Scare up a batch of spooktacular cupcakes
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 http://www.stuffurface.wordpress.com.