What a fun weekend we had! I participated in my first bake-off. I am SO not competitive, by nature. It gives me anxiety, like, for real. But I LIVE for baking (and you know, my kids, husband, Jesus too). And it was a friendly competition, hosted by my wonderful friend, judged by two chefs that she knew. And I knew we’d ALL be winners, you know, eating all of the desserts. I wanted to do something seasonal, so I decided on a pumpkin cake. To me, that would be perfectly acceptable on its own, because…#pumpkinallthethings, but this was a competition.

The cake itself was so pretty. The recipe called for an entire can of pumpkin, which I hadn’t seen before. I knew it would be rich with fall flavor and moist.

It was heavenly. While that was baking, I went to work on  next project – the cake’s decoration.

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Melting chocolate – isn’t it magical?

Halloween Candy Bark!

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I meannnnnn, forrealz! This is a thing! I ran across the recipe in my research and fell in love with it. It’s so festive! I could have used any candy, I suppose, but the blog used these and I loved how it looked like the inside of a trick or treat bag, but with eyes.

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It was so pretty. I can’t even handle how cute it came out.

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It’s my new favorite. Of everything.

http://www.justataste.com/2014/10/halloween-candy-bark/

Since my pumpkin cake recipe called for 3 8-inch rounds and I only had two, I made three smaller cakes to go with the 2-layered big one.

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I decorated the big one with the Halloween bark, cut into shards, and I used candy corn, more shards, and eyeballs to decorate the smaller ones. Not the cleanest work I’ve ever done, but it worked out because my creation won “Most Innovative”! I was so happy. It really was a delicious cake (and the bark was SO good).

This cake would be an incredible addition to a Thanksgiving table. It’s maple cinnamon cream cheese frosting takes it to a new level.

http://www.thenovicechefblog.com/2012/10/pumpkin-dream-cake/

Since my long-suffering husband is both and dairy and gluten free, I couldn’t let him go to the bake-off with nothing to eat. I made him a Chocolate Pumpkin Sheet Cake.

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I could tell by the batter that it was going to come out delicious.

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And I was right. It was HUGE too, enough to feed a gluten and dairy free army. It puffed right up like a “real” cake! This was my first successful attempt and GF DF from-scratch baking (cakes). I left off the frosting (since it was filled with dairy).

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I’ll be using this recipe again and again. It called for over 1 can of pumpkin, but I just used one and it turned out beautifully.

http://www.thebakingbeauties.com/2010/10/gluten-free-chocolate-pumpkin-sheet-cake.html

All of the desserts at the bake-off were delicious. That was a fun night. I’ll have to up my game for next year’s competition.

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And lastly, I made mummies. Not real ones. Because that’s gross. And unheard of. In these modern times.

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I’ve made these before (here). They are too easy for words and make a big impact (to kids, mostly, I think).

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They’d be great dipped in ketchup. But that would look bloody. And grody. We don’t do bloody. Unless it’s a lip or knee. And not on purpose.

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I was going to make them all like the one on the left, but then nobody had time for that.

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I packed that little guy in my Bigs’ lunchbox, along with seasoned corn, banana chips, raisins, pineapple, red grapes, a Halloween cookie, and some orange and black chocolate covered sunflower seeds.

Boo!

Blessing to you!

Kristin

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