If you're thinking about throwing a little Halloween get-together then you'll need a spooky-looking spread to feed your monster guests.
Cupcakes are normally piled high with clouds of pastel buttercream and fru-fru decorations, but as it's the season of horror, creepy spiders are the order of the day.
There's not a great deal of skill involved in creating these critters, you'll need a pot of mini oreo cookies, some liquorice strands or laces (I unwound some liquorice records) and those little boxes of mini smarties.
Kids will love to help you put them together so get them involved as a rainy day activity in the kitchen.
The chocolate sponge is a chuck-it-all-in-and-mix type affair so very straightforward to make. Don't be alarmed by the runny nature of the batter - it's meant to be like that.
It's actually my favourite chocolate cake recipe as not only can I make it in minutes, but it's also very light and tastes divine. Trust me on this one, it will win you friends. It's the kind of recipe you will make again and again - not necessarily always adorned with depictions of insects - fresh raspberries work well too!
Spooky spider cupcakes
For the cakes
185g plain flour
2 tbsps cocoa powder
1 level tsp bicarbonate soda
1 level tsp baking powder
140g caster sugar
2 tbsps golden syrup
1/4 pint corn oil 1/4 pint milk
For the spiders
18 mini oreo cookies
Some thin liqourice strands/laces etc
Mini smarties a tube of writing icing in any colour
For the icing
225g icing sugar
2oz cocoa, sifted
About 4 tbsps milk
Plus a touch of gold hologram glitter for added bling
1. Pre-heat the oven to 180′C, 160′C Fan, Gas 3. Line 3 x 6 hole muffin tins with cupcake cases.
2. Sieve the flour, cocoa powder, bicarb of soda and baking powder into a mixing bowl. Add the sugar and then mix in the golden syrup, eggs, corn oil and milk until you have a smooth runny batter.
3. Pour equal amounts into the cake cases and cook in the oven for 20-25 minutes. Stick a skewer in and if it comes out clean the cakes are ready. Transfer to a wire rack and allow to cool.
4. Get your spiders ready while your cakes are cooking. On a board lay out your cookies, and using the writing icing tube stick two coloured smarties on the oreo cookies for eyes. Cut your liquorice to equal sized 2cm lengths - to create 8 legs per spider.
5. To make your icing sieve the icing sugar into a large bowl. Melt the butter in a pan over a gentle heat, add the cocoa and cook for around 1 minute. Remove from the pan and then pour into the bowl of icing sugar. Stir thoroughly to combine and then gradually add your milk a tablespoon at a time until you get a smooth glossy consistency. Allow to cool and then use a teaspoon of the frosting per cake and smooth over with a palette knife.
6. Dust with glitter using a clean small paintbrush dipped into the glitter, then gently tap the end to disperse the dust in a controlled way. Then immediately assemble your spider decorations on top of the frosted cakes before the icing sets.