The crispness of the fall air, the changing colors of leaves, bonfires, and oh, yeah, all those that go bump in the night. It’s almost Halloween and the choice of every ghoul is a full moon. Hence the inspiration for my recent cupcake. Chocolate cupcakes with an ooozing red-tinted white chocolate ganache filling, covered with chocolate buttercream frosting, decorated with an iced sugar cookie moon and cotton candy clouds. Death By Chocolate Under The Light Of The Moon – can a Halloween cupcake get better than this?
First Things First – Creating the Sugar Cookie Moon
Baking and icing the moon is the first part of creating this cupcake. You can use any sugar cookie recipe for this. I’ve included the one I have the best luck with. I made a batch of cookies and used an appropriately sized circle cookie cutter. (Okay, who am I kidding, I just used the plastic cap from the popcorn seasoning salt – whatever works!) Not really sure how many cookies this recipe is supposed to yield. It depends upon the thickness of the cookie. I used the rest of the dough for cookies for a future project. (The cookies can be frozen in a well sealed container for up to three months.}
- 1 cup softened butter
- 2/3 cups sugar
- 1 egg (room temperature)
- 1 tsp. Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla
- 2 1/2 cups sifted flour
Cream the butter and sugar. Beat in the egg and add the vanilla and flour. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix until incorporated. Cover and chill the dough 3-4 hours.
While rolling out the dough, preheat the oven to 350F. Cut the dough into shapes and depending upon the width – bake for 5-10 minutes.
Time to Ice the Moons
- Serves: 1 1/2 cups
We’re going to use half the traditional Royal Icing recipe, and add additional water to the icing so it will “flow”. For me, this means testing the icing by cutting it with a knife. If it flows together by the time I count to FIVE, it’s where I want it to be. Anything thicker will not flow together and cover the cookie well. Sometimes this is a hit or miss experience – the meringue powder reacts to the humidity in the environment. The lower the humidity the better. It takes practice to get it right, but oh, what sweet mistakes!
- 1 Tablespoon + 1 1/2 teaspoon Meringue Powder
- 2 Cups confectioner’s sugar (sifted)
- Start with 3 Tablespoons warm water
- Yellow Icing color
- Black Icing color
Beat all ingredients together until incorporated. Stop mixer to check for the FIVE COUNT. If not thin enough, add 1/2 tablespoon of water at a time. Once the desired consistency is achieved, scoop out about 1/4 cup and reserve. Add the Golden Yellow icing coloring and mix until incorporated. (More water might have to be added after mixing – so check again.)
Fit a decorating bag with a size 3 tip and add the yellow frosting. Tint the reserved icing with the black color and fill a decorating bag with a size 2 tip.
Outline the cookie with the yellow icing and fill in. Shape the cookie from side to side to allow the frosting to meld and fill in the shape. Repeat with the remaining cookies and allow to dry for several hours.
Once the yellow has hardened up, use the black icing to draw on the bat shapes.
- Yield: 12
Now that the decors have been completed – it’s time for the cupcakes! I love to use this recipe for moist, rich cupcakes. The surprising ingredient is coffee! The coffee adds a deeper, richer flavor to the chocolate.
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup white sugar
- 1/4 cup dark cocoa powder
- 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 3/4 teaspoon cornstarch
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/3 cup buttermllk
- 1/4 cup brewed coffe
- 3 Tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 egg room temperature
- 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract (Madagascar Bourbon is what I use)
Preheat the oven to 350F and line cupcake tin with paper liners.
Sift all ingredients into the bowl of an electric mixer. Add remaining ingreidents and mix for 2 minutes on medium speed. Pour into prepared cupcake pan 2/3 full. The batter is very liquidy but the cupcakes will rise!
Bake for 15-17 minutes or until toothpick comes out with a few crumbs. Do not overbake. Remove the cupcakes from the pan (immediately) and place them on a wire rack until completely cooled.
Colored White Chocolate Ganache
I wanted this cupcake to ooooze (yep, that’s the warped part of me). A ganache filling was a good oooozing choice. Since I wanted it to be red (ooozing “blood”) – I used white chocolate and colored it. There is great debate on how to color white chocolate. My method is to add icing color to the heavy cream as it is heating before adding to the chocolate.
- 1/3 cup chopped white chocolate or chips
- 1/3 cup heavy cream
- Red Icing Color
Pour the white chocolate into a heatproof bowl. Heat the heavy cream in a small pan on the stove and start heating on med-high heat. Add the color and stir until incorporated. Just as the cream starts to boil, pour the mixture over the chocolate. Let sit for a few minutes and start stirring to incorporate and mix the chocolate. Once, the mixture is smooth – it’s good to go for a filling.
Let’s Start Frosting
- Serves: 3 Cups
Since this is chocolate, chocolate, chocolate, we’re going to frost with a chocolate buttercream. I’m still not great on figuring out how much frosting too make (don’t want to waste it – yet, there must be enough) so I tend to make too much. . .
- 1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks) softened
- 3 – 4 cups confectioner’s sugar (sifted)
- 1/2 cup cocoa powder (sifted)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla
- 4 Tablespoons heavy cream
- Violet Icing Color
Cream the butter and slowly add the confectioner’s sugar (start with 1/2 cup at a time) and the cocoa powder. Stop at 3 1/2 cups and only add more if the consistency doesn’t end up to what you desire. After incorporated, add the vanilla, salt, color and cream and beat for 3 minutes. If you wish a stiffer frosting, add a little more sugar. To thin the frosting, add additional cream 1 tablespoon at a time.
I used a pastry bag fitted with a 5 tip to swirl the buttercream onto the cupcake.
Add an iced cookie to the cupcake and place into the frig to chill while we make the finishing touch – the COTTON CANDY CLOUDS!
Cotton Candy “Clouds” With My Newest Toy
Happy Halloween baking!