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Jane’s Patisserie’s Ghost Cupcakes

With rich Italian meringue piled high onto light and airy chocolate cupcakes, these ghoulish spooky season treats are a festive addition to any Halloween get-together.

From the book

Introduction

I know Halloween is meant to be scary or spooky, but these cupcakes are anything but frightening. I can’t even cope. A yummy and easy chocolate cupcake topped with an Italian meringue ghost – spook-scrumptious! (Maybe not the best marriage of words but, they are delicious). An Italian meringue can sound a little complicated, but it is always worth it. You can flavour the Italian meringue to jazz the cupcakes up, or even core out some of the middle of each and add 1 teaspoon of chocolate spread per cupcake before adding the meringue topping.

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Ingredients

150g unsalted butter or baking spread, at room temperature
150g soft light brown sugar
125g self-raising flour
25g cocoa powder
3 medium eggs
For the meringue topping:
185g granulated sugar
85ml water
100g egg whites
20g dark chocolate, melted or chocolate sprinkles

Essential kit

You will need: a sugar thermometer, a muffin tin and cupcake cases, and a piping bag.

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Method

PREP: 45 minutes BAKE: 18-22 minutes COOL: 1 hour DECORATE: 30 minutes LASTS: 2+ days in the fridge

Preheat the oven to 180ºC/160ºC fan and get 12 cupcake cases ready.

In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the flour, cocoa powder and eggs to the bowl and beat until the mixture is smooth. Divide the mixture evenly between the 12 cupcakes cases. Transfer the cupcakes to the oven and bake for 18–22 minutes. Leave to cool on a wire rack. 

Meringue Topping:

Put the sugar and the water into a heavy-based pan and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon. When the mixture starts to boil, monitor the temperature until it reaches 120ºC (firm ball stage) with a sugar thermometer. If any sugar splashes up the side of the pan while boiling, brush the insides of the pan with a pastry brush dipped in cold water. This will stop the mixture from crystallizing.

Using a clean bowl and whisk (otherwise the egg whites won’t stiffen) add the egg whites to the bowl and whisk until stiff peaks form. Start to pour the hot sugar syrup onto the stiffened egg whites at the edge of the bowl while continuously whisking – make sure you do this slowly so it is a constant trickle of sugar syrup and the egg whites stay smooth. Once all of the sugar syrup has been incorporated, continue to whisk for 5–7 minutes until the mixture is smooth and has cooled down.

Transfer the meringue mixture to a piping bag fitted with a large round nozzle. Pipe the meringue onto each cupcake, pointing the nozzle downwards until it creates a wider bottom, then lift slightly as you release. Repeat with a slightly smaller blob and lift for a smaller top.

Pipe eyes and a mouth with the melted dark chocolate, or use sprinkles instead.

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From the book: Jane’s Patisserie: Celebrate! Bake every day special

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