Pumpkin Nightcrawler Cupcakes (Inspired by Widowspeak)

THE DISH
Pumpkin-coffee cupcakes with mocha frosting, “dirt” and bugs (recipe here)

THE INSPIRATION
One of my favorite records that came out this year was the self-titled debut from Brooklyn act Widowspeak, and Halloween was a perfect excuse to use it on here: Their music is full of eerie, smoky (and gorgeous) vocals, and there’s a song called “Nightcrawlers,” in which frontwoman Molly Hamilton sings, “Nightcrawlers stay up late, nightcrawlers take the blame.” I made the classic little-kid cupcakes with cookie “dirt” and bugs (specifically, gummy centipedes from Economy Candy and Willy Wonka Sluggles — possibly the cutest name I’ve ever heard for bugs), and for the lyric about staying up late I thought of caffeine (and, of course, the sugar highs kids get from their Halloween candy) and made the cupcakes pumpkin coffee-flavored with mocha frosting. Happy Halloween!

http://player.soundcloud.com/player.swf?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F19779888 Widowspeak – “Nightcrawlers” by forcefieldpr


THE RECIPE
Adapted, just slightly, from Annie’s Eats
Makes about 24-30 cupcakes

Cupcakes

Ingredients:
2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp salt
1 (15 oz.) can pumpkin puree
1 cup sugar
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 cup canola or vegetable oil
3 tbsp instant coffee powder
4 large eggs

Directions:

• Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

• In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, spices and salt.

• In a large bowl (or the bowl of an electric mixer), beat together the pumpkin, both sugars, oil and instant coffee. Add the eggs one at a time, making sure each is well incorporated before adding the next.

• Gradually at the flour mixture on low speed until just combined.

• Fill the cupcake tins about one-half to three-quarters full. Bake about 20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool completely before frosting.

Frosting

Ingredients:

1 stick of butter, at room temperature
1 3/4 cups powdered sugar, separated
2 tbsp cocoa powder
1/2 tbsp instant coffee dissolved in 1/2 tbsp vanilla
2 tbsp milk

Directions:

• Beat together butter, half the powdered sugar and cocoa powder. Add milk, one tablespoon at a time, then add the rest of the powdered sugar and the coffee/vanilla mixture. You can add more powdered sugar or milk until you reach your desired consistency.

Toppings:

Gummy worms, bugs, etc. (I used gummy centipedes cut in half and Willy Wonka Sluggles)
About 1 cup of chocolate cookie “dirt” — I tossed Trader Joe’s Chocolatey Cat Cookies in the food processor. Most of it was finely ground, but I left a few slightly bigger pieces in for texture.

To assemble:

Use an offset spatula or the back of a spoon to frost the cupcakes. Dip the cupcake face down into the dirt. Top with bugs (or, what I did with the centipedes was stick one end into the cupcake).

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2 thoughts on “Pumpkin Nightcrawler Cupcakes (Inspired by Widowspeak)

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