It’s that time of year again and the ghastly ghouls are out. It’s funny how these traditions fade into the background when you hit the age of around fourteen, and then when you have your own children they come back to haunt you with a vengeance.

I must admit, I do now quite enjoy Halloween (I even have a dish brimming with chocolates at the ready for all of those expected knocks at the door – we had hoards of them this year, and not all under the age of fourteen!) and I always dress my kids up. It’s a great excuse to get creative, and that goes for in the kitchen as well.

Being half term, my daughter and I have been baking this week. Scouring the internet to find something user friendly for a somewhat amateur baker, I luckily stumbled upon this spooky little number – ‘Jack Skellington cupcakes’ courtesy of a fabulous cookery website aimed at children: www.spoonful.com

However, I was determined to make the chocolate sponge rather then taking the easy option of buying ready made (Paul Hollywood would never forgive me) so I set about finding a tried and tested recipe. I opted for this one for chocolate cupcakes from Libby on www.goodtoknow.co.uk which is adapted from The Hummingbird Bakery’s recipe. A fine moist sponge it was too!

The method can be found online as above.

You will need:
100g plain flour
20g cocoa powder
140g caster sugar
1.5tsp baking powder
Pinch of salt
40g unsalted butter at room temperature
120ml whole milk
1 egg
¼ tsp of vanilla extract

The delicious vanilla frosting (best I have ever tasted) was inspired by a very talented cake designer and baker that is also a good friend of mine. Her highly skilled work (and amazingly delicious cupcakes) can be seen at www.bellabaking.co.uk

You will need:
4oz unsalted butter
8oz icing sugar
Splash of whole milk
A few drops of Vanilla Extract

Once the butter is soft and blended, keep adding the icing sugar (sieved) and beating, plus the milk and vanilla half way through.

To decorate the frosting, we simply used black ready to roll icing to make the eyes, nose and mouth (we found it easier to roll it into sausages and then cut as required).

They may have been a little rough around the edges (well, they were put together by a four year old to be fair!) but they tasted delicious. Sweet, creamy topping on a moist chocolatey base!

What’s it going to be then, trick or treat? I would go for a treat every time if they taste as good as these…