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I'm a little fascinated with things you can bake inside other things- like pies in a cake or Oreos in the bottom of a cupcake. Last Halloween we experimented with baking doughnut holes in a cake so it seemed only fitting to take it one more step this year and give cupcakes a try.

What we really wanted though, was a "bloody" eyeball using the jelly filled munchkins and to our delight- it worked!

Step 1: Eye Trials

But making the eyeballs took some intense experimentation. Lots of frosting failed attempts (like trying to freeze frosting balls). I really didn't want to use a store bought solution (chocolate eyes or gumballs) or even fondant (which in retrospect, would have worked).

Finally, with the simply addition of confectioners sugar to white frosting, I had a malleable "clay" that easily formed into a ball and kept its shape.

Step 2: Ingredients:

24 Jelly filled "munchkins" (filled doughnut holes)

Cake mix and ingredients (I favor Duncan Hines)

Cupcake wrappers

Chocolate frosting (Pillsbury)

Vanilla frosting (Pillsbury vanilla is really white)

Confectioners' sugar

M & M plain candies

Black food marker

Wax paper

Spray oil

Q-tip

Special optional equipment:

#40 & #100 Scoop

Standing mixer

Note:

I had left over cake mix at the end of making the eyeball cupcakes and made about 10 mini cupcakes; you can take that into consideration and have the mini cupcake wrappers and a mini muffin pan handy.

Step 3: Frosting Eyes

Preheat the oven to 350° (or whatever your cake mix package calls for).

Mix half the container of the white frosting with 1.5 cups of confectioners' sugar.

Roll 24 to 26 balls about an inch diameter between your hands and set them on a piece of wax paper on a flat pan to chill in the refrigerator.

Step 4: Make the Cupcakes With Doughnuts in Them

Put the cupcake wrappers into the muffin tins.
Mix the cake mix.

Add about ½ tablespoon (#100 scoop) of cake mix to the bottom of each cupcake wrapper and then add a jelly doughnut hole.

Put 1.5 Tbs (#40 scoop) cake mix over the top each doughnut (I also experimented with 3 pumpkins doughnut holes - in top row of the pictures).

You're basically filling each wrapper .25 " from the top edge- it's not much cake mix and there will be some left over in the bowl at the end (make some mini cupcakes).
Bake the cupcakes for 15 min. and test for doneness with a toothpick on the side of one of the cupcakes (obviously in the center you would hit the jelly).

Step 5: Add the Iris and Pupils

While the cupcakes are cooling, add a M & M (with the branding face down) to each frosting ball -spray a little oil on your (CLEAN! and dry) palms and gently roll each ball around until it's round with the iris smoothed down.

Use a clean Q-tip to wipe any excess frosting or oil off the candy then add a pupil in the center with the food marker.

I put the eyes back in the refrigerator just to keep them firm.

At this point, you can frost the cupcakes and add the eyes or...you can dip them in warmed frosting for a smooth effect in the next step.

Step 6: Stir the Frosting to Get the Air Out

When I first started this project I made the whole cupcake into an eyeball by rolling the tops in warm white frosting and while that idea went by the wayside, I really like the smooth look so I kept it for the final project.

First, stir the chocolate frosting in its container to remove all the air that's been whipped into it during the manufacturing process.

Step 7: Dip the Cupcakes

Transfer some of the frosting to a microwavable bowl and warm it for about 30 seconds at 50%.
Stir the frosting---you want it to just be stir-able but not runny! (warm it again a little more if you need to).

Dip the top of each cupcake into the frosting and set it on the wax paper.

Step 8: Add the Eyeballs

I like a little frosting drip on the side but you can avoid it by rolling the cupcake around until the frosting doesn't drip off.

Add the eyeballs and you're done!

Step 9: The No "blood" Version

The pumpkin munchkins were a delicious combination with the chocolate cake and frosting.

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