HEAT COOKS THE BOOKS: Halloween sugar skull cupcakes

It’s Halloween week, hurrah! So, why not have a go at making Lily Vanilli’s Mexican sugar skulls? Don’t mind if we do. Grab your edible glitter pens and get stuck into some serious cake decorating.

Day Of The Dead Skulls
Makes 12 cakes
60g unsalted butter at room temperature, 140g caster sugar, 1 large egg, ½ tsp vanilla extract, 115g plain flour, 30g unsweetened cocoa, ¼ tsp bicarbonate of soda, ¼ tsp salt, 80ml sour cream, 4 tsp strong espresso, cooled
Decorations: 1kg white fondant, tubes of coloured frosting or icing pens, lustre dust (edible shimmer), rejuvenating spirit (vodka, lemon juice or clear vanilla extract) silver dragées (silver balls)
Optional: Flower sprinkles, edible wafer flowers
1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF/gas 4. Line a 12-hole muffin pan with paper cases. Using an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar together until very light and fluffy (about five minutes). Add the egg and vanilla extract, and beat until thoroughly mixed.
2. Combine the flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt in a mixing bowl. Add the dry ingredients in three parts, alternating with the sour cream. Then slowly add the cooled coffee.
3. Spoon the batter into the cases and
bake for 15 minutes.
4. Leave to cool in the muffin pan for a few minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before decorating.
5. Remove cases and cut hollows in the muffins for eyes. Roll out some fondant to a thickness of 1⁄4 inch and wrap the cake so it is completely sealed. Use your hands to sculpt a skull shape.
6. Decorate the skull however you wish. Create the main features using tubes of ready-coloured frosting or icing pens. You could also use coloured frosting and a piping bag with a very small tip.
7. To paint on further details, use lustre dust mixed with rejuvenating spirit. The liquid evaporates, leaving the powder in place.
8. Finish your skull cakes with silver dragées, flower sprinkles and edible wafer flowers, then serve.

Heat’s Verdict:
Corrie says, “Don’t let these little bleeders intimidate you. If you can’t get hold of edible wafer flowers or lustre dust, don’t panic. Just go to the baking section in your local supermarket and stock up on writing icing, sprinkles, silver balls and glitter. Anything goes with these, so invite a few friends round, open a bottle of prosecco and get creative.”

HEAT COOKS THE BOOKS: Halloween Sugar Skull Cupcakes
HEAT COOKS THE BOOKS: Halloween Sugar Skull Cupcakes
HEAT COOKS THE BOOKS: Halloweed Sugar Skull Cupcakes
HEAT COOKS THE BOOKS: Halloweed Sugar Skull Cupcakes

If you fancy trying this or any other of Lily Vanilli’s recipes, then why not treat yourself to her book A Zombie ate my cupcake.

Also, if you have a taste for the good, the bad and the unmissable, check out the brand spanking new heat magazine.