Glass Shard Cupcakes

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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.

Glass cupcakes_1What 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.

Glass cupcakes_2Isomalt 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.

Glass Cupcakes_5Your ‘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.

glass cupcakes_7Decorating:

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.

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Creaming Soda and Fairy Floss Cupcakes

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Sometimes when baking, everything goes to plan. And sometimes it doesn’t. This recipe was one of those doesn’t times…but that doesn’t necessarily mean disaster.

I got this recipe for creaming soda cupcakes from a friend via the internet. ‘Ooh,’ I thought. ‘Everyone loves creaming soda. I might be able to tweak and change this recipe and make something really amazing.’ Little did I know just how much I’d have to tweak and change. But the end result? AMAZING.

FFC_2What you need – CUPCAKES:

  • 2 cups of Kirks brand creaming soda (ok, confession time. I didn’t use Kirk’s brand like the recipe told me to. This could have been where things went wrong, but I can’t be sure).
  • 150g unsalted butter
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2 cups of self raising flour
  • 2 large eggs

How it’s done:

Sift the flour and sugar into a large bowl and put aside. Melt butter in the microwave and whisk with the eggs in a second bowl. Add the creaming soda to the butter and egg mix.

Make a well in the middle of the flour and pour in the egg/butter/creaming soda. Gently fold the mixture together. Pour into cupcake liners and bake for 10 to 15 minutes at 200 degrees Celsius.

All good, right? Wrong. My cupcakes were more like pancakes. They didn’t rise at all. I double checked – yes, I used self raising flour. Next time, I’ll add some baking powder as well. But, how to save this batch when the cupcake cases were only 2/3 full?

Jelly. Creaming Soda flavoured jelly. Oh, yeah!

FFC_4What you need:

1 packet of Aeroplane Jelly ‘Create-a-jelly’.

1 cup of boiling water

200 ml of creaming soda.

How it’s done:

Aeroplane Jelly make this awesome Create-a-jelly that can be found in the supermarket alongside the flavoured stuff. Create-a-jelly allows you to make any flavour you desire. Just add your favourite fruit juice, soft drink, iced tea, cordial…

Anyway, I just happened to have a pack in the pantry, and made up a batch according to the instructions (dissolve the Create-a-jelly with the boiling water, then add the creaming soda) in a shallow jug and popped it into the fridge for an hour, until it was about half set but still pourable. Then I topped up the flat cupcakes with the jelly mix and put them back in the fridge for another two hours.

FFC_3Fairy Floss Decoration:

What you need:

1 x Betty Crocker ready-made vanilla frosting.

Pink and blue food colouring

1 x small container of blue and pink fairy floss.

…because too much sweet stuff is never enough, right? I spooned around 3 tablespoons of frosting into two separate bowls and tinted one pale pink, and one pale blue. Load up your piping bag with one teaspoon of each colour at a time – one spoon pink, one spoon blue, one spoon pink… Then pipe a simple swirl onto the top of each jellied cupcake. Carefully add a little fairy floss for decoration, trying not to handle it too much to keep that flossy look.

The end result was all round ‘WIN’ so far as my family of taste-testers went. The texture of jelly with cake and fairy floss was gorgeous. Very, very sweet – but gorgeous. I might just make this mistake again…

** A word of caution – don’t add the fairy floss until you’re just about to serve up. It tends to melt at air temperature.