We are officially entering into the most fun time of the year.
Is that sentence even proper English? Anyway, it is true. There is no other time of the year where you can dress up and act like a loon on multiple occasions in a span of a few short months – Halloween is closely followed by Guy Fawkes’ Night which is then a short hop, skip and a jump away from silly season itself, Christmas.
And it isn’t just the dressing up – as a witch, ghost or bedecked in sparkles – it is also about the food. Because we get to dress that up too, with little plastic trees and animals, or in the case of the imminent festivities, ghoulish creatures which must send the sales of green and black fondant icing rocketing sky-high.
It is not just the red, gold and orange colours of the foliage that send people loopy over this time of year (if you are in the northern hemisphere. Apologies to those of you heading into warmer weather), it is also the activities.
So without further ado, let’s talk about my contribution to Halloween 2015 – spider’s web cupcakes complete with itty-bitty spider (with compulsory and completely intentional wonky eyes).
The spider’s web effect in the chocolate on the top of these cupcakes is so easy yet so effective. It is one of the simplest ‘chocolate art’ techniques there is. You can even get the kids to do it. All you need is some melted chocolate, a piping bag and a cocktail stick.
The spider itself is a mini Reeses’s peanut butter cup (the ones that come in the bag unwrapped) with some chocolate and black icing for the eyes and legs.
I love the fact that his little eyes in the photo above make it look like he is thinking “nooooo, where has half my house gone???!!!” In my tummy, little spider, sorry. Bless him.
And the cake, let’s not forget about that – soft, delicate sponge flavoured with cinnamon and lemon and made orange(ish) with the addition of pureed pumpkin (from a tin, let’s keep it real, although you can steam and mash your own if you wish).
They are incredibly quick to put together, the longest steps being the baking and allowing the chocolate web to set before adding the spider.
Happy Halloween Everyone!
PS – I have created a litre Halloween page where you can see the treats from last year also, if you are looking for a little more inspiration. Or, of course, there is Pinterest . . .
Spider's Web Halloween Cupcakes
- 115g soft light brown sugar
- 120ml rapeseed oil
- 2 large eggs
- 115g pumpkin puree (from a tin or make your own. You could also use butternut squash)
- zest from 1 lemon
- 115g gluten-free self-raising flour
- 1 tsp gluten-free baking powder
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 150g dark chocolate
- 40g white chocolate
- 12 mini Reese’s peanut butter cups
- black writing icing (the stuff in a tube or you can mix your own royal icing and colour it black)
- Pre-heat the oven to 180 Celsius / 160 fan / 350 Fahrenheit. Line a 12-hole cupcake pan with cupcake cases.
- In a medium bowl whisk together the sugar and oil, making sure there are no lumps of sugar. Then add the eggs and whisk in.
- Add the pumpkin puree and lemon zest and mix until well combined.
- Add the flour, baking powder and ground cinnamon and fold in until incorporated.
- Divide the batter between the cupcake cases and then bake for 15 – 20 minutes, until risen and the cakes bounce bake when gently pressed (and a cocktail stick inserted into the centre comes out clean)
- Leave to cool in the pan for 5 minutes then carefully transfer the cakes to a wire rack to cool completely.
- While the cakes are cooling, melt the dark chocolate either in the microwave or over a pan of simmering water. Either way heat it until 75% of the chocolate has melted then remove from the heat and stir until the remaining chocolate has melted (this is a quick and easy way to ‘temper’ the chocolate).
- Cover the top of each cupcake with a generous layer of the dark chocolate, spreading it as close to the sides as possible, whilst the cakes are still warm. If your cakes a little bit too domed then trim them to get a flatter top (eat the bits you cut off, cook’s perks).
- In a clean bowl melt the white chocolate in the same way and then transfer into a piping bag. Snip the end off the bag to create a small hole.
- Pipe a blob of white chocolate in the centre of each cupcake followed by two concentric circles. I find that I get a smoother circle if I draw it quickly whilst squeezing the bag evenly, like you would if you were drawing a circle on a piece of paper. If you take too long you will get a wavy circle.
- Take a cocktail stick and drag it from the centre of the cake out to the edge, through the chocolate, 8 times, to form the web. Make sure you always start from the white blob of chocolate in the centre and drag outwards. If you start at one edge of the cake and drag it all the way across you will not get a proper web. Remove any excess chocolate from the chocolate stick regularly to prevent things getting too muddled. Leave to set.
- Meanwhile use the remaining white chocolate to pipe eyes onto the mini peanut butter cups. Leave to set.
- Once the chocolate has set use the black icing to pipe small pupils onto the spiders and then pipe 3 lines of black icing that cross in the middle onto the cake for the spider’s legs. Take the peanut butter cup body and place it in the centre of the black lines. I find that the black gel icing in a tube never dries, so there is no waiting around for that. Either store in an airtight container for later or devour straight away!
© The Pink Rose Bakery 2015