I had 10 neighborhood kids stop by to help me make these cupcakes for a bake sale, though I have no doubt that most of the treats never made it that far! —Mysie Sabin, Franklin, Wisconsin
- 1 package chocolate cake mix (regular size)
- 1 package (16 ounces) miniature marshmallows
- 4 to 5 tablespoons water
- 1 package (2 pounds) confectioners' sugar
- 1/2 cup shortening
- 1 can (16 ounces) vanilla frosting
- Blue, orange and green paste food coloring
- Miniature peanut butter cups
- Malted milk balls
- Clear vanilla extract
- Prepare and bake cake mix according to package directions for cupcakes; cool completely on wire racks.
- In a large microwave-safe bowl, combine marshmallows and 2 tablespoons water. Microwave, uncovered, on high for 1-1/2 to 2 minutes or until melted, stirring every 30 seconds. Stir in three-fourths of the sugar; turn onto a work surface coated with 3 tablespoons shortening.
- Knead until smooth and pliable, gradually adding remaining sugar and shortening. If necessary, moisten with remaining water. Wrap fondant in plastic wrap to prevent it from drying out.
- To decorate, set aside 1/4 cup frosting. Tint remaining frosting blue; frost cupcakes.
- For ghosts: Invert two peanut butter cups and stack, securing together with a small amount of reserved frosting. Top with a malted milk ball, attaching with frosting. (See photo.) Repeat, forming 24 stacks.
- On a work surface lightly sprinkled with confectioners' sugar, roll a 1-1/4-in. ball of fondant into a 4-in. circle (see photo); drape over a stack. For eyes and mouth, gently cut out shapes using pastry tips. Repeat for remaining ghosts.
- For pumpkins, stems and tendrils: Tint desired amount of fondant orange. Wrap fondant around malted milk balls; shape into pumpkins. Add imprint lines with a veining tool or toothpick.
- For stems and tendrils, tint a small amount of fondant green. Shape into stems; attach to pumpkins using vanilla. For tendrils, roll out remaining green fondant; using a pizza cutter, cut into thin strips. Gently wrap strips around toothpicks; set aside to dry. (Tightly wrap any remaining fondant in plastic wrap and store in a resealable plastic bag for another use.)
- To finish cupcakes: Place a small amount of reserved frosting on top of each cupcake; top with a prepared ghost. Carefully remove tendrils from toothpicks and attach to pumpkins, using vanilla. Attach pumpkins to cupcakes as desired. Yield: 2 dozen.
Originally published as Sugar Ghost Cupcakes in Taste of Home October/November 2009, p76
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