Before Halloween, I always have such grand plans to pipe mashed potatoes into little ghosts on my daughters’ dinner plates and be the person who creates an “experience” for trick-or-treaters — until the October 31st actually arrives and I haven’t advanced my ambitions in any way whatsoever. So, this year, we enlisted culinary artist Clare Crespo to help. Clare loves Halloween so much she got married on the holiday. Here, she gives us seven easy cupcake decorating ideas…
A classic for the kid who favors cute over creepy. Start with a chocolate cupcake iced with chocolate frosting. Separate two Oreos and stick two icing sides on a chocolate cupcake facing up. Insert an orange M&M or jelly bean in between as a nose; and, using a little icing as glue, affix chocolate M&M eyeballs onto Oreos.
Buried Alive Cupcakes
Start with a chocolate cupcake iced with chocolate frosting. Sprinkle some chocolate cookie crumbs on cupcake. (Clare uses Famous Chocolate Wafers for this.) Insert a small plastic doll arm in the center of the cupcake. (If you don’t have extra limbs lying around and still want to take this on, you can find them in most craft stores.) From Clare: “I’ve been criticized for this recipe being ‘too scary’ which I take as the highest Halloween compliment!”
Start with a white cupcake with white frosting. Insert a small black jelly bean into a circular gummy candy (Gummy Lifesavers are perfect here.) “I’d use a believable iris color like blue, green or brown, but I am not the boss of you,” says Clare. Place in the center of cupcake. Using red writing icing (gel or opaque, squiggle some bloodshot veins from the iris. Display in pairs.
Choose any flavored cupcake with any colored frosting. Clare suggests white, dark chocolate or dark red frosting “for drama.” Cover with candy bees, ants or gummy insects. Decorate each cupcake with too many of whatever you choose.
Werewolf Fanged Cupcakes
Start with chocolate cupcakes frosted with chocolate frosting and cover with chocolate sprinkles. Cut matching lengths of red gummy worms to be lips. Place two lips slightly parted on cupcakes. Cut large ends of candy corn off to make two small fangs and insert these between lips. Add candy eyes (available at Michaels) and squeeze a drop of red gel icing below lower lip if you are into details.
Start with chocolate cupcakes frosted with dark chocolate frosting. Insert eight pieces of black licorice into sides of cupcake for legs. Place two red hots or candy eyes in front of cupcake.
Cupcakes with Snakes
Make chocolate cupcake frosted with green frosting. Place a small snake (or gummy worm) on cupcake. If you’re feeling ambitious, present them nestled in a platter of dirt, aka crushed chocolate wafers. Says Clare: “Even typing this terrifies me!”
(Photos by Alexandra Stafford for Cup of Jo.)