Thursday, October 28, 2010

Halloween Cupcakes

I help out with activities for the 8-11 year old girls at my church, and last night we had a daddy/daughter pumpkin carving night.  All the girls and dads came dressed in costume and we had a great time carving pumpkins, giving out prizes, wrapping the dads up like mummies (and then watching them hop around in a mummy parade), and eating some scary food.  There were deviled eggs that looked like eyeballs, breadsticks that looked like bones, and dip that looked like spiderwebs.  My contribution?  Vampire cupcakes and slime-filled cupcakes.  They were both absolutely delicious, and the vampire cupcakes are by far the best cupcake I've ever made.  It's a light almond vanilla cake with marshmallow frosting filled with cherry pie filling.

They even bleed when you bite into them.  The slime-filled cupcakes were also wonderful.  Vanilla cake with a simple frosting, but the filling really made these cupcakes.  A tangy and surprising lime curd.  They were both fabulous and the girls just ate them up.  Having a Halloween party this weekend?  Whip up a batch of these cupcakes!

Vampire Cupcakes

2 cups cake flour
1 1/3 cups sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
2 large egg whites
1 cup buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp almond extract

Preheat oven to 350F. Line muffin tins (you will need 18 cups total) with paper liners and set aside.  Sift together cake flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt into the bowl of an electric mixer. Add sugar and blend, using the paddle attachment.  Cut butter into 4 or 5 chunks and drop into the bowl with the flour mixture.  Blend on low speed until mixture looks sandy and no large chunks of butter remain, 1-2 minutes.
In a large measuring cup, combine eggs, buttermilk, vanilla and almond extracts. Beat lightly with a fork until combined. With the mixer on low, pour 1 cup of the buttermilk mixture into the bowl. Turn speed up to medium and beat for 1 1/2 minutes. Reduce speed back to low and pour in the rest of the buttermilk mixture. Continue to beat at low speed for an additional 30 seconds, until liquid is fully incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and beat for a few more seconds, if necessary.
Divide evenly into prepared muffin tins, filling 18 cups as equally as possible.  Bake for 16-20 minutes, until cupcakes are light golden and a toothpick inserted into their centers comes out clean. The cake should spring back when lightly pressed.  Turn cupcakes out onto a wire rack to cool completely.  Makes 18 cupcakes.

1 can cherry pie filling

Puree cherry pie filling in a food processor until fairly smooth. Very small pieces of cherries are ok.
(A photo how-to of the assembly method can be found on the Baking Bites blog.) Take a cooled cupcake and, using a small pairing knife, cut a cone of cake (1-inch across by 1-inch deep) out of the top. Trim off the pointy end of the cone, leaving a flat circle of cake. Set aside and repeat this process for all the cupcakes.
Take the cherry filling and spoon about tablespoon or so into each cupcake cavity, filling it almost to the top with filling. Top off with the flat circle of cake you just removed to seal the hole and hold the “blood” filling in place. (On these cupcakes the cake was too soft for me to keep a circle to put back on top, but they turned out fine anyway.)

Marshmallow Frosting
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 large egg whites, room temperature
1/3 cup water
2 tsp light corn syrup
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp vanilla extract

Whisk sugar, egg whites, 1/3 cup water, light corn syrup, and cream of tartar in large metal bowl to blend. Set bowl over saucepan of barely simmering water (do not allow bottom of bowl to touch simmering water). Using handheld electric mixer, beat on medium speed until mixture resembles soft marshmallow fluff, about 5-7 minutes.  Increase mixer speed to high and beat until mixture is very smooth and thick, about 3 minutes longer. Remove bowl from over simmering water. Add vanilla extract and continue beating until marshmallow frosting is completely cool, about 5-7 minutes longer. (I don't have a hand mixer, so my husband and I switched off whisking this by hand.  It took a little bit longer, and was very tiring, but worked just fine.  We used the whisk attachment on our Kitchen Aid for the last 5-7 minutes.)

Using a butter knife or a small offset spatula, frost each cupcake with a layer of the cooled marshmallow frosting by placing a dollop of icing in the center of the cupcake (on top of the cut out circle of cake) and spreading from the center to the sides of the cupcake.
Dip a wooden toothpick or skewer into some leftover cherry pie filling and poke two fang-holes, about 3/4 inch apart, in the frosting on one side of the cupcake. Dribble a little extra filling from the holes for effect.
Repeat until all cupcakes are frosted and decorated. You will probably have frosting leftover for another batch if you are baking more.

Slime-Filled Cupcakes
also from Baking Bites

Slime (Lime Curd) Filling:
2/3 cup strained fresh lime juice
3/4 cup sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
10-12 drops green food coloring

In a small sauce pan, over medium heat, dissolve sugar into lime juice.
Lightly beat eggs in a small/medium bowl. Whisking constantly, slowly trickle hot lime/sugar syrup into the eggs. Beat for about 1 minute, until well combined, then transfer back into the saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until curd starts to bubble and is thick. Stir in the food coloring while the curd is cooking. Remove from heat and transfer to a heatproof bowl.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until cold.  Makes about 1 1/3 cups.

Vanilla Cupcakes
1 1/3 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup butter, melted and cooled
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup milk (low fat is ok)

Preheat oven to 350F. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with paper liners.
In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt and sugar.  In a medium bowl, whisk together cooled, melted butter, eggs, vanilla and milk. Pour into flour mixture and stir until just combined and no streaks of flour remain.  Distribute batter evenly into prepared muffin cups.
Bake for 16-19 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean.  Cool completely on a wire rack before filling and frosting.  Makes 12-cupcakes.

(A photo how-to of the assembly method can be found on the Baking Bites blog.)  Take a cooled cupcake and, using a small pairing knife, cut a cone of cake (1-inch across by 1-inch deep) out of the top. Trim off the pointy end of the cone, leaving a flat circle of cake. Set aside the circle and discard (or eat) the rest of the cone. Repeat this process for all the cupcakes.
Take the slime filling and spoon about tablespoon into each cupcake cavity, filling it almost to the top with lime curd. Top off with the flat circle of cake you just removed to seal the hole and hold the “black lagoon” filling in place.  Once all the cupcakes are filled, they can be frosted just as ordinary cupcakes.

Swampy Vanilla Frosting
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla extract
2-3 cups confectioners’ sugar
2-4 tablespoons milk
green food coloring

Cream butter with an electric mixer until soft. Add vanilla and gradually add in sugar until most has been incorporated. Mixture will look a bit sandy. Add in milk as necessary (start with 2 tbsp), along with any remaining sugar, until frosting reaches a thick, but easy-to-spread consistency. Add green food coloring until desired green color is reached. Add in a few drops of red with the green for a brownish color, or a drop or two of blue to deepen the green.


Blair said...

I love the idea of the vampire cupcakes! So awesome!

Kais said...

These sound sooo good. Too bad I have already eaten my weight in sugar lately!

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