Fall is comfort food and root vegetables, two things that we have highlighted with the first two cupcakes in our Autumn cupcake quartet. Autumn is also Halloween. T
Halloween is not celebrated in Germany. Instead, like most of Europe, Germany has a day off no for All Hallows’ Eve, but for All Hallows’ Day, otherwise known as All Saints’ Day. The children don’t miss out on candy or dressing up though, at least in our area of Germany.
Carnival – known as the fifth season – starts on 11 November and continues until Lent. The period, particularly the weekend before Lent, involves lots of parties and costumes.
Mid-November is also St Martin’s Day. To celebrate, the children will walk around the neighbourhood with lanterns and will stop at local houses to sing and receive sweets. There are more formalities involved, but I will discuss these more in a separate post.
The black velvet cupcakes
Let me preface this by saying that it is not my cupcake recipe. I didn’t try red velvet cake until I was nearly in my 30s. I don’t bake it very often and have not found the need to perfect the recipe.
I love the care that she puts into perfecting her recipes and the tips that she gives. Who am I to mess with perfection?
Our cupcakes are of course black velvet cupcakes, but they are based on a traditional red velvet cake. If you’d like more tips on how to make these cupcakes, have a look at Sally’s post. If you have your own favourite red velvet (cup)cake recipe, feel free to use it. Just switch out the red food colouring for black and you will be on your way to the perfect gruesome Halloween cupcakes.
Ghouling them up
I’m not sure that is really a word, but I think you know what I mean.
Black velvet instead of red velvet: pretty self-explanatory. For a more intense black, I do recommend that you use gel food colouring, not liquid. When I used liquid food colouring, I had to use more than twice as much and the colour was not as intense.
Crème Pâtissière slime: crème pâtissière is so versatile and is great as a filling in profiteroles, cakes or cupcakes, or on a fruit flan. All we did is take this staple recipe and add some green and yellow food colouring to make the right colour for slime. It’s used as a filling, so it’s hidden until you take a bite and the slime oozes out. Make sure you add enough for the ooze. Seriously, the slime was the taste bomb in these cupcakes!
Ghoulish frosting: a simple cream cheese frosting, coloured for the right effect. I chose purple. I actually considered doing a mix of orange, purple and black, but I already had enough of a mess in the kitchen.
Cobweb decorations: very simple to make, but very sticky and messy. All you need is marshmallows and sticky fingers. I found wetting the fingers after 3-4 cobwebs made it easier. Don’t make the cobwebs too far in advance or they will stick back together and not look like cobwebs anymore.
I found a Halloween cupcake set at H&M, but I absolutely adore these witches legs Halloween cake toppers.
I actually made these black velvet cupcakes for a farewell party. Minus the slime and cobwebs, they were not-very-gruesome Halloween cupcakes.
Peter and one of his colleagues wanted to express their feelings about the fact that another colleague was leaving the firm. They asked me to make some black cupcakes to show that they were in mourning.
Of course, the frosting was black in that case.
Make some of these black velvet cupcakes for your Halloween
We couldn’t leave this Autumn cupcake quartet without some gruesome Halloween cupcakes. Tasty and fun, these black velvet cupcakes with slime and cobwebs are the perfect addition to any Halloween feast. The only question is: what else are you going to serve?
Black velvet Halloween cupcakes
For the cupcakes
- 2 large eggs separated
- 1 ⅓ cups all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 4 teaspoons natural unsweetened cocoa powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ cup unsalted butter softened to room temperature
- 1 cup white sugar
- ½ cup canola or vegetable oil
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon distilled white vinegar
- black gel food colouring
- ½ cup buttermilk room temperature
For the slime
- 1 cup full cream milk
- ¼ tsp vanilla paste
- 2 Egg Yolks
- 1 tbsp caster sugar
- 2 tbsp. cornstarch
- A dob of butter optional
- Green and yellow gel food colouring to get the desired colour.
For the frosting
- 200 g cream cheese
- 100 g butter
- ½ teaspoon vanilla essence or vanilla sugar
- A pinch of salt
- 2 ½ cups icing sugar
- Black purple, orange or green gel food colouring, as you wish
For the decoration
- 6-8 large marshmallows
For the cupcakes
- Preheat oven to 175°C. Line two 12-count muffin pans with patty pans.
- Beat the egg whites on high speed in a medium bowl until soft peaks form. This should take about 2-3 minutes.
- Sift the flour, cornstarch, baking soda, cocoa powder and salt together in a medium bowl to make sure they are evenly combined. Sifting the mix three times should be sufficient. Set aside.
- Beat the butter on high speed until smooth and creamy – about 1 minute. Add the sugar and beat on high speed for 2 minutes until creamed together fairly well. Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl with a silicone spatula as needed. Add the oil and beat on high for 2 minutes. The butter may look "lumpy” and not completely combine with the oil. This is normal.
- Add the egg yolks and vanilla. Beat on medium-high speed until combined. Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl with a silicone spatula as needed. Beat in the vinegar and the food coloring– until you reach your desired colour.
- With the mixer on low speed, add one-third of the dry ingredients, then half the buttermilk, and alternate until all the dry ingredient mix and buttermilk have been added. Mix each addition just until incorporated. Do not overmix.
- Fold whipped egg whites into cupcake batter with a silicone spatula or wooden spoon. The batter will be silky and slightly thick.
- Spoon batter into cupcake liners filling 1/2 – 2/3 of the way full. Bake for 20-21 minutes or until the tops of the cupcakes spring back when gently touched and a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean.
- Allow to cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to a rack to cool completely.
For the slime
- Pour milk into a saucepan and add the vanilla paste. Warm over medium heat until it is just about to boil. Remove from heat and allow to cool a little (2 minutes).
- Whisk the egg yolks and sugar together in a heatproof bowl until well combined and it thickens and turns a pale yellow.
- Add the cornflour and stir until well combined.
- Pour about 2 tablespoons of the milk into the egg mixture and stir well. This will help temper the eggs. Add a little more and do the same. Finally, add the remaining milk and stir until it is well combined.
- Pour back into the saucepan and heat over medium heat, stirring consistently, until the mixture starts to thicken.
- Remove from the heat and stir in butter until it is all melted. This will make it glossy.
- Add the food colouring until the desired shade is obtained. I had about half a teaspoon each of the green and yellow food dye.
- Cover with plastic wrap so that the wrap is touching the slime. Allow to cool and then refrigerate until cold.
For the frosting
- Put the butter and cream cheese in the bowl of your stand mixer (paddle attachment) or a bowl with your hand mixer and beat until well combined and a little fluffy.
- Add the vanilla and salt and mix to combine.
- Add one cup of the icing sugar and combine, then add the more, a half or third of a cup at a time, until the right consistency is reached.
- Add the food colouring in the colour you have suggested until you reach the desired hue.
- Using a spoon, take the ‘hat’ off the cupcake. Spoon some slime into the hole and replace the hat.
- Frost the cupcakes so that the slime is hidden.
- Add the cobwebs.
For the cobwebs
- Melt the marshmallows in the microwave for about 20 seconds or until just melted. Allow the marshmallows to cool just a little then dip dipping your thumb and index finger into the marshmallows and open and close your fingers until the marshmallows become stringy.
- Once stringy, stretch small amounts to form the ‘webs’ and droop over the cupcakes. They will be very sticky!