
Working gently and slowly, roll each up very tightly, making sure not to crack the dough.
Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
Slice the cookies about 1/4 to 1/3 inch thick with a sharp knife, and place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.
Do not chill your cookies!
Make sure they are room temperature; leave them on the counter as your preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Bake for 10-12 minutes, until the edges are set and the bottoms start to become lightly golden.