Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Nut-Free Halloween Edible Craft Project: Pumpkin Cake Haunted Houses!

A completed pumpkin cake Haunted House.

Halloween is fast-approaching and those of us who have kids with severe food allergies are searching for fun Halloween treats and activities that are safe. Here's one to do with your kids at home or for a Halloween party with friends: an edible Halloween craft project using delicious and healthy pumpkin cake to make "Haunted Halloween Houses."

I recently included a pumpkin-apple bread recipe and please note that this recipe is a bit different. It's more dense, which helps the cake stay together. Another tip is to let the cake sit for several hours after coming out of the oven so that it does not fall apart when you try to work with it.

To "glue" the roof of the Haunted House to the base and to create doors, etc., we used a basic buttercream frosting. I tinted the frosting purple, black and orange and then a reusable pastry tube with tips.  (I have this kind of stuff because I am a kitchen gadget geek.) Nordic Ware has a wonderful pastry bag made out of solid plastic--it is kind of like a cookie press and is very easy to clean up. I bought mine at SuperTarget, my home away from home.

 If you don't have one of these frosting decorators, you can place the different frostings in resealable plastic bags, cut off the corner of the bag and then squeeze the frosting through it. Works great!

My daughters used inedible plastic spiders as well as Sixlets, Halloween gumballs and cupcake picks (inedible) to decorate. We got this huge bag of nut-free candy made in Canada at my local Jewel (Albertson's) supermarket for some of our candy decor.

Candy made in facility that does not process nuts.
Front of the bag: It's called Witch's Brew and has gumballs
 (Jack o Lantern and eyeballs) and black and
 orange Sixlet candies, among other nut-free treats.

You could also use Surf Sweets spooky spiders, Vermont Nut-Free Chocolate Skippers (like M&Ms) and other chocolate props such as Premium Chocolatiers amazing array. Whatever you like and is nut-free (or free from) would work here. I just had a thought that a plain Tootsie Roll (nut-free facility, by the way) would make a nice little chimney on the house. In any case, you and your kids can have fun with this project.

Nut-Free Haunted House Pumpkin Cake Project

(Please note: make this nut-free, dairy-free and egg-free by using dairy-free margarine, dairy-free milk and your favorite egg replacer)


2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 tablespoons pumpkin pie spice (or use a combination of ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg)
1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree (from a can)
1/4 cup milk (you can use dairy-free milk)
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine
1 - 1/2 cups sugar plus 2 tablespoons (you can use part brown sugar if you like for a deeper, richer color and taste)
2 large eggs (or use egg replacer)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a 9 x 9 inch square baking pan.

In a medium bowl, combine dry ingredients and mix. In a small bowl, combine pumpkin puree, milk and vanilla. Set aside.

Cream butter or margarine with sugar in a large mixing bowl until fluffy and light. Beat in eggs or replacer; eggs should be added one at a time and then blended.

Reduce mixer speed to low. Alternately, add flour mixture and pumpkin mixture, ending with flour mixture. Beat until just blended and no traces of flour remain visible.

Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake for 35 minutes; check with wooden pick. If it the pick is clean, remove from oven. If not, bake a few more minutes and test again. Do not over bake.

Cool in pan for 10 minutes, then remove to wire rack to cool completely. For this project, let it cool for several hours. If eating it without doing the project, eat a slice warm with some powdered sugar on top.


Once the cake is cooled, slice it evenly into squares. Use one full square for the base of the house. Cut another square in half; these triangles will be used for the roof.

Secure the roof to the base of the house with butter cream frosting of your choice. Decorate as desired and enjoy!

You can keep the finished houses in a container with a tight-fitting lid for a few days...but they will probably disappear pretty quickly.

Happy Halloween!

While you are online today, will you take a minute and vote for me in the Facebook Circle of Moms Food Allergy Blogger contest? It ends today, so every vote counts! If you like this blog, I'd love your vote. And THANK YOU!

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