These Halloween Graveyard Cupcakes were a hit with my third grader, who especially enjoyed helping me name each poor soul we laid to rest. The tutorial below is for the tombstones (gum paste) and the skeleton/zombie hands (royal icing). Before you begin, I should mention that it’s best to make the decorations several days ahead of when you need your cupcakes. Gum paste and royal icing both need time to dry!
To make the tombstones you’ll need:
- gum paste, tinted grey
- powdered sugar for dusting
- tombstone-shaped cookie cutter (I used my candy corn cookie cutter)
- tiny letter stamps (I used these, which I found at my local Joann Fabrics)
On a clean surface lightly dusted with powdered sugar, roll out the gum paste to about 1/4″ thickness and cut the tombstone with your cutter. Then, just press each letter stamp into the dough. Be sure to make one tombstone at a time, because gum paste begins to dry quickly, which could hinder your stamping success! Let them dry for a few days on parchment paper, turning after two days (or so) to allow both sides to dry fully.
To make the skeleton/zombie hands you’ll need:
- white royal icing
- a decorating bag, coupler and small round tip (I used Wilton tip #2)
- parchment paper
First, grease your parchment paper just a bit by spreading an ultra-thin layer of vegetable shortening with a paper towel. This should help the hands not to stick and will reduce the possibility of breaking the tiny fingers when you’re ready to use them.
Pipe a wrist bone by piping a dot and gently moving downward to form a line, followed by another dot. Pipe another wrist bone next to it, making sure they touch each other at the points. Then pipe a half-circle-ish shape on top of those, again making sure they touch. To pipe each finger, I started where the knuckle would be, piped two dots without fully letting go of the pressure (to keep them connected), and then piped a fingernail by piping a third dot on top and pulling upward slightly as I released the pressure. It’s a good idea to make more than you think you’ll need, because they will be fragile and some may break. Don’t forget to make some with thumbs on the other side too. Then, let them dry for at least two days.
I used the Wilton grass tip (#233) to pipe the grey grass and a leaf tip with black royal icing to make leaves on the final cupcakes. I love how they turned out! In fact, I’m going to make them again next week for my son’s class party. He’s already coming up with more names. Happy Halloween!