These were undoubtedly the most fun of all my recent Halloween bakes and I think they will definitely become a regular recipe for me. Decorating them allows for great creativity, in terms of the colour of the icing and the sweets used for the faces – I think next year I’ll use some bolder colours for the buttercream and try to get hold of a few more sweets than the Smarties, dolly mixtures, teeth and lips I used here. These would look great at a Halloween party!
The cakes themselves are my first bake from the book I got for my birthday back in April, and the recipe appealed to me as soon as I saw it. When I was little, my mum and I would always go to Woolworth’s to get a pick’n’mix for the journey whenever we went on holiday. There was invariably a scoop of liquorice and blackcurrant sweets in the mix, and I loved crunching through to the gooey, flavoursome centre (thus breaking my mother’s strict ‘no crunching’ rule – what a tyrant!). The cakes have that same flavour, and it is beautifully balanced. Not scary at all, but a real Halloween treat.
Liquorice & Blackcurrant Monster Cupcakes
Makes 18, slightly adapted from Home Sweet Home
4 liquorice tea bags
70 butter, softened
210g plain flour
250g caster sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
100g blackcurrant jam
For the icing:
500g icing sugar, sifted
160g butter, softened
2 tbsp blackcurrant cordial
For the decoration:
Dolly Mixtures, Teeth & Lips Mix, Smarties, etc
1. Soak the liquorice tea bags in the milk for an hour or so.
2. Preheat the oven to 170C and line a muffin tin with paper cases.
3. Use an electric whisk to mix together the butter, flour, sugar, baking powder and salt until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
4. Squeeze the tea bags and discard, then beat the eggs into the infused milk.
5. With the whisk running, gradually pour the liquid into the dry ingredients and mix together well.
6. Swirl through the blackcurrant jam.
7. Spoon the batter into the paper cases, filling them two thirds full.
8. Bake for 20-25 minutes.
9. Stand in the tin for a few minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
10. To make the icing, simply beat all the ingredients together with the electric whisk.
11. Spread the icing onto the cakes, and decorate with sweets to make monster faces! Enjoy!