I love Halloween. When else is it perfectly acceptable to dress up as a pirate, or vampire, or Justin Beiber? When else can you get away with eating all of your child’s “questionable” candy? (I think there is a LOT of questionable candy, but maybe it’s just me. I’ll take on the challenge of consuming it…because I’m a team player, that’s why.)
I also love being able to go all-out decorating cakes and cookies for this time of year. Black cats, witches hats, ghosts and bats…it’s fun! So when I was contacted by Kitchen Play to participate in the Sidecar Series using McCormick products, I happily jumped on board!
Seven is now four, and since I trained him early, he’s a real helper in the kitchen. Our first video together making brownies was when he had just turned two, and he was already quite the sous chef! For this fun project, he was more than game. Plus, the fact that we were making eyeball cupcakes was right up his alley!
I think a lot of parents underestimate how adept their kids really are. Seven can measure, mix, microwave, even pipe icing. He loves getting in there and helping! I highly recommend letting your kids jump in and help – I think you’ll be surprised at how awesome they really are!
For our cupcakes, we went BIG. I used large muffin tins to make Devil’s Food Cupcakes (from a box mix, we were going for FUN!) and I let the little man do all of the mixing. For extra flavor, we added 2 teaspoons of McCormick Pure Vanilla Extract – it adds just a little something extra! Once they were baked, we used a cupcake plunger (Oh My Word this thing is awesome) to hollow out the center, and filled them with blood… I mean, cherry jelly. Nothing more gruesome than an oozing cupcake!
For the icing, I tinted my favorite buttercream icing gray, using the McCormick Black Food Coloring, and coated the entire cupcake in it lightly. Then we rolled it in lots and lots of orange and black sprinkles. But we didn’t stop there – oh, noooo. I tinted some more icing orange using the red and yellow McCormick colors (look how vibrant – I was amazed!) and piped it using the grass/hair tip. Easy and fun, and Seven got a kick out of it for sure!
For the final touch, we roughed up a few gumballs (just wipe them with a damp towel) and drew bloodshot eyes onto them with edible markers. We placed those monster sized cupcakes into Halloween themed plastic cups (just for fun, plus, it makes them more of a treat for Preschool or grade school parties) and we called it a day!
Check out these results!
I intend to show up at Seven’s Halloween party with a tray full of these crazy cupcakes, and I just know all of the kids are going to love them. The great part is how simple the whole project really is, and using the McCormick products made it even easier. I know that I can always find their products in the grocery store and Wal-Mart, no matter what time of day or night, and they really worked! (Look at that ORANGE!)
Here are a few tips/tricks I think might help you out with a similar project:
- Use a box mix. It’s easy, it’s delicious, and quite honestly, kids are going to love it.
- Invest in a couple of piping tips (they average about $1 each) and some plastic disposable piping bags. You can find these in the specialty cake aisle at Wal-Mart or at Michaels. They are pretty cheap and you’ll get a lot of use out of them if you keep decorating cakes, cookies, and cupcakes. Just these two purchases will take your “mom-made” cupcakes to professional looking with little to no effort.
- Don’t forget fillings! We used cherry jelly to imitate blood, but pudding, another icing flavor, or soft candy is always an option, and makes a world of difference!
- Sprinkles. You’d think it would make a huge mess, but trust me. Pour all of the sprinkles out onto a plate or shallow bowl and ROLL the cupcake in them. Icing will not smoosh out everywhere, and the sprinkles will practically jump on to the cupcake. You can always return the unused sprinkles back into the container…you’ll never get the cupcake coated nicely trying to shake them tiny suckers on.
- Let the KIDS help! they want to , and honestly, it keeps them out of your hair. I know that sounds odd but it’s true!
Good luck with your Halloween projects, I hope this one inspired you a little!
Interested in partnering with great brands and being a part of fun blog events? Make sure to check out Kitchen Play, where PR Professionals and food bloggers connect!
McCormick is also sponsoring a wonderful giveaway at Kitchen PLAY. Simply recreate any one recipe from this month’s SideCar Series, post about the experience on your blog and provide a link to your post on Kitchen PLAY to enter. All qualifying bloggers in each course will be entered to win $50 (10 prizes total). The deadline is October 31, 2011. Please review the complete contest rules before entering. Good luck!
This was a sponsored post, but all thoughts and opinions are 100% my own.