Ugly Halloween Coconut and Jam Spider Cupcakes 

If you know me you’ll know that I like to make themed cupcakes any tine there’s some sort of seasonal or other event (baby showers, Christmas, etc etc). I’m a sucker for what Anericans would call a holiday. I’m planning to make some bonfire night cupcakes next week, but with being away last week and being back to work this week I’ve been playing catch-up with myself and havent really been very organised enough. 

Nevertheless, a notion came over me to whip something together. I started a bit late in the evening though and lost patience so please excuse the messy decoration…I figured it was worth sharing anyway because it’s a good recipe and you are probably more artistic than I am! 

The beauty of this recipe is that I got all the way through it without substituting anything without having shopped specifically for the recipe. It’s really important to me that baking should be about not only what you like, but what you have to hand, and in my case, I had half a jar of jam in my fridge and loads of dessicated coconut in my cupboard, both left over from other recipes. Of course, as long as you have eggs, flour, butter and sugar, you can make a decent cupcake, but a holiday cake should be the perfect combination of flavour and theme. And let’s face it, you can’t go much more Halloween than a cake which oozes dark red jam…  

You will need:

175g salted butter, softened

175g caster sugar (I ended up using about 125g of caster and 50g of golden caster to use up odds and sods instead of opening a new bag)

3 eggs 

3/4 tsp vanilla bean paste or half tsp extract 

175g self-raising flour 

80g dessicated coconut 

Half jar of your favourite jam, I used cherries and berries conserve by Bonne Maman

150g more of softened butter

300g icing sugar, zest of 1 orange and a few squeezes of the juice (or a couple of teaspoons of milk or cream – I don’t keep much in the way of dairy 

1. This is the hardest stage when you haven’t planned ahead, because I would recommend taking the butter out of the fridge before you go to work in the morning if you’re baking in colder temperatures. At short notice you can chop the butter up and give it a quick blast in the microwave or set it in a bowl and then in hot water. This isn’t really a great solution though, as it tends to melt the outside piece while leaving the rest hard. I went for the hot water trick for not very long at all then just used my electric hand mixer to beat it into sumbission. Get it really creamy then add in the sugar and vanilla and cream together until light and fluffy. 

2. Add in the eggs one at a time, combining each one. Once they’re all add, which it up for a good few minutes to get loads of air into the batter. 

3. Add the flour and coconut and combine until just mixed. Don’t overwork it!

4. Set out 12 muffin cases in a 12 hole muffin tray and divide the mixture between the 12 cases. They should be about 2/3 full. Make a well in the centre of each portion of batter and spoon in a teaspoon of jam into each.   

5. Carefully cover over until the jam is concealed – I used the end of a teaspoon. 

6. Bake at 160C fan for around 20 minutes, or until golden and slightly springy to the touch. 

7. Meanwhile, make the buttercream by creaming together the rest of the butter and the icing sugar, adding a splash of orange juice or milk. Whisk until light and fluffy. Attach a star shaped nozzle to a piping bag (I like to use disposable piping bags to make cleaning up easier), fold half of it back and carefully spoon more jam in a stripe from the nozzle upwards to create the bloody swirl effect in the icing. You’ll need to hold it flattish so the jam doesn’t go everywhere – remember the nozzle has a hole! Spoon in the buttercream and pipe onto the cakes in swirls. You might get extra ooze in som places but I think that makes it look more authentic. You can always spoon on some jam if you don’t end up with much on a particular cake.

8. Decorate with something ghoulish. Halloween jelly sweets would work, but I made some fondant spiders with some black ready roll fondant I had in the cupboard. 

Just roll two balls, press together, and add some little rolled legs. 

Get creative! They’re pretty terrible actually but they sort of look like what they’re supposed to be. 

Add to the tops of your cakes and there you have it. Not a bad spur of the moment recipe if I do say so myself!

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