These gingerbread witches cats and hats from Magical Animal Cakes are purrrfect for Halloween or any other witchy-themed occasion. Look for different shapes of cat cutters and edible Halloween sprinkles in green, orange and black in cake-decorating stores or online suppliers.
Basic Spiced or Chocolate Gingerbread
2 tablespoons golden syrup
1 large egg yolk
200 g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
½ teaspoon baking powder
1½ teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
a pinch of salt
100 g unsalted butter, chilled and diced
75 g light muscovado or light brown sugar
plain flour, for dusting
1 quantity Royal Icing
green and black gel or paste food colouring
orange and black sprinkles
orange and green sanding sugar
cat and witches’-hat pastry cutters
baking sheets, lined with baking parchment
2 small pastry/piping bags, fitted with a fine writing nozzle/tip
First, prepare the gingerbread.
Beat together the golden corn syrup and egg yolk in a small bowl.
Sift the flour, baking powder, spices and salt into a food processor (or into a mixing bowl) and add the butter. Use the pulse button to process the mixture (or rub the butter into the flour mixture with your fingertips). When the mixture starts to look like sand and there are no lumps of butter, add the sugar and pulse (or mix with your fingers) again for 30 seconds to incorporate. With the motor running, add the egg-yolk mixture and pulse (or mix with a wooden spoon) until starting to clump together.
Tip the mixture out onto a very lightly floured surface and knead gently to bring together into a smooth ball. Flatten the dough into a disc, wrap in clingfilm wrap and chill for 1–2 hours.
Preheat the oven to 170°C (325°F) Gas 3.
Dust a clean surface and roll the gingerbread 3 mm thick. Using the cutters, stamp out cat and hat shapes and carefully arrange them on the prepared baking sheets allowing plenty of space between each one. Gather the dough scraps together, knead lightly, re-roll and stamp out more cookies until all the dough has been used up. Bake the gingerbread in batches on the middle shelf of the preheated oven for 10–12 minutes or until the edges are just starting to brown. Leave to cool on the sheets for about 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
Prepare the royal icing. Leave two teaspoons of the icing in the mixing bowl and cover and set aside. Put 3–4 tablespoons in a small bowl and tint this green using the food colouring. Cover and set aside. In a third bowl tint the remaining icing black.
Fill the pastry bag with the black icing and pipe a fine line around the edge of each cookie. Leave to dry for at least 10 minutes. Flood the insides of the outlines with black icing. Tip the orange and black sprinkles into a saucer and dip the bottom edge of each hat in the sprinkles. Leave to dry for 20 minutes.
Fill another pastry bag with the reserved green icing and pipe a green band around each hat and a collar on each cat. Carefully sprinkle orange and green sanding sugar on the hat bands. Give each cat a set of white eyes, using the reserved white icing and dot with a little black icing. Leave to dry completely before serving.