Cupcakes – Halloween

Happy Halloween! These last 3 months of the year are my absolute favorite. So much festivity, joy, and baking…lots of baking. Today I decided to visit my mom and use her much larger and better equipped kitchen to make some Halloween cupcakes. Aren’t cupcakes like the greatest baked good ever? Just the right size, cute, and virtually limitless when it comes to decorating. In Australia, they call cupcakes “queen’s cakes” which is so totally fitting for me. 🙂

Today I was in a hurry to get to the best part of the cupcake making process –decorating! So I whipped up a box of yellow cake mix and got straight to business. While I love to bake from scratch, it’s a much lengthier process to gather all the ingredients and frankly, the cake mix is good. I do however modify it a little bit to get the best to taste possible. Simply replace the water with milk and the oil with melted butter (double the amount). The cake tastes homemade! I planned to share the link for this idea, but its blocked on Pinterest! Pinterest is wealth of incredible ideas and inspiration for amateurs like myself. If you haven’t found your way there yet, I suggest you do! But a word of caution: be sure you don’t have other things to do for a while! The site is addicting.

YouTube and Pinterest have been my greatest teachers when it comes to cupcake decorating. I still plan to take cake decorating classes though–someday. For now, I’m pretty happy with the skills I’ve picked up. One thing I’ve learned is how to swirl buttercream icing. It’s pretty darn easy once you get it down.

I start by making buttercream using Wilton’s fantastic recipe: http://www.wilton.com/recipe/Buttercream-Icing

I take their suggestion and use all Crisco instead of using half butter and Crisco. This makes the frosting firmer, making easier to pipe onto the cupcakes. Then I spilt the frosting into 2 separate bowls dyeing them whichever color suits my needs. Today I chose purple and orange.

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In order to make a swirl, you’ll need 3 piping bags; one for each color and then a third with the frosting tip. Cut the tips off of the bags with the 2 colors and put them inside in the bag with the frosting tip. Try to get each color down into the tip side by side, so the colors come out evenly. This can be a little tricky so be patient!

Before I start frosting away, I always do a test to make sure the buttercream is the right consistency for piping. Good thing too, because my buttercream was too dry the first time around.

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As you can see, the one on the right didn’t come out so pretty. So I scooped out the icing, added a little more milk and then things looked much better. Getting the right consistency is challenge for me!

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Not bad. Well, at least my mom was impressed. She’s been working as a preschool aide for a while now so I can always count her to provide enthusiastic feedback. 🙂

I also attempted baking a cupcake in a cone. Shockingly, this also worked out alright.

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Do you have any frosting tips and tricks? What treats did you make for Halloween night?

Kerry

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