Confession #90: I bet you CAN scare me… Eyeball Cupcakes
Yup… Eyeball Cupcakes. Sounds pretty darn delicious, eh? You’ve probably always wanted one, I’m sure. And I figure with Halloween just around the corner, it’s seriously time for things to get a little spooky on this blog.
Honestly though? This is about as spooky as it gets for me. Let me just put this out there: being creeped out is not my thing. Haunted houses? I think I’ll pass. Horror movies? Yeah right. I mean, I seriously was afraid of Harry Potter movies when I was a kid. I’m not anymore (of course) but I think you get the picture.
In fact, I feel like we’re verging on downright spooky with this guy here… ↓
Fortunately for me and you both, Eyeball Cupcakes kind of transcend the boundary between scary-spooky and cute-spooky. It all depends on how you want to play it out, ya know? Personally, I just decided to have fun with a ton of Halloween-y props and colors that I can’t exactly fit into a post for something like Apple Cinnamon Raisin Muffins. I mean really, drawing angry eyebrows with color pencil and throwing a big skull and a goofy monster cup into my photos? It’s fun stuff.
We should talk about these cupcakes, though. The cupcakes themselves are moist and chocolate-y, which are two very important factors in overall cupcake goodness. They’re topped with a white chocolate ganache, and then decorated with colored white chocolate. In a word, these aren’t your fake-and-too-boring-for-adults cupcakes, but they aren’t your crazy-fancy-and-too-sophisticated-for-kids cupcakes. And yes, I realize that was actually more like 20 words, but who’s counting?
Plus, they please white chocolate lovers as well as the lovers of good ol’ chocolate chocolate. Can you get any more perfect than that?
Basically, they’re just sitting there, staring at you, waiting for you to make them, serve them at a fun Halloween party, and dig in. Preferably before this crazy monster cup guy beats you to it.
Eyeball Cupcakes make a perfectly eerie Halloween treat!
6 tablespoons cocoa powder
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/8 teaspoon baking powder
3/8 teaspoon salt
1 egg, lightly beaten
3/8 cup water
3/8 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
White Chocolate Ganache
1/4 cup heavy cream
3 ounces (1/2 cup) white chocolate baking chips or chopped white chocolate
1 tablespoon softened butter, cut into small pieces
3 tablespoons (1 1/8 ounces) chocolate baking chips or chopped chocolate (I used bittersweet)
black candy coloring (oil based)
4 tablespoons (1 1/2 ounces) white chocolate baking chips or chopped white chocolate
red candy coloring (oil based)
To Make the Chocolate Cupcakes:
Preheat oven to 350 F and line 11 cups in a standard size muffin tin with cupcake liners. Sift the dry ingredients (cocoa, flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt) together into a large bowl. Whisk if needed after sifting to evenly combine.
Add the lightly beaten egg, water, buttermilk, oil, and vanilla and stir into the dry mixture until smooth, scraping down the bowl as you go to make sure everything gets incorporated. Divide prepared batter among lined muffin cups, filling each about 1/2 to 2/3 of the way full. Bake cupcakes in the preheated oven for 20 minutes, or just until the tops spring back to the touch of a finger and a toothpick inserted into the center of one cupcake comes out clean.
Cool cupcakes for a minute or two, and then move to a wire rack to cool completely (about 45 minutes).
To Make the White Chocolate Ganache:
Once the cupcakes have cooled, make the white chocolate ganache glaze. Heat cream in the microwave for about 30 seconds, just until it begins to boil. Pour the hot cream over the white chocolate in a bowl and let sit for 5 minutes. Then, whisk until smooth, making sure that all of the white chocolate has melted. Add softened butter and whisk again until smooth. Allow to cool briefly (you can stick it in the fridge for no more than 5 minutes). It should no longer be really runny, but also not so thick that it will be difficult to give the cupcakes a smooth glaze.
One by one, dip each cupcake top into the ganache, making sure the entire surface get covered, and letting excess drip back into the bowl. Rotate the cupcake in your hand while the excess drips so that the surface stay smooth and neat. Once you have dipped all of the cupcakes once, you can do a second coating as needed to make a thicker, more even finish. Minor imperfections can be fixed with an icing spatula. If the ganache starts to get too thick and no longer settles smoothly over the surface of your cupcakes, microwave it for another 3-4 seconds and stir. It only takes a few seconds to make the ganache thin again, so if it gets too thin, chill it in the fridge for 1-2 minutes before continuing.
Once all of the cupcakes have been glazed, allow the ganache to set until the surface is no longer very soft or easily marked by the touch of a finger. You can speed up this process by chilling the cupcakes in the fridge or freezer for a short amount of time.
To Add the Decoration
Once the ganache on the cupcakes has set, they are ready to be decorated. Microwave the chocolate chips in the microwave at 30-second increments, stirring in between, just until they have melted. Add black candy coloring a bit at a time, stirring in as you go, until the melted chocolate is black. Pour into a pastry bag fitted with a small tip (I used Wilton #5) or a plastic ziploc-type bag (cut a tiny piece off the corner after pouring to make an opening for piping the chocolate). If using a pastry bag, be sure that you hold the end with the tip up when you aren't piping the chocolate so that it doesn't pool out. Pipe round pupils onto the center of each cupcake with the black chocolate.
Although you can melt the white chocolate in a bowl, as you did with the chocolate for the pupils, I melted mine in a small ziploc because the white chocolate seems to be more temperamental when it comes to melting. Position the white chocolate in one corner of the ziploc and place the ziploc, corner-down, into a microwave-safe cup. Microwave at 15-second increments, and once the white chocolate begins to melt, squish it in the bag between microwaving increments until is has melted smoothly. Add red candy coloring, making sure the color gets in the white chocolate and not on the other parts of the ziploc. Squish the color into the white chocolate until the two are evenly combined. Cut a tiny tip off the edge of the ziploc and pipe red squiggles around the pupils. Allow decoration to set.
Cupcakes can be served immediately, and leftovers can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature.
*Some of the ingredient amounts are a bit odd since I halved the original recipe, but it's still doable with regular measuring tools. (Just remember 3/8 equals 1/4 + 1/8 !)
**Instead of coloring chocolate to decorate the cupcakes, you can alternatively use black and red candy melts. Melt them according to package instructions, following the same decorating techniques as described in the recipe.