Wednesday, October 9, 2013
Pull Apart Graveyard Cupcakes
Although it looks almost like a cake, this graveyard is made up of individual cupcakes, making it a self-serve party option. Just grab your cupcake and go--no knives necessary.
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup grape jelly
1 cup granulated sugar
4 large eggs, at room temperature
12 ounces (3 sticks) unsalted butter, melted
2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
2/3 cup milk
10 ounces (2 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
3 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar, spooned and leveled
3 tablespoons milk
10 chocolate sandwich cookies, coarsely crushed
15 large white marshmallows
1/4 cup finely crushed chocolate sandwich cookies (about 3 cookies)
1 tablespoon black or dark green decorating sugar
One 6.4-ounce tube black decorating icing, with tips
5 oval-shaped vanilla and chocolate sandwich cookies
One 7-ounce tube marzipan
3 round lollipops, wrapped
1/4 cup orange decorating sugar
One 6.4-ounce tube green decorating icing, with tips
Seven 8-inch pieces black licorice
For the cupcakes: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line two 12-cup standard muffin tins with paper cupcake liners.
Whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl. Warm the grape jelly in the microwave until loosened, 20 to 30 seconds, and whisk until smooth. Set aside.
Beat together the sugar and eggs in another medium bowl with an electric mixer until light and foamy, about 2 minutes. While beating, gradually pour in the butter and then the vanilla.
While mixing slowly, add half the dry ingredients and then all of the milk. Follow with the rest of the dry ingredients, taking care not to over mix the batter.
Remove 2 cups of the batter and stir in the grape jelly. Evenly fill the liners about two-thirds full, alternating with yellow and grape batter.
Bake until a tester inserted in the center of the cupcakes comes out clean and the tops spring back lightly to the touch, 20 to 22 minutes. Place the pan on a rack to cool for 10 minutes, and then remove the cupcakes to the rack to cool completely, about 1 hour.
For the frosting: Beat the butter and salt in a large bowl until fluffy and combined. Gradually beat in the confectioners' sugar until smooth and fluffy. Beat in the milk one tablespoon at a time until the frosting has a nice spreadable consistency. Add the crushed cookies and continue to beat until any large chunks are crushed to smaller bits and the frosting has a speckled, greyish look.
For the decorations: Arrange the cupcakes in 4 rows on a large serving plate or cutting board. Fit a marshmallow between each cupcake, 5 marshmallows per row, to fill in the gaps between the cupcakes. Spread the frosting over the whole rectangle so it looks like one cake. Sprinkle with the cookie crumbs and black decorating sugar.
To make the tombstones: Use the black decorating icing and a small round tip to write "RIP" or other one-word epitaphs on the top half of the oval sandwich cookies and stick into the cupcakes randomly around the graveyard.
To make the ghosts: Remove two-thirds of the tube of marzipan and place between 2 sheets of wax paper or parchment. Roll about 1/8-inch thick and cut into 3 rounds using a 4-inch biscuit cutter. You may need to gather and reroll the scraps for all 3 rounds. Drape over the wrapped lollipops and stick into the cupcakes around the tombstone. Using the black decorating icing and the same round tip, dot eyes and a mouth on the ghosts.
To make the pumpkins and leaves: Divide the remaining marzipan into 4 small pieces and roll each into a ball. Roll in the orange sugar until coated and place around the graveyard. Use the black icing to pipe a small stem. Fit the tube of green decorating icing with a leaf or ribbon tip to dot bits of green grass poking through the dirt around the graveyard and pumpkins.
To make a border: Use 6 pieces of the licorice, trimming to fit, to make a border around the cake, leaving the middle of the front side open. Bend the seventh piece into an upside down "U" and stick into 2 cupcakes in the front to make an arched gateway.
Cook's Note: If your decorating icing does not come with tips, you can squeeze some icing into a small plastic bag or piping bag fitted with a small round metal tip or a small metal leaf or ribbon tip.