Zombie cupcakes for Halloween

No Halloween party will be complete without these devilishly decorated cupcakes - find out how to make them!

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  • Zombies rising cupcake

    Want something show-stopping? Give your Halloween party a sugar coated scare by dishing out these fun, spook-tastic cupcakes.

    The earth for this delectable mud cupcake is made from very finely crushed chocolate cookies. Remember to warn your guests that the hand is secured using a cocktail stick.

    Ingredients

    • 10 Oreo cookies
    • 50 g/13/4 oz plain chocolate
    • 150 g/51/2 oz white plain, cake or pastry flour
    • 1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda
    • 1/4 tsp salt
    • 70 g/21/2 oz unsalted butter, softened
    • 150 g/51/2 oz granulated sugar
    • 2 large eggs, beaten
    • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
    • 6 tsp soured cream
    • 6 tsp water
    • 100 g/31/2 oz mini plain chocolate chips

    For decoration

    • 360 g/121/2 oz Half and Half, coloured green with 1 drop mint green paste food colouring
    • 1 quantity Dark Chocolate Ganache
    • 115 g/4 oz chocolate cookies, finely crushed
    • 115 g/4 oz mini plain chocolate chips
    • a little clear piping gel
    • 12 Flies

    Method

    1. The day before, make the hands. Roll the green Half and Half into 12 balls and then roll and press one end of each ball to thin it out into a cylinder shape. Flatten the rounded end so that the piece of icing vaguely resembles a ping-pong bat.
    2. Using a craft knife, make one cut on one side of the flattened area to make 
a thumb. Pull it out to the side. Make a second cut in the middle of the remaining rounded portion, and a third and fourth cut on either side to create 4 fingers.
    3. Pull and mould the tips of the fingers to make them slightly pointed. Using a cocktail stick, score 3 lines into each finger to create joints. This will be the palm side of the hand. On the reverse side, use the cocktail stick to indent a fingernail shape at the end of each finger.
    4. Bend the fingers up from the palm to resemble a claw. Prop the hand against 
a vertical surface so that it dries in the claw shape. Make another 11 hands in 
the same way and leave to dry overnight.
    5. Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan/350°F/Gas Mark 4. Line a 12-hole muffin tin with 12 large paper baking cases. Crush the Oreo cookies into 5-mm/1/4-inch pieces. Spoon 1 tablespoon into each paper case, reserving the remaining pieces.
    6. Melt the chocolate in a microwave oven on Low or in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of gently simmering water. Remove from the heat and leave to cool. Sift the flour, bicarbonate of soda and salt together and set aside. Put the butter and sugar in a large bowl and, using an electric whisk, beat together until pale and fluffy. Blend in the melted chocolate and then gradually beat in the eggs and mix well together. Mix in the vanilla extract and soured cream. Add half the flour mixture and blend in, then mix in the water and remaining flour mixture until incorporated.  
    7. Spoon half the mixture into the paper cases and spread over the cookies. Add 
1 heaped teaspoon of chocolate chips to each. Add the remaining mixture and sprinkle the remaining chocolate chips and cookie pieces over the tops. Bake for about 25 minutes, turning once halfway through baking, until well risen and firm 
to the touch. Transfer to a wire rack and leave to cool.
    8. When the cupcakes are cold, spread or pipe the Dark Chocolate Ganache on top of each cupcake. Mix together most of the chocolate cookie crumbs and all of the chocolate chips in a dish and dip the top of each cupcake into the mixture to create graveyard earth.
    9. Push a cocktail stick into the wrist end of each hand and press into the earth to anchor it. To enhance the effect of the hand rising from the grave, paint clear piping gel in different places on the hand and at the base, and sprinkle the remaining chocolate cookie crumbs on the gel so that it sticks. Finish by adding a Fly.
    From Zombie Cupcakes, by Zilly Rosen.
  • Brain food cupcake

    Brains are a delicacy in the cuisine of many cultures, and zombies are no exception. These sweet honey cupcakes have a delicious buttercream filling.

    Ingredients

    • 100 g/31/2 oz clear honey 
    • 115 g/4 oz unsalted butter
    • 100 g/31/2 oz granulated sugar
    • 225 g/8 oz white plain, cake or pastry flour
    • 11/2 tsp baking powder
    • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
    • 1/4 tsp grated nutmeg
    • 3 large eggs
    • 75 ml/21/2 fl oz milk

    For decoration

    • 425 g/15 oz Half and Half, coloured pink 
with 1–2 drops soft pink paste food colouring
    • 100 g/31/2 oz Royal Icing, coloured peach with 2 drops peach paste food colouring
    • 1/2 quantity Italian Meringue Buttercream
    • cornflour, for dusting
    • 350 g/12 oz shop-bought fondant, coloured green with 1 drop green and a dab of red paste food colouring
    • 115 g/4 oz clear piping gel

    Method

    1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan/
350°F/Gas Mark 4. Line a 12-hole muffin tin with 12 large paper baking cases. Put the honey, butter and sugar in a large saucepan and heat gently, stirring constantly, until melted and combined. Pour the mixture into a large bowl and leave to cool.
    2. Sift the flour, baking powder, salt and spices into the honey mixture and stir together. Using an electric whisk, gradually beat in the eggs and then stir in the milk until smooth. Spoon the mixture into the paper cases. Bake for about 25 minutes, turning once halfway through baking, until well risen and firm to the touch. Transfer to a wire rack and leave to cool. 
    3. To make the brains, divide the pink Half and Half into 12 equal-sized pieces. Roll one piece into a ball and squeeze it gently from both sides to form an oval. Use the side of the end of a cocktail stick to score a groove down the centre of the oval, creating the 2 hemispheres of the brain. Make sure that the groove curves all the way under the brain. Repeat to make another 11 brains.
    4. Fit a piping bag or baking paper cone with a fine plain piping nozzle and fill with the peach Royal Icing. Put each brain on a square of acetate to hold it in place while you are piping, and pipe squiggles and curves all around one side of the brain. Repeat on the other side.
    5. To fill the cupcakes, make a large hole in the centre of each cupcake with the handle of a wooden spoon.
    6. Fill a piping bag with the Italian Meringue Buttercream and squeeze gently until the hole is filled and a small amount of buttercream comes out of the top.
    7. Dust the work surface with cornflour and roll out the green fondant to a thickness of 3 mm/1/8 inch. Using a 6.5–7.5-cm/21/2–27/8-inch round cutter, cut out 12 rounds that will cover the cupcakes. Place a fondant round on 
the top of each buttercream centre.
    8. Use a small amount of water to attach a brain to the centre of each fondant round. Fill a piping bag or baking paper cone fitted with a fine plain piping nozzle with the clear piping gel. Pipe the gel all around the base of each brain to make them 
look gooey.
  • Battered pumpkin cupcakes

    Ingredients

    • 150 ml/5 fl oz vegetable oil
    • 4 large eggs
    • 175 g/6 oz granulated sugar
    • 200 g/7 oz canned pumpkin
    • 225 g/8 oz white plain, cake or pastry flour
    • 1/2 tsp baking powder
    • 1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda
    • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
    • 1/4 tsp grated nutmeg
    • 3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
    • 1/4 tsp salt

    For decoration

    • 4 Baseball Bats
    • 4 Shovels
    • 4 Crowbars
    • cornflour, for dusting
    • 20 g/3/4 oz Half and Half, coloured black 
with 2 drops black paste food colouring
    • 20 g/3/4 oz plain white Half and Half
    • red edible marker pen
    • 50 g/13/4 oz Royal Icing, coloured black 
with 4 drops black paste food colouring
    • 50 g/13/4 oz plain white Royal Icing

    Vanilla cream glaze

    • 200 g/7 oz icing sugar
    • 50 ml/2 fl oz double cream
    • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
    • 1/4 tsp salt
    • 2 drops green paste food colouring
    • 1 drop yellow paste food colouring
    • 3 drops purple paste food colouring

    Method

    1. The day before, make your weapons – Baseball Bats, Shovels and Crowbars – and leave to dry overnight. The following day, make the cupcakes. Preheat the oven to 160°C/150°C fan/325°F/Gas Mark 3. Line a 12-hole muffin tin with 12 large paper baking cases. Put the oil, eggs, sugar and pumpkin in a large bowl and, using an electric whisk, beat together until combined and smooth.
    2. Sift in the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, spices and salt and mix together. Spoon the mixture into the paper cases. Bake for about 25 minutes, turning once halfway through baking, until well risen and firm to the touch. Transfer to a wire rack and leave to cool.
    3. When the cupcakes are cold, make the Vanilla Cream Glaze. Put the icing sugar, double cream, vanilla extract and salt in a medium bowl and mix together with a wooden spoon until smooth. Transfer half the mixture to another bowl. Add the green and yellow food colourings to one bowl to colour bright green, and purple food colouring to the other bowl to colour bright purple. Dip 6 cupcakes into the green glaze and the remaining cupcakes into the purple glaze.
    4. Press the small end of a medium plain piping nozzle into the glaze repeatedly in 
a curved shape to make the appearance of a bite mark. Leave the glaze to set for 20 minutes.
    5. Dust the work surface with cornflour. Roll the black Half and Half into a ball and then roll out the ball very thinly. Use a craft knife to cut out 12 mouth shapes.
    6. Roll the white Half and Half into a ball and roll out very thinly. Use the piping nozzle again to cut out 24 small rounds for eyes.
    7. Use the red edible marker pen to add veins to the eyes. Fill a piping bag or baking paper cone fitted with a fine plain piping nozzle with the black Royal Icing and pipe an eyeball in the centre of each eye. 
    8. Use a small amount of white Royal Icing to attach 2 eyes and a mouth to each cupcake. Use the black Royal Icing to pipe suture lines on one side of the face and to give the zombies mean eyebrows.
    9. Fill a piping bag or baking paper cone fitted with a fine plain piping nozzle with the white Royal Icing and use to pipe teeth in the mouth and crossbones on 
the cupcake cases.

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