Welp, Halloween is the day after tomorrow. You guys have any big plans?? We don’t. I tried really hard to find a party for us to go to (only so we could wear our Carl and Ellie costumes again), but then I remembered I live in the Netherlands and Halloween just isn’t a thing here.
Also, I remembered I don’t really like parties. I’m wild and crazy and would rather curl up on the sofa with my boys and watch Hocus Pocus than try to make small talk with people who don’t understand my weird. Which is why, come Friday, there will be Carl and Ellie, couch surfing with a furry, four-legged version of Russell…because it’s the best of both worlds. I get to wear my costume again (and convince Hubs to wear his), and enjoy the unawkwardness that is my own living room.
I will, of course, be making treats, because there is some stupid unspoken rule that adults can’t trick-or-treat (and the whole Dutch thing again). I really think trick-or-treating should be age-limitless. At what age is trick-or-treating ever not fun?? (The answer is never. It’s never not fun.)
Anyway. I’m throwing these cupcakes together again, because they were amazing, and because they’re much easier than they look – even with the spooky-fun cameos on top. 🙂
I didn’t have an actual skull cameo mold, so I used this one and drew the skull design freehand. I think they turned out pretty good, but if you want a much more skull-like look, then this mold is perfect (although, it only makes one candy at a time).
If you’re interested in the ruffled liners, they’re from Wilton. 🙂
On some of the cameos, I decided to add a pop of red, and used red candy for the flowers. I think both cameos are pretty, but I do love that punch of red, especially to add to the creepy elegance factor.
Ok, now these cupcakes. These cupcakes. Oh sweet baby Jesus, these cupcakes. I love it when I make a new recipe and I’m all, “New top 5”. I probably have about 23 cupcakes in my top 5. But I mean, really…who’s counting?
As if it’s not enough that these are rich, moist (yes, I said moist…because it applies…move on, people), and chocolatey, they’re topped with amazing frosting. I mean, it’s not just cookies and cream OR espresso…it’s both. You’re welcome. AND the cupcakes have an amazing espresso cream filling. There are no bad things happening here. None.
If you’re having a fun grown-up Halloween party this weekend, or aiming for something a little more classy-creepy than gory-scary, these cameos are the perfect addition. The cupcakes are fantastic for Halloween, not just because of how delicious they are, but because the decorations can easily be modified with gravestones for a graveyard theme, or with gummy worms for a bit more ickiness.
- ½ cup (4 ounces or 125 ml) strong brewed coffee, hot
- ¾ cup (42 grams) cocoa powder
- ½ cup (4 ounces or 125 ml) hot milk
- 1½ cups (191 grams) all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoons baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup (1 stick or 113 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 cup (200 grams) sugar
- 2 eggs, at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon (5 ml) vanilla extract
- ¼ cup ( ml) heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon, plus a pinch of instant espresso powder
- 1 cup (2 sticks or 226 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 lb. (about 4 cups or 500 grams) confectioners' sugar (powdered sugar)
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons (10 ml) vanilla extract
- 10 oreos, finely crushed
- To make the cupcakes: In a medium bowl, or a two cup measuring cup, stir the coffee and cocoa powder together until dissolved. Stir in the milk. Set aside until cooled to room temperature, or place in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes.
- Once the cocoa/coffee mixture has cooled, preheat oven to 350 degrees (180 C). Line a muffin pan with cupcake liners; set aside.
- In a medium bowl sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt; set aside.
- In a large bowl, or the bowl of a standing mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, and mix until combined; stir in the vanilla. Sprinkle ⅓ of the flour mixture over the bowl and mix until just combined. Add ½ of the chocolate mixture, mixing again until just combined. Repeat with reamining flour and chocolate mixtures, ending with flour. Mix only until flour is just incorporated. Do not over mix.
- Place 3 tablespoons of batter in each cupcake liner. Bake for 20-23 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with just a few crumbs clinging to it. Allow to cool completely before frosting.
- To make the frosting/filling: In a small bowl, heat the heavy cream in the microwave until hot, about 30 seconds. Stir in the one teaspoon of espresso powder. Set aside to cool
- Once the heavy cream mixture has cooled, in a large bowl, or the bowl of a standing mixer, beat the butter for 3 minutes. Beat in the sugar and salt until combined. Add 2 tablespoons of the heavy cream mixture and whisk on high for 4 minutes, until light and fluffy. If the frosting is too thick, add more cream, ½ teaspoon at a time, until desired consistency is reached. Divide out about ½ cup of the frosting to act as the filling (you will not mix the crushed cookies into this). Stir in about ½ cup of crushed cookies into the remaining frosting until evenly distributed.
- For the filling, stir in the extra pinch of espresso powder and 1 to 2 teaspoons of the heavy cream mixture to soften the frosting slightly. Stir until thoroughly combined.
- Assemble: Remove a small core of cake from each cupcake. Fill the resulting hole with the espresso filling. Replace a bit of the cake to act as a cap on the filling, if desired. Frost the cupcakes with the cookies and cream frosting, rolling the cupcakes in any extra crushed cookies, if desired.
- Stir in the vanilla and food coloring.