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Halloween Cupcakes

Darkness falls across the land


The midnight hour is close at hand

Creatures crawl in search of blood

To terrorize your neighborhood…

Who doesn't love Halloween, right?! Apart from the scary movies and costumes, spooky baking is my favorite Halloween tradition. I've created five fearfully frightful designs to decorate a moist chocolate cupcake. Give all five a go, or just take one or two designs to decorate your dozen.

Cupcakes

1 cup plain flour

¼ cup of unsweetened good quality cocoa powder

½ tsp baking soda

¼ tsp of salt

¼ cup of unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 cup granulated sugar

2 large eggs

1 tsp of instant coffee dissolved in 2 tsp of water

1 tsp vanilla essence

2/3 cup of buttermilk

Line muffin tray with cupcake liners and turn oven to 350°F.

Put flour, cocoa powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt into a medium sized bowl and stir quickly with a whisk until all lumps have disappeared. Set aside.

In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar together with an electric beater for 2 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, until each eggs in fully incorporated with the mixture.

Add the vanilla and dissolved coffee and beat for two minutes.

On a low speed, add half the flour mixture, then add the buttermilk. Add the rest of the flour mixture until just combined and the batter should look smooth.

Using an ice-cream scoop, fill the cupcake liners to a ½ inch below the top. I actually had enough mixture for a 13th cupcake, which worked out well as a good tester-cupcake.

Bake in oven for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Leave cupcakes to cool on a wire rack.

If you are to try tackling all five designs, follow the below instructions. If you are just sticking to one, such as the pumpkin cupcakes, just make the orange icing and follow the below instructions.

Icing

¾ cups of butter

3 cups of sifted confectioners' sugar

¾ tsp of clear vanilla extract

2 tbsp. of whole milk

2 heaped tbsps. of good quality unsweetened cocoa

Orange and green food coloring (or yellow, red and blue to mix to make the appropriate colors)

Cream butter with an electric mixer, then add vanilla. Gradually add one cup of confectioners' sugar at a time, beating well on a medium speed. Make sure all sugar is incorporated by scraping the sides of the bowl regularly. Omit or add the milk to make your perfect consistency.

Divide into three bowls – one for the chocolate, one for the orange and one for the green icing. Sift the cocoa into one bowl until fully combined, then put aside. Make the other two bowls your approved shades of orange and green using the food colouring.

Now, if you REALLY like icing, you may want to double this recipe. Sure, there will be some left over, but I've known people to spread icing on toast before, when they thought that no one was looking.

Spider Cupcake

Spider Cupcakes

Chocolate icing

Black licorice rope

Mini marshmallows

Chocolate sprinkles

Melted chocolate chips (heated up in the microwave in 15 second increments so as to not burn)

Cover cupcake with chocolate icing, spreading with a warm knife to coat evenly. Pour chocolate sprinkles into a dish and dip the cupcake in to cover. Roll around gently in saucer to cover completely.

Cut mini marshmallows in half, and using a homemade piping bag*, dot melted chocolate on the mini marshmallow halves for pupils.

Also with the melted chocolate, pipe two small 1 and a half inch smile lines, about a half inch apart. Then stick the eyeballs in a row onto the lines of chocolate, that way when they harden, they will keep the eyes in place.

Cut the licorice into 3.5 inch pieces and stick 4 in each side of the spider cupcake. If the “leg" sticks out, pinch the top of the leg protruding from the cupcake and curl the legs under as required.

*You can use a small plastic sandwich bag and cut the corner to make a small hole. If you have an icing head, cut a slightly bigger hole and squeeze the head into the hole in the bag.

Jack-o'-Lantern Cupcakes

Jack-o'-Lantern Cupcakes

Orange icing

Melted chocolate chips (heated up in the microwave in 15 second increments so as to not burn)

Green sprinkles

Cover cupcake with orange icing, spreading with a warm knife to coat evenly. Pipe a jack-o-lantern expression with the melted chocolate in a piping bag*. Dust the very top of the pumpkin with green sprinkles.

Pumpkin Patch Cupcake

Pumpkin Patch Cupcakes

Green icing

Pretzel sticks

Melted chocolate chips (heated up in the microwave in 15 second increments so as to not burn)

Candy pumpkins

Wilton's icing head #233

To make the fence, take five pretzel sticks for each pumpkin cupcake; three for the fence posts and two for the cross bars. Use the melted chocolate chips to glue the sticks together. Use quite a lot on one side to ensure they stick properly.

Use either a bought or homemade piping bag* and attach icing head 223. Pipe green icing onto the top of each cupcake, squeezing the bag gently at a 90 degree angle and pulling away to make the icing appear like blades of grass.

Place 3 candy pumpkins on each cupcake. Once pretzel fences are dry, stick into the cupcake behind the pumpkins to appear like a fence.

Spider Cobweb Cupcakes

Spider Cobweb Cupcakes

Chocolate icing

Melted white chocolate chips (heated up in the microwave in 15 second increments so as to not burn)

Small board covered in foil

Put melted white icing into a piping bag* and drizzle a cobweb shape onto the small board covered in foil. See pictures of cobweb for design. Put in fridge for 30 minutes or until hardened. Place atop of chocolate cupcake.

Graveyard Cupcakes

Graveyard Cupcakes

Chocolate icing

Green icing (for grass)

Chocolate sprinkles

Melted white chocolate chips (heated up in the microwave in 15 second increments so as to not burn)

Wilton's icing head #233

Using a sharp knife, cut off the very top of the cupcake. Then, halve the top and stick the two halves back to back using the melted white chocolate to form a half circle. Pipe RIP with the white chocolate from a piping bag*. Using the back of a warm spoon, put a line of chocolate icing down the middle of the cupcake and place the tombstone near the back. Cover the chocolate icing with the sprinkles to give the appearance of dirt.

Use the same technique for the grass icing as the pumpkin patch cupcake, create grass around the tombstone to cover the rest of the cupcake.

And grisly ghouls from every tomb

Are closing in to seal your doom

And though you fight to stay alive

Your body starts to shiver

For no mere mortal can resist

The evil of the Thriller…

Enjoy – mwhahahaha!

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Among the more interesting findings was this one: the cost of family planning is relatively similar for all LGBTQ people, regardless of income level. This shows "that the desire to have children exists regardless of financial security," the report's authors conclude.

Research for the report was conducted through an online survey of 500 LGBTQ adults over the age of 18, and was conducted between July 11-18, 2018. For comparison, the survey also included 1,004 adults who did not identify as LGBTQ.

Other interesting findings of the report include:

  • 29% of all LGBTQ+ respondents reported an annual household income under $25,000 compared to 22% of non-LGBTQ+ respondents.
  • 33% of black LGBTQ+ respondents, 32% of female-identified LGBTQ+ respondents, and 31% of trans/gender non-conforming LGBTQ+ respondents reported annual household incomes below $25,000.
  • Respondents for this survey were selected from among those who have volunteered to participate in online surveys and polls. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to multiple sources of error, including, but not limited to sampling error, coverage error, error associated with nonresponse, and error associated with question-wording and response options.29% of all LGBTQ+ respondents reported an annual household income under $25,000 compared to 22% of non-LGBTQ+ respondents.
  • 33% of black LGBTQ+ respondents, 32% of female-identified LGBTQ+ respondents, and 31% of trans/gender non-conforming LGBTQ+ respondents reported annual household incomes below $25,000.
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  • Data from the Family Building Survey reveals that LGBTQ+ households making over $100,000 annually are considering the full range of paths to parenthood, from surrogacy and private adoption to foster care and IVF. The most popular options under consideration in this income bracket are private adoption (74% are considering), foster care (42%), and IVF or reciprocal IVF (21%). At the other end of the economic spectrum, for LGBTQ+ individuals in households making less than $25,000 annually, the most commonly considered paths to parenthood are intercourse (35% are considering), foster care (30%), and adoption (23%).

Fatherhood, the gay way

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