Spooky Halloween Spider Web Cupcakes Tutorial

Looking for a spooky, spidery treat this Halloween?  How about these spider web cupcakes with edible gum paste spiders?

I'm a little too squeamish to go for treats that look like gore and guts, but these guys are just the right amount of creepy for me.

Materials for Making Spider Web Topped Cupcakes:

 

Start by coloring a small quantity of gum paste grey or black with black gel food coloring.  It takes quite a bit of food coloring to get it to be truly black, and that can make the gum paste sticky and harder to work with, so I went for grey.  That was easy to achieve.

Roll out a bit of gum paste in a thin strip, and cut into small rectangles.  Use a small paring knife to cut each side of the rectangle into 4 strips.  You know, in writing this paragraph and looking at the picture carefully for the first time, I only JUST noticed that I cut too many legs for that first spider!  Oops.

Pinch the fringed rectangles together in the middle, and bend the legs slightly down.  No need to be terribly concerned about how they are arranged; the spider legs splay nicely and naturally with very little effort.

Make two spheres of gum paste for the body and head of each little spider.  Use vodka to glue the body and head to the legs.  The vodka activates the sugar in the gum paste, and quickly evaporates, leaving the gum paste parts cemented together.

The edible spider web is made with cotton candy.  I have this little home cotton candy machine, and I'm absolutely delighted by how well it works!  We buy cotton candy sugar for the regular pink and blue cotton candy we make, but the machine also works fabulously with plain white sugar (just the stuff you have in the pantry for baking, nothing fancy) to make white cotton candy.

Top your cupcakes with buttercream, and then peel the cotton candy off of the stick, and nest it on top of the icing.  Add a little gum paste spider for an extra spooky factor.  

One word of caution:  the cotton candy is definitely affected by humidity.  It starts to...diminish when there's moisture in the air.  It's good to do a trial run and find out how long they'll last and look good in your climate and environment.

For us, the cupcakes started to look a little sad at about two hours.  

Just something to keep in mind if you're planning a spooky, spider-filled event with spider web cupcakes!

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