I finally got to take my Martha Stewart's Cupcakes out for a test drive. Wee Sarah and D were having a Halloween party and I wanted to bake something that looked out of this world, and tasted even better. Both Wee Sarah and D are incredibly creative people, so presentation was at the top of the agenda.
For the cupcakes, I used Martha's Devil's Food Cupcake recipe because I thought a nice, full chocolate would stand up to the crazy, ghoulish toppings! The icing was a simple vanilla frosting. And the ghoulish faces came from Martha's test kitchen AND the Mastermind of Mister Man (who, quite frankly, was totally in his element creating his little critters. I wouldn't go telling tales out of school or anything, but he WAS heard to exclaim "Hey, this is fun!". Twice.) So we started with ideas from the book, and then we extemporized and let our creative selves become one with our little bags of decorative candies.
Look at him. So cute. (I'm talkin' about Mister Man not the cupcakes)
Each critter had it's own personality. Some were downright adorable. The guy in the centre of the plate looks awfully bashful, don't you think?
And the guy below with the blue nostrils looks like the saddest critter in the world, doesn't he?
The cupcakes were a hit, so I hear. Yup. I wasn't actually able to be there in person gentle reader. On Friday, I came down with some sort of little bug, and I just didn't feel right. So Mister Man headed out with a bunch of critter cupcakes under his arm, and I tucked in with a blanket, a big glass of water, and watched Project Runway. I am told they had NO FUN at the party (though that flies in the face of the entertaining re-enactments I witnessed this morning.)
Clearly, last night, I resembled our little critters because I must have been the saddest person in the whole world to miss all the shenanigans. On a happier note, I am starting to feel human again. This is a good thing, because this afternoon, we are celebrating an early Christmas (and I'm not even kidding). Mister Man's parents will soon head south for the winter, therefore we must deck the halls today. (Have I ever mentioned how much i LOVE Christmas?? But THAT'S another story...) For now, let me leave you with the cupcake recipe.
Martha's Devil's Food Cupcakes
3/4 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
3/4 cups hot water
3 cups all -purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter
2 1/4 cups sugar
4 large eggs at room temperature
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup sour cream room temperature
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line standard muffin tines with paper liners. Whisk together cocoa and water until smooth. In another bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
Melt butter with sugar in a saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring to combine. Remove from heat, and pour into a mixing bowl. With an electric mixer on medium-low speed, beat until mixture is cooled 4 to 5 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until each is incorporated, scraping down the sides of bowl as needed. Add vanilla, then cocoa mixture, and beat until combined. Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture in two batches, alternating with the sour cream, and beating until JUST combined after each.
Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each 3/4 full. Bake about 18-20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.
I used a simple vanilla icing (butter, icing sugar, vanilla extract) to finish the cupcakes. And really, it was all about the decorating!