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Fiendish fancies by Lily Vanilli

Try these ghoulish recipes by cupcake queen Lily Vanilli

Posted: 27 October 2010
by Helen McKay-Ferguson

These ghoulish recipes are taken from Lily Vanilli's book A Zombie Ate My Cupcake (CICO Books, £9.99). For each recipe, start by making the red velvet cupcakes, then add frosting and ghastly embellishments.

Red Velvet Cupcakes
Makes 12 cakes
60g (1⁄4 cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature
140g (2⁄3 cup) superfine (caster) sugar
1 large (UK) egg or extra-large (US), at room temperature
1⁄2 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 tablespoons red food colouring
pinch of salt
30g (1⁄4 cup) cocoa
225g (11⁄2 cups) plain flour, sifted twice
120ml (1⁄2 cup) buttermilk
1⁄2 teaspoon cider vinegar
1⁄2 teaspoon baking soda (bicarbonate of soda)

1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF/gas 4. Line a 12-hole muffin pan with paper cases.

2. Using an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar together in a bowl until very light (about 5 minutes). Beat in the egg until well incorporated. In a small separate bowl, beat the vanilla extract, coloring, salt, and cocoa into a thick paste. Beat into the butter mixture.

3. With the mixer running on a slow speed, add the flour to the mixture in three parts, alternating with the buttermilk and beginning and ending with the flour.

4. Stir the vinegar into the baking soda, add to the batter, and fold in using a spatula. Leave to stand for 3 minutes.

5. Using an ice-cream scoop, spoon the batter into the paper cases, filling them three-quarters full. Bake for 15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

6. Cool in the pan for a few minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before decorating.

Eerie Eyeballs

For the vanilla frosting
Covers 12–15 cakes
60g (1⁄4 cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature
4 tablespoons full-fat milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
360g (2 cups) icing sugar
2 tablespoons double cream

1. Using an electric mixer, beat the softened butter in a bowl until smooth.
2. Add the milk, vanilla extract, two-thirds of the sugar, and the double cream, and blend until smooth.
3. Slowly add the remaining sugar, beating constantly until smooth.

For the eyeballs:

250ml (1 cup) canned coconut milk
125g (1⁄2 cup) granulated sugar
5 sheets leaf gelatine
blue and black food colouring

For the worms:
copper food colouring

Coconut jelly makes for a great, realistic eyeball. It is easy to paint with food colouring and looks really gruesome in a cupcake cauldron. This recipe should make about 45 eyeballs. The worms add the finishing touch.

1. To make the “eyeballs,” heat the coconut milk and sugar in a saucepan over a medium heat until hot but not boiling. Remove from the heat and cover to keep warm.

2. Soak the leaf gelatine in 180ml (3⁄4 cup) cold water until soft

(about 5 minutes). Add the sheets and the water to the warm coconut milk and stir well. Remove from the heat, then set aside to cool.

3. Pour the coconut mixture into eyeball-shaped moulds (try a paint palette). Refrigerate for 4 hours or until set, then carefully ease the round jellies from the mold onto a plate. Using a paintbrush, decorate the “eyeballs” using blue and black food colouring.

4. To make the “worms,” colour some marzipan with copper food colouring, then roll into worm shapes and use a knife or scalpel to carve a few details.

5. Spread the vanilla frosting over the top of the cupcakes, then

add the “eyeballs” and “worms”—about three per cake of each. These cupcakes are best eaten with a spoon.

Dracula’s Bite

Handful of pomegranate seeds

For the cream-cheese frosting:

25g butter (2 tablespoons), at room temperature
125g (1⁄2 cup) cream cheese, at room temperature
1⁄2 teaspoon vanilla extract
125g (1⁄4 cup) icing sugar

For the cherry sauce:

125g (1 cup) black cherries, very ripe and de-stoned or canned
50g (1⁄4 cup) caster sugar
120ml (1⁄2 cup) water or juice from the canned cherries, if using
1⁄2 teaspoon lime juice
1 tablespoon cornstarch (cornflour) or arrowroot

Ideally, always decorate your cakes with ingredients that complement their flavor. These cream-cheese frosted red velvet cupcakes are topped with “blood” made from pulped black cherries and dotted with pomegranate seeds or redcurrants.

1. To make the frosting, beat the softened butter in a small bowl. Add the cream cheese and blend together until there are no lumps. Add the vanilla extract and gradually beat in the sugar until you have a fairly thick, spreadable consistency. Ice the cupcakes using the back of a dessertspoon and give them a smooth finish.

2. To make the cherry sauce, blend the cherries in a bowl using an electric hand blender, then place in a medium-sized heavy-based pan with the sugar, water, lime juice, and cornstarch or arrowroot. Heat on medium until the cherries begin to release their liquid, and then slowly bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Reduce to a simmer and heat until the cherry mixture has thickened to the desired consistency (runny enough to pipe but thick enough to prevent bleeding into the frosting). Allow to cool.

3. Fit a piping bag with a number 67 tip, then pour in the cherry pulp mixture. Insert the tip gently into the frosting to make “bite marks,” and then spill the “blood” out over each cake. Dot the finished cakes with pomegranate seeds.

See when Joe Blogs met Lily Vanilli.

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