Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. Earlier this summer Calphalon donated a ton of awesome pans to the Community Center where I teach classes and also extended an invitation to me to participate in their blogger outreach program. I was happy to accept as a way of saying thank you for the donation. I received a cupcake pan with lid, a mini cupcake pan, and two silicone spatulas for writing this post and I will be giving them away to thee lucky winners. For more details on my sponsored posts policy click here. To skip down to the details on the give away click here. The opinions in this article are my own.
You know, I think fall has been hijacked by pumpkin and it’s a little unfair.
I mean almost every other post in my Facebook feed is about pumpkin spiced lattes or a new pumpkin recipe one of my friends is sharing. Don’t get me wrong – I mean I love pumpkin too, but I think it’s time to bring some other seasonal vegetables into the spotlight. Enter: Butternut Squash. While butternut squash cupcakes are hardly a new idea, I was inspired to develop this recipe from the Katie Cakes Cakery yellow cake recipe. I simply swapped out the butter for butternut squash.
I wish I could say this recipe was made healthier by the substitution of butternut squash for butter
but I’m not much of nutritionist. Also there’s a ton of sugar in the cupcakes and in the icing. Also there’s a ton of butter in the icing. Also they’re delicious. On a serious note, the substitution makes the cupcakes less dense than the original recipe and much more fluffy. They also seem to be moister than the original recipe.
The inspiration for the brown sugar maple flavor variation of the German buttercream
really just came from one of the popular ways to serve butternut squash: roasted with a little brown sugar and maple syrup. The variation for the buttercream reduces the amount of refined sugar – since we’re adding sweet syrup – and replaces almost all the sugar with brown sugar. I held back a little white granulated sugar to help break up the cornstarch so the egg mixture would be a little smoother.
If you remember, a German buttercream – also known as a Bavarian buttercream – is a buttercream with a custard base. This makes it a little softer and denser than other buttercreams and the boiled milk component makes it probably the easiest to flavor as well. You can steep tea, whole spices, and other ingredients into the milk giving you tons of flavoring options.
I’ve been sitting on this marshmallow fondant recipe for a while.
I recently used it during a teen class I did with a local library. I somehow stumbled upon this video on youtube and just never got around to making it. I haven’t really worked with fondant or gum paste much this year so I never really had a reason to make it.
It really is as easy to make marshmallow fondant as everybody says it is. All you really do is melt down marshmallows and knead in powdered sugar. Keep in mind really low quality marshmallows might have flecks of undissolved gelatin in them which could transfer into your fondant. Same goes for unsifted powdered sugar, so make sure to sift your powdered sugar well so you don’t even up will pockets of powdered sugar.
Also remember that most marshmallows are made with pork gelatin meaning they aren’t vegetarian, vegan, halal, or kosher. So if you know anyone who is abstaining from pork you’ll need to choose a variety of marshmallows that doesn’t use pork gelatin. A good option would be marshmallows made with agar agar. That being said, I’m not sure if the texture would come out the same but I’m willing to bet it would work.
UPDATE: It’s much much easier to color your fondant by coloring the melted marshmallows BEFORE adding the powdered sugar.
So here’s the cool thing about marshmallow fondant: You can toast it.
My friend Josie loves making and using her own marshmallow fondant and for a while we were talking about all of its advantages over standard fondant. First, it tastes a lot better. Second, it’s much much cheaper. Third, because its ingredients are widely available it is easier to get a hold of than standard fondant. Then I asked her if marshmallow fondant toasts like marshmallows. She had never tried or had a reason to try so I decided when I made it I would do it. It really does toast.
Okay, so maybe toast isn’t exactly the best word for it. Really it almost brulees. Maybe I’m not holding the torch to the fondant long enough or maybe there’s just so so SO much sugar in the marshmallow fondant that it ends up caramelizing instead of toasting. Whatever the case, it’s delicious and is a fun effect. Imagine the possibilities! You can make things look aged so you could make old Western themed or aged graveyard bones. If you’re really talented you could create an image in the fondant. Like if you were painting with fire. Talk about painting with all the colors of the wind.
I kept the Halloween decorating ideas simple borrowing lots of concepts from my Graveyard Brownies episode.
That episode is really old now and I seriously doubt anybody is still watching it, but the decorating ideas from that episode are a lot of fun and very easy to do so I wanted to bring them back.
Aside from using fondant to form pumpkins, skulls, bones, leaves, vines, and covering graham crackers to create tombstones I also use royal icing to create additional bones and other skeleton parts. I also used royal icing to create a Nightmare Before Christmas inspired fence section to go along with the cupcakes. I’m not sure what it is but wrought iron fences have a Halloween-esque feel to me.
Keep in mind that royal icing needs a lot of time to dry especially if you live in a humid climate. My friend Amy over at Bijou Sweet Treats specializes in royal icing work and even bought a dehumidifier specifically for when she works with royal icing. I only intended to dry my royal icing for half a day, but then played it safe and went overnight. You may have noticed my royal icing was a tiny bit more runny than it should have been so use just a couple more ounces of powdered sugar than the recipe calls for just in case.
Here are the recipes
for the Butternut Squash Yellow Cake, the Brown Sugar Maple German Buttercream, the Marshmallow Fondant, and the Royal Icing. The video is below, thank you for watching! I’d also like to extend a special thank you to my friends at Calphalon for their incredibly generous donation to the Manassas Park Community Center and for the opportunity to work with them on this sponsored post. Don’t forget to enter the giveaway by commenting on what you love about Halloween below! More details about the giveaway are below the video.
UPDATE: Calphalon has generously offered to sponsor the giveaway as well! Calphalon is adding a complete 5 piece Cupcake Lover set to the giveaway. That means four people now have the chance to win a prize! Thanks Calphalon!
I will be giving away the items Calphalon gave me to write the sponsored post to three lucky readers! To enter the giveaway simply comment on this post on what you love about Halloween. On October 21st 12pm EST I will use the “Pick Giveaway Winner” plug in to choose three names randomly from the list of comments. The winners will be contacted by e-mail, so make sure your e-mail is correct. If I don’t get a response from any or all of the winners by October 23rd 12pm EST new names will be drawn to replace those. The winner will be asked to provide a mailing address to send their prizes. Your information will not be shared or sold by me to anyone. However, winners’ first name and last initial will be announced via my Facebook fanpage, Twitter, and Google+ account.
One person will win a Calphalon cupcake pan with travel lid. One person will win a Calphalon mini-cupake pan. One person will win the two silicone spatula set. You can see the items available in the beginning of the video.
Commenting more than once does not increase your odds of winning. Giveaway only available to US residents. Family members of the Aubergine Chef cannot enter the giveaway and their entries will be disqualified. If you have any questions feel free to contact me.