The character “Jack Skellington”, from The Nightmare Before Christmas, is hands down my favorite skeleton. Once you realize how easy these cupcakes are to make, you’ll be making them for Halloween AND Christmas.
1 standard box of cake mix (whatever flavor you prefer), baked in 24 cupcake liners and cooled. If you need assistance in baking and cooling your cake, please refer to these video tutorials on “How To Bake A Cake”.
How To Bake A Cake (Part 1): Preparing Your Baking Pans
How To Bake A Cake (Part 2): Mixing & Baking Your Cake
How To Bake A Cake (Part 3): Testing, Removing and Cooling Your Cake
1 container of chocolate icing (or black colored icing)
1 container of vanilla/white icing
Chocolate or Dark Chocolate flavored Candy Wafers (optional if you want to add Jack’s collar)
3 sandwich sized plastic bags (or decorator bags)
Wax Paper – (if making chocolate collars)
Microwave-safe bowl or Double Boiler – (if making chocolate collars)
If you have not already done so, bake your cupcakes according to package directions and cool completely. If they not cooled, your icing will start to melt and slide off the cupcakes.
First, ice each cupcake with a generous amount of white icing. Try to smooth the tops as much as possible. Do not use all of the icing. Reserve about ¼ cup to be used later if you are making the chocolate collars.
Next, fill one sandwich bag (or decorators bag) 1/3 full with some chocolate icing. Push the icing toward one of the bottom corners of the bag. Snip a small hole in the corner of the bag with your scissors. Twist the excess bag to create a decorating “piping bag”. Place the “twist” in the joint between your thumb and the rest of your hand. Close your hand over the rest of the bag (See picture #2). View a video tutorial for this step if you are unsure how it should be done. To decorate your cupcake, you will squeeze the bag. Try it a little on some wax paper to get used to it.
Now, following the design on the picture, “pipe” an outline for the eyes and then gradually fill in the space. Now pipe a smile on to “Jack”. Jack Skellington has a smile that normally reaches the edges of his head (the cupcake) but the cupcake in the photo was made with a more noticeable smile – starting and stopping the line just short of the edges. Finally, make short “stitches” across the “smile”.
If you choose not to make the “chocolate collar” for you cupcakes, you are finished once you have completed the smile. However, if you choose to make the collars, melt down your candy wafers. This can be done in a double boiler or in a microwave. Follow the melting directions on the package. Place some of the melted chocolate in a sandwich bag and snip off a tiny hole in the bottom corner. Using the melted white chocolate, “draw or outline” Jack’s collar on a piece of wax paper. Reference the photo if needed. To describe it, I would have to say it looks like a bad, spiky toupee.
Allow the collars to cool and harden. Gently remove them from the wax paper. Place your reserved white icing in the remaining sandwich bag, again creating a piping bag. Place a dollop of the white icing on the middle of each collar and use it to “glue” the chocolate collar into place at the base of Jack’s face.
With the collars done, your cupcakes are complete! Now pop in The Nightmare Before Christmas movie, sit back on the couch and chow down!