With only a few weeks until Halloween, I thought this would be a good time to share some of my favourite – but kind of gruesome – recipes for your Halloween party. Over the next couple of weeks, I’ll be posting both sweet and savoury recipes of the very dark kind, along with others of the more cheerful kind (unless you have an aversion to fairgrounds and clowns, that is…)
Today we’ll kick things off with Glass Shard Cupcakes. As usual, I’ve used a few ‘cheats’ where possible.
What you need:
1 x chocolate cake mix. I used White Wings brand.
1 x Betty Crocker vanilla frosting.
1 x packet of clear Isomalt Sticks – available from any cake decorating suppliers or online.
1 x Red Queen brand ‘Writing Icing’. Comes in a pack of 4 tubes, available at the supermarket.
Black food colouring.
How it’s done:
Make up a batch of chocolate cupcakes according to the packet instructions. Allow to completely cool.
Isomalt Glass Shards:
I use the ‘Cake Play’ brand of Isomalt sticks. It’s meltable, mouldable candy. It can be coloured as well as flavoured, but for this recipe I used it straight. It’s brilliant for so many different decorating ideas, but especially candy glass. A little on the expensive side at around $15 for a packet of 12 sticks, so it’s worth trying to catch them on special or online. Using Isomalt is a bit daunting at first, but, like working with chocolate, once you get the hang of it, a whole new world of ideas is opened up to you.
Prepare a flat surface with a large sheet of baking paper.
For this recipe, I used 6 Isomalt sticks. Snap each stick into 2 or 3 pieces, and add to a microwave safe container. I use a coffee mug because it has a handle and this stuff gets HOT. *Don’t even think about sticking your finger in there!*
In increments of about 10 seconds at a time, melt your Isomalt in the microwave, until it’s completely liquefied and bubbling. Since each microwave is different, the time could vary. Give it a good, quick stir with a metal spoon. Working very quickly – Isomalt hardens again fast – pour the candy mixture onto your baking paper and smooth out as thin and smoothly as possible in large pieces. Don’t panic if you get a few lumps or bumps. If you find the candy in your cup has hardened too quickly, just zap it back in the microwave for a few seconds.
Your ‘sheets’ of melted Isomalt will be completely hard again in about 5 or 10 minutes (depending on room temp). Place another sheet of baking paper over the hardened candy, and with the heel of your hand, press down and crush carefully. It’s the best way to get bigger pieces. Lift from your baking paper and put aside in a bowl.
*Isomalt clean up is with hot water and elbow grease.
Ice your cooled cupcakes with the pre-made vanilla frosting. This stuff saves a crazy amount of time and is DELICIOUS. Then, stick shards of candy glass into the cakes, making sure you use some smaller pieces as well as large ones. Try not to make this bit too even – a more haphazard style works better here.
To make up the ‘blood’, I squeezed about half a tube of the red ‘Writing Icing’ into a tiny shot glass. It’s too thick to use directly (we want the blood to drip and ooze) so I added a few drops of warm water. Unfortunately, this made the colour too bright – easy fixed with a single drop of black food colouring. The end result was a colour and texture very close to the real thing. I used a chop stick to both mix the ‘blood’ and also to drizzle it over the glass, as well as a few well-placed drops on the plate for effect.