I used to love Halloween: free candy, crazy costumes and those awesome cupcakes somebody’s Mom always made and passed out in class. I lived in the boonies, too, so everyone made up for the lack of houses available by giving you extra candy, which worked out to less legwork and more candy.
Now that I’m older, I can’t possibly justify trick or treating, and I’m too young to have kids, so this time of year is just plain depressing. It’s like a reminder that I’m no longer a kid, but not yet a real grown-up: I’m stuck.
Much to my parents’ horror, I’ve been going through a bit of baby fever lately. I actually caught myself walking to the cash with a pair of the cutest little mittens yesterday. Then I envisioned the cashier kindly asking who they were for, and the embarrassment of it all kicked in, so I slumped back to the rack before my boyfriend could see what I’d done.
I’ve heard of this before, this craving children; it’s like an illness. Halloween, as I’ve discovered, is the worst possible combination of vices. Hundreds of kids running around in teensy little monkey suits and strawberry hats. Sheer hell for my empty womb.
I try to talk to people about it, to knock some sense into me. Deep down I know the idea of having a baby right now is absolutely ridiculous. I wouldn’t know what to do with it, I couldn’t afford to give it everything it deserved, and I’m only 22 freaking years old. It’s a biological thing, I tell them. My body is clearing playing tricks on me.
I wasn’t going to do anything for Halloween; I knew it wasn’t good for me. But then I thought maybe, just maybe, some little tot would toddle up the stairs to my apartment, and I should really have some candy for the little goblin. So I bought a box of chocolate bars. Then I put up pumpkin lights. Then I got a pumpkin, and carved it. The absolute tipping point was these cupcakes. There was absolutely no use for these cupcakes. They’re ridiculous and too sweet for me or my boyfriend, only really suitable for a little, adorable, sweet-smelling kid.
I didn’t get any princesses or vampires, no little pumpkin babies to hand out candy to and comment on their costumes. It’s just me, staring at my pumpkin, stuffing my face with cupcakes and mini Mars bars.
This cupcake recipe comes from a Magnolia Bakery cookbook, and the icing is a variation from Canadian Living. I found the cupcakes a little dry, so I upped the buttermilk content, and I reduced the vanilla to only a teaspoon to subdue the flavour.
1 cup butter
5 cups icing sugar
1/2 cup whipping cream
2 teaspoons vanilla
Cream butter with a mixer until smooth. Add white and brown sugar and beat until fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each. Melt chocolate, in the microwave or on low in a saucepan. Add chocolate to the butter mixture, mixing until smooth.
In a small bowl, combine flour and baking soda. Add to butter mixture in three parts, switching between buttermilk and vanilla. Don’t overbeat.
Spoon batter into lined cupcake tin and bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean from the centre of a cupcake. Cool on a rack for 15 minutes.
For the icing, bring butter to room temperature, then beat until smooth. Beat in sugar and cream, alternating each until gone. Stir in vanilla and beat until combined.
With an icing kit, swirl icing in circles on completely cooled cupcake and top with candy corn and sprinkles.