“Trick or treat!” How many times in one night will a seven-year-old shout those three words? If they average around three pieces of candy per house, and they haul in an entire pillowcase full of sweets… Well, that’s a whole lot of doorbells to ring!
We don’t see very many ghosts or witches wandering around our neighborhood. They gravitate more towards the smaller houses that are closer together (less time spent walking between doors!) and away from hilling housing developments or apartment complex stairs. Which takes a lot of the fun out of Halloween—I love seeing their faces light up when I dump a huge handful of candy into their sacks!
To salvage a bit of my holiday spirit, I decided to bake a batch of sweets instead. Although they’d be rather messy to dole out at the door, your little ninjas and princesses just may want a cakier treat than what’s in their bags when they return from their long night of searching for candy.
For a subtler orange taste in the frosting, either reduce the orange zest or omit all together and instead substitute pulp-less orange juice for the milk. These cupcakes will keep for 3-4 days, if they last that long!
(from CL’s double-caramel turtle cake)
½ tbsp flour
¾ c. boiling water
¼ c. + 2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa
¾ c. sugar
3 tbsp butter, softened
½ tsp vanilla
½ c. + ⅓ c. flour
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
⅛ tsp salt
2 tbsp butter, softened
zest from half of an orange
1-2 c. powdered sugar, sifted
¼ tsp vanilla
1½ – 2 ½ tbsp milk
1 drop red food coloring
2 drops yellow food coloring
- To prepare the cupcakes, preheat oven to 350°. Line 12 muffin cups with cupcake liners, and set aside.
- Whisk boiling water and cocoa powder in a medium bowl, and let cool completely.
- Cream butter and sugar in a large bowl until light and fluffy, 3-5 minutes. Mix in vanilla and egg.
- In a separate bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together. Add flour mixture and cocoa mixture alternately to the butter mixture, beginning and ending with the flour.
- Evenly distribute batter between the prepared muffin cups, and bake for 24-27 min, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 5 min, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
- To prepare the frosting, cream the butter and orange zest in a medium bowl. Add ¼ c. powdered sugar, and cream until incorporated. Add the vanilla, food coloring, and 1 tsp milk, mixing until incorporated. Add another ¼ c. powdered sugar, and continue alternating between the milk and powdered sugar until the frosting reaches the desired consistency.
- Spread frosting on top of cooled cupcakes, add some sprinkles (if using), and try not to each all 12 yourself!