How in love am I with this month? The trees start dropping their beautiful fall-hued leaves, the weather hits perfect sweater temperature, and Starbucks gets to have all my laundry money in exchange for an unending supply of Pumpkin Spice Lattes.
Halloween has always been my favourite holiday, much to the chagrin of my family and friends who think Christmas is where it's at. Blame my mother for sending me to school in 6th grade with a backpack full of Stephen King novels and getting me hooked on the macabre at an early age. You try explaining to your teacher why Superfudge just isn't doin' it for you anymore. Then apologizing for scaring the other children by describing how "hobbling" is performed.
Halloween parties have been a long standing tradition for my husband and I. A proud tradition of severed head drinking fountains and giant syringes full of blood red jello shots.
You know, the kind of traditions you pass down to your children.
And since I've become a professional baker, cupcakes have become a part of those Halloween traditions. Partygoers take off their claws and lift up their masks to jam a cupcake in their face and it always makes me happy, as well as giving everyone a little something to stop the Jell-o shooters from hitting them like a ton of bricks.
This week, I'd like to share some of those Halloween cupcakes with all of you. To use in your own HELLiday traditions. To jam in YOUR faces.
First up are these simple but snazzy Standup Spiderweb cupcakes. They're easy to achieve and look great on a Halloween goodie table.
Any cupcake recipe can be made for the base cupcake. I like Billy's Vanilla Cupcake recipe for a quick and easy cupcake vanilla cupcakes. Frosting can be any kind you like, but I recommend a basic buttercream for the frosting as you'll need something stiff to hold up the spiderwebs. (That means no cream cheese frosting or wussy canned whipped frostings.) Here's a quick and tasty buttercream frosting that is versatile, easy to flavour and takes well to colouring:
Basic Buttercream Frosting
- 3/4 of a pound (3 sticks) of butter at room temperature
- 500g (1 small bag) of icing sugar
- Gel colours and flavourings of your choice (green, purple and orange are great Halloween colours, and vanilla extract is always a flavouring favourite.)
1. Mix butter in mixer or with hand mixer until smooth, about 1 minute.
2. Add 1/3 of your bag of icing sugar and mix on lowest speed for 20 seconds. Turn up to high speed and mix until incorporated, about 10 seconds. Repeat with another 1/3 of the bag, then another until you have used up all the icing sugar.
3. Let mix on high speed for about 5 - 7 minutes until it has lightened in colour and has a fluffy texture.
4. Add your flavourings to taste and drops of gel colour until you've reached the desired tint. Put in piping bag with a large sized closed star tip to achieve the look of the cupcakes above.
To make the white chocolate spiderwebs you'll need the following tools:
- A printout of my spiderweb template, or one you've drawn yourself
- Waxed paper
- A plastic squeeze bottle or a piping bag with a small tip attached
- 1 bag of white vanilla flavour Wilton candy melts
Lay down your template on a flat surface and cover it with a piece of waxed paper. Use tape to secure both pieces of paper. In a small bowl (or in your squeeze bottle if it has a removabe lid,) microwave about half a bag of your candy melts according to the instructions on the back of the bag. Any leftovers can re-stored in a ziplock bag, ready for re-melting when you need it next.
Following the template, trace the 4 lines that meet in the middle of the spiderweb, overlapping them in the middle.
Next, trace the small intersecting circle, followed by the larger outer circle. It will take a bit of practice to get the hang of it at first. I found it easiest to go slowly and really exagerate my loops to get them to show up properly and not just smoosh together. If your webs are looking too liquidy, just give your chocolate a few minutes to cool down a bit and try again.
Let the spiderwebs sit for about 10 minutes before peeling them off the waxed paper. If you're enjoying the cool fall climate we are here in Ottawa, they should harden quickly. If you find they're not, stick them in the fridge for a minute or two and they'll be good to go. You can also store them in the fridge until you're ready to use them in tupperware, between sheets of waxed paper.
When your cupcakes are ready, stick your spiderwebs into the buttercream frosting and sprinkle with sanding sugar for a little extra halloweem oomph. For even further oomph, I put a little spider ring from the dollar store into each cupcake as well.
NOTE: Make sure your frosting is at room temperature before you attempt to press the spiderwebs into it, otherwise some may break. And you'll have to eat them. And that would be terible for you.
I hope you'll give these a try this halloween! But if you're too busy sewing a costume, or building a haunted house in your garage, then order up a dozen or two from Geek Sweets! $40/dozen, with discounts over 2 dozen. Perfect for all your ROCKTBER events!
Happy Halloween everyone! May DevilSanta fill your stockings with spiders, chicken bones and cursed souls. And don't forget to leave out a bowl of the blood of the innocent for his undead horse!