Getting ready for Halloween,
Fun for the Kids in the Kitchen
Twit Woo Hooting Halloween Owl
It’s nearly that time of year again, Hallowe’en or All Hallows Eve…….the eve of the 1st November, which is All Souls Day; the 1st November is also the pagan festival of Samhain ~ the ancient feast that marked the end of the season of the sun (summer) and the start of the season of the darkness and cold (winter). The supernatural elements that abound at this time of year are probably a remnant of the Celts and their belief that the evil spirits came out as the nights drew longer and colder and the barriers between the spirit world and our own was at its weakest…….and, one way of banishing the evil spirits was to light bonfires and make merry around the burning flames whilst feasting and dancing.
This time of year is now known for the very modern activity of “Trick or Treating”, which, again may be a leftover from the religious and old custom of “Souling”, when Christians would visit their neighbours and offer prayers for the dead and in return they would be offered money or “Soul cakes”, little spiced buns almost akin to biscuits. However, today it is the children that dress up and visit their neighbours for treats in order that nasty tricks are not performed! And what better for them to make these wonderful little owls for Halloween tea……the cakes can be made with the children in the kitchen and they can certainly get involved with the decorating too.
These are GREAT fun…..just bake some chocolate fairy cakes, muffins or cupcakes, decorate them and then turn them into Hooting Halloween Owls, just like that ~ it’s magic. I made these last year for a children’s Halloween party, and they all loved them. The recipe is based on our British fairy cake or angel cake recipe, where the top of the baked cake or muffin is cut off to create the “wings”. This wonderful recipe idea is one that I have adapted slightly from Tana Ramsay, the wife of the famous Gordon Ramsay…..she has some great family recipes, of which this is one.
I also have some spooky companion cakes to go with these owls, I will post the recipe and photos next week nearer to Halloween……as they are MUCH spookier than these wise little owls. I have to own up and say that when I make these, I am chuckling away like a mad woman in the kitchen……I LOVE making fun cakes and bakes, and these little owls make me laugh as I build their faces up with sweets and butter-cream.
For my blogging buddies across the large puddle, I have suggested sweets (candy) that are British – please use your own local sweets to decorate the owls…..I have used Liquorice All sorts for mine. Even if you don’t have any wee ones at home, do give these a go, all my adult friends ask me to make them every year ~ they’re daft as brushes all of them! More Halloween bakes and cooking to follow next week, have fun in the kitchen and see you soon.
Twit Woo Hooting Halloween Owl
(Makes 12 muffin size cakes and 24 smaller fairy cake size cakes.)
- 300g butter, softened
- 300g golden caster sugar
- 225g self-raising flour
- 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
- 6 medium eggs
FOR ICING AND DECORATION:
- 200g butter, softened
- 300g icing sugar, sifted
- 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
- liquorice all sorts, sweets or candies
- paper baking cups, brown
For the owl cakes:
Heat oven to 190C/380F/gas 5. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with brown muffin cases. Beat the first 5 ingredients to a smooth batter and spoon between the cases, almost filling them to the top. You may have a little left over. (Alternatively, use a fairy cake or cup cake tin for smaller ones – again, try to find some brown paper cases. You should be able to make 24 “owls” if you make them in the smaller cake tin.) Bake for 20-25 minutes until risen and spongy. Cool on a rack.
Decorating the Owls:
Beat the butter and icing sugar until smooth, and then add the cocoa powder, mixing well. Slice off the very tops of the cakes and cut each piece in to half. Spread a generous layer of icing over each cake.
Working on one cake at a time, take a pair of the large round liquorice all sorts sweets that are yellow or pink with black centres, see photos. Sit the eyes on top of the cake; then add the two pieces of cake cut from the top (curved edge up) behind the eyes but slightly slanted towards the eyes – to make the eyebrows or owl’s ears. Finish by adding a piece of orange or pink sweet, in between the eyes to the front, for the beak.
Watch the owls “fly” off the table when the children see them!