Halloween is not something that is celebrated in a big way in Australia. Years ago, we had some young kids that were around my age at the time, knock on our door. They were all dressed up and sang the obligatory ‘trick or treat’ as mum opened the door. We had no lollies or anything to give them as we weren’t really the kind of family that had that kind of stuff in our house regularly. From memory, I think Mum ended up just apologising and saying she had nothing for them, which in hindsight they probably preferred instead of getting an apple or a pack of raisins.
Gorgeous decorative gourds. I couldn’t resist.
So I was surprised to see Halloween decorations, carving pumpkins and decorative gourds start popping up everywhere a few weeks back. Singapore is one of the last places that I expected to celebrate Halloween, but I guess that’s the influence of so many Westerners here.
I decided to jump on the band wagon. Let’s be honest, when the band wagon has pumpkin shaped Halloween Reese’s peanut butter cups and mini gourds on it, I was almost guaranteed to get on board.
I’m sure that it is something that is mostly celebrated by expat kids and families, but I’m crossing my fingers for some trick or treaters, if only so that I can give away the rest of the pumpkin shaped peanut butter cups that Key doesn’t eat and are not safe in the house with me.
I haven’t given detailed measurements because I think cupcake decorating should be fun and easy (and I have no plans any time soon to count out M&Ms) I just used a trusty packaged cake mix and made standard and mini sized cupcakes in black and dark brown cupcake liners. I made a simple icing with icing sugar, butter and milk and then split that into half so that they could be coloured differently.
You could use a regular food dye from the supermarket, but I would recommend a food gel colouring that you can buy from specialty baking stores as they give a much more vibrant colour. I buy the Wilton brand from either Cooking Coordinates or Latorta in Canberra and Phoon Huat in Singapore.
The other half of the icing gets some cocoa added to it for colour and taste.
Split the pretzel sticks in 2 and then using the melted chocolate as glue, join them back together into a right angle.
The pretzel sticks set really firm in the fridge, but as is often the case with cupcake decorating, you do need to be careful with them in the heat. Work quickly and once the spider cupcakes have been assembled, keep them very cool or in the fridge.
Ok, so they are not cupcake masterpieces, but I had fun making them :)
Key eyed the pack of M&Ms and I told him he could eat them except for any brown and orange ones. He dutifully sorted them out for me :)
You will need:
- Cupcakes of your size and flavour choice to decorate
- Pretzel sticks
- Plain icing
- Orange gel colouring
- Melted dark or milk chocolate
- Cachous to decorate
- Orange and brown M&Ms (or something similar)
- Cut a pretzel stick in half and then using the melted chocolate as a glue, join them back together into a right angle. Place on a baking tray or cutting board lined with baking paper and set them in the fridge. You will need 8 pretzel legs for each spider plus some extras in case of breakages.
- Separate the icing into 2 equal portions. Use the cocoa to tint one half chocolate brown and the orange gel icing to tint the other half bright orange.
- Ice the cupcakes with the 2 differently coloured icings. For the spotted cupcakes, place random selections of the brown and orange M&Ms onto them.
- Once the pretzel legs are set, stab them into the edges of the iced cupcakes 4 to a side so that they look like spider legs. Place the cachous onto the front of the cupcake so that they resemble spider eyes.