Mini chocolate cupcakes topped with a Swiss buttercream frosting and candy eyes for a spooky Halloween treat.
Swiss Buttercream Frosting
Preheat the oven to 350ºF (180ºC) and line mini muffin tins with cupcake liners.
Sift the flour, granulated sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt into a large mixing bowl. In a separate bowl or large liquid measuring cup, whisk together the sour cream, milk, brown sugar, oil, egg, and extract. Add this all at once to the dry mixture and then whisk by hand until the batter is smooth, about 2 minutes.
Use a small ice cream scoop or a piping bag (no tip needed) to portion the batter into the prepared tins and bake for about 15 minutes, until a tester inserted in the centre of a cupcake comes out clean. Allow the cupcakes to cool on a rack, in the tin completely before frosting.
For the frosting, whisk the egg whites and sugar in a metal bowl placed over a pot of gently simmering water and whisk (consistently but no need to whisk vigorously) until the mixture reaches a temperature of 165ºF (74ºC) on a candy thermometer, about 5 minutes. Remove the bowl from the heat and using electric beaters or pouring the whites into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whip attachment, whip the whites on high speed until cooled, another 5-7 minutes (they will whip up into a full meringue). With the mixer still on high speed, add the butter a little at a time and then keep mixing on high until the meringue deflates and the buttercream becomes smooth – this can take a few minutes, and the mixtures may appear almost curdled in the middle of mixing, but just keep mixing! Once smooth, add the vanilla to blend it.
Spoon the buttercream into a piping bag fitted with a small flower petal tip (straight, not curved petal). Pipe a few stripes (the stripes will overlap to look like mummy-style bandages) and then place the candy eyes where you wish, and continue to pipe bandages across the top of the cupcake until the chocolate cupcake is covered. If the ends of the bandages look rough, you can use a palette knife and run it around the outside edge of the cupcake to smooth it out. Chill the cupcakes until almost ready to serve – they are tastiest if you let them sit out for 30 minutes before eating.
The cupcakes will keep, refrigerated, for up to 3 days.