Wistful, creative, playful, fun and even (yes, I’ll admit it) cute – these are the words that come to my mind when I think of cupcakes. There is just something so joyous about a cupcake standing tall in cheerful solidarity with its brethren waiting for you to pick one. Chocolate, vanilla, peanut butter, lemon, blueberry, rocky road, mint – so many decisions, so little time. Having finally made your choice, you slowly unwrap your treat, taste a dab of the icing and then take a carefully proportioned bite so as to get equal amounts of frosting and cake. Mmm! The small joys of life!
I obviously don’t have to tell you that I adore cupcakes. And I was in cupcake heaven when I bought my copy of Hello, Cupcake!, one of the most inventive and inspired cake-decorating books out there. The best part about its recipes are that they don’t require any fancy tools, suit all skill levels and everything you put on your cupcake is edible. (I detest cakes with miles of fondant covering, so all you are actually eating is sugar. I’m not even a big fan of buttercream.) One thing I did miss in the book sometimes was pictures to illustrate each step. Though the descriptions are quite detailed, sometimes it’s just easier to have a visual representation. So when I discovered that the next Project Food Blog* challenge was to create a step-by-step, instructional photo tutorial, it was easy enough to pick cupcakes as my project. And with Halloween just around the corner, creating these playful cupcakes was both apt and fun.
Shopping for the ingredients was well, like being a kid let loose in the candy store. (I ended up buying several kinds I didn’t even need – all for the purpose of research and experimentation, of course.) Below you’ll find step-by-step photo-recipes of cupcakes made from scratch – my favorite dark, moist chocolate cupcakes (that you may remember from my Audrey Hepburn Cupcakes post) and pumpkin-spice cupcakes – both adapted from Martha Stewart. There are also recipes for homemade chocolate frosting and an almond cream cheese frosting. But the beauty of this project is that you can make any of the Halloween cupcakes using store-bought frosting, cupcakes made from a mix or even ready-made cupcakes. You’re the boss – feel free to substitute as per your convenience.
Once you’ve got the basics, it’s time to really have some fun: below the cupcake and frosting recipes are photo-directions to make Hooting Owl Cupcakes, Pumpkin Patch Cupcakes, Creepy Crawly Cupcakes, and Bat Cupcakes all adapted from Hello Cupcake!. There are also Graveyard Cupcakes, which is an idea I got while browsing through cupcake images. All the ingredients are readily available at bakery or candy stores and in terms of special equipment, you may need a zip-lock bag and spoons! If you have kids, get them to join the party – they’ll love making these. Just remember to buy extra ingredients because half the candy is going to end up somewhere other than those cupcakes. (I’m not speaking from my experience, of course.) And don’t think these little treats entice only kids – though the mental age of some of my friends may be questionable, all of them have been getting a real kick out of their edible gifts. (You didn’t think I was eating 30 cupcakes on my own, did you?) Make some, make them all, start making them but stop because you’ve eaten up all the candy – whatever you do, have fun. Happy Halloween!
P.S. *PFB voting is now open. A big Thank You to all of you who have appreciated my work and voted for me. Also, thanks to my roommate, who kindly obliged to be my (hand-)model for some of these shots.
Chocolate Cupcakes||Pumpkin Cupcakes||Chocolate Ganache Frosting||Almond Cream Cheese Frosting||Hooting Owl Cupcakes||Pumpkin Patch Cupcakes||Creepy Crawly Cupcakes||Bat Cupcakes||Graveyard Cupcakes
Click here for printable recipes.