These funky little ghosts will certainly want to groove around the top of their cupcake pedestals to this great song by the Classics IV. I know that I certainly have a hard time resisting it's beat! The intro has one of those instantly recognizable hooks and gets you grooving from the get-go! Another great recording of this song is by the Atlanta Rhythm Section - which just happens to be made up of former members of the Classics IV! If you're not familiar with this song, you should change that right now!
There have been some spooky things going on in my neighborhood lately. Like this gnarly pumpkin that grew THROUGH a neighbor's chain link fence!
I watched all summer, fascinated, as their vines grew up and over the fence and the pumpkins hung down. They grew to full size - yet never snapped their hold on the vine with their weight! And then the vines disappeared - and this one was left with it's place securely fastened! Wild!
And then these little specters appeared in my kitchen!
A few weeks ago I told you about a trip my friends and I made to the Oregon coast where we made some super delicious Foil Dinners on the beach. I didn't tell you, though, that our drive there wasn't exactly a straight shot. We stopped and meandered along the way, as you do on the best kind of girls' road trips. Usually, much research goes into finding some new places we might want to explore - as well as hit our usual favorites. This trip was no different.
It was suggested we might want to stop in Hood River for lunch and that's just what we did. We enjoyed a delicious lunch at the Sixth Street Bistro and then went back to check out some cute boutiques we noticed on our way through town. One store, in particular, caught my eye because of the darling baking accessories displayed in the store window. Alas, there was a "be back in five" sign in the window so we checked out the other stores then went back. Yay! They were back - just like their sign said they'd be!
As soon as I saw these adorable stand-alone baking cups I envisioned the cupcakes that would fill them! I'm a fan of the stand-alones. No muffin tin is required. You just line them up on a baking sheet, fill, and then bake! They had the standard-sized ones but I was drawn to these smaller versions. I find most cupcakes overdecorated. I'm usually not a fan of the "mile high" piped frosting. I mean, how do you even begin to eat that? Knowing that the ghosts I had pictured in my mind were probably going to require some height, I chose the smaller ones to kind of cut into that "too tall to bite" issue. They ended up being just the right size!
Having adapted one of my earlier chocolate cupcake recipes by adding some pumpkin puree to the batter, I wasn't exactly sure how they would bake up and exactly how full to fill the cups. As you can see, some were filled just right while others went a little overboard. But, then, I decided that I really liked the overboard look! It's just right for a Halloween treat - making the cupcake appear on the "spooky" side! I'd purposely overfill some again - just for the effect!
The little meringue ghosts float on top of a cloud of the Pumpkin Buttercream Frosting from the Spiced Sugar Cookie post. And underneath it all is a pumpkiny chocolate cake, adapted from my Muddy Buddy Cupcake post. The ghosts "see" through their Mini-Morsel chocolate chip eyes. Pumpkin, chocolate, marshmallowy meringue - it's all eerily good!
makes about 18 small cupcakes
Printable Recipe Card
1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour (156 g)
3/4 c. unsweetened cocoa powder (64 g)
1 1/2 c. sugar (300 g)
1 1/2 t. baking soda
3/4 t. baking powder
1/2 t. salt
3/4 c. buttermilk
3/4 c. canned pumpkin (about half a 15 oz. can)
2 T. vegetable oil
1 t. vanilla
1/2 c. warm water
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Place cupcake liners in a muffin tin and set aside.
Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl and whisk together well. In a separate bowl, add the eggs and beat with a fork. Add the buttermilk, pumpkin, vegetable oil, vanilla, and warm water and stir well.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix just until the ingredients come together.
Fill the cupcake liners with the cake batter about 2/3 - 3/4 full - depending on whether or not you want them to ooze out over the edge for a "spooky" effect.
Bake for 15 - 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Cool the cupcakes for 5 minutes in the pan, then remove them to a wire rack where they can cool all the way.
Make some meringue and fill a pastry bag fitted with a tip with a 1/2" - 5/8" opening.
Make some Pumpkin Buttercream Frosting and fill a small pastry bag fitted with a tip with a 1/4" opening.
To decorate, first pipe a simple round of the Pumpkin Buttercream Frosting on top of the cupcake. Then place the tip of the bag with the meringue on top and squeeze the meringue out, letting the meringue build up a little - then start to pull up, giving a slight wiggle if you like. Then stop squeezing and pull the bag up and away. This will create the point on the top. You can pull away going straight up or off to the side to add character. Make eyes using mini chocolate morsels.