Halloween Cyclops Cupcakes
9 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
5 tablespoons boiling water
or more if needed
¾ cup unsalted butter
¾ cup white sugar
2 tablespoons white sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese
softened and cubed
¼ cup unsalted butter
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
3 drops green food coloring
1 (.68 oz. tube) black decorating gel
12 blue candy-coated milk chocolate pieces
3 dark colored fruit leather
2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
½ teaspoon lemon juice
or more as needed
3 tablespoons silver dragees decorating candy
24 sunflower seeds
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Grease a 12-cup muffin tin or line cups with paper liners.
Sift cocoa powder into a large bowl and add 5 tablespoons boiling water. Stir into a thick paste, adding more water, 1 tablespoon at a time, if needed. Add 3/4 cup butter and 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar and beat with an electric mixer until smooth and creamy. Beat in eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition, until batter is smooth.
Mix flour and baking powder in a bowl and stir into the batter until well combined. Spoon batter into the prepared muffin cups, filling each 2/3 to the top using an ice cream scoop.
Bake in the preheated oven until tops spring back when lightly pressed and a toothpick comes out clean, 10 to 15 minutes. Allow to cool in muffin tin for a few minutes; transfer to wire rack and cool completely, about 1 hour.
Beat cream cheese and 1/4 cup butter together in a bowl until creamy. Mix in vanilla extract. Stir in 1 cup confectioners’ sugar gradually until frosting is smooth. Mix in green food coloring.
Frost each cupcake with a thin layer of green frosting and refrigerate for 30 minutes to make decorating easier. Frost with a second thin layer of green frosting.
Draw a small dot with the black decorating gel on each candy-coated milk chocolate piece for the pupil. Cut marshmallows into 4 slices with a sharp knife and stick 1 blue pupil in the center of each marshmallow piece.
Cut fruit leather into crescent shapes or semi-circles for the mouths using small sharp scissors.
Mix 2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar with lemon juice in a bowl to make icing. Glue silver dragees onto the fruit leather mouths using a toothpick dipped in icing.
Assemble cyclops by placing a mouth and one marshmallow eye onto each cupcake. Stick 2 sunflower seeds on top of the cupcake for the horns.
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