Over the years, I’ve discovered that most kids seem to like anything chocolate or vanilla, so chocolate cupcakes it was. I made a large batch of Vanilla Frosting and used that to frost all the three different kinds of cupcakes. Decorating anything using store bought candy has to be simple in India because what we get is pretty limited. So I went simple with Vanilla Cream Oreos, Cadbury 5 Star bars (caramel centred chocolate bars), Gems (coloured chocolate buttons similar to Smarties/ M&Ms), and Cadbury Dairymilk Shots (sugar candy coated milk chocolate balls).
Chocolate Cupcakes(Cupcakes adapted from Joy of Baking)
Ingredients:For the Cupcakes:1/2 cup cocoa powder1 tsp instant coffee powder1 cup boiling hot water1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour2 tsp baking powder1/2 tsp salt100 gm butter, room temperature1 cup sugar1 egg2 tsp vanilla extract
For the Vanilla Frosting3 cups icing sugar100gm butter, at room temperature1 tsp vanilla extract1 to 2 tbsp hot milk (or water)
For Decorating the Cupcakes:Coloured chocolate buttons like Gems, Smarties, M&MsVanilla Cream Oreo Cookies (2 per cupcake)Chocolate sprinkles, Chocolate Candy Bars, etc
Method:Put the cocoa powder and the coffee powder in a bowl and pour the boiling water over it. Stir well until smooth and keep aside to cool.In another bowl, using a hand held mixer, beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, while scraping down the sides in between. Add the egg and the vanilla extract and beat well. Whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt in another bowl and add to the butter-sugar mixture. Mix well and then add the coca mixture (it’s alright if it is still quite warm) and beat till smooth.Divide the batter between 16 muffin cups lined with paper cases so that each one is about 2/3rds full. Bake the cupcakes at 190C (375F) for 15 to 20 minutes till they’re done, springy to touch and a toothpick inserted into a cupcake comes out clean.
Cool them on a wire rack, then decorate. This recipe makes 16 cupcakes.While the cupcakes are baking make the frosting. Put the soft butter and icing sugar in a bowl and beat with a hand held mixer till the frosting is fluffy. Add the vanilla and 1 tbsp hot milk/ water ( more of needed) and beat well till the frosting is of desired consistency. The frosting is ready to use and is enough to decorate the 16 cupcakes.To make the Owl Cupcakes, using a spatula or spoon, pile about a tablespoon of frosting on each cupcake and smoothen it all over covering the top of the cupcakes completely. You will need two Oreo cookies for each cupcake. Carefully twist open and separate the Oreo cookies so that the cream filling is on one cookie – these will form the eyes. Using a knife cut the cookie halves without the cream into exact halves – these will make the eyebrows.Do watch this video which explains how to make these owl cupcakes. Take a cupcake and place the two Oreo halves at the top to make the eyebrows. Place two cookies with the cream slightly below overlapping this to form the two eyes. Use coloured or brown chocolate buttons or for the middle of the eyes and press in an orange chocolate button slightly below in the middle to make the beak. That’s it, and your Owl Cupcakes are ready!To make the Mummy Cupcakes, you will need a “basket weave” icing tip to form the ribbon-like flat bandages. Watch this video to get an idea on how to pipe the“bandages” onto the cupcakes and here’s a video that shows you how to pipe the“bandages” without a tip.Fill your piping bag with the Vanilla Frosting and then pipe the “bandages” across the top of the cupcakes, back and forth in a random manner, using coloured chocolate buttons for the eyes. That’s all there is to this Mummy Cupcakes.And the Tombstone/ Graveyard Cupcakes are the easiest. Cover the cupcakes with Vanilla Frosting like for the Owl Cupcakes above. Crumble the remaining Oreo cookies (the halves without the cream) left over from the Owl Cupcakes to form the “dirt”, and sprinkle this over the frosted cupcakes.You can use any small chocolate candy bar to make the “tombstones”. I used the small Cadbury 5 Star bars (soft caramel centred chocolate bars) and cut each in half for one “tombstone”. Fill a little Vanilla Frosting into a piping bag with a writing tip and use this to decorate the “tombstone” with lettering like “RIP” or whatever you like. Push this down on the top of the “dirt” covered cupcakes and your Tombstone/ Graveyard” Cupcakes are ready too.