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Sunday, January 10, 2010

Halloween Cupcakes

I know this is WAY out of sync with the holidays that are on everyone's mind at the moment (either we're reminiscing about Christmas and why we thought it was ok to eat so much, or we're looking forward to Cinnamon Hearts, vowing that that will be enough to tide us over until all the Easter chocolate comes), but I didn't have a chance to post this until now...I suppose I could have saved it for next Halloween...

I was asked to bring some cupcakes to a Halloween party we attended in October, so I thought I would get into it, and try something a little more involved (though, quite simple still).


I used my regular favorite cake recipes, and my regular buttercream icing recipe as well. But this time I added some decorations too. I used my husbands idea for a cupcake graveyard when my ideas turned out to be a little too difficult (I was going to do faces of the characters from the Nightmare Before Christmas). This was the first time I had ever used royal icing, and let's just say I don't have the piping skills to pay the bills. But I tried a few things out, and some turned out kinda cool, but the simplicity of the gravestones worked and looked the best.


But going with the graveyard theme, I didn't have to exercise too much skill. I made two colours of royal icing, and piped my outlines into some baking paper. I found that the black icing didn't stick as much as the white. But they both were quite brittle, and I broke a few crosses off the tops. At least they were still usable without the crosses.


For the cupcake icing I did the flavours Vanilla, Coconut and Chocolate buttercream. I dyed some shredded coconut green, to look like grass, and rolled some cupcakes in it for an established grave look. For the fresh graves, I used chocolate icing and meant to use dark brown sanding sugar sprinkles to look like dirt, but I forgot them at home. And because there is always someone who won't eat anything complicated, plain vanilla icing.

I also dyed some chocolate black and made some crows, or ravens, to sit on some of the graves. I melted some chocolate chips in a double boiler, and added a few drops of black gel dye, which works so fantastically! I've now finally learned that the gel dye slowly gets deeper the longer you let it sit, so add a drop or two, and leave it for 5 minutes or so to darken up. I then put the chocolate into a small baggie, and snipped off a small corner, and filled my new chocolate bird moulds I got for my b-day. I also added a toothpick to each, so I could easily stand them in the cupcake. Except, I then forgot the ravens at home too!


For the display, I used a cute plastic mat I got from Ikea. I then used a tutorial for inspiration to make some creepy trees from the Folding Trees blog. I added some popsicle sticks for stability, since there is no way my trees would be able to stand on their own, and I wouldn't dare leave a candle near those floppy trees.


Overall, I really liked the look of this, and it sure was cheap to put together too.


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