‘Tis the season to be spooky. That means plenty of Halloween festivities to show the world that you can make some scary-good treats. While you could put out a bowl of mini candy bars and call it a day, it’s more fun to be the hostess with the mostess! We’ve got some yummy, Halloween-themed treats to bewitch your partygoers this year.
Chocolate Pumpkin Cake
Cast a spell on your friends’ taste buds with this decadent triple-layer cake that infuses a bit of pumpkin for a taste of the season. With an orange cream cheese frosting, this cake is so good it makes any Jack-o’-lantern smile.
- 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup quality cocoa
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
- 2 ¼ teaspoons ground cinnamon
- ¾ teaspoons grated nutmeg
- ¾ cups buttermilk
- 1 ½ cups pumpkin puree
- 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 ¼ sticks softened, unsalted butter
- 1 ½ cups firmly packed dark brown sugar
- 1 ½ cups granulated sugar
- 5 large eggs
- 8 ounces of softened cream cheese
- ¼ cups softened, unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon orange juice
- 1 teaspoon grated orange zest
- ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 4 cups confectioners sugar
- ¼ teaspoon orange food coloring
- Lightly butter three 8-inch cake pans and insert an 8-inch circle of parchment paper on the bottom of each. Lightly butter the parchment paper. Heat oven to 350° F.
- Mix the flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a large mixing bowl. Combine the buttermilk, pumpkin puree, and vanilla in a medium bowl. Using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the butter and sugar together until fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well until the mixture is smooth. Alternate adding the flour and buttermilk mixture. Blend well.
- Divide the batter evenly among the three pans and bake about 35 minutes. Allow the cakes to cool in the pans for 20 minutes. Remove the cakes.
- Make the cream cheese frosting. Using an electric mixer at medium speed, blend the cream cheese, butter, orange juice, orange zest, and vanilla in a large bowl until smooth. Add the sugar and continue to beat until creamy. Add the food coloring and stir until the color is uniform. Chill the frosting until the cake is ready to be iced.
- Trim each layer of the cake. Place one layer on a cake plate and top with frosting. Repeat with the second and third layers. Frost the outside of the cake. Feel free to add any pumpkin-themed decorations to the frosting! Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Daddy Longlegs Cupcakes
Spooky additions to any table, these chocolate cupcakes are decorated to look like hairy daddy longlegs spiders. You’ll be trapped in the web of their deliciousness!
- Chocolate cupcakes
- Canned chocolate icing
- Chocolate sprinkles
- Bassett’s Licorice Allsorts or Goetze’s Caramel Creams (eye candy)
- 1 package black string lace licorice
- Frost the cupcakes with the chocolate icing and cover thoroughly with sprinkles (to look like hair).
- Press two pieces of the eye candy into place on the top-front side of the cupcakes.
- Use scissors to cut eight 4-inch pieces of lace licorice for the legs. Hold the legs in a bunch and crease them in half. Divide the legs into two groups of four and stick them into opposite sides of the cupcake. You’ve got your daddy longlegs!
Monstrous Caramel Apples
Especially fun for any little ghouls or witches in your life, this interactive twist on a Halloween favorite is great for kids’ parties. Decorate caramel apples with candy pieces to look like shrunken heads or monster faces or pretty much any face you want. Let your imagination run wild!
- 8 medium-size apples
- 8 wooden craft sticks
- 1 cup coarsely chopped nuts (walnuts, peanuts, or pecans)
- 21 ounces of unwrapped vanilla or chocolate caramels
- 3 tablespoons water
- 6 ounces of vanilla-flavored candy coating
- 2 teaspoons shortening
- Variety of candies for decorating including licorice, candy corn, and Reese’s Pieces
- Canned frosting
- Wash and dry the apples. Remove stems. Insert one wooden stick into the stem end of each and place them on a buttered baking sheet. Place chopped nuts in a shallow dish.
- In a saucepan, heat and stir the caramels and water over medium-high heat until the caramels are melted.
- Dip each apple into the hot caramel until evenly covered. Allow excess caramel to drip off. Dip bottoms of apples into chopped nuts. Set apples on prepared baking sheet and let cool for 30 minutes.
- In a saucepan, heat and stir the vanilla candy coating and shortening over low heat until mixture is melted. Spoon the melted candy coating evenly over the tops of the caramel apples. Return to baking sheet and let stand about 30 minutes.
- Set out the decorative candy pieces in small bowls and watch in amazement as your guests bring them to life with their decorating ideas.
Halloween Popcorn Balls
A quick, easy-to-prep snack food to grab by the handful, marshmallow coated popcorn balls are a sweet and salty treat. Sprinkle them with black and orange colored candies and watch as they quickly disappear from the table.
- Vegetable cooking spray
- 1 bag popcorn
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 6 cups mini marshmallows
- 6 mini Snickers or Milky Way bars
- 3 crumbled chocolate chip cookies
- ⅓ cup chopped salted almonds
- ½ cup Reese’s Pieces
- Spray a large mixing bowl with vegetable cooking spray, and lightly spray a baking sheet.
- Make a bag of popcorn and place inside the mixing bowl.
- In a medium saucepan, heat the butter over low heat. Add the vanilla extract and marshmallows. Stir until the marshmallows have melted and the mixture is smooth.
- Pour the marshmallow mixture over the popcorn and stir with a nonstick spatula until the popcorn is coated. Spread the popcorn over the baking sheet.
- Sprinkle with the candy bar pieces, crumbled cookies, almonds, and Reese’s Pieces. Gently press the toppings into the popcorn and allow the mixture to dry for an hour.
- Break into small clumps to serve. Enjoy!
These treats can also be a tasty thank you gift to capture the spooky spirit of the season. But be prepared: You may get a few more trick-or-treaters this year once word gets out about your treat-making magic!