Last Halloween the boys and I had a blast working with Kitchen Play on some spooky treats. Since we’re getting into the Halloween groove around here, it’sabout time for us to dust off those ghoulish tendencies and have some fun with them again. This year Kitchen Play teamed us up with McCormick for their Halloween Side Car Event. Extracts and Dyes, Oh My! Be still my artist’s heart, I love playing with color, especially food coloring. Last year the boys knew what was coming and gave me some great ideas to try in the kitchen, but this year I kept them out of the loop. Why? To surprise them of course.
Usually I’m in charge when it comes to whipping up our sweet treats, yet there are times that I like the boys to take the lead in the kitchen. I choose easy recipes that will allow them to feel like they’re in charge, while they learn more about cooking and enjoy themselves. What better way to get them involved than to surprise them with a cupcake decorating party? I decided on a delicious, creative treat to reward them for all of their hard work at school and to put them in the Spooky Spirit of things.
McCormick, sent me some Pure Vanilla Extract, Black Food Color and Assorted Food Color, along with a couple of new recipes to try. They even had some nifty ideas for spicing up the flavor of boxed cake mix. Love that! While the monkeys were at school I picked up everything that we would need for a decorating party: yellow and red velvet cake mix, vanilla frosting and a variety of candies for them to be imaginative with. They were ecstatic when they came home and found the smorgasbord of goodies waiting for them.
The boys started whipping up the cake batter while I shared with them McCormick’s tips for making the cupcakes taste out of this world. Simply add a touch of Pure Vanilla Extract. Right about now some of you are going DUH! But I have to be unabashedly honest, I’ve never done that before. In all of my years of baking cupcakes for class parties and sleepovers, it has never dawned on me to tweak the boxed mix! I know…I’m a dork. If you didn’t already know this tip please join me in my AH-HA moment of the year.
Once the yellow cake batter was done the boys divided the batter in half. In order to make the candy corn cupcakes you want the batter to be yellow and orange. That way it has stripes like candy corn from the inside out.
M2 mixed 4 drops of red food color in 2 1/2 cups of yellow cake batter in order to achieve the orange that you see above. You can, of course, add more or less drops to get the color of your preference. Once he had his colors mixed, little man filled each paper-lined cup. First with yellow batter about 1/3 full, then topping them off with the orange batter until each cup was 2/3 full.
While all of the cupcakes were baking the boys made their different shades of frosting color.
I can tell you that M1 mixed 50 drops of black food color to approx. 3/4 of a container of vanilla frosting to get his black just right. With the remainder of the frosting he tinted green by combining approx. 9 drops of green and 2 drops of black food color. As for the yellow and orange frosting M2 used, “a little bit of this and a little bit of that”. He’s not big on specifics, unless it’s video games or surfing.
With all of the prep work done it was time to break out the candy and be creative!
Would you like to see what the boys’ imaginations concocted?
Vel-come to Fright Night! Vhere all of the vittle monsters rise from the crypt to overrun you and devour you with sweet bites. Or is it that they get devoured?
For the boys it’s not Halloween until Candy Corn arrives. As much fun as they had creating their ghouls, I believe that these stole their hearts. They were fascinated to see how the inside of the cupcakes resembled candy corn and loved the appeal of being able to make their own version of their favorite candy.
Helpful tip-With our next batch we will add a few more drops of food coloring to the cake batter, the orange color in our first batch faded a little while they baked.
With the left over cupcakes I followed McCormick’s decorating ideas and made my own version of candy corn. Well, y’all couldn’t expect me to sit back and not join in the fun a little could you?
I highly recommend allowing yourself and the kiddos to have an afternoon of spooky fun with food coloring, frosting and candy! It’ll put a smile on your face as well as one in your tummies.
McCormick is also sponsoring a wonderful giveaway at Kitchen PLAY. Simply recreate any one recipe from this month’s SideCar Series, post about the experience on your blog and provide a link to your post on Kitchen PLAY to enter. All qualifying bloggers in each course will be entered to win $50 (10 prizes total). The deadline is October 31, 2011. Please review the complete contest rules before entering. Good luck!
We can’t wait to have more Halloween fun with you guys!
Candy Corn Cupcakes- McCormick Recipe
Makes approx. 16-24 cupcakes
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
1 package white or yellow cake mix (& listed ingredients needed)
2 teaspoons McCormick® Pure Vanilla Extract
McCormick® Assorted Food Colors and Egg Dye
1 container vanilla frosting
Assorted decorations, such as yellow and orange sprinkles and candy corn
PREPARE the cake mix as directed on the package, adding vanilla extract. Divide batter in half. Tint one half of the batter yellow with few drops yellow food color.
Tint the second half of the batter orange with few drops each yellow and red food color.
*If using yellow cake mix, tint only one half of the batter with approx. 4 drops of red food color*
FILL each paper-lined muffin cup 1/3 full with yellow batter. Gently add the orange batter on top of the yellow batter, filling each muffin cup 2/3 full. Bake as directed on the package for cupcakes. Cool the cupcakes on a wire rack.
DIVIDE the frosting into 3 equal batches. Leave one batch white. Tint the second batch yellow and the third batch orange.
*For the yellow we used approx. 8 drops yellow food color: For the orange we used approx 6 drops of yellow and 5 drops of red*
Spoon each frosting side-by-side into piping bags fitted with a large star tip. Do not stir frosting. If the frosting is too soft, refrigerate 10 to 15 minutes.) Pipe tri-colored frosting on top of the cupcakes. Or decorate with sprinkles and candy corn.
Vampire Cupcakes-McCormick Recipe
Makes approx. 16-24 cupcakes
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
1 package red velvet cake mix (& listed ingredients needed)
2 containers cream cheese frosting
McCormick® Black Food Color
Assorted decorations, such as candy-coated pieces and miniature marshmallows
PREPARE the cake mix as directed on the package.
BAKE as directed on the package for cupcakes. Cool the cupcakes on wire rack.
Tint one container of cream cheese frosting black, use approx. 50 drops of black food coloring to get the color nice and dark. Spoon the frosting into a piping bag fitted with a small round tip.
Decorate For the vampire coat the top of the cupcake white, pipe black hair making a widows peak or run a toothpick through to create strands of hair. Use candy to create the face. For bloody teeth, cut tiny marshmallows into fangs, dip a tooth pick into the red food color and dab the tips of the fangs.
For other desired Halloween monsters let your creativity loose.