For the cupcakes and eyeballs
- 125g unsalted butter
- 150g caster sugar
- 120g self-raising flour
- 30g cocoa powder
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 3 eggs, beaten
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
For the meringue buttercream
- 100g caster sugar
- 2 large egg whites
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- Pinch of salt
- 150g unsalted butter, at room temperature
- Green food colouring
To decorate the eyeballs
- White fondant icing
- Black fondant icing
- Red cake decorating pen
- Preheat the oven to 180˚C/Gas 4. Line six holes of the bun tin with cupcake cases.
- To make the sponge for the cupcakes and the eyeballs, first cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Sift together the flour, cocoa powder and baking powder. Add the dry ingredients and the eggs to the creamed mixture, a little at a time, mixing thoroughly after each addition. Stir through the vanilla extract.
- Fill six holes in the silicone cake pop mould with mixture, then divide the remaining mixture between the cupcake cases, filling each two-thirds full. If you have any mixture left over, use it to make up to another two cupcakes plus cake pops. Bake both the cupcakes and the cake pops for 15-20 minutes until risen – the cake pops will probably be ready a few minutes before the cupcakes, and are ready when a toothpick inserted in the hole at the top of the mould comes out clean. The cupcakes are ready when they’re springy to the touch.
- Allow the cake pops to cool completely before removing them from the mould. Remove the cupcakes from the tin, place on a wire rack and allow these to cool completely too.
- To make the meringue buttercream, add the icing sugar, egg whites, two tablespoons of cold water, vanilla extract and salt to a heatproof bowl. Warm the bowl over a pan of simmering water, but without letting the bottom of the bowl come into contact with the water. Using a balloon whisk, beat constantly for 5 minutes or until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture leaves a trail. Remove the bowl from the heat and whisk with an electric mixer until the buttercream is cold.
- Add the softened butter a tablespoon at a time, whisking well between each addition, and continuing to whisk if the mix starts to curdle – this will bring it back together. Add the green food colouring and mix until you have an even shade. Scoop into a piping bag fitted with a plain round nozzle, and ice over the top of each in a random, wiggly pattern.
- For the eyeballs, wrap each cooled cake pop in a 2-3mm layer of rolled out white fondant icing. Draw on the veins using a red cake decorating pen. Finish each off with a black piece of fondant icing rolled into a ball and squashed between your fingers, then top each cupcake with an eyeball.
Tip: If you don’t have the time (or the inclination!) to make meringue buttercream from scratch, use vanilla frosting coloured with green food colouring instead.