I’ve been scratching my head over what I should write for this Halloween edition. If your childhood was spent in Australia, chances are you too grew up desperately wanting to celebrate Halloween but it wasn’t the done thing and so never have.

But now you might have children, or you’ve moved to a street that can only be described as ’family friendly’. Perhaps the neighbourhood children roam wild and in packs and they celebrate Halloween with a vengeance? So this year, with Halloween falling on a Friday. I think we should be prepared for scary wee visitors but also celebrate ourselves. After all if it’s good enough for Martha Stewart, it should be good enough for us.

But, where do you start with Halloween? What I like most is the colour scheme is already chosen, black, white, orange. Done! But there lies the problem as well. Traditional Halloween spreads are centred around the season, the leaves are falling, there’s a chill in the air. But in Australia pumpkins are not in season come October. So how can you spin it?

I’m a bit mad for the chocolate pumpkin. You can of course buy a pumpkin chocolate mold and quickly and easily create some chocolate pumpkins. A simple acetate box and a bit of ribbon and you have gifts for the guests and for the trick-or treaters.*

There are also fabulous pumpkin cake pops and truffles. These can be easily rolled by hand or if you’re after a shortcut to perfection a few of your standard cake decorating tools should do the trick. Or if you’re after something a little less hands on, there are always custom molds and cutters to choose from. They will come in handy every season and as Halloween looks like it is here to stay in Australia, consider them an investment!

But if you’re looking for something that you can create simply, perfecting over the years until you’re famous for your Halloween cake. Tweak the flavour, filling whatever you want....

The pumpkin bundt cake.

The pumpkin Bundt cake, is the show stopping centre piece and doesn’t require any additional equipment. Simply grab a Bundt pan, bake 2 cakes. And you have a whole pumpkin ready to be decorated. How clever is that! If you don’t happen to have a Bundt tin you can try using either a pyrex bowl or a round cake pan. I would most likely use both. Less carving and lots of extra cake for those cake pops I mentioned earlier.

There are so many versions of this cake, decorated, naked, partially iced. It’s a brilliant idea, unfortunately I can’t find where it originated, if you know I’d love to find out more.

My spin on the pumpkin Bundt cake is going to be a Jack O’Lantern version, maybe filled with M&Ms, if I’m feeling fancy. If you really want to get into the spirit you can always make pumpkin cake, although I think I’ll stick to carrot this year.

Whatever you choose to bake and decorate have a Happy Halloween.

*As much as I would love to make the gifts we give to our trick-or-treaters. We go the pre-packaged route. That way there is no question as to what may be in the item. With allergies and sensitivities, so common in Australia I figure it can only help the parents make easy decisions when it comes time to inspect the bounty!

About Justine Spalding

Justine runs Australian website and newsletter The Sweet Source.   >> Visit Justine’s website