Sunday, October 31, 2010

Halloween Cupcakes

I love Halloween! I used to love it a lot more when the kids were little. It was so much fun to decorate the front porch, and I had a large wooden spider that I had purchased at Rainforest Cafe in the Mall of America that I would strategically place in different spots on my scrub top and wear to work. There was always someone who would see the spider and think it was real. I loved that thing. Then there were the spider earrings. I hate spiders, but on Halloween I loved them. I would hang little ghosts from the low tree branches in the front yard, drape the front porch in fake spider web and stick lots of little spiders in it. One year I even wrapped a rubber rat in it.. the more gross things I could find the better! My son Matt had learned in one of his theater classes how to make fake blood out of corn syrup, peanut butter and red food coloring. It looked amazingly real. Then there were the jack-o-lanterns... I would buy about 4 or 5 pumpkins and carve them all with one of those carving sets with the cool patterns. On Halloween night it was so much fun taking the kids out trick-or-treating, and at home it was fun seeing all the cute little kids in their costumes. Now it's not so much fun because we're getting older. Our sneaky stealth cat always seems to come out of nowhere and manages to bolt out the door at every opportunity, the dogs don't like it, and it's not so easy to be up and down off the couch every few minutes when a new group of little goblins knocks on the door. Still, I do love Halloween. If I have the night off I will still walk out to the end of the sidewalk, look up and down the street at all the kids out and porch lights on, and it always makes me smile.

My lovely daughter in law Marnie loves Halloween as much as I did when I was her age. The scarier the better! She recently graduated with her Masters degree and decided to throw a Halloween themed party a few weeks ago to celebrate. My contribution to the event was to make cupcakes in some kind of Halloween theme, and this is what I came up with:

Mummy Cupcakes

This idea came from the fall/winter issue of magazine. It's a Better Homes and Gardens Special Interest publication. If you can still find this in the store, look on page 39 for a cool picture of their finished cupcakes. Pictured above are the ones I made.

Here's what you'll need:

1 package cake mix, any flavor. I had thought of using Devil's Food, but when I saw the Red Velvet cake mix I chose that because of the deep red color. Part of the cake will peek through, so I thought the red would be appropriate. It was, it looked great. The red cake batter looked like a big bowl full of blood. It was awesome. Be careful if you use Red Velvet cake mix though, because it stains. Even my fingers were stained red from wiping the drips off my cupcake pan.

2-16 ounce cans white frosting. If you have a good recipe you can make your own, but for this I was all about making the process as easy as possible.

1 tube each of the pre-made Red and Black decorator icing. This can be found in the cake decorating aisle.

Disposable pastry bags Also found in the cake decorating aisle.

Couplers and decorating tips - you will need a Basketweave tip for the tape and a small, Plain Round tip for the eyes. Couplers are what holds the tip in place on the pastry bag.

Bake your cupcakes according to package directions, and of course, use whatever cute Halloween cupcakes liners you like. Let them cool completely.

Take a pastry bag and cut off a tiny portion of the tip. Place the coupler over the tip of the bag and attach the basketweave tip, then screw the ring part of the coupler over the decorator tip. Fill the bag with white frosting, then pipe the frosting over the top of the cupcakes in a random pattern. Make sure some of the cake shows through. Then do the eyes using the plain round tip and use a new bag for each color, and wash out the round tip in between colors. This is actually really easy and fun, even the kids can help!

Monster Cupcakes

I used purple and orange paste food coloring to dye some more white frosting for the rest of the cupcakes. The "monster fur" effect was a lot of fun to pipe on using a multi-hole tip. When I made these I took the pictures to post on Facebook, but I didn't take a close-up. You can get a better view of how cute this looks in the Mixing Bowl magazine on page 36. The eyes on these were Gummy Eyeballs that I found at Target. When I ran out of eyeballs I just used some Halloween sprinkles.

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