From TV shows to the novels of Jane Austen, zombies have infested popular culture. Thanks to professional cupcake designer Zilly Rosen, a legion of adorable, edible undead are now emerging through the cracked frosting of that other irresistible craze – the cupcake.
In many zombie movies, the heroes have to survive using whatever improvised instrument they can lay their hands on. These cupcakes are a little battered from the crowbar, shovel and baseball bat decorations, but just like you after you've tasted them, they just keep on coming back for more.
2/3 cup vegetable oil
4 large eggs
3/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
7 ounces canned pumpkin
1-1/2 cups white all-purpose, cake or pastry flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 baseball bats (see next page)
4 shovels (see next page)
4 crowbars (see next page)
Cornstarch, for dusting
3/4 ounce half and half, colored black with 2 drops black paste food coloring (see next page)
3/4 ounce plain white half and half
Red edible marker pen
1-3/4 ounces Royal Icing, colored black with 4 drops black paste food coloring (see next page)
1-3/4 ounces plain white Royal Icing
1-3/4 cups confectioners' sugar
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 drops green paste food coloring
1 drop yellow paste food coloring
3 drops purple paste food coloring
The day before, make your weapons — baseball bats, shovels and crowbars — and let dry overnight (see below). The following day, make the cupcakes. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line a 12-hole muffin pan with 12 large paper baking cases. Put the oil, eggs, sugar and pumpkin in a large bowl and, using an electric whisk, beat together until combined and smooth.
Sift in the flour, baking powder, baking soda, spices and salt and mix together. Spoon the batter into the paper cases. Bake for about 25 minutes, turning once halfway through baking, until well risen and firm to the touch. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool.
When the cupcakes are cold, make the vanilla cream glaze. Put the confectioners' sugar, heavy cream, vanilla extract and salt in a medium bowl and mix together with a wooden spoon until smooth. Transfer half the mixture to another bowl. Add the green and yellow food colorings to one bowl to color bright green and purple food coloring to the other bowl to color bright purple. Dip 6 cupcakes into the green glaze and the remaining cupcakes into the purple glaze.
Press the small end of a medium plain piping tip into the glaze repeatedly in a curved shape to make the appearance of a bite mark. Let the glaze set for 20 minutes.
Dust the counter with cornstarch. Roll the black half and half into a ball and then roll out the ball very thinly. Use a craft knife to cut out 12 mouth shapes.
Roll the white half and half into a ball and roll out very thinly. Use the piping tip again to cut out 24 small circles for eyes.
Use the red edible marker pen to add veins to the eyes. Fill a pastry bag or parchment paper cone fitted with a fine plain piping tip with the black Royal Icing and pipe an eyeball in the center of each eye.
Use a small amount of white Royal Icing to attach 2 eyes and a mouth to each cupcake. Use the black Royal Icing to pipe suture lines on one side of the face and to give the zombies mean eyebrows.
Fill a pastry bag or parchment paper cone fitted with a fine plain piping tip with the white Royal Icing and use to pipe teeth in the mouth and crossbones on the cupcake cases.
Up next: How to make the zombie cupcake decorations >>