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.
Even zombies are looking for a match made in Heaven (well, Hell). These two might have found rotting, decrepit love in each other's bloodshot empty eyes, if only the bride could have controlled herself just a little bit longer. Snack on the groom's head before taking a bite out of the scrumptious bride yourself. Retribution is only fair. The bride is made up of an upside-down vanilla cupcake with a marshmallow body and a shortbread head, all secured using a bamboo skewer (remember to let your guests know). Her dress is white half and half; don't worry if you tear it — the old superstition about it meaning the marriage will be ended by death doesn't really apply here.
1 quantity vanilla cupcakes (see Zombie Trick or Treat, page 42)
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs, beaten
2/3 cup milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1-1/2 cups white all-purpose, cake or pastry flour
1-1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 ounces white couverture chocolate
24 mini shortbread cookies
2 ounces half and half, colored black with 4 drops black paste food coloring (see below)
1-3/4 ounces Royal Icing, colored black with 4 drops black paste food coloring (see below)
1-3/4 ounces Royal Icing, colored yellow with 1 drop yellow paste food coloring
48 white sugar pearls or a little white Royal Icing
1-1/2 ounces piping gel "Blood" (see below)
2 pounds 10 ounces plain white half and half
Cornstarch, for dusting
1 ounce plain white Royal Icing
12 knives see below)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 12-hole muffin pan with 12 large paper baking cases. Make the vanilla cupcakes as described below, but divide all of the batter between the 12 cupcake cases. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool overnight.
To make the decorations, melt the chocolate in a microwave oven on low or in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of gently simmering water. Attach a 4-inch long bamboo skewer to the back of 12 shortbread cookies with a small amount of the melted chocolate. When set, turn the cookies over and spoon the chocolate over the surface to coat evenly. Coat a second set of 12 cookies, without sticks, for the groom. Let set. Roll out the black half and half to make the grooms' ties (see page 11) using a strip of acetate that's 3 x 3 inches. Cut out two small triangles to make each tie. Let dry on the acetate.
Fit pastry bags or parchment paper cones with fine plain piping tips, fill with the black and yellow Royal Icing, and use to pipe the faces on the bride and groom. Place a white sugar pearl or a small dot of white Royal Icing in the center of each black eye to create a pupil. When set, use piping gel "Blood" to pipe around the bride's mouth.
To make the bride's body, remove the cupcakes from their cases and level the tops with a serrated knife. Turn the cupcakes upside down and place a marshmallow on top of each. Push a bamboo skewer with a cookie attached through the marshmallow into each cupcake until the cookie rests on the marshmallow.
To make the bride's dress, roll 2 ounces of the white half and half into a ball. On a counter dusted with cornstarch, roll out the ball into a rectangle with rounded edges, measuring about 3-1/2 x 8-1/2 inches. Wrap the rectangle around the bride so that it overlaps at the back and attach with water. Use a craft knife to trim the front so that it tucks under the bride's chin and the base so that it just touches the ground. If you wish, make cuts and scrapes in the dress so that it appears tattered.
To make the sleeves, roll out 1-1/2 ounces of the white half and half into an oval about 6 x 2-1/2 x 4 inches. Cut the oval in half — the straight edges will become the cuffs. Form each half into a cone, leaving a round opening at the wide end. Use water to attach the sides together. Brush water down the seam of each sleeve and attach to the dress. Press the closed end of the sleeve firmly down around the back of the bride.
Use white Royal Icing to attach a knife to one of the sleeves. Pipe piping gel "Blood" on the knife. If you wish, use white Royal Icing to pipe details on the dress.
To make the veil, roll out 1 ounce of the white half and half very thinly to an oval about 3 x 5-1/2 inches. Gather one end together into small pleats and secure the pleats with a little water. Brush water on the back of the pleats, in the center, and attach the veil to the back of the bride's head so that some of the veil extends above her head. If you wish, tatter the veil with a craft knife. Repeat steps five to eight to make 11 more brides.
To assemble, place the bride on the intended display surface. Use white Royal Icing to attach the groom's head to the side of the bride's skirt. Use black Royal Icing to attach the groom's tie to his severed neck. Use piping gel "Blood" to create a pool of blood beneath his tie. Repeat to make the other 11 couples.
Vanilla cupcakes (for Bride's cupcakes)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 x 12-hole muffin pans with 24 large paper baking cases. To make the vanilla cupcakes, put the butter and sugar in a large bowl and, using an electric whisk, beat together until pale and fluffy.
Gradually beat the eggs into the mixture, and then stir in the milk and vanilla extract. Sift in the flour, baking powder and salt and fold into the mixture with a large metal spoon. Spoon half of the batter into 12 of the paper cases and reserve the remainder.