Food & Drink Magazine

'I Like Bugs' Spidery Cupcakes for Halloween

By Weavethousandflavors

1Munchkin
'I Like Bugs' by Margaret Wise Brown is my 5 year old's favorite book.

He loves sitting with it perched on the bed and speaking to his grand parents  on the telephone, reading it to them. They are kind enough to fill in the gaps with big words like 'shiny' and 'sidewalk'.

With Halloween around the corner, the blogosphere is crammed with fantastical and horrific culinary creations to make one cringe and howl in delight all at the same time. So when my son's teacher was looking for sweet treats for his Junior Kindergarten  class, I decided that oozing eyeballs and bleeding witchy fingers were not the way to go.

It's hard enough getting these little munchkins to eat on a regular day much less with a grossology rendition of the food. Instead I decided to use my son's favorite book as a source and inspiration and with the help of various culinary talents from the world over, I think we've managed to delight even the most fussy critter lovers.

Spidery Cupcakes -02

I am using my true and trusted cake recipe for the cupcakes. If it ain't broke why fix it? But I must thank the Australian Womens Weekly for teaching me how to make critters out of Smarties (m&m's) and proving that even 'got no talent for craft' dummies can pull this off.

Also, I've chosen to fix a decadent lemony cream cheese frosting for these cupcakes and learning the color wheel in Architecture school finally paid off when it came to mixing that particular tint of lime green. Yea to 9 years Uni!

Gather the ingredients -

Cupcakes - all purpose flour, baking powder, salt, butter at room temperature, white sugar,  pure vanilla extract, eggs at rooms temperature, milk & raspberry jam.

Cream cheese frosting - 1 packet cream cheese - refrigerated, softened unsalted butter, powdered sugar, pure vanilla extract or lemon emulsion (per choice) green & yellow food coloring

Spiders - m & m's/Smarties, black icing tube with thin icing tip (used for writing and making thin lines) - available in the bakery aisle.

Line a 12 cup muffin pan with cup cake liners.

Preheat the oven at 350 deg F.

Prepare the frosting and refrigerate -

Spidery Cupcakes -Frosting ingredients
Spidery Cupcakes -Frosting combined

In a food processor add the packet cream cheese - refrigerated, softened unsalted butter, powdered sugar & pure vanilla extract or lemon emulsion. Combine till smooth and combined.

Spidery Cupcakes -Add coloring to frosting
Spidery Cupcakes -Lime green frosting

Add 1 drop of the green food coloring and 2 drops of the yellow food coloring. Combine once again to get a smooth frosting of lime green coloring. Taste and adjust sweetness Also if you want a different shade of green on the frosting, add additional drop/s of yellow or green food coloring. Careful though, there's not turning back!

Cover & refrigerate till needed. Frosting may be prepared and stored overnight.

Strawberry Crumb Cake- Beat sugar,vanilla and butter

Strawberry Crumb Cake- Beat 1 egg at a time

In a large mixing bowl, with an electric beater cream the butter and sugar till fluffly, light and creamy. 

Crack & beat one egg at a time (discarding shell) into the butter till thoroughly combined. Add the milk, sour cream, pure vanilla extract & lemon emulsion.

Strawberry Crumb Cake- Fold flour to combine1

Strawberry Crumb Cake- Fold flour to combine
 

Place a sieve over the wet ingredients. In a separate bowl, combine the all-purpose flour, cornstarch, lemon emulsion, baking powder and salt. Add the flour mixture into the sieve and tap so the flour mixture falls into the mixing bowl.

Using a rubber spatula fold the flour mixture into the wet ingredients, mixing till it is thoroughly combined but do not over mix. The batter will be quite thick.

Spidery Cupcakes - Add jam
Spidery Cupcakes - Swirl jam

Add the raspberry jam and stir in just to see swirls - do not stir till homogenous.

Spidery Cupcakes - Drop batter into pan
Spidery cupcakes - baked

Using an ice-cream scoop, drop the batter into the muffin pans  in as equal quantities as possible, using up all the batter.

Bake in the hot oven for 20-25 minutes. Cup cakes are done when a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow the cupcakes to cool thoroughly for 2-3 hours.

Spidery cupcakes - cool & apply frosting
Spidery cupcakes - press down m&m's

Place the cooled cupcakes on a cake stand (raised surface) and frost with a bent icing knife. Apply the frosting liberally and swirl covering the whole cupcake top to atleast 1/4" thickness. Press 2 to 3 m&m's/Smarties into tops for spider bodies.

Spidery cupcakes - press down m&m's
Spidery Cupcakes -Icing trial & errors

Use a piece of parchment paper to try your hand on icing before you begin on the cupcakes.

Spidery cupcakes - begin spider making

Using the black icing tube fitted with a thin tip (for writing), pipe the black icing around candy to form 4 spider legs on each side and  2 eyes on the top. Set aside for 10 minutes or until set and Serve.

Spidery Cupcakes -03

Expect fingers to scrape off every bit of frosting from the bowl and end with finger licking as the munchkins and you polish off a cupcake. The cupcake itself is delicious with a cake like texture and the frosting is decadent and heavenly.

I personally love the lemony flavor in the frosting but have found that it may be best to stick with vanilla for the kids.

I hope you have a fun Halloween filled with spiders and howlers!

 


Recipe for

 

'I Like Bugs' Spidery Cupcakes for Halloween

Preparation time - 25 minutes

Baking time - 20-25 minutes 

Shopping list  

Cake : 

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 tbs cornstarch

1 cup white sugar 

1 stick butter ( 1/2 cup ) at room temperature

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

1 tsp lemon emulsion (available at specialty food stores such as Whole foods/A J's fine foods) OMIT if your kids don't like the lemony flavor

2 eggs, at room temperature 

3/4 cup milk

1 tbs sour cream

1-1/4 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt  

Cream Cheese frosting:

1 packet cream cheese, refrigerated

1/4 cup softened butter

1-1/2 cups powdered sugar

1 tsp pure vanilla extract or lemon emulsion

*approx 2 drops yellow food coloring

*approx 1 drop green food coloring

* adjust to get the required tint of lime green

Decorations -

24-36 multicolored m & m's or Smarties

black icing tube fitted with thin tip (meant for writing)

Preparation-  

Line a 12 cup muffin pan with cup cake liners.

Preheat the oven at 350 deg F.

Prepare the frosting and refrigerate -

In a food processor add the packet cream cheese - refrigerated, softened unsalted butter, powdered sugar & pure vanilla extract or lemon emulsion. Combine till smooth and combined.

Add 1 drop of the green food coloring and 2 drops of the yellow food coloring. Combine once again to get a smooth frosting of lime green coloring. Taste and adjust sweetness Also if you want a different shade of green on the frosting, add additional drop/s of yellow or green food coloring. Careful though, there's not turning back!

Cover & refrigerate till needed. Frosting may be prepared and stored overnight.

Method -

In a large mixing bowl, with an electric beater cream the butter and sugar till fluffly, light and creamy. 

Crack & beat one egg at a time (discarding shell) into the butter till thoroughly combined. Add the milk, sour cream, pure vanilla extract & lemon emulsion.

Place a sieve over the wet ingredients. In a separate bowl, combine the all-purpose flour, cornstarch, lemon emulsion, baking powder and salt. Add the flour mixture into the sieve and tap so the flour mixture falls into the mixing bowl.

Using a rubber spatula fold the flour mixture into the wet ingredients, mixing till it is thoroughly combined but do not over mix. The batter will be quite thick.

Add the raspberry jam and stir in just to see swirls - do not stir till homogenous.

Using an ice-cream scoop, drop the batter into the muffin pans  in as equal quantities as possible, using up all the batter.

Bake in the hot oven for 20-25 minutes. Cup cakes are done when a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow the cupcakes to cool thoroughly for 2-3 hours.

Place the cooled cupcakes on a cake stand (raised surface) and frost with a bent icing knife. Apply the frosting liberally and swirl covering the whole cupcake top to atleast 1/4" thickness. Press 2 to 3 m&m's/Smarties into tops for spider bodies.

Use a piece of parchment paper to try your hand on icing before you begin on the cupcakes.

Using the black icing tube fitted with a thin tip (for writing), pipe the black icing around candy to form 4 spider legs on each side and  2 eyes on the top. Set aside for 10 minutes or until set and Serve.

Enjoy!

 


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