Frighteningly delicious Halloween cupcakes
These grab-and-go little desserts for all ages could not be simpler to make
Spooktacular: Halloween cupcakes
Halloween is big business these days. If you leave it until the last minute, you may run out of time to invent a blood-curdling costume or paint a convincingly devilish face. Come October 31st, by noon, most shops will be sold out of pumpkins.
So a great way to get in the spooky spirit is with some frighteningly easy baking ideas. Before you start, throw open the cupboards and gather those festive sprinkles, food colourings, icing and cutters. You’ll be surprised at how much creepy fun you can add to your bakes once you have all the necessary decorating supplies.
With the school mid-term commencing, there will be lots of time to squeeze in a bit of baking. It’s the ultimate activity to warm up little monsters as they prepare for trick-or-treating escapades.
If your main concern is who is going to eat all those cakes, fear not, an impromptu Halloween neighbourhood bake sale is a wonderful way to raise money for a good cause. The annual Halloween bake sale in my children’s primary school includes cakes inspired by ghastly themes from Frankenstein to exposed brains. Residents of the local senior citizens’ home come down for a chuckle and enjoy it immensely.
If you’re planning to go all out and host a Halloween party, these grab-and-go cupcakes could not be simpler. They’ll add lots of colour to your party table. Even if you don’t bake the buns from scratch, you can upgrade shop-bought buns by decorating the tops yourself with these handmade chocolate spiders, icing and edible decorations that you can also easily pick up in the shops. Or drill out the centre and fill it with chocolate ganache, curd or more buttercream. To save time on the day, the cupcakes can be frozen before icing them.
Make the chocolate cobwebs and spiders on the day you intend to use them as the chocolate needs to be kept at room temperature to avoid it melting (or developing a chocolate bloom on the surface if refrigerated).
200g butter, at room temperature
200g caster sugar
½ tsp vanilla extract
200g self-raising flour, sieved
Zest of an orange
For the buttercream icing:
150g butter, softened
300g icing sugar, sieved
1-2 tbsp milk (as needed)
Orange colouring paste
100g dark chocolate, melted
1 Preheat an oven to 170 degrees, fan, or equivalent. Fill the muffin tray with paper cupcake cases.
2 Place the butter and sugar in a mixing bowl and using an electric whisk, combine the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Reduce to the slowest speed and gradually add in the eggs, one at a time.
3 Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the vanilla extract. Lastly, add the sieved self-raising flour and half the orange zest.
4 Transfer the batter to the cupcake cases, filling them evenly, each about two thirds full.
5 Bake on the middle shelf of the oven for 15 minutes, until nicely risen and golden and slightly springy to the touch. Leave in the tin for five minutes then transfer to a cool wire rack to cool completely before icing.
6 To make the icing, using an electric mixer, first whisk the butter until softened and smooth. Gradually add the sieved icing sugar in three batches (to avoid a powder cloud), and continue whisking until smooth. Lastly, mix in the remaining orange zest and some milk if needed to loosen the icing to avoid it being overly stiff for decorating.
7 To colour icing, dip the tip of a spotlessly clean skewer into the colouring paste, mix through the icing to see how strong the colour is (it’s best to add colouring gradually to reach your desired tone of orange). If the colour needs to be deepened, continue adding colour.
8 Fill a piping bag fitted with a medium star nozzle with icing. Decorate each cupcake by piping from the outside inwards to give a peaked effect in the centre.
9 Roll up a small square of parchment paper diagonally to create a mini paper piping bag. Fill with melted chocolate and pipe outlines of spiders and cobwebs onto a sheet of acetate paper (or some other clean stiff plastic paper). Set aside to cool before using to decorate cupcakes.
You could make cobwebs and skeletons with white chocolate.