Halloween Strawberry Shortcake Skull Cake

Halloween Strawberry Shortcake Skull Cake

We topped elegant strawberry shortcake with a ghoulish white chocolate skull in this spectacular Halloween dessert. Pour over the hot strawberry sauce to reveal the surprise inside!

Level: Intermediate

Total: 2 hr 45 min (includes chilling and cooling times)

Active: 1 hr 10 min

Yield: 4 to 6 servings

Ingredients

Chocolate Skull:

4 ounces white chocolate melting wafers

1 tablespoon unrefined coconut oil

4 ounces strawberries, sliced

Cake and Filling:

Nonstick cooking spray, for the pan

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (see Cook’s Note)

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 cup confectioners’ sugar

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 large egg, at room temperature

1/2 cup sour cream

8 ounces strawberries, sliced

2 teaspoons granulated sugar

2 cups sweetened whipped cream

Strawberry White Chocolate Sauce:

8 ounces strawberries, finely chopped

2 tablespoons granulated sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice

1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1/2 cup heavy cream

3 ounces red candy melting wafers

Directions

 

1. For the chocolate skull: Add the white chocolate melting wafers and coconut oil to a medium microwave-safe bowl. Microwave in 30-second intervals, stirring in between each, until melted and smooth, about 2 minutes.

2. Pour the chocolate mixture into the front and back cavities of a 2-part medium plastic skull mold (3-by-4-by-4-inch) and tilt to swirl the chocolate around until coated entirely (you can also use your finger to swirl the chocolate around). Tap out any excess and freeze until the chocolate is set, about 5 minutes.  

3. Reheat the melted chocolate, if needed, and brush the sides of the mold cavities with a second layer. Freeze until set, about 5 minutes. 

4. Carefully unmold the skull halves and fill one with the sliced strawberries. Microwave the melted chocolate again until smooth, about 30 seconds. Use the melted chocolate as glue to carefully attach the skull halves. Refrigerate until ready to serve. 

5. For the cake and filling: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Coat a 6-inch round cake pan with 3-inch sides with nonstick spray. Line the bottom of the pan with parchment and spray the paper. 

6. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl.  

7. Beat the butter in a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium speed until pale yellow, about 2 minutes. Add the confectioners’ sugar and beat on low just to incorporate, then beat on high until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the vanilla and egg, scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl, and continue to beat until creamy, about 2 minutes (the mixture will look curdled, but will come back together after everything is combined). With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with the sour cream in 2 additions, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. 

8. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. 

9. Bake until golden on top and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes. Transfer to a rack and let cool 10 minutes, then run a knife around the edge of the pan, turn the cake out onto the rack, remove the parchment and cool completely.  

10. Meanwhile toss the sliced strawberries and granulated sugar in a medium bowl. Set aside for at least 30 minutes to allow the strawberries to release their juices. 

11. Cut the cake into 3 layers with a long serrated knife. Place a cake layer on a cake stand and top with half of the strawberries. Spread 3/4 cup of the whipped cream on top. Repeat with another cake layer, the remaining strawberries and 3/4 cup whipped cream. Top with the final cake layer and remaining 1/2 cup whipped cream. Position the skull in the center of the whipped cream.

12. For the strawberry white chocolate sauce: Add the strawberries and granulated sugar to a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the strawberries have broken down and thickened slightly, 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the lemon juice and vanilla. Strain the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve and return the liquid to the saucepan (discard the solids). Add the cream and red candy melting wafers to the sauce and heat over medium heat, whisking constantly, until melted and hot, 10 to 15 minutes. 

13. When ready to serve, pour the hot sauce over the center of the chocolate skull.

 

 

Cook’s Note

When measuring flour, we spoon it into a dry measuring cup and level off excess. (Scooping directly from the bag compacts the flour, resulting in dry baked goods.)


Halloween Strawberry Shortcake Skull Cake
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Halloween Strawberry Shortcake Skull Cake
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Chocolate Skull:
Cake and Filling:
Strawberry White Chocolate Sauce:
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Loin of Pork with Fennel and Garlic

Loin of Pork with Fennel and Garlic

Level: Easy

Total: 2 hr

Prep: 10 min

Inactive: 50 min

Cook: 1 hr

Yield: 8 servings

Ingredients:

 

1 (5-pound) loin of pork, bone in,”frenched” and tied

6 garlic cloves

1/3 cup fresh rosemary leaves, chopped

2 tablespoons lemon zest (about 2 lemons)

 

 

 

2 teaspoons fennel seeds

2 tablespoons good olive oil

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1 tablespoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Directions

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Allow the pork to stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.

2. Place the pork, fat side up, in a roasting pan just large enough to hold it comfortably. In the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade process the garlic, rosemary, lemon zest, and fennel seeds until roughly chopped. Add the olive oil, mustard, salt and pepper and process until it forms a smooth paste. Rub the paste on top of the pork and roast for 1 to 1 1/4 hours, or until the internal temperature reaches 140 degrees F. Remove from the oven, transfer to a cutting board, and cover with aluminum foil. Allow to sit for 20 minutes, then remove the strings, slice between the bones and serve warm.


Loin of Pork with Fennel and Garlic
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Mummy Hand Pies

Mummy Hand Pies

This easy, Halloween-inspired recipe can be made ahead and served later as a scary-good party dessert.

Level: Easy
Total: 55 min
Active: 25 min
Yield: 6 hand pies

Ingredients:

1/4 cup canned pumpkin

2 tablespoons sweetened condensed milk

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Kosher salt

 

2 refrigerated pie crusts, thawed if frozen

All-purpose flour, for dusting

1 large egg

12 raisins

1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar, optional

Directions:

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

 

  • Add the pumpkin, sweetened condensed milk, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and a pinch of salt to a medium bowl and stir to combine.

 

  • Roll out 1 pie crust on a lightly floured surface with a rolling pin to form a rectangle about 9 inches by 12 inches. Square off the crust with a knife, reserving the scraps for decorating. Cut the pie crust into 6 equal rectangles, each about 3 inches by 6 inches. Transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet.

 

  • Roll out the other pie crust to the same thickness as the first. Cut into thin strips about 1/4 inch wide and 7 inches long. Repeat with the reserved dough scraps. Transfer the strips to a parchment-lined baking sheet.

 

  • Add 1 heaping tablespoon of the filling to the center of each rectangular crust. Use the back of a spoon to spread out the filling, leaving about a 1/2-inch border around the edges. 

 

  • Lightly beat the egg with 1 tablespoon water in a small bowl. Use a pastry brush to brush the edges of the pies with the egg wash. Layer the strips of dough, varying the angle of each strip to create a “mummy” look. Seal the edges with a fork and use a paring knife to trim the overhang. Lightly brush the tops of the hand pies with the egg wash. Add 2 raisins to each hand pie for the eyes. ‘

 

  • Bake, rotating the pan halfway through for even color, until golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes. Cool on a baking rack slightly, about 5 minutes. 

 

  • Serve as is or decorate with a simple icing. Combine the confectioners’ sugar in a small bowl with 1/2 teaspoon water. Stir until smooth and glossy. Transfer the icing to a resealable plastic bag and snip off the corner. Pipe the icing onto the hand pies using the stripes of pie crust as a guide. Serve.

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Spicy Lemon Shrimp Skewers

Spicy Lemon Shrimp Skewers

Level: Easy

Total: 40 min

Prep: 25 min

Cook: 15 min

Yield: 6 servings

Ingredients:

 

6 lemons

Kosher salt

1 stalk lemongrass, finely chopped

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

3 tablespoons Sriracha (Asian chile sauce)

2 cloves garlic, minced

 

 

1 tablespoon fish sauce

2 teaspoons packed light brown sugar

30 extra-large shrimp, unpeeled

Vegetable oil, for the grill

2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint

Directions:

1. Finely grate the zest from 4 of the lemons, then pulse in a mini food processor with 3 tablespoons salt. Squeeze the juice from 2 of the zested lemons into a large bowl; add the lemongrass, olive oil, Sriracha, garlic, fish sauce, brown sugar and 1 teaspoon of the lemon salt. Thinly slice the 2 remaining lemons and add to the bowl.

2. Using kitchen shears, cut through the shrimp shells along the outer curve, leaving the shells on. Remove the veins and rinse the shrimp. Add to the bowl with the lemongrass marinade and toss; cover and refrigerate for 1 hour. Meanwhile, soak 12 to 15 wooden skewers in water.

3. Preheat a grill to medium high. Thread the shrimp onto the skewers. Brush the grill with vegetable oil, then add the lemon slices and grill until they begin to char, turning once, about 2 minutes; transfer to a platter. Stir the mint into the remaining marinade. Add the shrimp skewers to the grill and cook, brushing with the marinade-mint mixture, until the shells begin to char, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Transfer to the platter and sprinkle with the lemon salt to taste.


Spicy Lemon Shrimp Skewers
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Tandoori Salmon

Tandoori Salmon

In an effort to eat less meat, we like to have a few fish alternatives in our arsenal to satisfy our cravings for their meat counterparts. Instead of hitting up Seamless for your tandoori chicken, why not try a salmon stand-in?! This version comes together in very little time, and it packs a ton of flavor. The pickled red onions might seem like a superfluous add-on, but trust us, they’re SO worth it.

 

Made it? Let us know how it went in the comment section below!

YIELDS: 6 SERVINGS

PREP TIME: 0 HOURS 20 MINS

COOK TIME: 0 HOURS 25 MINS

TOTAL TIME: 0 HOURS 45 MINS

INGREDIENTS

FOR THE QUICK PICKLED ONIONS
1 1/4 c. apple cider vinegar
1/2 c. water
3 tbsp. granulated sugar
1 tbsp. kosher salt
1 large red onion, thinly sliced
FOR THE SALMON
1 large clove garlic, minced
2 tsp. minced fresh ginger
1 1/2 tsp. sweet paprika
1 tsp. ground coriander
1 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. ground turmeric
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
Pinch ground cloves
1 1/4 c. plain low-fat yogurt
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 lemon, sliced, plus wedges for serving
1 (2 1/4-lb.) skin-on salmon fillet
Cilantro sprigs, for serving

DIRECTIONS

1. Make quick pickled onions: Stir together vinegar, water, sugar, and salt in a medium heatproof bowl. Microwave until hot and sugar and salt dissolve, stirring every 30 seconds. Stir in onions and let sit.

2. Preheat oven to 400°. In a medium bowl, stir garlic, ginger, paprika, coriander, cumin, turmeric, cayenne, and cloves into yogurt. Season with salt and pepper.

3. Place lemon slices on bottom of 9”-x-13” baking dish and arrange salmon on top. Season salmon with salt and pepper. Spread yogurt mixture in an even layer over top of salmon.

4. Roast salmon until cooked through and flakes easily with a fork, 20 to 25 minutes. Turn oven to broil and broil until golden if desired, about 3 minutes.

Serve salmon with cilantro, pickled onions, and lemon wedges.


Tandoori Salmon
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Tandoori Salmon
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