Halloween is less than a week away so it's time to start with some Halloween treats. Up first are my creepy cupcakes which I just couldn't resist making, and what cupcake screams Halloween more than any other?!....It has to be some vampy, blood red, Red Velvet Cupcakes. I couldn't resist and ended up using both the original cream cheese icing as well as some ordinary icing that I coloured rather brightly for the ultimate finish in these Creepy Cupcakes.
As usual I turned to my favourite tried and tested book for this recipe so this is from the Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook which I adapted a little for my own tastes. I used half the quantities for the cream cheese icing and iced 6 with that, then for the remaining 6 I just made up some ordinary icing. If you want to do as I did, half the quantities below for the cream cheese icing then make enough ordinary icing to cover the other 6 cupcakes.
Makes 12 cupcakes
60g unsalted butter, at room temperature
150g caster sugar
1 large egg
20g cocoa powder
2 tbsp liquid red food colouring
½ tsp vanilla extract
150g plain flour
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 ½ tsp white vinegar
For the Cream Cheese Icing
300g icing sugar, sifted
50g unsalted butter, at room temperature
125g cream cheese, cold
For ordinary icing
150g (approx.) icing sugar
1-2 tbsp water
Red, black & orange food colouring
Edible glitter & sugar to garnish (plus some fake spider web & a spider or 2!!!)
Preheat your oven to 170C/ 325F/ GM 3 and line a cupcake tin with medium sized paper cases.
Place the butter and sugar into the bowl of a KitchenAid (or other freestanding mixer) and using the paddle attachment mix on medium speed until light and fluffy and well mixed. (If you don't have a freestanding mixer use a hand-held electric beater).
Crack the egg into a small bowl and lightly beat. Turn the speed up a little then slowly add the egg and continue to beat until everything is well mixed.
Add the cocoa to the mixture and continue to mix until evenly combined then add the red food colouring and vanilla extract (and prepare to be delighted as you watch the mixture transform!). Mix well until evenly combined, scraping the sides of the bowl down every now and then so that it is well mixed. Turn the mixer down to low speed the add half of the buttermilk. Beat until well mixed then add half of the flour and continue to beat until mixed in. Add the remaining buttermilk and repeat the process until both the buttermilk and flour have been evenly mixed in. Scrape the sides of the bowl down and then increase the speed and mix briefly until everything is well mixed and you have a smooth batter. Turn the mixer off then add the bicarbonate of soda and the vinegar and continue to beat until well mixed. Turn the speed up and beat for a further minute or two.
Evenly spoon the cake mixture into the cupcake cases and bake for 20-25 minutes until the sponge bounces back when touched (with my oven 22 minutes works perfectly every time) and a skewer comes out clean when put into the center of the cake. Leave to cool for a few minutes then transfer the cupcakes onto a wire rack.
To make the cream cheese icing sift the icing sugar into the bowl of a mixer then add the butter. Using the paddle attachment slowly beat them together until the mixture comes together. Add the cream cheese then beat until it is well mixed and you have a smooth icing. Turn the mixer up to medium-high speed then beat the icing for 4-5 minutes until light and fluffy. Be careful not to overbeat as it can quickly become runny. Spoon the icing on top of the cooled cupcakes and smooth with a spatula then decorate as you please. (For the blood drizzle, I quickly made a syrup from equal quantities of sugar and water that a boiled for a few minutes then coloured with red food colouring and drizzled over once cooled.)
For the ordinary icing sugar sift the icing sugar into a bowl then add roughly 2 tablespoons of water to create a thick but spreadable icing. Divide the icing into 3 bowls and colour each one with red, black and orange. Top the cupcakes with the icing, letting it spill over the edges slightly then finish with some edible glitter and/or sugar as desired. Leave to set before serving.