Happy Halloween, my spooky friends! I hope you have a scary film playing in the background, Jack o’ Lanterns lit, because the hours are counting down until the Trick-or-Treaters come knocking on your door.
To finish off my Hosting Halloween series, I’ve put together a table that really gives me the heebie-jeebies. Nothing creeps me out more than a deep and dark forest. Haunted woods always make me think there is a coven of witches taking refuge in the dense, dead trees. EEK!
My treat table for a sophisticated Halloween party takes inspiration from those horrible, terrible, terrifying thoughts. So let’s move on to happier thoughts, in the form of delicious sweets!
First up, I made traditional Devil’s Food Cupcakes and decorated them to look like spooky monsters in bright orange frosting. For those monsters, I used Wilton’s candy eye sprinkles. I think they add a wonderful eery touch to all Halloween treats. Be wary, though–the black dots break of easily in the package and distort the look of the candy. If they sit on the frosting too long, they’ll also bleed. Bummer.
The second way I decorated was with the witches in mind. Creepy gray frosting covered in bones–no doubt the victims of the coven!
I am so incredibly proud of this Bundt cake. It’s a Raspberry Buttermilk Bundt Cake, and it’s too dreamy for words. The crumb is incredibly moist and sweet, and the whole thing is pocked with tart raspberry bursts. I added black food coloring to make it look a bit deadlier. It was an absolute hit!
You can’t throw a party without a good cocktail. While there are several options that fit the Halloween theme (I tinkered around with serving Zombies, as well), I settled on a classic dry martini. I added blue and red food coloring to give it a poisoned look.
I really put some thought into the decorations on this one. The framed pictures are free images from the internet–I just adjusted sizes and fiddled with how the tombstones balanced on the page. I put the images in white Baroque-like frames, which I think add a subtle vibes of history.
The giant centerpiece is actually a mirror that I had lying around the house. I found the stock paper, a scrapbooking page, at Hobby Lobby. It has excellent parchment texture. The looping, non-sensical sentences, while romantic in some scenarios, seems chaotic and foreboding here. Very all-work-and-no-play-esque. I attached the paper to the mirror using glue dots, and I used an X-Acto knife to get clean edges.
For the backdrop, I found black fabric in the Halloween aisle, literally labeled spooky fabric. It has a similar texture to worn gauze or destroyed pantyhose. Not that that matters, I guess. Just worth noting. I have it draped along the wall using those amazing clear Command Hooks–you can barely see them! Those hooks are also how I kept the mirror sturdy and locked in place.
For pops of color (green, of course, as they are a witch’s next favorite color), I set out shelled pistachios and a specific type of roasted pumpkin seed. They are called pepitas, and you can get them in the nut aisle of most grocery stores. They’re very similar to pumpkin seeds in taste, but the texture is closer to that of a soft nut. They also boast a beautiful green color that I wanted for this look.
Because it’s the woods that are spooky about this inspiration, most of the dishes on the table are wooden. I love the tray the caramel apples are sitting on! It’s a sliver of a tree, bark and all. To keep the table from looking to static, I also have onyx plates and splashes of silver in the forks and martini glasses.
How amazing are those glasses, by the way? I saw them in Target, and I just had to have them! They don’t have many in-store, and honestly, I think I cleared them out that day. But even while standing in line, so many people were commenting on them. They really do make a statement on any party table.
That’s all I have for Halloween this year! Of course, I’ll be back soon with more tasty treats to keep you satisfied through fall and on-ward. I hope you guys have a spook-tastic holiday. Until next time–delicious dealings, friends!
Check out all the recipes from this post below!
Raspberry Buttermilk Bundt Cake
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened, plus more for the pan
3 cups plus 2 tablespoons flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1 3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup vegetable oil
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3-4 drops black food coloring gel
3/4 cup buttermilk
2 cups raspberries
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Generously butter a non-stick 12-cup Bundt pan.
Whisk 3 cups flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Set aside.
Beat 2 sticks butter, sugar, and vegetable oil in a bowl on medium-high speed until light and fluffy. Reduce the mixer speed to low; beat the eggs in one at a time. Add vanilla and food coloring.
Add about 1/3 of the flour mixture and 1/2 of the buttermilk. Beat until almost incorporated. Add another 1/3 of the flour mixture and the rest of the buttermilk. Beat until just combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the remaining flour mixture. Beat for 30 seconds. Finish incorporating the flour by hand to prevent over-mixing.
Toss the raspberries with the remaining 2 tablespoons flour in a small bowl. Spoon 1/3 of the batter evenly into the prepared pan. Sprinkle in 1/2 of the raspberries, then top with another 1/3 of the batter. Scatter the remaining raspberries on top and cover with the rest of the batter; smooth the top.
Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, an hour to an hour and ten minutes. Transfer to a rack and let cool 30 minutes in the pan. Run a small sharp knife around the edge of the pan to loosen the cake, then invert onto the rack to cool completely.
Just before serving, make the glaze: Whisk the confectioners’ sugar and 4 tablespoons milk in a bowl; if the glaze is too thick, whisk in up to 1 more tablespoon milk, a little at a time. Pour the glaze over the cake, letting it drip down the sides. Serve with fresh raspberries on top.
Check out all the recipes from this post below!
2 1/2 oz dry gin
1/2 ounce dry vermouth
2-3 drops food coloring, blue and red
Green olives for garnish, optional but recommended
In a cocktail shaker filled with ice, combine gin, vermouth and food coloring. Stir well, about 20 seconds, then strain into martini glass. (This is where James Bond would ask you to shake, instead). Garnish with olive and serve.