Spooky spiderweb smores cupcakes. I’m pretty sure this is the most halloween-ish (can we make that a word?) bake I’ve ever created. I’m not really one for Halloween if I’m honest. I hate scary films, fancy dress stresses me out and I’ve only ever trick or treated once, maybe twice in my life. I guess it’s just not very British! That and my childhood home was egged and a stink bomb was chucked through our letterbox when I was little, so that definitely put me off.
But, when it comes to baking I’m always interested in baking something new, and in the interest of sticking to the seasonal theme I thought I’d have a go. Cobwebs always seem to play a big part in halloween decoration, that and pumpkins. Buttttt I’m not a huge fan of the flavour of pumpkin, unless its in a soup. Then I guess it just reminds me of butternut squash. Baked pumpkin flavour though, is just not for me. I’ll admit I don’t even like a pumpkin spice latte! Am I even a blogger?!
So with pumpkins out the window I knew I wanted to incorporate cobwebs into the bake instead. I’d seen a video on Facebook a few weeks ago where a baker covered an entire cake in stringy marshmallow and I knew straight away thats what I wanted to do. And there was born my spooky spiderweb smores cupcakes.
Creating the webbing was SO MESSY. Honestly, I was getting stuck to everything!! So make sure all the cupcakes are laid out in front of you, so you don’t have any issues like me. It was quite satisfying though, a bit like the feeling of that PVA glue you’d use in school. The kind which everyone would purposefully get on their hands just so they could pull it off again. It begins to harden pretty quickly, so you do need to work relatively fast. The best technique I found was to rub a little between your hands and then stretch out a few times to get the optimum stringiness before placing over the cupcake. The messier the better really though, as they’re not meant to look too neat.
So if you’ve read my title correctly you’re probably wondering where a certain aspect comes in to the spooky spiderweb smores cupcakes! The cupcake sponge itself has four digestives in to give that classic graham cracker taste. This is then secretly filled with chocolate ganache, homemade marshmallow is piped on top and then dunked in melted chocolate. Smores is such a classic American treat, but the topping tasted exactly like a tunnocks teacake to me. Or the very best homemade teacake actually!
I almost didn’t want to cover them in the marshmallow webbing, as the chocolate looked like cute little hats on the piped marshmallow. But, I had to give them their Halloween treatment!
The soft sponge, surprise ganache centre, oozing marshmallow and crack as you bite into the chocolate hat gives the most wonderful combination of textures. And they do taste quite aptly autumnal, as if you can imagine sitting around a camp fire with them. Perhaps even telling ghost stories!
If you do give them a go, bear in mind they taste best on the day of baking. If you store them in an air-tight container the marshmallow webbing will go slightly sticky due to the condensation. They are still perfectly fine to eat, but won’t look quite as good.
Spooky Spiderweb Smores Cupcakes
80g unsalted butter, softened
280g caster sugar
240g plain flour
60g digestive biscuits, finely ground (about 4)
1tbsp baking powder
240ml whole milk
1/2tsp vanilla extract
2 large eggs, room temperature
100g dark chocolate, about 70% cocoa solids
1tsp unsalted butter, room temperature
50ml double cream
125g caster sugar
75g golden syrup
2 large egg whites
1/2tsp vanilla extract
150g dark chocolate, about 70% cocoa solids
150g mini marshmallows
Firstly, preheat the oven to 190C/170C Fan/Gas Mark 5 and place 12 cupcakes cases into a cupcake tin.
In a large bowl slowly beat together the butter, sugar, flour, digestives, baking powder and salt until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. In a jug mix together the milk, vanilla extract and eggs. Pour three-quarters of the mixture into the dry ingredients and mix well until fully incorporated. Add the rest of the liquid mixture, and beat until smooth.
Spoon the batter evenly into the cupcake cases, up to two-thirds full. Then bake for 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean and they are springy to touch. Place cupcakes on a cooling rack to cool completely until filling and decoration.
For the ganache filling, break up the chocolate into small pieces and place in a pyrex bowl. Heat the butter and cream in a small saucepan, until hot but not boiling. Then pour over the chocolate, leave for a minute and then stir to form a smooth ganache. Place in the fridge to chill for around 30 minutes, until the ganache is firm and scoop-able.
For the marshmallow topping put the sugar, golden syrup and two tablespoons of water into a medium saucepan and stir to combine. Place over a medium heat and without stirring heat until you reach the soft-ball stage (118C). If you don't have a candy thermometer, the bubbles will begin to stick together and the syrup will run in a stream off a spatula. Remove the pan from the heat.
In a pyrex bowl, whisk the egg whites with an electric hand whisk until soft peaks form. Then with the whisk on low, carefully pour in the hot syrup. Once all incorporated, whisk on a high speed until the mixture becomes thick and glossy and the sides of the bowl return to room temperature. Add the vanilla extract and whisk to incorporate one more time. Transfer the mixture to a piping bag with the tip cut off, whilst still slightly warm as its easier to pipe.
To assemble the cupcakes, using a sharp knife cut a shallow cone shape out of each cupcake and fill the holes with ganache. Replace the cone shapes onto each cupcake like a hat. Then pipe a round of marshmallow onto each, ending in a point. It should look like a meringue kiss. Then put the cupcakes into the freezer for 10 minutes to firm up, whilst you melt the chocolate for decoration.
Using a bain-marie (place a heat proof bowl over a pan of simmering water, ensuring the water doesn't touch the base of the bowl), melt the chocolate. Leave to cool for a few minutes, then dip the cupcakes upside down into the melted chocolate, so only the marshmallow is submerged. It will look like you've added a 'hat' to the marshmallow. Leave to set at room temperature.
Finally, using a bain-marie again melt the mini-marshmallows with 2 tablespoons of water stirring constantly. Once melted take off the heat and leave to cool for a few minutes, until it is cool enough to touch but not too firm. Stretch the melted marshmallows between your fingers to achieve the stringy effect, and drape over each cupcake as desired.