Cupcake models are not really my thing. I’d rather make a really delicious cupcake that looks homemade than have a stale, overly sweet one that looks exactly like a duck. But my husband is out of town (again) and I’ve found myself in desperate need to do fun projects with my son. He has always loved baking with me, so I thought a fun project could be decorating some Halloween cupcakes. I made a batch of fondant yesterday, and today we set out to make some fun treats.
Let me tell you, this was so much fun and so easy that I’m not exaggerating when I say that ‘If I can do it, you can do it’. Seriously, if you can mold something out of playdough, you can do this.
Let’s begin with the fondant. Don’t bother with making the traditional recipe for Fondant. It’s difficult to do, and it tastes awful. But this is a recipe for Marshmallow fondant, which tastes just like marshmallows, only sweeter. Using the marshmallows removes the need to boil any sugar or use any candy thermometers. So I say, if it tastes better and it’s easier to make, then why not?
(makes about 2 lbs.)
-Spray the insides of a large, microwaveable bowl with cooking spray. Empty an entire 16 ounce bag of mini marshmallows (not the large ones, they don’t melt as well) into the bowl, and add about 4 TB of water. Microwave in 30 second intervals, stirring (using a well-greased rubber spatula) in between each interval, until they are completely melted. This should only take 1- 1/2 minutes.
-Add a splash of vanilla extract (or any other flavor you’d like) and then gradually add half a 2 lb. bag of powdered sugar, stirring in between, until you get a well-formed, yet still sticky dough.
-Turn the dough onto a powdered sugar-ed surface (using some of the other half of the powdered sugar bag), and with greased hands, knead this dough, adding more powdered sugar as needed, until you get an un-sticky dough.*
-Shape into a disk, wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. This will keep for several days in the fridge.
(*If you wanted to dye your fondant all one color, now is when you would do it. Drop your desired food coloring into the center of the dough and knead the color into it with the powdered sugar until you reach the color you want. If you were planning on making this fondant for a cake, this recipe would cover a standard layer cake or sheet cake. But this recipe will be more than enough to decorate 24 cupcakes)
-If I’m going through all the trouble to make these guys look cute, I’m not going through any trouble making the cakes themselves. I’m even using canned, white frosting for these, which I can’t stand the taste of (you could also make it even easier and use the frosting that comes in the whipped cream-style container, ready to be piped). But because I’m only using a bit of frosting here, there’s no point in making a batch of the homemade stuff. My recipe for the easiest cupcake is to take 1 box of your favorite brand of mix, add to it 1 can of plain, pumpkin puree and mix well. Using a greased, medium sized ice cream scoop, fill your greased muffin cups and bake according to the box instructions until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out relatively clean. This recipe variation makes a fudgy, moist cupcake and is healthier than the standard boxed mix recipe. This will make roughly 12 cupcakes, depending on how full you fill your cups. Allow them to cool completely before decorating.
Now let’s decorate some cupcakes! There are a lot of different options when using fondant to decorate, these are just the ones I chose to make with the time that my napping daughter allowed. Let your imagination be your guide!
-Take a small amount of fondant from the batch, about 2 ounces worth.
|I’m using my hand to show you the correct size.
-Using powdered sugar as your ‘bench flour’, roll this out about 1/4 inch thick to this size.
-Place a large marshmallow on top of one cooled, cupcake. Use a tiny bit of frosting to glue it down.
-Drape your rolled out fondant circle over the marshmallow-topped cupcake. Press it down gently, if necessary, to shape it.
-Using a toothpick dipped into black or dark blue gel food coloring, draw on your ghost face.
-Cover your cupcake with a thin layer of white frosting.
-Take another piece of the fondant from the batch, the same size as you did with the ghost.
-Roll it out again to be 1/4 inch thick, the size of your outstretched hand.
-Using a pizza cutter, cut into strips.
-Place these strips onto the iced cupcake, back and forth until you get a wrapped look. Add little fondant eyes, if desired, by taking a very small piece of the fondant and dying it purple, green, or black and then ‘gluing’ them onto the mummy face.
*Pumpkin on the Grass Cupcake
-Pipe some white icing onto your cupcake, and cover with green sprinkles or glitter. (or you could always dye the icing itself green). In short, do whatever you can to make it look like grass. I just happened to have some green glitter on hand so that’s what I used but green sprinkles would probably be better.
-Take a small amount of fondant from the batch, about the size of a ping pong ball.
-Add some red and yellow gel food coloring to the ball and ‘knead’ to get the color evenly distributed until you get the correct orange color.
-Shape into a flattened ball. Press your thumb down into the top of the ball to make an indention.
-While holding it in your hand, use the sides of a toothpick to press into the sides of the pumpkin to create the vertical ridges in the pumpkin.
-Take a tiny amount of the fondant from the batch and dye it green. Shape some of it into a stem and ‘glue’ it on top of the pumpkin. Roll out some more and cut into a leaf shape. ‘Glue’ onto the pumpkin, next to the stem.
We were gonna make a witch using an inverted chocolate sugar cone as her hat, but then my daughter woke up. So I quickly cleaned my working space and put everything away. Then I stopped hearing her on the monitor. I went up to check on her and she was back asleep again. But her socks were off. Apparently she woke up to take her socks off, then went back to sleep again. So weird.