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Wednesday, October 19, 2016
Jack O Lantern History and Sweet Cake
Jack o lanterns have been a part of Halloween for centuries. Originating from the Irish myth about the man nicknamed "Stingy Jack" Stingy Jack invited the Devil one day to have a drink with him. True to his name, Stingy Jack just as they say was cheap and did not want to pay for his drink. Jack convinced the devil to turn himself into a coin that Jack could use to buy their drinks. The devil did but once again Jack double crossed the devil and kept the money. He kept the money next to a silver cross. When he did this the devil could not turn back into his original form. Eventually Jack did free the devil but made a bargain that the devil could not bother Jack for one year and if Jack died he would not claim his soul. A year passed and again Jack tricked the Devil into climbing into a tree to pick a piece of fruit. The devil climbed the tree and Jack carved a sign of a cross into the tree's bark trapping the devil. The Devil promised not to bother Jack for 10 years.
The legend says that Jack died one day and God would not allow him into heaven being the unsavory character he was. The devil was upset by the tricks of Jack as well and kept his word not to claim his soul. Jack was sent off into the dark night with a burning coal to light his way and nothing else. Jack placed the coal into a carved out turnip and has been roaming the Earth with it ever since.
This Irish legend traveled many years eventually referring to Jack as "Jack of the Lantern" and "Jack O'Lantern" The people of Ireland and Scotland began to make their own version of Jack's lanterns by carving scary faces into turnips or potatoes. These were placed in the window so that to frighten Stingy Jack away as well as other evil spirits. English would use large beets. Immigrants would bring the Jack o'lantern tradition with them to the new world. Pumpkins were chosen as they were thought to make the perfect Jack O'lantern
1.Heat oven to 350 degrees. Coat two 1.5-liter Pyrex bowls with nonstick cooking spray; set aside.
2.Whisk together the flour, baking powder and soda, cinnamon and salt. Mix the pumpkin, milk and vanilla in a small bowl to blend.
3.Beat the butter in a large bowl with an electric mixer until smooth. Gradually add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the flour mixture, alternating with the pumpkin mixture, ending with the flour mixture. Beat just until smooth.
4.Divide the batter evenly between the prepared bowls. Bake at 350 degrees in the center of the oven for 55 to 65 minutes, or until golden and a toothpick inserted in center of cakes comes out clean. Transfer bowls to a wire rack and cool 15 minutes. Invert cakes onto racks and remove bowls; cool completely (about an hour).
5.Trim the top of the cakes with a serrated knife to make level. Tint the frosting orange with the food coloring. Place one cake layer, cut-side up, on a serving platter. Spread the cut side with 1/2 cup of the frosting. Place the other cake layer on top, cut-side down. Trim any excess to make round.
6.Spread a thin layer of frosting on half the cake, from top to bottom. Start with the nose: In the center of the frosted area, place 3 yellow or brown M&Ms (see photo) -- 2 on the bottom and 1 on the top -- to make a triangle nose. Place 2 orange candies above the nose, then begin the eyes: Attach 3 yellow candies along the same line as the orange candies above nose, to the left. Then place 2 yellow candies above that row, and end with a single yellow candy. Repeat on the other side of the nose. Below the nose, make an upside-down triangle using 6 orange candies. Make a yellow candy mouth, beginning with 7 candies arranged in a V around the orange triangle. Then use 12 additional yellow candies to finish the mouth. Fill in with more orange candies close together on the frosted area. When that area is covered, spread another area with the frosting and add more candies. Repeat until the entire cake is covered with orange candies.
7.Cut the candy bar in half crosswise on the diagonal to fashion a stem. Make a small hole in the top of the cake and press the candy bar half, cut-side down, into the top of the cake, for the stem. Refrigerate to firm frosting.