Scare up a batch of spooktacular cupcakes |

Scare up a batch of spooktacular cupcakes

Amanda SkibaFor the Nevada Appeal

We have been reading the “Three Little Ghosties” book by Pippa Goodhart, this Halloween. It has best illustrations by AnnaLaura Cantone. This is where I got the name for these cute little cupcake treats.For my daughter’s Halloween party at school we are making these cupcakes in a mini version. Last year we made mini-monster cupcakes made with googly eye candy. So this year we thought to make ghosts. What cute little guys these are, and the are very easy, even for a novice cake decorator. For this recipe I used my chocolate cake recipe and vanilla frosting recipe. You can make regular sized cupcakes or a mini bite-sized version.Chocolate Cake2 cups all-purpose flour21⁄2 teaspoons baking powder1⁄4 teaspoon salt1 package of instant chocolate pudding (only the powder)11⁄4 cups milk2 teaspoons vanilla extract11⁄2 sticks room temperature butter11⁄2 cups sugar2 eggsPreheat oven to 350Whisk together flour, baking powder, pudding powder and salt. Measure out the milk, set aside.With an electric mixer in a large bowl combine butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time allowing each to incorporate well before moving on to the next ingredient.Incorporate the dry ingredients and milk by alternating — half of the dry ingredients and half of the milk.Use a small ice cream scoop for the cupcake batter. It makes the perfect size cupcakes. Scoop a heaping scoop of the batter into each cup. Stick one Reese’s miniature peanut butter cup in the middle of the batter in each cup.Bake for 18-20 minutes. (The time will depend on your oven. Since moving and changing ovens I have had to cook these for 21 minutes otherwise they deflate because they aren’t cooked thoroughly.)Vanilla Buttercream1⁄2 cup shortening (used the Crisco stick because it’s easier to measure)1 stick butter (1⁄2 cup) — room temperature4 cups confectioners sugar2-4 tablespoons whole milk1 tablespoon vanilla extractIn a stand mixer, beat the shortening and butter together, add the vanilla bean and extract Incorporate the sugar gradually — 1 cup at a time. Once sugar is incorporated (it will look dry) add the milk 1 tablespoon at a time until you get the consistency you like. It will be about 2-3 tablespoons for a medium consistency.Cover with a wet cloth while not in use, or place in the fridge if you plan on using it much later.Use a cake decorating bag or a plastic bag and spoon in the frosting. Cut a big sized corner off the bag. Pipe on the ghosties by holding your bag straight up and down and squeeze some frosting in a spiral motion onto the cupcake. You can also squeeze the frosting out and press down a little then back up and then down again, repeating this action.Eyes & MouthMelt some of your favorite milk or dark chocolate in the microwave (at 30 second intervals stirring each interval until completely melted) or melt in a double boiler (I use a small pot with a few inches of simmering water, and a metal mixing bowl that is big enough to sit on the pot, not in it).Allow the chocolate to cool enough to handle. Pour your chocolate into a baggie, cut a super small tip off the corner of the bag and pipe on the eyes and mouth. Using dots for the eyes and different shapes for the mouths — oval, sad, circular — filled in solid with the melted chocolate.(Alternative: make pumpkins instead and dye the frosting orange and use the chocolate to make pumpkin lines and faces; stick a broken pretzel in the top…)• Amanda Skiba is passionate about cooking and posts her favorite recipes at