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skeleton cupcakesI’m pretty sure the workers at Michael’s think I’m autistic. When I get to the baking/candy making section of that store I usually grab a chocolate mold and then just stare off into space for ten minutes. That’s what I did when I picked up the skeleton mold I used for these cupcakes. I knew I wanted to make a Halloween themed cupcake, but when I walked into the store I didn’t have the specific idea nailed down. I’m not sure if it was the glue fumes from the model airplanes one aisle over, but somehow, “sexy kitten skeleton in a burning witch’s cauldron” popped into my head. I thought to myself, “Amy, you brilliant son-of-a-bitch! A delicious cupcake that screams Halloween while also providing humorous commentary on current female costume choices, is a fabulous idea!”

sexy kitten skeleton cupcakesI tweaked my usual chocolate cupcake recipe to include the Hershey’s Special Dark Cocoa Powder because I wanted super rich and chocolaty cupcakes. The cupcakes turned out moist, dense and with a slight crust on top — perfect for inserting my sexy kitten skeletons! The frosting was the same meringue buttercream I used for my Salted Caramel Cupcakes, minus the caramel, but with vanilla added. FYI, the skeletons were a pain in the ass because each bone was separate in the mold, so after molding I had to use more chocolate to bind the joints together. If you can find a complete skeleton mold I would recommend using it, and then just not filling in anything below the pelvis. Or, you could act like a normal person, and just skip the sexy kitten skeletons altogether. Believe me; the cupcakes are good enough that your guests will not need to be amused by a piece of politically incorrect molded white chocolate.

Sexy Kitten Skeleton Cupcakes
Adapted from Cupcakes: Luscious bakeshop favorites from your home kitchen by Shelly Kaldunski
Makes 12 cupcakes

Cupcake Ingredients:
3 oz bitter sweet chocolate, chopped
½ cup plus 3 tbsp unsalted butter, cut into pieces
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
2 ½ tbsp unsweetened dark cocoa powder
¾ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
¾ cup plus 2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 large eggs, at room temperature

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350F. Line a standard 12-cup muffin pan with paper or foil liners. Place chocolate and butter in double boiler, stir frequently until melted and smooth. Remove from heat and allow mixture to cool to room temperature. (I put mine in the fridge because I’m impatient!)

Stir sugar into the chocolate mixture until combined. Stir in vanilla and eggs, one at a time, stirring vigorously until smooth after each addition. In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt. Gently fold the flour mixture into the chocolate mixture; do not overmix.

Divide batter among muffin cups, fill each about ¾ full. Bake until toothpick inserted comes out with only a few moist crumbs attached, 22-24 minutes. Let the cupcakes cool in the pan for 5 minutes. Transfer cupcakes to wire rack and cool for 1 hour.

Sexy Kitten Skeleton Ingredients:
Wilton Skeleton chocolate mold
White candy melts
Black and pink candy colors (or black and pink candy melts)
Black food writer

Directions:
Paint the rib cage with black melts to look like a corset top. Fill in remaining mold pieces with white candy melts. Put in freezer to set. Once set, tap onto counter to release from mold. Using a #1 tip, or a toothpick, add pink triangle nose and black eyes. Draw whiskers using food writer. Place pieces in position you’d like and connect joints using dots of white candy melts. Add black ears and freeze. Add pink inner ear triangles and freeze or refrigerate again.

Frosting Ingredients:
3 large egg whites at room temperature
¾ cup sugar
1 cup unsalted butter, cut into pieces, at room temperature
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Pinch of salt

Directions:
Combine egg whites and sugar in the bowl of your stand mixer, set over a pan of simmering water. Heat the mixture while whisking constantly until sugar is dissolved (to 160F), about 2 minutes. Remove bowl from heat and mix on high until it’s fluffy and holds stiff peaks. With mixer on medium speed, add salt and butter a few pieces at a time. If frosting looks curdled just keep beating, it will come together! Add the vanilla, crank the sucker up to high and beat for an additional 3 minutes until everything is smooth, creamy and fluffy.

Add yellow gel food coloring to half of the frosting, and in a separate bowl add red and yellow coloring to make orange frosting. Place alternating dollops of orange and yellow frosting in a pastry bag with desired tip. Gently squeeze the pastry bag to mix the colors slightly. Frost each cupcake. Insert skeletons into center of cupcakes.

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