hallowe'en lime 'n' choc spiders

© Lydia, punge.blogspot.co.uk

Whoo! Hallowe'en is upon us, we've decorated the flat, Nick's carved a pumpkin, and I've made cupcake spiders :) I love the pairing of lime and chocolate, and it works beautifully on what is essentially a red velvet cupcake made using yogurt instead of buttermilk (purely because I'm more likely to have yogurt than buttermilk). The minimum cupcake batter produces 12 cupcakes, while the rest of the recipe is to make 6 spiders. I made just 2 spiders (the only difference in recipe quantities needed being the dark chocolate under "Additional") and covered the remaining cupcakes in the remaining frosting for extra treats. Hopefully the recipe will make sense - here it is!

Hallowe'en lime 'n' choc spiders - makes 12 cupcakes, for 6 or 2 spiders, with plain cupcakes leftover 
Red Velvet Batter (from Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook) - will make 12 cupcakes
60g (just over ½ stick) butter, softened
150g (2/3 cup) caster sugar
1 egg
2 tbsp cocoa powder
½ tsp vanilla extract
120ml (1/2 cup) plain yogurt / buttermilk
150g (1 cup) plain flour
½ tsp salt
½ tsp baking soda
1½ tsp white wine vinegar
optional: 20ml (1tbsp & 1tsp) red food colouring (artificial, as natural will lose its colour on baking)

Lime & Chocolate Buttercream
175g (1½ cups) soft butter
300g (1 2/3 cup confectioner's) icing sugar
zest of 1 lime,
3 tbsp lime juice (from 2 limes, or 1 lime and bottled lime juice)
50g (6 tbsp) cocoa powder

300g (10-11oz) dark chocolate (100g, 3½ oz if you're only making 2 spiders)
smidge (<1 square) white chocolate - you just need some shards chopped off it for the eyes
150g (5oz) chocolate sprinkles (75g, 2½ oz for 2 spiders)
1-3 tbsp red jam (raspberry/cherry/strawberry)

© Lydia, punge.blogspot.co.uk

Preheat the oven to 170°C (375°F, Gas Mark 3) and line a muffin pan with 12 cases.
Whisk the butter and sugar till light and fluffy, then slowly add the egg while beating.
Mix the cocoa powder with the flour and the food colouring with the yogurt/buttermilk, if using.
Alternately add the yogurt/buttermilk and flour to the butter/sugar/egg mix until both are fully incorporated, then beat until the batter is smooth and even. Add the salt, soda and vinegar, incorporate into the batter and immediately divide between the cases and bake for 20-25 minutes until the centre is springy and the cakes have a slight fizzing sound. Cool on a wire rack.

© Lydia, punge.blogspot.co.uk
While the cakes are baking, prepare the chocolate legs and eyes: melt the dark chocolate over a pan of simmering water. Once melted, allow to cool slightly to firm up a bit so it holds its shape, then pipe eight "L" shapes and 2 eyes per spider cupcake, on a baking sheet lined with greaseproof paper. In the centre of each of the eyes, place a shaving of white chocolate, and cover the legs in chocolate sprinkles while still wet. You can let these cool at room temperature, but as the chocolate is mostly covered with sprinkles (and so it doesn't matter if the chocolate doesn't set shiny), you can speed the process up by placing them in the fridge.

© Lydia, punge.blogspot.co.uk
While the cakes are cooling, prepare the buttercream by combining the butter and icing sugar at a low speed until incorporated, then increase the speed until light and fluffy. Add the zest and juice, mixing until combined. Take 1/4 cup (60ml, 4 tbsp) of this mixture and gently swirl in the jam to create a marbled effect, the amount of jam depends on how runny you want it - I used 1 tbsp jam to 1/4 cup buttercream and it was quite solid, if you want it to splurge out when you cut the spider, use 3 tbsp jam, or use just jam, (i.e. don't use buttercream inside at all).

To the rest of the buttercream, add the cocoa powder and blend to incorporate.
© Lydia, punge.blogspot.co.uk
Once the cakes are cool, remove the liner paper and turn them upside down. Cut out a circle from what is now the top of the cakes and hollow out a small hole to make space for the filling. Place about half a tablespoon of the marbled jam/buttercream mix into each cake and replace the lids. Cover with the chocolate buttercream. I found the easiest way to do this was to start by placing a dollop of the chocolate buttercream on top of the cupcake and smooth it towards the base using a palette knife. Top the cakes with sprinkles.

Once the chocolate legs and eyes have set completely, gently remove them from the paper and position on the spider bodies, pushing the legs into the body to keep them in place.


© Lydia, punge.blogspot.co.uk

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