I had to censor one of the pictures I took for this post. It turns out that from the wrong angle mummies’ fingers can look – how can I put this delicately? – like an entirely different part of a pharoah’s anatomy. You have been warned.
That apart, you can’t go wrong by aiming for shock value when it comes to Hallowe’en party food. The more gruesome it is, the better kids (and some adults) seem to like it.
The cupcakes are made with pumpkin and are lightly spiced. If that’s an idea that really does horrify your children, substitute a chocolate sponge recipe.
12 chipolata sausages
1 sheet of ready-rolled shortcrust pastry
12 blanched almonds
Ketchup, to serve
Pre-heat oven to 400F/200C/Gas Mark 6
Cut thin strips of pastry and wrap, criss-crossed, over the lower half of each sausage. Cut a slit in the other end and insert an almond to look like a fingernail.
Bake on a lightly-oiled tray for 20-25 minutes until the sausages are cooked and the pastry golden. Serve with a gory splash of ketchup.
Ingredients for the sponge:
220g self-raising flour
1 tspn bicarbonate of soda
1 tspn ground cinnamon
1/2 tspn ground allspice
1/2 tspn ground ginger
A grating of nutmeg
The zest of 1 orange
1/2 tspn salt
130g dark brown soft sugar
2 medium-large eggs
80 ml milk
200g pumpkin purée
For the frosting:
100g cream cheese
50 g butter, softened at room temperature
250g icing sugar
For the cobweb icing:
50g icing sugar
2 tbsp cocoa powder
3-4 tbsp water
Pre-heat oven to 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 and place cupcake liners in 2 x 12 hole cupcake tins.
Sift the flour and bicarb into a large bowl and add the salt and spices. Grate in the orange zest and stir well to mix. In another bowl, beat the eggs and sugar until blended then add the oil, milk and pumpkin purée. Mix well.
Pour the wet mixture into the dry mixture and stir until blended but don’t overwork it. It will be quite a runny batter. Spoon it into the cupcake cases so they’re half to two-thirds full.
Place in the centre of the oven and cook for about 12 minutes or until a skewer poked into them comes out clean. Remove to a wire rack to cool.
To make the cream cheese frosting, put the cream cheese and butter in a bowl and sift in the icing sugar. Beat together until smooth.
For the chocolate icing, mix the 50g of icing sugar with the cocoa powder and the water until smooth and thick – it shouldn’t be too runny. Put it into a piping bag with a fine nozzle (or use a plastic bag with the corner snipped off).
Spoon the frosting onto the cooled cakes. Pipe three concentric circles of the chocolate icing onto each cake, then run a toothpick through it from the centre to the edge eight times to give a cobweb effect.
I used cobweb wrappers and plastic spiders to decorate, available online. I don’t need to tell you that plastic spiders are a choke hazard, do I? Nope, thought not.