The Recipe for Zilly Rosen's Killer Cupcake
You don't have to be undead to make a killer zombie cupcake. Witness this recipe from author/chef/artiste, Zilly Rosen, whose Eye Poppers are a feast for both the eyes and taste buds. Here are instructions for making this morbid muffin cake pulled straight from her book, Zombie Cupcakes: From the Grave to the Table with 16 Cupcake Corpses (Andrews McMeel Publishing).
The Eye-Popping Ingredients
• 2 large eggs
• 1/2 cup sour cream
• 1 tsp. almond extract
• 1/4 tsp. pure vanilla extract
• Pink paste food coloring
• 1 2/3 cups all-purpose, cake, or pastry flour
• 1/2 tsp. baking powder
• 1/2 tsp. baking soda
• 1/4 tsp. salt
• 1/4 cup finely ground almonds
• 3/4 cup plus 2 tbsp granulated sugar
• 3/4 cup (6 oz /1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened

For the Decorations
• Cornstarch, for dusting
• 12 oz. store-bought fondant, colored flesh-color with 2 to 3 drops peach paste food coloring
• 6 oz. plain white Half & Half
• 6 oz. Half & Half, colored brown with 10 drops brown and 1 drop black paste food coloring
• 1/2 oz. Half & Half, colored blue with 1 drop sky blue paste food coloring
• 1/4 oz. Half & Half, colored black with 1 drop black paste food coloring
• Red edible marker pen
• 3 oz. clear piping gel
• 4 to 5 drops red paste food coloring

You can replace the blue Half & Half with other colors to vary the colors of the eyes.

Making Half & Half (about 13 oz):
• 6 1/2 oz. store-bought white fondant
• 6 1/2 oz. ready-to-use gum paste
• Plain vegetable shortening (as needed)

1. Knead the fondant and then the gum paste separately on a counter until smooth, then combine and knead until well mixed. If the mixture becomes sticky, add a little shortening.

2. Cover with an upturned bowl or cup to prevent a crust from forming. To store, roll the mixture into a ball, double wrap in plastic wrap, and keep in a sealed container at room temperature for up to two weeks.

Want more? These nine zombie cupcakes will lift the spirits at any party.
Coloring Fondant and Half & Half
1. Place the fondant in a large bowl. Add as many drops of paste food coloring as directed by the recipe, then mix it in the fondant or Half & Half.

2. Lightly grease the counter with a little shortening and knead the mixture until evenly colored. If necessary, add a little shortening to the frosting to prevent it from becoming sticky. Add more food coloring as needed until the color is the desired shade.

Method to the Madness
1. Preheat the oven to 350-degrees F. Line a 12-hole muffin pan with 12 paper cupcake liners. Put the eggs, 3 tablespoons of the sour cream, and the almond and vanilla extracts in a bowl and mix together. Add pink food coloring in drops or on the end of a toothpick and mix well together until evenly colored deep pink.

2. Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a large bowl. Stir in the almonds and sugar. Add the butter and remaining sour cream and, using an electric mixer, beat together until combined. Gradually beat in the egg mixture until combined. Spoon the batter into the liners. Bake for about 20 minutes, turning once halfway through baking, until well risen and firm to the touch. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool.

3. When the cupcakes are cool, use your thumb to press an eye socket shape into the top of each.

4. Dust the counter with cornstarch and roll out the fondant to a thickness of 1/8 inch. Using a 2 1/2 to 3-inch round cutter, cut out 12 circles that will cover the cupcakes. Press one onto the top of each cupcake.

5. To make the eyeballs, squeeze an eyeball-size amount from one end of the white Half & Half, then roll it in your fingers to narrow the base. Pull it away from the rest of the Half & Half, and cut with a craft knife so that the eyeball "stem" is about 1 inch long. Repeat to make another 11 eyeballs.

6. Divide the brown Half & Half into 12 equal-size pieces, and roll each piece into a ball. Roll each ball into a sausage shape, flatten, and cut at an angle at one end to create an eyebrow shape. Attach to the cupcake above the eye socket with water.

7. To make the irises for the eyeballs, roll the blue Half & Half out very thinly on a counter dusted with cornstarch. Use the large end of a small plain piping tip to cut out 12 by 1/2-inch circles. Use water to attach one iris to each eyeball. Roll the black Half & Half out very thinly. Use the small end of the tip to cut out 12 pupils. Attach a pupil to the center of each iris with water.

8. Create the appearance of arteries on the eyeballs by drawing on branching lines with the red edible marker pen.

9. To make the piping gel "blood", put the piping gel in a small bowl, add the paste food coloring in drops or on a toothpick or the tip of a knife, and stir in until you achieve a deep blood red color. Fill the eye sockets with the "blood". Sink the "stem" of an eyeball into the gel in each cupcake and then use water to attach the eyeball to the edge of the cupcake, as if the eyeball has popped out of its socket.