Using semi-skimmed milk and egg whites make these scary spiders a little less naughty than traditional muffins. There is often a lot of drudgery at various stages in our lives, so for me it is important to have fun wherever possible. So don’t only make these cakes if you have kids – invite some friends around for Halloween (dress code: spooky!) and get baking.
275g self-raising flour
50g dark chocolate chips
50g caster sugar
25g cocoa powder, sifted
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
2 egg whites
275ml semi-skimmed milk
50ml sunflower oil
300g cream cheese
50g crème fraîche
3 tbsp icing sugar, sifted
Seeds of 1/2 a vanilla pod (or a
couple of drops of vanilla extract)
50g strawberry or cola laces
(sweets), cut into 96 x 5cm
24 M&M’s or Smarties
Preheat the oven to 210°C, (fan 190°C), 410°F, Gas Mark 6 1/2. Line a 12-hole muffin tin with paper muffin cases.
Put the flour, chocolate chips, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder and bicarb into a medium bowl. Toss together briefly and make a well in the centre. Beat the egg and egg whites together briefly in a small bowl to combine and pour them into the centre of the dry ingredients.
Add the milk and sunflower oil also and mix everything together until well combined and smooth.
Using two spoons, divide the mixture evenly among the paper cases.
They should be filled just over halfway in the case. Bake in the oven for about 20 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the centre of a muffin comes out clean. Once cooked, remove from the oven and leave to cool.
Meanwhile, prepare the icing. Simply beat the cream cheese, crème fraîche, icing sugar and vanilla seeds (or extract) together in a medium bowl until smooth. Cover and leave in the fridge until ready to use.
Once cool, place the muffins onto a serving plate. Divide the icing among the twelve muffins and use a small palette knife or roundbladed knife to spread as evenly as possible over the top of each one.
Stick one strawberry or cola lace piece into the icing, near the centre, and leave it hanging down so it reaches to the plate. Repeat to give four legs on each side of every cupcake.
Stick on the M&M’s or Smarties for the eyes just before serving (any earlier and they will bleed onto the icing).
Recipe taken from How To Be A Better Cook by Lorraine Pascale (HarperCollins, £25)
Image credit: Maja SmendReuse content