For the freaky fingers, place the first five ingredients and a pinch of salt in a food processor and whizz just until a ball of dough forms. Tear off a golfball-size piece of dough and use your hands to roll into finger-size cylinders – you should get about 20. Place on a baking sheet lined with baking parchment – a little apart as they will spread during baking. Use a knife to make a few cuts, close together, for the knuckles. Place an almond at the end of each finger and trim away excess pastry around the edge to neaten. Place in the fridge for 30 mins, heat oven to 180C/160F/Gas 4, then bake for 10-12 mins just until firm. Leave to cool a little, then paint the almond with food colouring, if you like. Makes 20.
For the brainballs, place the popping corn and vegetable oil in a large pan set over a medium heat. Stir the kernels around the pan to coat in the oil. When the kernels starts to pop, place a lid firmly on top and turn the heat down to low. Cook, shaking the pan often to stop the popcorn burning or sticking, until the corn has stopped popping, about 5 mins. Tip into a bowl, discarding any unopened kernels. Heat butter and marshmallows over a low heat until melted. Pour over popcorn and mix well until coated. Lightly rub oil over your hands and shape the popcorn into small balls. Set aside on a tray lined with baking parchment and leave to set. Makes 10.
For the bloodthirsty squash, fill up a kitchen glove with water, secure the end with a freezer clip or rubber band and place in the freezer overnight. When ready to serve, stir together 1 litre each lemonade and cranberry juice with the juice 3-4 limes. Pour into a punch bowl. Remove the hand from the freezer and use scissors to carefully take off the glove. Place in the punch bowl and serve.
To make the ghosts, heat oven to 110C/90C fan/gas ¼. Whip the egg white in a clean bowl until stiff peaks form. Whisk in the sugar a tbsp at a time and keep whisking for a couple of mins until the mixture is thick and resembles shaving foam. Gently spoon the mixture into a large freezer bag, then cut a 1.5cm hole in one of the corners. Cover a baking sheet with some baking parchment. Carefully squeeze a small circle of whipped egg white out of the bag, pulling upwards as you do to make a ghost shape. Repeat until the mixture is used up – you should get about 15 ghosts. Bake for 1½ hrs until crisp. Can be stored in an airtight container for up to 2 days.
Now make the cake. Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Tip the cocoa powder, self-raising flour and sugar into a large bowl, breaking up any clumps of sugar. Mix together the eggs, milk and oil in a measuring cup or bowl, then pour over the dry ingredients and stir everything together until smooth. Grease and line a deep baking dish (20 x 30 x 5cm) with baking parchment. Pour in the cake mixture and bake for 30 mins. Leave to cool, then turn out onto a serving plate. Alternatively, wrap well and store for up to 2 days.
Finish decorating the cake: heat cream in a saucepan until just boiling. Place the dark chocolate in a large bowl and pour over the hot cream. Stir until the chocolate melts. Use a clean brush to paint a layer of chocolate over 7 rich tea finger biscuits, then set aside to cool. Pour the rest of the chocolate mixture over the cake and smooth over with a knife. Whizz the chocolate cookies, or bash in a freezer bag with a rolling pin, until small crumbs form. Sprinkle over the top of the cake.
Place the white chocolate in a small bowl, set over a pan of simmering water. Leave for 5 mins or until melted, then spoon into a small freezer bag. Wait for 10 mins so the mixture is not too runny, then cut a tiny hole in one corner of the bag. Pipe out 2 small blobs onto each ghost, place a silver ball on each to make eyes, then pipe out suitable words and shapes on the gravestones. Leave for 30 mins to set, then push the biscuit gravestones into the cake and arrange the ghosts around. To get the ghosts to ‘fly’, push a thin wire (you can get these from a florist shop – remember to remove before eating) into the bottom of the ghost, then place in the cake, hiding the wire behind a gravestone.
Nutrition per serving
721 kcalories, protein 9g, carbohydrate 95g, fat 36 g, saturated fat 11g, fibre 3g, sugar 66g, salt 0.63 g
liquorice allsorts (the black ones with the white centre)
tube black writing icing
1 length red bootlace
Preparation and cooking times
Prep 40 mins
Cook 25 mins
VegetarianCan be frozen before decorating
Heat oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4 and line a muffin tin with 12 cases, preferably brown ones. Put the butter, sugar and flour in a mixing bowl. Break the eggs into a smaller bowl, taking care not to get any shell into it, then tip on top of the butter mixture.
Add the baking powder and vanilla to the larger bowl, then beat with an electric hand whisk until smooth and creamy. Stir in the chocolate drops or chocolate. Spoon the cake mixture evenly into the cases and bake for 20-25 mins until golden – a cocktail stick pushed into the middle of one of the cakes should come out clean. Cool on a wire rack.
To decorate the cakes, unravel the liquorice wheels and cut into lengths with scissors to make dangly legs. Stick 8 into the top of each cake, making small cuts with the tip of a sharp knife so they push in really securely.
Spoon the chocolate spread on top and spread lightly within the liquorice legs to make a round spider’s body. Now cut the Allsorts to make eyes and the red bootlaces to make mouths, then stick them onto the cakes and dot on the icing to make eyeballs. Will keep for up to 2 days in a cool place.
481 kcalories, protein 6g, carbohydrate 63g, fat 24 g, saturated fat 10g, fibre 0g, sugar 45g, salt 0.64 g