Welcome to my blog, through which I hope to be able to share my experiences of gluten free cooking, baking, experimenting and eating.
When my daughter was diagnosed (age 6) with Coeliac Disease, our world of eating changed overnight. From breads, pastry and pasta to cakes, biscuits and puddings.......... suddenly most of what we knew was 'off the menu'. I think I must have tested every available gluten free product on the market, seeking out replacements to try and keep things as normal as possible. I was disappointed to find that what was available was often dry, crumbly and flavourless.
Not one to shy away from a challenge, I decided to turn my kitchen into a laboratory, turn all I knew about cooking on its head and start creating!

Saturday, 25 October 2014

Halloween Cake Pop Spiders


It's nearly Halloween....... time to celebrate all things spooky, scary and spine-shiveringly dark. All Hallows Eve or the Festival of the Dead apparently has its origins with Celtic tribes and the Druids who used this date to celebrate the transition from life to death.


I'm not sure the meaning is actually recognised at all these days......... but the kids (and plenty of adults) love to dress up as witches, ghouls and vampires and head for the streets........ visiting houses lit with candled pumpkins, to scare as many neighbours as possible whilst scrounging for sweets and treats. My daughter would knock on doors all night long given the chance and is never happy until she has enough sweets to open a sweet shop.


Frankly, I feel really uncomfortable with the whole concept of trick or treating. We spend lots of energy and time trying to persuade our children that it is not safe to 'take sweets from strangers' in an effort to protect them and then on one night a year we encourage them to knock on as many doors as possible, freely asking for them! I supervise like a maternal hawk........


Still, that aside....... I do enjoy the carving of pumpkins, the making of spooky treats and the opportunity to see my daughter dressed up in wonderful halloween colours, incredibly excited at the anticipation of partying with her friends and gathering her stash.


Being half term, it is definitely the time to make stuff together. And after our Easter foray into the world of cake pops, we figured it was time to try again with a Halloween version.


If there's one mutual fear we share, it's spiders. Big fat, black, furry house spiders in particular send us all into terrified shakes. Over the years, I have had to get braver in the art of spider disposal, if only because neither my husband or daughter have shown any signs of doing this for me and the thought of a house filled with spiders hiding in dark corners ready to leap out seems worse than the panic of grabbing a large glass and tentatively carrying it down the road as far as possible before emptying the spider hysterically into the road. I always hope that the further away and the more determinedly this is done, the less chance of them finding their way 'home' again.


So it seemed apt to make Spider cake pops for Halloween........... Maybe we are entering a therapeutic desensitisation process, but give them cute little eyes and liquorice flavoured legs and they seem quite friendly!

Filled with chocolate cake, moistened and moulded with a splash of coconut cream and honey (which avoids them being over-sweet) and covered with candy melts, these are very tasty little spiders. Definitely to be recommended, even for arachnophobes........


I am allowing a few of these furry friends to crawl off to some of the Halloween challenges this month :


Treat Petite with Kat over at The Baking Explorer and Stuart at Cakeyboi, who celebrate this month with the theme of Trick or Treat.


We Should Cocoa, being guest-hosted by Honey & Dough on behalf of Choclette at the Chocolate Log Blog.


Let's Cook for Halloween with Nayna at Simply Food.


Love Cake with Ness over at Jibber Jabber, who's Halloween theme is 'Dark'.


.......and lastly, a few are crawling over to Vanesther at Bangers & Mash for October's Family Foodies Challenge (joint hosted with Lou at Eat Your Veg), who are encouraging Cooking with Kids this month. Cake pops are always such fun to make with children. It's one of the things me and my daughter love to do together. Just accept the mess!


I have (latterly) decided to link these little cuties into this week's Recipe of the Week as well, with Emily over at A Mummy Too, as they were so eager to join as many challenges as possible!


And Halloween Foodie Friday with Otilia over at Romanian Mum Blog.



Halloween Cake Pop Spiders (makes 8 spiders)

Ingredients

1 x 7 inch chocolate cake sponge (broken into crumbs)
2 to 3 tablespoons coconut cream
a squeeze of runny honey/golden syrup

black liquorice laces or, if not available, liquorice wheels (unravelled) - cut into 8 equal-length pieces for each spider 
black candy melts
black sprinkles (make sure they are gluten free as needed) (optional)
candy eyes

Method

  1. In a large bowl, mix the cake crumbs with the coconut cream and honey/syrup until sticky and well-blended.
  2. Using your hands, mould and roll the mixture into 8 equal-sized quite condense cake balls.
  3. Place in the fridge to chill for 2 to 3 hours.
  4. Use a skewer to poke 4 holes in each side of each cake-ball, where you want the legs to go.
  5. Carefully push a piece of liquorice into each hole about 1 cm deep.
  6. Melt a couple of handfuls of candy melts according to the manufacturer's instructions (if you need more later, you can add and re-melt).
  7. Use a small pastry brush to paint each cake spider with candy melt ensuring the sponge is covered completely. (I used a skewer poked into the bottom to hold, allowing for maximum coverage without having to touch the cake. I then removed the skewer when the candy melt had set and finally covered the hole with a blob of remaining melt).
  8. Whilst the candy melt is still sticky, dip the spider's head into sprinkles if using and then leave the melt to set.
  9. To stick the eyes, use a small spot of candy melt to stick each eye in place on the spider.
  10. Leave the spider to set completely (This process will be quickened by placing in the fridge for 10 minutes).
Gluten Free Alchemist © 2013-14 unless otherwise indicated

31 comments:

  1. Oh Kate you are a wonder. You make your spiders sound so easy to construct. I know I'd never manage anything half as good. And how good of you to try making something your phobic about, I don't think I could do that either. Great cakes, great photos, I feel honoured to have some spiders crawling in the We Should Cocoa direction :)

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    1. Thanks for your kind words Choclette. I think they are easier than they look to put together...... really, my skills are pretty limited! If all spiders were like this though, my fear would be gone!

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  2. I know loads of people hate spiders but these are absolutely adorable! You've been SO creative. It would take me ages to break into them if I had a stash waiting for me =)

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    1. Thank you Laura. My daughter and her friends ate some yesterday....... it was quite painful to watch their poor little legs being slowly pulled off and their bodies being chomped!

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  3. Those spiders are so cute how could you be scared of them - though I don't like the big black ones but most of the spiders we see are small - my little niece was checking drawers in my mum's house today and there was a spider in one of the drawers looking for all the world as if it was stored there - it amused me to see it and we left it there. And II have never gone trick or treating nor has my 5 year old - I am not keen on the idea but don't mind that they have a dress up day at the school.

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    1. Ha..... sounds like your spider had a lucky escape! I really wish I could appreciate them more!

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  4. They are so cute! If I'm going to get savaged by spiders for Halloween I choose these!

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    1. Thanks CC. I think the savaging on this occasion is being done by my daughter and her friends! Poor cute little things!

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  5. These are fantastic! Definitely a lot cuter than the horrid large spiders in apparently scaring the entire country (if you read the papers!). Have a fun Halloween!

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  6. I love Hallowe'en but I can imagine it would all become a bit stressful with kids. These spiders however are genius. I love them!

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    1. Thanks Dom. 'Stressful' is absolutely one word for it! You just have to embrace the chaos and excitement and hope you survive!

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  7. Your cake pop spiders are absolutely brilliant - cute yet creepy in equal measure - just perfect for Halloween! And a great entry for this month's Family Foodies challenge. Thanks so much for linking up :)

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    1. Thanks Vanesther. You're welcome! They seemed perfect to share!

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  8. These are the best spider cake pops I've seen! I love baking for Halloween but am struggling to find the time for all my ideas.

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    1. Thanks Ros. High praise indeed! I know what you mean though..... finding time to fit everything in is always tricky!

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  9. Oh they do look fab! I run a linky on my blog called Foodie Friday and this week theme is Halloween! Please do come and link up x

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  10. These look fabulous! The perfect treat for Halloween. They really are cute! Well done!

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  11. Those are brilliant, really realistic. Great idea

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  12. These look brilliant! What a great idea!

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  13. I actually don't mind spiders but any made of chocolate sponge are obviously much more appealing! These ae so clever and professional looking that they are worthy of being sold in an very expensive patisserie.

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    1. Well thank you Ness! And yes..... chocolate sponge is definitely better than spider gore!

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  14. This is like the perfect #recipe for #Halloween! Thank you for linking up with the #FoodieFriday

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  15. You a lot braver than me to make these when you don't like spiders! Thanks for entering into Treat Petite.

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    1. You're welcome Kat. They were definitely cuter than the nasty little things that run across the carpet!

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