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By 31st October 2022January 5th, 2023Food for thought


It is no secret that when guests visit Mara Plains, they are blown away by Chef Joel’s creations, freshly baked daily in the heart of Kenya’s Maasai Mara. Joel has shared his secrets to an extraordinary Halloween recipe and culinary extravaganza on how to bake on the wild side this Halloween.
He shares his carefully curated recipes below for his Oozing Brain Cake, his Vegan Pumpkin Brownie Graveyard, a Puking Head Butterscotch Cake surrounded by Ghosty-pearsGoogley-eye Martinis, and Zombie Apple Heads. Even with all the creative elements, you’ll see in the recipes that Joel always prioritises exquisite flavour.
If you’re hosting a Spooky party, look no further on how to bake the ultimate African-inspired Halloween recipe!



For brownie batter

  • ⅔ cup vegan butter
  • ½ cup brown muscovado sugar
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar caster sugar in the UK
  • 4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ⅓ cup + 2 tbsp almond milk or other plant milk
  • 1⅓ cup all-purpose flour plain flour in the UK
  • 1 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup dark chocolate

For pumpkin swirl batter

  • ½ cup pumpkin puree
  • ¼ cup almond milk or other plant milk
  • ½ teaspoon orange zest
  • 1 teaspoon orange juice freshly squeezed
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil or other vegetable oil
  • 3 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ⅛ cup granulated sugar caster sugar in the UK
  • ⅔ cup all-purpose flour plain flour in the UK
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice or mixed spice
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¾ teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 pinch salt

US Cups – Metric


Brownie batter

  1. In a bowl, whisk together melted vegan butter, brown & white sugar until sugar is largely dissolved. Pour in vanilla extract and milk. Whisk well.
  2. In a separate large bowl, combine flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt. Use a whisk to mix well.
  3. Slowly pour your wet mixture over your dry mixture. Mix until no flour specs remain. Then add in chopped chocolate.
  4. Use a spatula to gently mix the chopped chocolate with the batter, ensuring it’s spread evenly throughout the mixture. Set aside.

Pumpkin swirl batter

  1. Grab a separate bowl. Add in pumpkin puree, almond milk, orange zest, orange juice, oil, vanilla & sugar, and mix well.
  2. In another bowl, whisk together flour, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, baking powder & salt.
  3. Combine your wet and dry mixtures (either by slowly pouring your wet mixture over your dry mixture or scattering the dry mixture over your wet mixture). Stir until just combined (do not overmix).

To assemble

  1. Grease your baking tin with vegan butter. Line it with baking paper.
  2. Pour your brownie mixture into a lined baking tin.
  3. Use a spatula to smooth out the top.
  4. Use a spoon to make 2 long wells in your batter.
  5. Add your pumpkin batter into the wells in long lines.
  6. Then use a skewer or a thin knife to create swirls – simply just move the skewer around the top in large circular motions (see video).
  7. Bake at 180°C 356°F * (fan-assisted oven setting) for 25 minutes.
  8. Once baked, let it cool down completely before slicing.

For the graveyard, the ground is the pumpkin brownie, and the gravestones are white fondant, and the green slimmer from ghost busters are the green colouring from the mint extract.

Fondant Icing Ingredients

  • 1 (.25 ounce, 2 full teaspoons) package of unflavored gelatin
  • 1/4 cup cold water
  • 1/2 cup glucose syrup or corn syrup
  • 1 tablespoon glycerin
  • 2 tablespoons (1oz/30g) shortening or butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 8 cups sifted confectioner’s sugar*


  1. Combine gelatin and cold water; let stand until thick. Place gelatin mixture in top of double boiler and heat until dissolved.
  2. Add glucose and glycerin, and mix well. Stir in shortening and just before completely melted, remove from heat and stir in vanilla. The mixture should cool until lukewarm.
  3. Place 4 cups of confectioners’ sugar in a large bowl.
  4. Make a well in the centre, and stir in the lukewarm gelatin mixture using a wooden spoon.
  5. Mix in sugar and add more, a little at a time, until stickiness disappears. Knead in remaining sugar. Knead until the fondant is smooth, pliable and does not stick to your hands. If the fondant is too soft, add more sugar; if too stiff, add water (a drop at a time). IMPORTANT NOTE: IF YOUR FONDANT IS WET OR TOO SOFT WHILE MIXING, ADD MORE SUGAR. IT CAN DIFFER DEPENDING ON CLIMATE AND INGREDIENTS.
  6. Use fondant immediately or store in an airtight container in the fridge. When ready to use, bring to room temperature and knead again until soft.



  • 200 g unsalted butter (at room temperature), plus extra for greasing
  • 200 g demerara sugar
  • 3 large free-range eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 200 g ground almonds
  • 100 g coarse polenta
  • 2 oranges
  • 1 teaspoon orange blossom water
  • 1 teaspoon gluten-free baking powder

Method on perfecting this Halloween recipe

  1. Preheat the oven to 160°C/320°F/gas 2½. Grease a 20cm springform tin, line the bottom and sides with greaseproof paper and grease again.
  2. Beat the butter and sugar in a large bowl until light and creamy – don’t worry if it looks gritty, as the sugar will dissolve when it’s cooked. Beat in the eggs, one by one, then stir in the vanilla essence.
  3. In a small bowl, combine the ground almonds, polenta, orange zest, orange blossom water and baking powder, then stir this into the cake mix.
  4. Pour the mixture into the tin and bake for 40 to 50 minutes, or until the surface is light brown and the cake is coming away slightly from the sides of the tin.
  5. Remove the tin from the oven, leave to cool for 10 minutes, then turn it out onto a plate. This cake will be quite fragile, so handle carefully as you remove it.
  6. To make the syrup, crush the cardamom pods, then put all of the ingredients in a saucepan. Simmer over a medium-low heat for about 10 minutes, or until reduced and thickened slightly. Set aside to cool.
  7. Prick the cake all over with a skewer, then brush generously with the syrup. Delicious served with a dollop of crème fraîche or yoghurt and an extra drizzle of syrup.

For the creative spiral make a fondant and raspberry sauce: to represent blood oozing from the brain ( Raspberry sauce) and the spiral fondant to represent Myelin to decorate the polenta cake that looks like a brain.




  • 2 large eggs
  • Non-stick baking spray
  • 2 1/2 cups sifted cake flour (sift before measuring)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • Salt
  • 1 1/2 cups light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups half-and-half or whole milk, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup safflower oil or canola oil
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract


  • 4 tablespoons, plus 1/2 cup water
  • 2 teaspoons unflavoured powdered gelatine
  • 2 cups light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup half-n-half or whole milk
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 1/4 pounds unsalted butter (5 sticks), at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Butterscotch Sauce:

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • Salt
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract


For the cake:

  1. Separate the eggs. Place the egg whites in a medium bowl and yolks in a small bowl. Let stand at room temperature, about 20 minutes.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and line the bottom of 3 (9-inch) round cake pans with parchment paper. Spray with non-stick baking spray. Set aside.
  3. Sift together the sifted flour, baking powder, and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a large bowl. Add the brown sugar. If there are any large clumps of brown sugar, break them up with a spoon. Stir, then set aside.
  4. Whip the egg whites to soft peaks with an electric mixer. With the mixer running, slowly add 1/4 cup sugar and continue to whip to stiff peaks. Add the egg yolks, half-and-half, oil, and vanilla to the flour mixture. Mix until just combined.
  5. Fold the whipped egg whites into the cake batter a third at a time. Divide the batter among the prepared cake pans and bake for 18 to 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the centre of the cakes comes out clean. Let cool.

The Puking Pumpkin Head is covered in turmeric fondant. The piercing nails are marzipan – almond paste made from almond flour, water and xhangum.


Halloween MPC Dark


Googley eyeball on the margarita cocktail glass

This Halloween recipe design was made by using fondant icing, and the eyeball design are black olives,

The red colouring ingredient used is raspberry coulis sauce. Mould the fondant and place the black olives to look like real eyes, then add glucose syrup to bind the olives to the socket; using a skewer paint the raspberry sauce around the eye to make it look as scary as possible and use the skewer as a kebab. Using the leftover sauce to mimic a blood margarita.

Skull heads
Are green apples dipped in white chocolate coverture

Zombie Apple Heads :
Apples covered in swirled white chocolate ganache, the mouth is strawberry slice and the teeth are sunflower seeds.

Ghost heads :
These are pears covered with white fondant and black olives for the eyes.

Author GreatPlainsCons

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