Sunday, September 1, 2013

Festive Fun Halloween Cupcakes

It's almost that whimsical time of year when kiddies take to the streets for frightful fun. If you prefer to throw a stay-at-home spooktacular, the following recipe is a fun and easy take on the regular cupcake.

This "Chocolatetown Special Cake" recipe via the Hershey Company has been a favorite of mine for more years than I care to mention ☺.  You may opt to use it or a boxed cake mix for the cupcakes.


You will need:

1/2 cup Hershey's Cocoa
1/2 cup boiling water
2/3 cup shortening
1 3/4 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs
2 1/4 cups unsifted all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/3 cups buttermilk or sour milk*
Paper baking cups

*To make sour milk:  mix 4 teaspoons vinegar plus milk to equal 1 1/3 cups.

Stir together cocoa and boiling water in a small bowl until smooth.  Set aside. Cream shortening, sugar, and vanilla together in a large bowl until light and fluffy. Add eggs; beat well. Combine flour, baking soda and salt in a separate smaller bowl. Add alternatively with buttermilk to creamed
mixture.  Blend in cocoa mixture.   Pour into a muffin tin lined with baking cups.  Bake at 350 degrees approximately 25-30 minutes or until an inserted cake tester or toothpick comes out clean. Cool ten minutes.  Remove from pan. Cool completely. Frost as desired.

To frost my cupcakes, I used regular sanding sprinkles and these adorable Halloween-themed stencils both available at Williams-Sonoma.

 The box comes in a set of four, including a bat, spider, skull, and cat. 

Frosting technique:    I used Pilsbury premade Creamy Supreme cream cheese frosting. After cupcakes have cooled and have been frosted, carefully place stencil just above the frosted cupcake.  Dust with colored sprinkles. I chose to use black.

A word; the sprinkles are a bit more difficult to pull off, unlike the skull, shown here, in which I omitted the frosting and instead used powdered sugar.

You may also opt to use cocoa powder, or do as I've done here, making a special treat for the grown-ups by dusting with flavored instant coffee.

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