These Halloween cupcakes are delightfully creepy. The “hair” is made of chocolate shavings, which encase chocolate cake and a fudge frosting, and the legs are made from chow mein noodles. We used small, round confetti candies for eyes, but you could do well with anything small and round, such as a bit of frosting in contrasting colors. These are messy to make—get the kids involved! They love getting their hands covered in frosting. Even though the cupcakes themselves are not round, they end up being very round after they are rolled in the frosting and shaved chocolate.
Adapted Recipe from A Baker’s Field Guide to Cupcakes
© 2013 by Dédé Wilson and used by permission of The Harvard Common Press
- ¾ cup all-purpose flour
- ¼ cup sifted Dutch-processed cocoa
- Scant ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into small pieces
- ⅔ cup sugar
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 large egg, at room temperature
- ½ cup milk
- ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into small pieces
- 8 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
- ⅔ cup milk
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 6 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted and slightly cooled
- 12-ounce block of semisweet chocolate
- 3 cups chow mein noodles
- 72 small edible confetti decorations
- For the Cupcakes: Position rack in center of oven. Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat the insides of three 12-cup miniature cupcake tins with nonstick spray.
- Whisk flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt together in a small bowl to aerate and combine; set aside.
- In a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat butter until creamy, about 2 minutes. Add sugar gradually, beating until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes, scraping down the bowl once or twice; beat in vanilla and egg until combined. Add the flour mixture in two additions, alternately with the milk. Begin and end with the flour mixture and beat briefly until smooth on low-medium speed after each addition.
- Divide batter evenly in pans. Bake for about 12 to 15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center shows a few moist crumbs. Cool pan on rack for 5 minutes then remove cupcakes to a cooling rack to cool completely.
- For the Frosting: In a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat butter until creamy, about 2 minutes. Add 2 cups sugar gradually, beating until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes, scraping down the bowl once or twice. Add remaining sugar and milk and beat on high speed until smooth and creamy. Add vanilla and melted chocolate and beat until smooth and combined.
- For the Decoration: Use a sharp chef’s knife to shave chocolate shavings off of the block of semisweet chocolate. Simply run the knife down one of the edges of the chocolate block and you will get shards and shavings; set aside in a medium bowl. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or foil; set aside.
- Make sure frosting is very soft. Place about 1 cup of frosting in a small bowl. Pick up a cupcake and literally roll it around in the frosting. This is not an exact science; you are just trying to get a coating of frosting all over the cupcake for the chocolate shavings to stick to. Use your fingertips to push the cupcake around on the surface of the frosting. It is fine if it is thicker in some areas. Remove cupcake from bowl and immediately roll the cupcake around in the chocolate shavings. This is when the cupcake takes on a round shape. Keep rolling it around until it is completely covered. Transfer to prepared pan. Repeat with all the cupcakes.
- Insert 8 chow mein “legs” into each spider and add 2 eyes using the candy decors. Chill until frosting firms up; bring back to room temperature before serving. Cupcakes are now ready to serve. Cupcakes may be baked 2 days ahead, stored at room temperature in airtight container. Frosted cupcakes are best served the same day.
- If the chocolate for the frosting is too warm, the resulting frosting might be too soft. You want it to be the texture of mayonnaise. If it is too soft, add a bit more confectioners’ sugar. If it is too stiff, add a bit more milk.
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