Here it comes again, that time of the year I'm most looking forward to is right around the corner: Halloween! I love preparing my Halloween recipes cause they have a quite different look from the ones I publish the rest of the year; a little bit spooky, fun and above all dark.
'What should I come up with next year?', this is what I think every year right after shooting the pictures...and I must confess my list of Halloween ideas is quite long, I'd also add that I already know what I'll be baking for Halloween '16! Wish I could prepare more than one recipe this year but here in Catalonia we celebrate 'La Castanyada' the same day as other countries celebrate All Hallow's Eve and so I must prepare the typical marzipan sweets that we eat here along with roasted chestnuts and sweet potatoes (I love this festivity!). I will show my marzipan delights for this year's Castanyada on my Facebook page. They are super easy to make and you can create so many different flavors!
Well, now let's talk about these Halloween cupcakes. I wanted to go for something dark with a gothic atmosphere yet not too obviously spooky or less appetizing. Let's be honest, some Halloween recipes out there look like everything but food; I mean, something that doesn't look edible it's not my kind of recipe. So I thought to maintain my style food-wise and focus more on the props and the decoration in general. It was fun to create that dark gothic atmosphere and not too complicated since I wanted to keep things as clean as possible. I didn't hesitate too much about the flavors, chocolate and cream cheese frosting are one of my favorite combos and to add a small eerie touch I finished them with a "bloody" drizzle of strawberry jam.
I hope you like these chocolate bloody cupcakes!
Bloody Halloween Cupcakes
(yield: 12 cupcakes)
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour.
1 cup organic whole cane sugar.
3/4 cup pure cocoa powder.
2 tsp baking powder.
1/2 tsp baking soda.
1/2 tsp salt.
1 tsp pure vanilla bean powder.
1/2 tsp instant espresso powder.
3/4 cup plus 1 tbsp soy milk.
1/2 cup sunflower oil.
- Cream Cheese Frosting:
24 oz (680 g) cream cheese.
1 cup confectioner's sugar.
1 1/2 tsp vanilla bean powder.
- 'Bloody' drizzle:
- To make the chocolate cupcakes:
Line a standard 12-cupcake pan and preheat oven to 356 ºF (180 ºC).
In a large mixing bowl sift together the flour and cocoa powder. Add in the sugar, baking powder, soda, salt, vanilla and espresso powder. Stir everything together and mix well.
Whisk the soy milk and oil in a separate bowl and pour into the dry mixture until combined. Fill cupcake liners 1/2 full and bake for 20 minutes approximately, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Transfer the cupcakes to a wire rack and cool in the pan for 5 minutes. Remove from the pan and let them cool completely before piping the frosting.
- To make the cream cheese frosting:
In the bowl of your stand mixer beat together the cream cheese with the icing sugar at low speed until the sugar is incorporated. Stop the mixer and scrape down the bowl and paddle, add in vanilla and increase the speed to high; beat for 3 to 4 minutes, until fluffy and smooth.
Store the frosting in the fridge until ready to use, up to one week. Remember to let it soften a little bit (just a little!) if it gets too hard after sitting in the fridge.
- To make the 'bloody' drizzle:
Simply place the strawberry jam (around 3/4 cup) in a small saucepan and add a bit of water or lemon juice (2:1 ratio, 1 tablespoon water for every 2 tablespoons of jam) to create a glaze. Bring to a low boil, stirring slowly until reaching the desired consistency. You might need to put it through a sieve to remove seeds and pulp.
Note: I used the Wilton 2D tip to pipe the cream cheese frosting.