BAKE SALE: Cyclops Cupcakes

Holy Halloween! The boys have never been more excited for this holiday. They are working on costumes for a Zombie and a Goblin, and last weekend we kicked off the countdown to ghoulsville at the Sunset Hills Halloween Carnival. A traditional school carnival, this spooktacular event featured a cake walk, old time carny games, a haunted house, and of course...a bake sale.

I spent an unnecessary amount of time getting a recipe picked, and by that time it was so freakin late that I chose Martha Stewarts One Bowl Chocolate Cupcakes. I did splurge on the frosting, and made a traditional Swiss Meringue Buttercream because it is just that much better than powered sugar and milk. Martha also featured some fabulous creepy cupcake ideas that inspired mine.

I packaged them up in some funky paper containers I had been holding on to, and tied them up in cellophane bags with orange ribbon. I tried some as "mini's" and packaged for the cake walk in a paper egg carton with a ziploc baggy, stickers, and measuring tape.


One Bowl Chocolate Cupcakes

  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup warm water
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 3 tablespoons safflower oil
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners; set aside. Sift together cocoa powder, flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into a large bowl. Add eggs, warm water, buttermilk, oil, and vanilla, and mix until smooth, about 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides and bottom of bowl to assure batter is well mixed.
  2. Divide batter evenly among muffin cups, filling each 2/3 full. Bake until tops spring back when touched, about 20 minutes, rotating pan once if needed. Transfer to a wire rack; let cool completely.

Swiss Merengue Buttercream Frosting

Makes about 9 cups, enough for about 28 cupcakes

  • 2 1/2 cups sugar
  • 10 large egg whites
  • 4 cups (8 sticks or 2 pounds) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract


  1. Place sugar and egg whites in the heat-proof bowl of an electric mixer. Set bowl over a pan of gently simmering water, and whisk until sugar has dissolved and egg whites are hot to the touch, about 3 minutes. Test by rubbing the mixture between your fingers; it should feel completely smooth.
  2. Transfer bowl to mixer stand. Using the whisk attachment, beat on high speed until mixture has cooled completely and formed stiff and glossy peaks, about 10 minutes.
  3. Add the butter, one piece at a time, and beat until incorporated after each addition. Don't worry if the buttercream appears curdled after all the butter has been added; it will become smooth again with continued beating. Add vanilla, and beat just until combined.
  4. Switch to the paddle attachment, and beat on the lowest speed to eliminate any air pockets, about 5 minutes. If using buttercream within several hours, cover bowl with plastic wrap, and set aside at room temperature in a cool environment. Or transfer to an airtight container, and store in the refrigerator, up to 3 days. Before using, bring buttercream to room temperature, and beat on the lowest speed with the paddle attachment until smooth, about 5 minutes.