These garish, grinning monster cakes may look inviting, but beware, at the centre of each Halloween cupcake is a gory, strawberry surprise.
- Preheat the oven to gas 3, 170°C, fan 150°C. Line a cupcake tin with 12 large, paper cupcake cases. Using a hand-held electric beater, beat the caster sugar and butter together in a mixing bowl for several minutes, until really light and fluffy. Whisk in the eggs, one at a time. Fold in the flour, milk and vanilla and divide the mixture between the paper cases. Bake for 13-14 minutes, until pale golden and slightly bouncy when pressed. Transfer to a wire rack and allow to cool.
- To make the frosting, slowly beat the butter and icing sugar together in a mixing bowl, then beat with a hand-held electric beater at high speed for 3-4 minutes, until very light and fluffy. Beat in the vanilla, food-colouring gel and milk to form a thick, airy icing, adding extra food colouring as needed to create a shade of garish green. Transfer to a piping bag fitted with a small, star nozzle.
- Using a small knife, cut a plug out of the top of each cupcake, removing half a teaspoon of the cake from the top. Drop in a small teaspoon of strawberry jam and replace the cake ‘lid’ on top. Repeat for each of the 12 cupcakes.
- Working slowly in circles, starting from the outside, carefully pipe tiny peaks of icing all over the surface of each cupcake. Repeat until each cake has a ‘hairy monster’ covering.
- Slice 3 of the liquorice sticks across into discs (8 per stick, making 24 discs in all). Now divide 25g (1oz) of the white icing into 24 small marble-sized balls, rolling them to shape. Sit a liquorice disc on each icing round and press down, bringing the white icing up at the edges to create a monster eye. Sit two on each cupcake.
- Slice the remaining liquorice sticks into fine lengths and use as angry eyebrows and mouths. Shape the remaining 5g (1/4oz) white icing into little triangular ‘fangs’ and sit these on the mouths to make scary faces.
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