Year in pictures?

Yeah, I’m a bit behind here. And rather than try and write detailed posts for everything I’ve done since January, I’m just dumping a bunch of pics and one liners about each item and if anyone wants a recipe let me know and I’ll provide the link, this way I can start fresh going forward into holiday baking season!

Is anyone listening to me (if peeing your pants is cool, consider me Miles Davis). And I just lost my last reader to that somewhat obscure reference.

Here goes (and not even necessarily in chronological order because lord knows how my computer decided what order to load these)…

1. Spritz Redux: We remade the spritz that got jacked in the prior post for New Year’s Eve. Made in yellow with gold sprinkles. The 4 year old (at the time) was super excited about a cookie gun. Sigh.

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2. Chocolate cream pie – this was for New Year’s Eve too. It was awesome.

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3. I don’t even remember what I made these for but I think they were cake batter cookies. They were good.

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4. Superbowl Sunday football cupcakes. Nothing special, just chocolate cupcakes but frosted in football shapes.

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5. Valentine’s Day sugar cookies with my makeshift royal icing (I never have meringue powder on hand and am too squeamish for raw eggs so I usually just mix milk and powdered sugar). We used these for teacher gifts for preschool.

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6. Valentine’s Brownie Pops. Red velvet brownies cut into heart shapes, frosted with buttercream then shoved onto sticks. Except they were too heavy/dense to keep on the sticks and would roll over as soon as you picked them up. Tasted good though!

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7. St. Patrick’s Day thumbprint cookies. Just your typical chocolate cookies with hershey’s kisses, we just made them holiday appropriate with green sprinkles. I actually found them pretty blah.

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8. Chocolate chip cookie dough pie. The crust is a giant cookie. YES.

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9. Chocolate cake with salted caramel buttercream. OMG this frosting. I can’t share these recipes because they were from a dear friend who owns a bakery in California and is sweet enough to share recipes with me to use for the birthday of our twins we lost to prematurity. But this cake and frosting especially was AMAZING.

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10. Passover macaroons. Nothing special/fancy about these but we liked them. They’re not burnt, the bottoms are dipped in chocolate.

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11. Matzo crack. Like Christmas crack but made with matzo. I used sliced almonds for the topping.

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12. Easter cookies to follow Passover. Yeah, we’re confused. Just regular sugar cookies with royal icing but I got meringue powder and made real royal icing this time. It was a pain in the ass.

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13. Easter nest carrot cake cupcakes. These were all about presentation but also yummy! We brought them for Easter brunch at our best friends’ house.

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14. Purple cake. This was just a vanilla cake with vanilla buttercream, purple because it was the day of our annual March of Dimes March for Babies (and their trademark color is purple).

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15. Pumpkin whoopie pies. These are from just a week ago. I intended to just make soft pumpkin cookies and ice them but they were so cake like they reminded me of whoopie pies so I found a cream cheese frosting recipe and sandwiched them. BIG hit.

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16. Halloween cupcakes. Recipes from my bakery owner friend, both vanilla/almond cake (I tend to swap vanilla extract for almond) and the orange had vanilla buttercream, purple had almond buttercream. Monster and bats.

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17. Tart cherry cobbler. We stupidly signed up for a fruit/veggie CSA this summer (stupidly because we don’t have time to cook all the obscure things they sent and the kids wouldn’t touch most of it). But we did get nice fruit for baking. I had helpers.

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18. Chocolate cake with salted buttercream frosting again. Remade this for Gammy’s (my mom’s) birthday.

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19. Peach cobbler muffins. Another made with CSA haul, we got SO many peaches.

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20. Memorial day berry trifle. Not really “baked”, especially since we used store bought angel food cake for the cake part, but it looks pretty and is a prepared dessert?

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21. Pumpkin chocolate chip cookies. These were more of a regular cookie (vs cake) consistency than the other pumpkin cookies we used for the whoopie pies. Delicious.

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Ok. Hopefully I’ll remember to post after each treat going forward so I can include more info. Thanks if anyone is still checking here ever!!!

Brownie Oreo Peanut Butter Cupcakes

Yes, you read that correctly. I have only one word – OMG (ok, that might be three words, but whatever). I saw these on pinterest, linked back from a blog, but it’s not even really a recipe so I think I can just instruct you here.

 

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Get a pack of Oreos.

Spread about a TBSP of peanut butter atop two Oreos and stack them inside a cupcake liner in a muffin pan.

Prepare boxed brownie batter. Pour 2 TBSP of prepared brownie batter over each Oreo stack. Bake for about 20 minutes (probably about time on package).

Enjoy the deliciousness. These were SO rich but probably one of my favorite things I’ve made and so easy.photo 1

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Strawberry Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

This one was for my mom’s (aka “Gammy”) birthday. Wanted cupcakes, something fun, and summery as it was mid July. Found a perfect recipe here, relatively easy too as kids wanted to help bake for Gammy.

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I found this recipe on numerous sites just googling to see if I could locate it (including here and here) so here it is reproduced.

Ingredients:

  • 1 white cake mix
  • 1 (3 oz) box of strawberry gelatin
  • 2/3 cup canola oil
  • 1/2 cup of frozen sliced strawberries in syrup, thawed
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 4 eggs

Make cake mix as directed but add the jello to the dry mix before doing the rest, and as the last step add cut up strawberries ( I used fresh, no syrup). Bake as directed for the most part (at 350 for about 16-18 minutes). I then used cream cheese frosting instead of the one with the recipes. Typical recipe – I used 4 oz. (half package) softened cream cheese, 4 oz (1 stick) butter, softened, 2 cups powdered sugar, 1 tsp vanilla extract. Mix all together, pipe onto cupcakes.

Then, because I like things pretty, I sliced strawberries and topped each cupcake with a sliver.

Lucky Charms Cupcakes

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These were delicious. And as you can see, my little friend liked both making and eating them.

 

Unfortunately, I cannot for the life of me now figure out where I got the recipe. I know I’d pinned it, but the one still on my Pinterest is NOT green, so I must have found another. Regardless, I think if you use pretty much any white cupcake recipe and add green food coloring, you’d be set. For frosting I used the marshmallow fluff frosting (below), then topped the green cupcakes with the frosting, plus a few Lucky Charms and green sprinkles, and….voila! (and yes – it’s “voila”….not “wala”….omg that irritates the shit out of me. Almost as bad as people writing “back peddling”…but I digress).

 

Marshmallow Frosting Recipe:

1 cup room temp butter
1 7 oz. jar Marshmallow Fluff
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla

 

Mix it all up. Top a cupcake with it.

“Hostess” Orange Cupcakes

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An online chat with some friends about what recipes from childhood we’d like to recreate helped me arrive at a craving for Hostess orange cupcakes. Since Hostess is now defunct (did anyone actually think that days after the announcements Hostess products would literally be off the shelves for good? I certainly didn’t), I have no choice BUT to make them myself. And yes, I prefer the orange to the chocolate.

I found only ONE recipe online purporting to recreate this deliciousness, so I will link back and not entirely reproduce so as not to steal her traffic.

Recipe for Hostess Orange Cupcakes

Ingredients: See link back for amounts, and note that in addition to typical baking inputs, you’ll need oranges (I think I used 4) and orange flavored liqueur. Although I used orange extract instead.

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Orange Cupcakes:
cake flour
baking powder
salt
unsalted butter, softened
granulated sugar
eggs
finely grated orange zest (I was able to get all that I needed plus some from one orange)
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freshly squeezed strained orange juice (I have no juicer so just cut oranges in half and squeezed the crap out of them. I think I used 3-4 oranges for what I needed).
whole milk
Cream Filling:
unsalted butter, softened
confectioners’ sugar
heavy cream
vanilla extract
Orange Glaze:
confectioners’ sugar
strained fresh orange juice
orange-flavored liqueur (Note – I didn’t want to buy a bottle of liqueur that I’d never use again, so I found something online saying you can substitute 1 tsp orange extract for every 1 tbsp of orange liqueur required, and this seemed to work well for me).
Orange food coloring

Royal Icing Squiggle: [I didn’t actually make this part. Too exhausted after the rest and kid troubles and issues with the cream filling, etc. If I HAD made it, I intended to just use my own milk and powdered sugar recipe without the eggs that I used on the gingerbread cookie recipe. But sharing here for those who want to follow the recipe precisely]

confectioners’ sugar
liquid pasteurized egg whites
1 tablespoon warm water
Instructions:
Mix dry ingredients. Beat butter and sugar as directed in original recipe, then add eggs, orange zest and orange juice. Reduce speed and add flour mixture alternated with milk (3 adds of flour, 2 of milk). Pour into baking cups (2/3 full) and bake 18-22 minutes until tootpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean. Cool the cupcakes in the pan (this is important and I missed this causing some issues).
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For filling, beat the butter at medium speed until creamy, about 1 minute. Add sugar and beat at high. Add the cream and beat for another minute. Scrape the filling into a pastry bag fitted with a 1/4-inch plain or star tip. [This is where we had issues. I followed the instructions but for some reason my cream filling got very thick and almost solidified, and the cream didn’t blend into it but kept separating out. It got worse when I put it in the pastry bag. It was so thick it wouldn’t really move through the bag or tip and just squirted the liquid out and eventually the pressure made the bag and tip burst open. Ugh.]
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To fill the cupcakes you’re instructed to cut a hole in the bottom of each with a paring knife in an x shape, put the tip in, and fill with frosting. With all the frosting bag issues, I finally was able to force it out of a very wide tip but only could get a small amount of cream in each. Then, because the cupcakes weren’t cooled enough, by the time they were done all the cream filling had melted. Blah. I also wasn’t sure whether you were supposed to cut the hole and add the filling with the liners on or off. I did on at first, which seemed to messy, so then tried off, but then they didn’t go nicely back in the liners, so back again. Just a mess.
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Now the orange topping. You mix the powdered sugar with the orange juice and liqueur (or extract) into a fine paste. Heat until warm, then remove from heat, add orange food coloring (or yellow and red in my case, with 4 drops yellow, and 2 drops red). Leave in saucepan on low heat and dip each cupcake (let excess drip off). It will harden quickly. You also have to keep stirring what remains in the saucepan.
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Again, by this time I was DONE. I’d already had to wash the entire mixing bowl and apparatus once, spent way more time than was reasonable messing with cream filling, etc. Did I mention that my 3.5 year old declined to help me bake, then after the cupcakes were in the oven, came in crying saying “start it over” (sorry bub, doesn’t work that way)? And it was past dinner time by now.
Anyways, they really weren’t bad. Especially the glazed part. But way too much effort for the reward.

Yellow Cupcakes with Buttercream Frosting

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So, I had the (probably ill-fated) idea to try and make the cupcakes myself for my kids’ birthday party (in June…yes, I’m crazy). If I did this, I’d need to make them the night before and was concerned about buttercream melting. I did some googling and found that if you use shortening instead of (or at least halved with) butter the buttercream stays more stable and won’t soften at room temperature. I am NOT a fan of shortening though, it skeeves me out intensely. I decided since I had 4 months to plan, I’d give shortening based frosting a go so I did my first run a couple weeks ago.

Spoiler Alert – HATED it. I made one or two minor modifications from some pro baker friends of mine but not ALL of their modifications. Maybe if I made all of their changes I would have liked it.

Second spoiler alert – I didn’t like the cupcakes either. LOL.

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Both recipes from Wilton.

Wilton Yellow Cake:

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Ingredients:

[Note – I halved this because I didn’t want a ton of cupcakes. It yielded about 9 cupcakes at these ratios.]

  • 1.5 cups sifted cake flour [This may be why I didn’t like it. I misread and used regular flour. Not sure if that would have a significant effect or not.]
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 7/8 cups sugar
  • 1/3 cup butter or margarine
  • 1 eggs
  • 3/4 teaspoons vanilla
  • 5/8 cups milk

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Instructions:

  • Preheat oven to 350°F.
  • Line muffin tin with cupcake liners.
  • Sift together flour, baking powder and salt; set aside.
  • Cream sugar and butter together until light.
  • Add eggs and vanilla to creamed mixture and beat until thoroughly mixed.
  • Add flour mixture to creamed mixture alternately with milk, beating well after each addition.Continue beating one minute.
  • Pour batter into cupcake cups, filling each 2/3 full.
  • Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. [I don’t remember how long I baked but I know it was less than this. I think I may have set initial timer for 20 minutes then checked every couple minutes until done. Total of maybe 25 mins. or so depending on oven?]

Wilton Buttercream:

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Ingredients:

[Again, halved from original recipe]

  • 1/4 cup solid vegetable shortening [Note – GROSS]
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter or margarine softened
  • 1/2 tsp clear vanilla extract (note – I didn’t care about pure white and didn’t have clear so we used regular brown vanilla extract) [and, at your option, 1/2 tsp almond extract]
  • 2 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar (approximately 1/2 lb.)
  • 1 tablespoons milk (or heavy cream)

Instructions

  • In large bowl, cream shortening and butter with electric mixer.
  • Add vanilla. I also added some almond extract, about the same amount as the vanilla, to mask the shortening flavor.
  • Gradually add sugar, one cup at a time, beating well on medium speed.
  • Scrape sides and bottom of bowl often.
  • When all sugar has been mixed in, icing will appear dry.
  • Add milk (I used heavy cream instead at a baker friend’s rec) and beat at medium speed until light and fluffy.
  • Keep bowl covered with a damp cloth until ready to use.
  • I added a few drops of yellow gel food coloring then put in a frosting bag with an open tip and piped in a circle onto the cupcakes, topping with a few sprinkles.

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So, again, not too crazy. First, the cupcakes tasted more like bread than cake, which I’m guessing is from the use of regular flour instead of cake flour. And the frosting still tasted like greasy lard to me. I’m probably just going to order the cupcakes anyway. 😉

Chocolate Cupcakes with Eggnog buttercream frosting

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Yum. Cupcakes were the tried and true Hershey’s recipe I made with peppermint buttercream last time.

Eggnog frosting was arrived upon after googling many minutes to find the ideal one. I went with the highest eggnog ratio I found which meant (A) Delicious with a strong eggnog taste but (B) much wetter than I prefer my buttercream (even after adding much more powdered sugar in an attempt to counteract.

The one I decided upon was based mostly on this recipe from Kitschy Girl’s Cupcakes

2 sticks of butter
4 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup eggnog
I probably ended up with about 3/4 cup eggnog and at least 5- 5 1/2 cups of powdered sugar. Beat together and frost cupcakes. I loved them as did my husband and sister in law. 4.5 year old nephew not so much. He took a bite, sat there silently looking like he wanted to cry until his mom offered him a napkin to spit it in. Such a compliment, LOL.
And I got to use my super cute cupcake holder/transporter!
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.

 

White Cupcakes with Marshmallow Buttercream Frosting

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Folks, I have done a LOT of baking recently. A lot. Enough that my husband is begging me NOT to bake anything for a bit even though I got a shiny new stand mixer for Christmas that is just waiting to be used…

I really love holiday baking.

So, first holiday treat were yummy cupcakes to bring to Christmas get together at our friends’ house. My brother and Sister in Law got me a cute cupcake making kit for my birthday and I got the cupcake recipe from the recipe book included.

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Ingredients:

1 1/4 cups cake flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
3/4 cup whole milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp almond extract
6 tbsp (3/4 stick) unsalted butter at room temp
1 cup sugar
3 large egg whites at room temp (mine were cold actually – didn’t seem to have any detrimental effect on my cupcakes)

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How-To:

Preheat oven to 350. Fill 12 cupcake pan openings with liners (or use paper cups like I did that don’t need cupcake pan).

Sift cake flour, baking powder and salt and set aside (medium bowl). In small bowl, stir milk with vanilla and almond extracts.

In large bowl, beat butter and sugar on medium speed until smoothly blended and lightened in color (3 minutes or so). On low speed, add flour mixture and milk mixture in 3/2 parts each (alternating flour, milk, flour, milk, flour). Mix just until flour is incorporated and batter is smooth.

In new large bowl/clean beaters, beat egg whites on medium until foamy (30 seconds or so) then increase speed and beat until they are shiny and smooth and the beaters form lines in the mixture.

(Incidentally, my first attempt to separate yolks by breaking eggs then pulling them out with a spoon was ill fated. Gratefully I recalled that I actually have a handy egg yolk remover thingy.

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The whites will cling to the beaters if you lift them up. Stir 1/3 or so into the batter, then fold remaining in until just blended.

Recipe then says to fill cupcake liners 1/3 full. I actually did closer to 1/2 (because when I do the usual 2/3 rec I inevitably overfill and get muffin top cupcakes).

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I used paper cups instead of liners and they weren’t quite full enough once baked. Bake at 350 for about 20 minutes (just until tops feel firm and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean).

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See? Tiny squished cupcakes. Oh well, more frosting, right! They were DELICIOUS though, even without frosting. LOVE the almond flavoring. My favorite.

So about that frosting. OMG.

Ingredients for Marshmallow Buttercream:

1 cup room temp butter
1 7 oz. jar Marshmallow Fluff
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla

Beat it all together until it has frosting consistency.

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I added a bit of green food coloring for my holiday theme to go with red and white striped cupcake cups. Then I followed a tip I found on the interwebs and turned a pastry bag inside out in a glass before spooning the frosting in. Amazing!

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After frosting, I sprinkled Christmas sprinkles atop and voila! Christmas cupcakes!

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(That little helper guy by the full tray of cupcakes is our Elf on the Shelf, Millard. He helped bake the cupcakes while we slept, as far as my kids were concerned).

Chocolate Cupcakes with Peppermint Buttercream

These may be one of my favorite things I’ve made in a long time. Usually I get bored of stuff after a little while and end up tossing some or not wanting to eat it after it’s been in the kitchen for a few days. I couldn’t stop eating these ones!

Chocolate cake from Hershey’s, buttercream was a pretty standard recipe that I used peppermint extract instead of vanilla extract in (and determined the amount by checking several peppermint buttercream recipes and averaging what I thought was a good amount).

So, cake first (original recipe here):

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup boiling water (I didn’t boil it, just got it at highest possible temp out of our faucet).
  • 2  eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup HERSHEY’S Cocoa
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 cups sugar

Directions

  1. 1 Heat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour two 9-inch round baking pans (I did cupcakes instead – just put the cups directly into the baking cups on the muffin pan).These were my “helpers”. The smaller one cried and yelled mommy and threw spoons around the kitchen through half of the process. :-/
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  3. 2 Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in large bowl. Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla; beat on medium speed of mixer 2 minutes. Stir in boiling water (batter will be thin). Pour batter into prepared pans. It was REALLY thin (like liquid) but actually made it easier to pour into the cupcake cups because I transferred it to measuring cup and then poured out of that into the cups. Only a little bit of mess on the first one! I always have trouble overfilling and did my best so far with only slight overlap of the cupcake cups vs. my usual.photo 2
  4.  Line muffin cups (2-1/2 inches in diameter) with paper bake cups. Heat oven to 350°F. Fill cups 2/3 full with batter. Bake 22 to 25 minutes. Cool completely. Frost. About 30 cupcakes.

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And now the frosting – again, no link back because I just used a generic recipe that was the same on many blogs…I halved the recipes that I found b/c I didn’t want a ton of cupcakes (I only made the one pan of 12). Info below is already halved.

1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
3 cups confectioner’s sugar
1/8 – 1/4 cup milk
3/4 tsp peppermint extract

  1. Beat butter until creamy.
  2. Slowly add sugar and beat in with butter (it was very powdery and crumbly but I think that’s ok).
  3. Add milk as desired to get the thickness you want. [NOTE – I USED TOO MUCH SO MY FROSTING WAS A LITTLE DROOPY, I’D USE THE LOWER END OF THE RANGE NEXT TIME]
  4. Add extract and mix well.

I put the frosting in a frosting bag and used a decorative tip, both from a super cute cupcake baking kit my brother and sister in law got me for my birthday. I think they turned out surprisingly pretty!

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Operation Halloween Cupcake – Completed

Well, they’re done. I don’t know if there’s anything more glowing I can say about them besides that. The end result is not at all what I set out to do, but they’re passable, if nothing else.

So, you’ll recall I was hoping to do the big pull apart Spiderweb cupcakes from Betty Crocker (found here and reproduced below). What’s below is the actual recpie and decorating instructions, but as I’ll get into below, I veered a bit off course. Because I suck.

1 box (1 lb 2.25 oz) Betty Crocker® SuperMoist® white cake mix (or other flavor)
Water, vegetable oil and eggs called for on cake mix package
Orange gel food coloring
2 containers (12 oz each) Betty Crocker® Whipped fluffy white frosting
1 tube (0.68 oz) Betty Crocker® black decorating gel
Plastic spiders (for decoration)
  1. Heat oven to 350°F. Place paper baking cup in each of 24 regular-size muffin cups.
  2. Mix cake batter as directed on box, using water, oil and eggs. Divide batter evenly among muffin cups. Bake as directed on box. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pan to cooling rack. Cool completely, about 30 minutes.
  3. On large round platter or pizza pan, arrange cupcakes, placing them close together. In medium bowl, mix food coloring and frosting. Spread frosting over cupcakes and spaces in between to create one large circle of frosting. Squeeze one large dot of black gel in center of frosting. With gel, draw concentric circles around the dot, spacing them about 2 inches apart. To create the web design, drag a toothpick from the center dot to the outer edge of the circle (about 12 times). Place plastic spiders on web.

So, where did we first encounter problems? Well, we started out ok. Follow the directions on the box, not too bad. They gave me a choice between a hand mixer and whisking the batter – it was like a Betty Crocker Choose Your Own Adventure…did I want to do less work now (electric hand mixer) and have more to clean later (multiple parts)? Or work more now (whisk manually) but minimize dishes?

We went with the whisk. I think I did a decent enough job getting out all the lumps too, if I do say so myself. That was my workout for the day.

Next step – filling the baking cups. I picked up some Halloween themed cups from Target:

So into the muffin pan they went, followed by the batter.

Yeah, the cups were a little big for the pan. And the batter was a little too drippy for my uncoordinated self, resulting in much frosting dripped on the kitchen island, the pan, my tray, et cetera. I “cleaned” up the excess batter by swiping it up with my finger and then eating it (unpasteurized eggs too – I’m such a risk taker!). So before anything was even in the oven I’m pretty sure I consumed at least 2-3 cupcakes worth of batter. Hey, at least we’ll keep the blog title accurate, right?

Unfortunately my next mistake was also perpetrated during the filling of the cupcake cups…but I didn’t realize until they were baked. See, it said to fill 2/3 of the way up. That’s what I thought I did, but in retrospect I probably did closer to 3/4. So we ended up with muffins instead of cupcakes.

As an aside, the recipe is supposed to make 24 cupcakes. I got 14 out of mine, so clearly these are some bionic mutant ninja cupcakes.

Next step was the frosting (with another misstep pending). Before even starting, it was pretty clear to me that these giant everest like muffin tops were not going to be conducive to a nice flat and even surface for the spiderweb pattern intended by the recipe, so I decided to try my own decorating on a cupcake by cupcake basis. The first thing I had to do was dye the frosting the desired colors (I wanted half lime green and half orange). The recipe called for gel food coloring, which I couldn’t find at either Target or our grocery store, so I got the drop kind. Yeah, that was a bad choice.

First of all, I figure 2 drops yellow and 2 drops red and we’d get orange. Not so much. That was more of a pale peach. I ended up probably using several mLs of coloring before achieving the desired color (lovely look of bleeding frosting too…)

So, um…did you know that if you use a lot of food coloring it waters the frosting down? Yeah, it does. I didn’t notice or care until this happened…

Yeah, it melted all over the place. Drip, drip, drip. SOOO appetizing, no? I’m just picturing the damn cupcake screaming “I’m melting, I’m melting, oh what a world, what a world!!!!!”

In the meantime I made my green frosting, with similar results.

After that first cupcake I was pretty much decided that I’d need to go out and get more frosting and drive around looking for gel food coloring, until my mother in law (in for the weekend and attempting to distract and intercept the Boops while I baked) told me I could add powdered sugar to thicken the frosting back up. Praise her for saving me another trip out!

Frosting thickened, we tried again! It was still a bit drippy so I ended up putting the frosting and frosted cupcakes in the fridge for a while to stiffen.

Here they all are, pre-decorated:

Finally, the decorating. This is a combination of the original idea on a smaller scale (which I would have done more of but I was running out of black gel), some pumpkin ones I saw (including in a pic posted by a commenter, thanks!) and then I just ran out of ideas and rustled around in our cabinet until I saw the pull and peel twizzlers which I decided I could use as spiderlegs.

They don’t look so bad here, but the jack o lanterns were losing their stems already as they slid through the STILL drippy frosting, so I’m sure they’ll be a mess tomorrow. Oh well, I gave it a shot…