1 1/2 cup(s) all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon(s) baking powder
1/2 teaspoon(s) salt
8 tablespoon(s) (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup(s) sugar
3 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoon(s) pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup(s) milk
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a cupcake pan with paper liners; set aside. In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time; scrape down bowl, and beat in vanilla. Add flour mixture and milk alternatively, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Divide batter evenly among liners, about three-quarters full each. Bake until golden and tops spring back to touch, about 20 minutes, rotating pan once if needed. Transfer pans to wire rack; cool completely.
3/4 cup(s) unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 cup(s) all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cup(s) sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon(s) baking soda
3/4 teaspoon(s) baking powder
3/4 teaspoon(s) salt
2 large eggs
3/4 cup(s) warm water
3/4 cup(s) buttermilk
3 tablespoon(s) safflower oil
1 teaspoon(s) pure vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners; set aside. Sift together cocoa powder, flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into a large bowl. Add eggs, warm water, buttermilk, oil, and vanilla, and mix until smooth, about 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides and bottom of bowl to assure batter is well mixed. Divide batter evenly among muffin cups, filling each 2/3 full. Bake until tops spring back when touched, about 20 minutes, rotating pan once if needed. Transfer to a wire rack; let cool completely.
Swiss Meringue Buttercream for Cupcakes
2 1/2 cup(s) sugar
10 large egg whites
4 cup(s) (8 sticks or 2 pounds) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
2 teaspoon(s) pure vanilla extract
Place sugar and egg whites in the heat-proof bowl of an electric mixer. Set bowl over a pan of gently simmering water, and whisk until sugar has dissolved and egg whites are hot to the touch, about 3 minutes. Test by rubbing the mixture between your fingers; it should feel completely smooth.
Transfer bowl to mixer stand. Using the whisk attachment, beat on high speed until mixture has cooled completely and formed stiff and glossy peaks, about 10 minutes.
Add the butter, one piece at a time, and beat until incorporated after each addition. Don’t worry if the buttercream appears curdled after all the butter has been added; it will become smooth again with continued beating. Add vanilla and beat just until combined.
Switch to the paddle attachment, and beat on the lowest speed to eliminate any air pockets, about 5 minutes. If using buttercream within several hours, cover bowl with plastic wrap, and set aside at room temperature in a cool environment. Or transfer to an airtight container and store in the refrigerator, up to 3 days. Before using, bring buttercream to room temperature and beat on the lowest speed with the paddle attachment until smooth, about 5 minutes.
For the tentacles
Cut strips of green taffy and attach around the top of each cupcake.
For the eye
slice a yellow gumdrop in half and press into the top of the cupcake. A piece of black licorice attached in front of the gumdrop completes the creepy gaze.
For the small eye
attach a mini marshmallow and create a pupil by painting on melted chocolate (microwave 1/2 cup chocolate chips for 1 minute).
For the large eye
push the chocolate chip, tip down, into a regular-size marshmallow, then cut Gummi tape for an eyelid. For teeth, place 5 mini marshmallows along the bottom of the cupcake.