Oct 28

Bloody Pumpkin Epic Fail : A Halloween Attempt


So Halloween is just round the corner and I have my good friend, Claire visiting for the next 3 weeks. She stepped off the plane and immediately said she was “freezing”. HA! Well she came all the way from Kuala Lumpur where it’s 30°C all year round and landed here in Amsterdam at 6:30 a.m where it was a pretty chilly 5°C. Its been a week now and I think she is slowly coming to terms with the fact that its not going to get any warmer.



Over the weekend we popped into my favourite discount store, Xenos, and picked up a few things to start some Halloween baking. Came across these oh-so adorable silicone baking pans in the shape of Jack-O-lanterns. It only took us a few minutes and the ideas were already beginning to flow. So here is what we came up with ~ we were going to bake orange flavoured muffins but we’d fill in the facial features of the pumpkins with chocolate cake batter to give it more contrast and definition. The idea seemed pretty reasonable (at the time) and we couldn’t wait to go home and try it out.

My only issue was with the actual baking pan itself ~~ I hate silicone trays! Okay, so maybe “hate” is too strong a word, but what I’m trying to say is that I have had very little success with silicone trays hence I have very little confidence in using them now. But Claire assured me that if we sprayed the surface with adequate lubricant the cakes should unmould without any fuss or sticking. Fine. So in the basket they went. For € 5 a pop, they weren’t the cheapest pan of six muffins either.




Back home the idea that we use two different coloured (and flavoured) cake batters had moved on. From this point on is where we start to run away with the ideas and I believe it is at this point where we doomed the project. We should have stuck with the simple plan first. So anyway, now we got it into our heads that we should play with food colouring. The orange flavoured cake batter would be dyed a brilliant orange, and that the center of each cake would ooze out “blood” (wha what???) …. basically a blood red white chocolate ganache. Can you imagine it? What a brilliant idea! We were definitely feeling like the smartest people on the planet.



We got down to work almost immediately. First on the list ~ the ganache.

How hard can it be to whip up a batch of white chocolate ganache, right? All it takes is chocolate, cream and butter. But from the get-go problems arose, and yes, it started from the ganache. We managed to melt and colour the ganache, and we placed the ganache into ice cube trays and froze them so it would be easier to just pop them in the middle of the cakes. I had read about this method off someone else’s blog when he was making the French delicacy, ‘Moelleux’ ~ a dense chocolate pudding with a gooey lava center. I even tried it once and it was delish! Anyway, so we poured the ganache into the ice cube trays and waited ….


And we waited …



…. but the ganache would not freeezzzeee!!! Maybe I added too much cream so the fat content made it impossible for the ganache to solidify? I don’t know, I’m no baking scientist (however, just 30 mins ago I thought I was God’s gift to the baking world!) but what I do know is that this reeks of failure; I knew there was more on the way. Set back #1. I braced myself. *mentally straps on crash helmet*
Then came the part where we had to start filling in the facial features of the pumpkins with chocolate batter. Looked easy. Sounded easy. But in the end it was more hassle than we bargained for. I thought it would be a good idea to pipe in the batter, but the batter was a tad too thick and the bag split. Thinned it out with more milk but still it was more pain than ease. So we ended up “painting” the batter in using fine pastry brushes!!  It sure was a step up from bursting piping bags.



Made the orange cake batter without a hitch. Then I poured in the first layer over the chocolate faces. I was going to place a cube of frozen ganache in the middle and when it baked it would form a gooey centre ~ in theory. I quickly poured on the top layer and immediately knew I had filled it with too much; its going to over flow once it hit the oven. DOH!



Eventually we managed to get the first lot of 6 into the oven and as predicted, they bubbled over and they “bled out”. Red ganache was coming to the surface, spewing its contents around the sides and oozing onto the drip tray. It wasn’t pretty. But ironically, for a Halloween cake it looked perfect in there ~ an absolute disaster. By the end of 25 mins it was all over, and we extracted the muffin pans carefully. The house smelt great actually. Full of orangey-chocolatey goodness. The cakes however were a grotesque sight to behold. They rose well over the lip of the mould and were all stained with bubbling red goo, emanating from the centre. We tipped them out onto the wire rack and they came out nice and clean with very pronounced features. YAY! I do believe my faith in silicone moulds has been restored … partially. We’ll see.



This has been a very educational project, I must say. I now know that :

a) ganache doesn’t freeze very well

b) when they tell you to only fill the moulds 2/3 of the way up, they’re saying it for a reason

c) if lubricated well enough silicone moulds can be your friend.

d) making crazy cake plans with a friend who shares your vivid imagination isn’t always the best idea.



Speaking of which, we forgot to pick up cake-release spray so we ended up greasing the moulds individually with melted butter using fine pastry brushes. I think we got quite good at painting things with pastry brushes after this project. Set back after set back after set back but I do believe I am on to something here. Filled cakes have always been my thing. I like the idea of biting into a seemingly innocent piece of cake only to the surprised 5 seconds later when filling gushes into your mouth. This project has also enabled me to work once again with laser cut silicone moulds and I think my confidence in them has gone up a notch. Now I think I would like to bring out my other silicone moulds ~ the ones I have bought over the year , used once and left them at the back of my pantry cupboard. I would particularly like to try baking with this really cute silicone pan I ordered online from a shop in Hong Kong. Cost me all of $ 7 and they are perfect for those mini cake bites you find when attending high-tea.

So it all seems like a straight forward case of misunderstanding. In future I will definitely be a little wiser and use cake release spray even if the tray claims to be non-stick silicone.




Permanent link to this article: http://foodflurries.com/sweet/holiday-baking/bloody-pumpkin-epic-fail-a-halloween-attempt


  1. claire

    just read this again… killer funneh… miss hanging out doing jack shit in your place!

    1. bubviv

      It sounded like we were baking under the influence or smthg. Hahahaha. Damn bodoh la we.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *