Bonfire Cupcakes

I have seen lots of people make a version of these on Pinterest and always wanted to have a go myself as they are really fun, but also delicious to eat.

Bonfire Cupcakes3

Keeping with the bonfire theme, I have used dark brown sugar in the moist chocolate cakes and a little cinnamon too, giving a toasty, warm flavour.

To make these extra decadent, I have used a rich cream cheese frosting which is really delicious with the chocolate cakes.  It will crust a little once piped onto the cakes, so they shouldn’t be too messy to eat!

Bonfire Cupcakes2

The firewood sticks are made from Mikado and the flames leaping into the air are melted boiled sweets.  To make these extra kitsch, I have added a toasted marshmallow on a stick too.

These were very popular with the children and very simple to make – a perfect Bonfire Night treat.

Ingredients:
160g unsalted butter, at room temperature
150g light brown sugar
110g dark brown sugar
2 extra large eggs
1tsp vanilla extract
1tsp coffee extract
375ml sour cream
250g plain/all-purpose flour
90g cocoa powder
2tsp cinnamon
1.5tsp baking soda
1/2tsp salt

Cream cheese frosting:
1 x 280g pack of room temperature cream cheese – I used Philadelphia
125g room temperature butter
2tsp vanilla extract
425g sieved icing sugar
red, orange and yellow food colouring – I used blossom dust

Flames, firewood and toasted marshmallows:
Red, orange and yellow boiled sweets – I used Fox’s Glacier Fruits
1 -2 70g boxes of Mikado biscuits – I used the ones with Daim
12 cocktail sticks and mini marshmallows
Autumn leaf sprinkles – optional

Bonfire Cupcakes

Method:
Pre-heat the oven to 180°C/356°F and line a 12 hole muffin tin with paper cases

In a large bowl, sieve together the flour, cocoa, cinnamon, salt and baking soda and set aside.

In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or using an electric whisk – cream the butter and sugars together until light and fluffy, stopping to scrape down the sides from time to time.

While still mixing, add the eggs one at a time, making sure they are fully incorporating before adding the next one.  Beat in the vanilla and coffee extracts.

With the mixer on low speed, add one third of the flour, followed by one third of the sour cream and so on until just combined.  If you add the sour cream all at once, the mixture will curdle.  It will come back when you add the flour, but you will lose some of the lightness.

Using an ice cream scoop to ensure all the cakes are the same size, plop the mixture into the cases and bake for 20-25 minutes or until a cocktail stick comes out clean.  Leave to cool completely.

Bonfire Cupcake2

To make the frosting, beat the cream cheese, vanilla and sieved icing sugar together until smooth.  Split the frosting into three and add the food colouring to colour each third yellow, red and orange.  Just add a little at a time until you get the colour you want,  I used edible blossom dust, but the gel colours you can get work well too.

Pile the frosting into a piping bag, keeping the colours as separate as you can.  You are wanting a marbled effect, so a little mixing of the colours is fine.  You can use a special piping bag with chambers if you wish.  Leave the piping bag in the fridge for at least 30 minutes to firm up.

To make the flames, put the oven on at around 200°C/400°F

Place the different coloured sweets into plastic bags and bash them into crumbs with a mallet or rolling pin.  Place little piles of them onto a lined baking sheet – red at the bottom, then orange and yellow at the top – see below:

Candy flames

Place in a hot oven for around 5 minutes, or until the pieces melt – just keep an eye on them.  When they have melted, take them out and using a cocktail stick, swirl the colours up to create flames.  Work quickly as they cool down in minutes.

To assemble, pipe a swirl of the orange, red and yellow frosting onto each cake, break up the Mikado sticks for firewood and stud each cake with flames, breaking them for different heights.

Bonfire Cupcake

Finally, skewer cocktail sticks with one or two mini marshmallows and using a firelighter or lighted match, scorch the marshmallows to toast them, before placing onto each cake.  I also added a few autumn leaf sprinkles too.

Bonfire Cupcake1

Just the thing for a bonfire party.

Parkin

The nights are long, the air is cold and thoughts turn to spiced, baked treats!  Yorkshire Parkin is a dark, sticky, oaty, gingerbread type of cake traditionally eaten around Bonfire Night.  Made ahead and stored in a cake tin, it will be at it’s sticky best for your bonfire party.Parkin2

I like to whizz up the oats in the food processor for a finer texture, but they can be left whole if preferred.

Ingredients:
220g butter
120g dark brown soft sugar
100g black treacle/molasses
150g golden syrup
120g oats – ground up on the food processor
200g self raising flour
1tsp baking powder
A pinch of salt
1tbs ground ginger
2tsp cinnamon
1tsp freshly ground nutmeg
1/2tsp ground cloves
2 extra large eggs, beaten
50ml milk

Method:
Pre heat the oven to 140°C/275°F and generously butter a 22cm² baking tin

Place the butter, sugar, treacle and syrup in a heavy based pan and gently heat until everything is melted together, stirring with a wooden spoon.  Take care not to boil.  When all the ingredients are nicely melted and molten, set aside to cool a little.

In a large bowl, sieve together the flour, baking powder salt and spices and mix in the ground oats.

Baked Parkin

Pour in the sugar and treacle mixture and mix to combine.  Everything should be well mixed and coated.  Mix in the beaten eggs and then add the milk.  The mixture should be wet and pourable, so once the eggs are added, you might not need all of the milk to get to a nice pouring consistency.

Parkin1

Pour the mixture into the tin and bake for at least an hour and a half.  Check the cake after this time, it should be firm and spring back when gently pressed.

Leave to cool in the tin for around 30 minutes.  You can serve it warm or keep for a few days and it will increase in stickiness and be at its very best.
Parkin3

Cut into squares and enjoy with hot coffee, tea, or mulled cider!

 

 

Bonfire Toffee

This is old fashioned and traditional treacle toffee that is seasonal for this time of year. As loved by children and adults alike, this is perfect for bonfire night parties!

Bonfire Toffee2

I use a candy thermometer to make this, but it is possible to make using a bowl of water to test when the toffee is ready. Just drop a small ball into the water and if it separates into firm threads (not brittle), it’s ready.

I make sure the children are well out of the way when making this as the toffee gets phenomenally hot!

Ingredients:
300g light brown sugar
150g golden syrup
150g black treacle
150g butter
¼ tsp cream of tartar
Vegetable oil for greasing

Method:
Prepare your tin by lining with non-stick baking parchment and oiling, or you could use foil and oil that. An oiled silicone mould would work well too. I used one that was 15cm square.

Place the ingredients into a deep, heavy based pan and heat on medium, stirring occasionally until everything is completely melted.

Place a candy thermometer in the pan and turn up the heat. You need to boil this until it reaches 140°C/284°F. Then, very carefully, pour the molten toffee into your prepared tin and leave to cool at room temperature.

Bonfire Toffee

If you want to cut the toffee into individual pieces, wait until the toffee has cooled enough to handle but is still soft and pliable – around 15 minutes. Use an oiled knife to cut into pieces and wrap in small squares of parchment paper, twisting up the sides. Alternatively, use a toffee hammer and break into irregular shards once it has cooled completely.

This must be stored in an airtight container and separated with layers of baking parchment. Once it has cooled and exposed to the air, it will become really sticky and all the pieces will get stuck together.

Bonfire toffee closeup

As a child, I remember buying this in little paper bags and you had to make a decision whether to eat the paper stuck to it or not. Don’t let that happen!