Preppy Kitchen’s John Kanell Demonstrates How to Bake and Decorate Witch Hat Cupcakes

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Witch hat, pumpkin and monster cupcakes? It must be time for Halloween. John Kanell of the Preppy Kitchen food blog has come up with a variety of creative and festive cupcakes to celebrate the holiday. Here, he shares how to bake and decorate them.

Witch Hat Cupcakes

For the Cupcakes:
• 2 cups all purpose flour 250g
• 1/2 tsp baking soda
• 2 tsp baking powder
• 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
• 1 tsp ginger
• 1/4 tsp nutmeg
• 1/4 tsp cloves
• 1/4 tsp allspice
• 1/4 tsp kosher salt
• 2 large eggs
• 3/4 cup pumpkin puree 180ml
• 1 1/3 cups brown sugar 180g
• 1/2 cup buttermilk 120ml
• 1/2 cup butter 113g, unsalted, room temperature
• 1/4 cup sour cream 60ml
• 1 teaspoon orange blossom water
• 1 teaspoon vanilla

For the Cookies:
• 2 cups all-purpose flour (250g)
• 1 cup granulated sugar (228g)
• 1 cups butter (226g), unsalted, room temperature
• 1 large egg
• 3/4 cups cocoa powder (75g)
• 1/2 tsp kosher salt
• 1 tsp vanilla extract

For the Buttercream:
• 1 lb confectioners sugar (500g)
• 1 cup butter (226g), unsalted, room temperature
• 3 tsp vanilla extract
• Black and green food coloring

For the Assembly:
• 1 cup black candy melts
• 2 1/2 cups black sanding sugar
• 1 small waffle ice cream cones
• Fondant
• Candy eyes
• Purple food coloring
• Black food coloring
• Gold leaf

For the Cupcakes:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Add cupcake papers to a cupcake tin.
2. Sift the dry ingredients (except the brown sugar) together in a large bowl. Give a good whisk.
3. Mix the wet ingredients together in a separate bowl.
4. In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar for a few minutes on medium until creamy and combined.
5. Add the eggs into the stand mixer one at a time making sure each incorporated before adding the next.
6. Alternate adding the dry and wet mixtures to the mixer. Scrape down the bowl and beat until combined.
7. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and make sure the pumpkin is well incorporated.
8. Pour the batter into cupcakes papers.
9. Bake at 350 degrees F for about 20 minutes, or until the centers are set.
10. Let them cool to room temperature.

For the Cookies:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, add butter and sugar. Mix on medium-low speed until incorporated.
3. Add eggs, mix and scrape the sides of the bowl.
4. Add vanilla.
5. In a large bowl, sift flour, cocoa and salt.
6. Add the flour mixture to the mixer. Mix at low speed until the dough is combined.
7. It’s ready when it sticks to the paddle attachment.
8. Roll out the dough between 2 pieces of parchment paper.
9. Put on a baking sheet and refrigerate for 1 hour.
10. Use a cookie cutter to cut out medium circles.
11. Bake for 8-12 minutes or until centers are set.
12. Let cool.

For the Buttercream:

1. In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the room temperature butter for about 5 minutes.
2. Beat in the sifted confectioners sugar.
3. Add the vanilla. Beat until you have an even, fluffy consistency.
4. Divide the buttercream.
5. Dye one black and the other green.
6. Transfer the black to a piping bag fitted with a grass tip.
7. Transfer some of the green to bags fitted with a 125 tip and a large round tip.

For the Assembly:

1. The assembly can be messy! Keep a pair of thin gloves nearby.
2. Melt the candy melts in a bowl.
3. Cover each ice cream cone in black candy melt and wipe the excess away with a spetula.
4. Over a large bowl, cover the cone in black sanding sugar and pat down. The candy melts dry quickly so work fast!
5. After they have set dip the rim of the ice cream cone in some candy melt, fill with candy and attach it to a cookie.
6. Paint candy melt onto the exposed part of the cookie. Add black sanding sugar, brush off any excess and set aside.
7. Dye some fondant purple. Roll out and cut .5 inch strips for the band around the hat.
8. Roll out some plain white fondant. Cut square shaped buckles for the hats and set aside.
9. Paint some water onto the squares. Add gold leaf sheets and set aside to dry. Once dry use a brush to pat the leaf down and remove any excess.
10. Attach the band the the bottom of the cone. Add the buckle to the middle. Use a small brush to wet the fondant so it attaches is needed.
11. Pipe a large dollop of green buttercream using a large round tip for witch head. With a 125 tip, pipe a long witch nose. Add candy eyes.
12. Add bangs and hair to the witch head using a grass tip. Attach the hats. If the buttercream is soft you might want to chill the cupcake before adding the hat.

Halloween Cupcakes

For the Cupcakes:

• 1/2 cup sour cream
• 1 cup buttermilk
• 3 eggs
• 1 1/2 cup hot coffee strong, use a mocha pot so it's basically espresso
• 3/4 cup vegetable oil
• 1 tbs vanilla extract
• 3 cup all-purpose flour
• 2 2/3 cup granulated sugar
• 1/2 cup cocoa powder
• 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
• 1 tbs baking soda
• 1 tsp kosher salt

For the Buttercream:
• 3 tsp vanilla
• 1 lb confectioner's sugar
• 1 cup unsalted butter room temperature
• 3 tbs heavy whipping cream
• Green food coloring
• Orange food coloring
• Black gel food coloring

For the Assembly:
• Brown M&Ms, regular and peanut
• 3/4 cup melted chocolate


For the Cupcakes:

1. Preheat to 350 degrees.
2. Add papers to a cupcake pan.
3. Sift together the dry ingredients (including the sugar) into a stand mixer bowl. Whisk until combined.
4. In a separate bowl, combine wet ingredients and whisk together.
5. Add wet to dry ingredients in the stand mixer bowl.
6. Whisk to combine, then mix on level 2 for two minutes.
7. Distribute batter into cupcake papers. Bake for about 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
8. Allow time to cool fully.

For the Buttercream:

1. Whip the butter for about 5 minutes using a paddle attachment on the stand mixer.
2. Beat in the confectioner’s sugar slowly.
3. Add cream and vanilla. Beat until you have an even, fluffy consistency.

For the Assembly:

For the Piping Bags:

1. Prepare 3 piping bags fitted with large round tips. Add green, orange and white to separate bags. These will be used as the base colors.
2. Add black food gel to melted chocolate, transfer to a piping bag. Snip off the tip. This will be used for the base of the mummy and facial details for multiple cupcakes.

For the Mummy:
1. Pipe a black base.
2. Fit a piping bag with a 47 flat tip, add a small amount of white buttercream.
3. Pipe lines to create a bandage look.
4. Add candy eyes.

For the Spider:
1. Pipe ‘L’ shaped legs onto parchment paper with the black gel bag. Transfer to the freezer for 5 - 10 minutes to set.
2. Pipe a white base. Switch back to the black. Pipe a spiral.
3. Drag a point tool or toothpick through the buttercream and chocolate layers, working from the inside out. This will create the web look.
4. Add a brown peanut m&m for the body and a regular brown m&m for the head. Add chocolate legs.

For the Pumpkin:
1. Pipe bands of orange, working from bottom to top to create a pumpkin look.
2. Add a green stem on top of the pumpkin.
3. Pipe black jack o lantern facial details.

For Frankenstein:
1. Pipe a green base.
2. Place candy eyes.
3. Add black facial details.

For the Skull:
1. Pipe a white base, then facial details with black frosting.

Recipes reprinted with permission. 

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