These garish, grinning monster cakes may look inviting, but beware, at the centre of each Halloween cupcake is a gory, strawberry surprise.
Serves 12 (makes 12 cupcakes)
30 mins to prepare and 14 mins to cook
391 calories / serving
For the cupcakes
150g caster sugar
150g lightly salted butter, very soft
150g (5oz) self-raising flour, sifted
2 tbsp milk, at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
12 small tsp strawberry jam
For the frosting
120g slightly salted butter, very soft
240g (8oz) icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
few drops green food-colouring gel
1 tbsp milk, at room temperature
6 soft liquorice sticks
30g white ready-to-roll fondant icing
Preheat the oven to gas 3, 170°C, fan 150°C.
Line a cupcake tin with 12 large, paper cupcake cases.
Using a hand-held electric beater, beat the caster sugar and butter together in a mixing bowl for several minutes, until really light and fluffy.
Whisk in the eggs, one at a time.
Fold in the flour, milk and vanilla and divide the mixture between the paper cases.
Bake for 13-14 minutes, until pale golden and slightly bouncy when pressed.
Transfer to a wire rack and allow to cool.
To make the frosting, slowly beat the butter and icing sugar together in a mixing bowl, then beat with a hand-held electric beater at high speed for 3-4 minutes, until very light and fluffy.
Beat in the vanilla, food-colouring gel and milk to form a thick, airy icing, adding extra food colouring as needed to create a shade of garish green.
Transfer to a piping bag fitted with a small, star nozzle.
Decorating the cupcakes:
Using a small knife, cut a plug out of the top of each cupcake, removing half a teaspoon of the cake from the top.
Drop in a small teaspoon of strawberry jam and replace the cake ‘lid’ on top.
Repeat for each of the 12 cupcakes.
Working slowly in circles, starting from the outside, carefully pipe tiny peaks of icing all over the surface of each cupcake.
Repeat until each cake has a ‘hairy monster’ covering.
Slice the liquorice sticks across into discs (8 per stick, making 24 discs in all).
Now divide 25g of the white icing into 24 small marble-sized balls, rolling them to shape.
Sit a liquorice disc on each icing round and press down, bringing the white icing up at the edges to create a monster eye.
Put two eyes on each cupcake.
Slice the remaining liquorice sticks into fine lengths and use as angry eyebrows and mouths.
Shape the remaining 5g white icing into little triangular ‘fangs’ and sit these on the mouths to make scary faces.