5 easy-to-make Halloween creepy critter cupcake decorations.
175 g (1 cup) plain (all-purpose) flour
225 g (1 1/4 cups) caster (superfine) sugar
50 g (13/4 oz) cocoa powder
½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
½ teaspoon fine salt
175 g (6 oz) unsalted butter, softened
2 large eggs, at room temperature
175 ml (6 fl oz) full-cream (whole) milk
500g (2 cups) unsalted butter, softened
500g (4 cups) icing (confectioners’) sugar
2–4 tsp vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
2 tbsp full-cream (whole) milk (at room temperature) (optional, but recommended)
½ cup cocoa powder
10 drops black food gel
3 drops orange food gel
3 drops green food gel + 3 drops yellow food gel
150g white chocolate, melted
4 mini choc chips
24 small candy eyes
8 large candy eyes
½ cup Black jimmies/sprinkles
4 mini Reese’s peanut butter cups
100g dark chocolate, melted
½ cup black sprinkling sugar
3 liquorice candies, cut up into long pieces
Add your softened butter to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. You can also use a hand mixer for this recipe, but if you do use a hand mixer, just make sure your bowl is large. Mix the butter on low speed to begin with, then switch to the highest speed and mix for 5 minutes until the butter is fluffy and turns pale in colour.
Stop your mixer and scrape down the side of the bowl using a spatula. Add the icing sugar and vanilla extract and mix again on low speed. LOW SPEED PEOPLE! The last thing you need is to end up in a sugar dust storm! (I’m speaking from experience…)
Once all the sugar has been incorporated, it’s safe to turn your mixer up to high speed. Continue beating on high speed for about 5–6 minutes, or until the butter turns pale in colour and becomes fluffy again. If you want to soften your buttercream and make it a little smoother, add the milk and continue mixing for another couple of minutes on medium speed.
To make the black frosting, add the cocoa powder and black food gel in half of the frosting and mix until well combined and evenly coloured.
Preheat a fan-forced oven to 140°C (275°F) or a conventional oven to 160°C (320°F). Line a cupcake tin with brown cupcake liners.
Add the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt to a large mixing bowl. Mix on low speed with a hand mixer until combined.
Next, add the softened butter and continue mixing on low speed until the mixture reaches a crumbly, sand-like texture.
Add the eggs and milk and mix again on low speed until all the dry ingredients are incorporated. Scrape down the side of the bowl and mix for a final 20 seconds.
Fill each liner three-quarters of the way. Using an ice-cream scoop to transfer the batter to the cupcake liners makes this a quick and easy process, and ensures each liner contains exactly the same amount of batter and that the cupcakes will bake evenly. Bake for 40–50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the centre of a cupcake comes out clean. Allow the cupcakes to cool completely on a wire rack before frosting.
Now we’re ready to decorate!
Colouring the frosting
Split the frosting into two. Then split one half into another two portions. Add the cocoa powder and black food gel to half of the frosting and mix until well combined.
Add the orange food gel to one of the remaining portions and mix until well combined.
Add green and yellow food gel to the remaining portion and mix until well combined.
Add the orange food gel to a piping bag fitted with a medium sized round tip. Pipe a little blob at the top of 4 cupcakes. Pipe some half circles around the outside of the top of each cupcake, and then some more on the inside of that, piping one in the middle to finish. Fit the end of a piping bag with a Wilton #2 piping tip and fill with green frosting, do the same with a second piping bag and fill it with black frosting. Pipe eyes and a squiggly mouth and a green stalk on top.
To make the ghosts add some blobs of the melted white chocolate on top of some baking paper and use the spoon to spread downward. Add some candy eyes and a little choc chip for the mouth. Add some black frosting to a piping bag fitted with a round tip and frost a blob of frosting on top of 4 cupcakes. Dip into the black sprinkles then stick the chocolate ghosts on top.
Add green frosting to a piping bag fitted with a small petal tip and frost lines of frosting across 4 cupcakes. Add little candy eyes on top.
Use a sharp knife to cut each Oreo in half. Add some dabs of melted dark chocolate on top of 4 peanut butter cups and add two halves of Oreos on top. Add some more chocolate on top and add the candy eyes.
Pipe a blob of frosting on top of each cupcake and dip into black sugar. Use the green frosting bag with the #2 piping tip to pipe little fangs on top before sticking the liquorice legs on the sides and large candy eyes on top.