This week’s failure was in the form of Halloween cupcakes. One thing about me is that I’m unable to create cute things when it comes to food, but I will always try, then fail, then I will try again, then fail. Repeat. It’s because part of me wants to be able to create those oh-so-cute foods for the holidays and my brain says, “Yes, you can do it!” But then I try, then fail. This year’s Halloween cupcakes were no exception, however I was only partly to blame for the failure (I love when it’s not completely my fault!). I was shopping at JoAnn’s one day (I can be semi-creative when it comes to other things, but food seems to be my nemesis) and I ran across little sugar roses and black spray icing, like spray paint but edible. My brain said, “Hey! How simple is that! And look there is a can of red icing with different tips. It’s too easy and will look awesome!” I also found Wilton “color burst batter bits.” I bought orange for the occasion. In my mind’s eye, the cupcakes were going to look similar to this but appetizing and wonderfully Halloweenish (use your imagination since my MS Paint skills aren’t terribly refined either):

Cupcake drawing

A drawing of how I had envisioned the cupcakes

But you get the idea. Chocolate cupcakes with little orange sprinkles baked into the batter and blood red icing with a black rose on top.

Well, my cupcakes were a fail visually. They were tasty, thanks to Hershey’s cupcake mix, but they looked like Frankenstein’s monster gone cupcake. Actually, not even that cool. They just looked dumpy and sad. First, the spray paint turned the roses a grayish color, not black. They might have turned black with excessive coats but I ran out of spray pretty quickly. It sprays out at about a tennis ball width, so if you’re spraying a rose that’s only about an inch in diameter, then a lot of spray is wasted on paper towels. But that was the least of the problems. I actually had a blast spraying the roses. Don’t ask me why, but I did. Maybe it’s because I kept saying, “Painting the roses black” – my own hybrid between Alice in Wonderland “Painting the roses red” and Rolling Stones “Paint it black.” (I couldn’t decide which song was more appropriate at the time.)

Anyway, the cupcakes were baking while I was painting the roses black (the Queen of Hearts may want my head for this, but I expect Mick Jagger to come to my defense while on trial). When the cupcakes came out of the oven, they looked awesome. I let them cool, then added the icing. I will admit that I tried to make one of those yogurt swirls on top of the first one, but it turned out to look like a limp piece of red licorice. So on the rest, I just put the frosting on haphazardly, telling Wing that Halloween cupcakes aren’t supposed to be pretty. Halloween isn’t supposed to be pretty so my cupcakes oughtn’t be pretty either. There. Ugly cupcakes were justified. The spirits of long ago eaten cupcakes didn’t come to haunt my cupcakes since they weren’t recognizable (isn’t that the whole reason for Halloween originally?).

When the black spray icing dried on the roses, I put them on the cupcakes. Really not what I had envisioned, but whatever. Then Wing and I split one. We cut it in half, and lo and behold, no orange color bursts. No hint of them whatsoever. Maybe they only work in white or yellow cake mix as shown on the picture of the package (although there was no warning saying so) or maybe we folded them in too harshly and they disintegrated. I don’t know. All I know is that the cupcakes had no pretty orange spots so we were eating extra sugar, calories, and money for no apparent reason. Then I went to eat the rose. It was as hard as rock! I was scared I would chip a tooth if I kept trying to eat it. So I stopped trying and threw it away. Again. Completely pointless. Total waste of money. Call me strange, but if I’m going to decorate my cupcake, the decoration had better be edible. And, technically speaking this was edible in the your-body-won’t-reject-it-and-cause-you-to-die-or-become-ill-since-it’s-only-sugar sense, but in the your-teeth-can-chew-it sense, it wasn’t edible at all.

But, like I said, the taste of the cupcakes were fine, thanks to Hershey’s but no thanks to Wilton. I might someday bake Hershey’s cupcakes again, but I won’t be using Wilton decorations on them since I obviously don’t know how to use them to their proper effect. I will stick to regular (perhaps Hershey’s) icing and glob it on with the old, ever faithful spoon, not canned icing with the tips that create the wilted licorice look.


A real picture of the cupcakes, not the drawing