Oct 25, 2010

Creepy Crawly Spider Cupcakes

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to make one of Martha Stewart’s cute, holiday cupcakes?  Well, I always have…and to be quite honest, it was not as difficult as it seemed.  I saw the spider cupcakes on her website and I knew I had to try to make them.  I tweaked the recipe a bit and the result was perfectly moist, edible creations.

The cupcake itself isn’t difficult to make, however, it is time consuming; especially when it comes to decorating each cake.  My recommendation would be to get a few helpers who are willing to ice and decorate the cupcakes once they are cooled.  This cupcake is perfect for kids; however, I also think adults would appreciate how festive they are and their great taste.  Chocolate and vanilla, is a classic combination!

The cupcake recipe I used was quite simple.  The ingredients are ones you probably have on hand - the only ingredient you might have to purchase is buttermilk.  For the vanilla buttercream frosting, I adapted a version of the one found in Demolition Desserts.  After researching various vanilla buttercream recipes, this one seemed to have the most positive reviews and the least amount of butter.  I used ¾ of a stick, when most of the other recipes I found used a stick or two.  The result was a perfect buttercream base, identical to the kind of frosting you would get at popular cupcake shops.

The decoration of the cupcakes really makes them extra special.  The details do count!  From the black sanding sugar to the red hot or sugar eyes, down to the licorice legs - they really are a fun addition to your Halloween festivities. Kids and adults alike will be quite impressed with the end results and they would be great edible decorations to a Halloween table.

Ingredient List

Chocolate Cupcakes

1 ½ cups unsweetened cocoa powder

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 ½ cups sugar
1 ½ tsp baking soda
¾ tsp baking powder
¾ tsp salt
2 large eggs
¾ cup warm water
¾ cup buttermilk
3 tbs  canola oil
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
Black cupcake liners

Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

¾ stick of unsalted, softened butter
2 ½ cups powdered sugar
½ tsp. kosher salt
1 tbs whole milk
1 tbs vanilla
½ tsp lemon juice

Cupcake Topping

Black sanding sugar
Cinnamon candy (like red hots) or sugar eyes 
1 bag marshmallows
1 bag black licorice (preferably the skinny licorice)

To make the cupcakes:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line standard muffin tins with paper liners; set aside.

Sift together cocoa powder, flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into a large bowl. Add eggs, warm water, buttermilk, oil and vanilla, and mix until smooth, about 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides and bottom of bowl to assure batter is well mixed.

Divide batter evenly among muffin cups, filling each 2/3 full.  Bake until tops spring back when touched, about 20- 25 minutes.  Transfer to a wire rack; let cool completely.

To make vanilla buttercream icing:
In a stand mixer or with a hand mixer – cream butter and salt for 30 seconds.  Add ½ of the sugar & milk to batter and beat to combined. Add the rest of powdered sugar, vanilla, and lemon juice and beat until combined, about 5-6 minutes or until frosting is fluffy. Stir to get all the bubbles out.

To decorate the cupcakes:
Once cooled, ice mini cupcakes with vanilla buttercream and coat icing with black sanding sugar. Use cinnamon candy for eyes or sugar eyes (if preferred).  For legs, attach 8 pieces of black licorice. For fangs, cut out tiny cone shapes from a marshmallow and attach.
Substituted canola oil for safflower oil in the cupcake recipe.

Used a 3/4 stick of butter, instead of 1 stick of butter in the vanilla frosting.

Drink of Choice
Caitlin's "Swamp Juice" - what's better than punch and cupcakes, takes me back to my school days.

These cupcakes inspired a mix of Halloween classics for all ages:
1)      Monster Mash – Bobby “Boris” Picket
2)      The Munsters Theme – David Caine
3)      Ghostbusters – Ray Parker, Jr.
4)      Thriller – Michael Jackson
5)      This is Halloween – Danny Elfman

A Recipe to Remember?
For sure, these cupcakes are delicious and quite cute!

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