Sunday, December 1, 2013

Zombie Creepmas Cupcakes

If Death comes knocking at your door…

…bearing cupcakes it must be the first day of Creepmas!
Once again my daughter donned her Death costume, complete with Santa hat and candy cane striped scythe to help me kick off the Creepmas season. To see the full effect, check out our Creepmas card from last year. 

This year we handed out cupcakes to our neighbors. One of my neighbors let me borrow her paper punches so I could make tags. This year I was smart and put the web link on the back so everyone will know where to go for more Creepmas fun.
We also did up some candy canes for friends we'll see later. 

Our Creepmas cupcakes are a combination of quite a few recipes, so first let me give credit where credit is due.

Cherry Almond Muffin, Taste of Home - I loved the idea of a cheese cake center with red preserves. A tasty recipe in its own right that I've made before, but I didn’t think the almond crumble or the dense bottom were right for this project.

Zombie Cupcakes, Epicurious - I loved the look of the zombie hands, but fondant and gum paste doesn’t sound very tasty.

Sculptable Frosting, Sew Can Do - Sounded like it would make edible zombie hands.

Starburst Presents, Taste of Home - Festive and easy for the kids to make.

Vanilla Cupcakes, Joy of Baking - I used both the cupcake recipe and the buttercream frosting.

Disclaimer: I am not a baker. I have a few recipes in my arsenal that I’ve made often enough that there is minimal danger of me screwing them up. None of them show up in this project and I’m the last person that should be going rogue with a cupcake recipe, so continue at your own risk. The good news is you can make your favorite cupcake recipe and just slap a zombie hand and present on it and you’ve got your own Creepmas cupcake.

To illustrate my point, I thought it would be cool to pipe the jam into the center of the cheesecake mixture before baking, instead of swirling it. That didn’t work, it mostly sunk and made a soggy spot on the bottom of the cupcakes. (Sorry guinea pigs neighbors.) They were still tasty but I’ve corrected the recipe so no one has to repeat my mistake. 

Vanilla Cupcakes:

1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
2/3 cup granulated white sugar
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Zest of 1 large lemon (outer yellow skin)
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup milk

Cheesecake Filling:

1 - 8 oz. package cream cheese, softened
1 egg
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup raspberry jam, warmed

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and line 24 muffin cups with paper liners.

In a medium bowl beat cream cheese, egg, sugar and vanilla until smooth. Swirl in raspberry jam and set aside.

In the bowl of your electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla extract.

In a separate bowl whisk together the lemon zest, flour, baking powder, and salt.

With the mixer on low speed, alternately add the flour mixture and milk, in three additions, beginning and ending with the flour. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. 

Drop one tablespoon of cupcake batter in each muffin cup. Push it down a little, but it doesn’t need to completely cover the bottom. Divide the cheesecake filling between each cup, about a heaping tablespoon. Add another tablespoon of cupcake batter on top. 

Bake for 12 – 15 minutes or until the cream cheese filling has set and the cupcakes feel springy to the touch (a toothpick inserted into the vanilla part of the cupcake will come out clean). Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool.

Buttercream Frosting:

2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoons milk 

In an electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, cream the butter until smooth and well blended. Add the vanilla extract. With the mixer on low speed, gradually beat in the sugar. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the milk and beat on high speed until frosting is light and fluffy (about 3-4 minutes). Add a little more milk or sugar, if needed.

Sculptable Frosting:

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1 tablespoon heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon real vanilla extract
3-4 cups confectioner's sugar
Green food coloring gel

Beat butter & cream in mixer until smooth. Adding a cup at a time, blend in the confectioner's sugar to create a dough consistency. Add vanilla and beat to combine. 

Scoop out frosting to form a mound of "dough". Knead food coloring gel into frosting until color desired is achieved. If frosting seems sticky, add a small amount of confectioner's sugar until smooth.

Use 1-1/2 tablespoons of the dough to form each zombie hand. Epicurious has some nice pictures showing how to form the hands. I went with three fingers and a thumb, and just added a few knuckle lines. That's all I had the skills and patience for.

For the presents:
Cut strips of Fruit Roll-Ups and wrap them like ribbon around Starburst candies.

To assemble:

Frost the cupcakes and top them with a present and a zombie hand.
I sprinkled on some white Wilton Cake Sparkles to give it that pretty new fallen snow look.
Merry 1st Day of Creepmas!



  1. Those cup cakes are badical! I'm not much of a baker either, but I'd like to try my hand at these cup cakes.

    Merry Creepmas!

    1. They were definitely a fun way to spread some Creepmas cheer, glad you liked them.