1) 1 box of cake mix (flavor of choice)
2) Standard and small cupcake tins
3) 1 canister of frosting (flavor of choice)
4) 2 lbs of white fondant
5) Black fondant, or black icing coloring
6) Water and a small brush
Follow the instructions on the box of cake mix for baking cupcakes. Make an equal number of standard and small cupcakes. I use cupcake liners for my standard sized cupcakes so it's easier to handle them once assembled. I recommend baking them at 25 degrees less than the box recommends (so if the box recommends 350 degrees I'll set it to 325 degrees). This will require a longer baking time but the cupcakes will bake up flatter and more evenly.
Next I take one standard sized cupcake and one small cupcake and I cut the tops off of each one.
I then take the icing and spread a thick layer onto the top of each cupcake. I prefer to pipe my icing using a 12 or 2A tip, but spreading it on with a knife or spatula will work just as well.
Next turn the small cupcake upside down and place it on top of the standard size cupcake so that the two layers of icing are touching.
Then spread more icing over the small cupcake so that it's fully covered. Again you can pipe this or spread it with a knife.
You're now ready for the fondant! If you haven't used fondant before it's very easy. It's very similar to play dough in consistency. You can either make your own fondant or buy one premade like Wilton's. Premade is easier but more much expensive and in my opinion not as tasty as a homemade fondant. I prefer to make a homemade marshmallow fondant when I have the time (see below for the recipe).
Roll out your fondant with a rolling pin until you get your desired thickness (about 1/8"-1/4"). Then cut a 6" circle out. I used a 6" round cake board to get a perfect circle.
Once you have your circle of fondant, pick it up and drape it over the top of your cupcake tower. You can then arrange the bottom of the fondant into the soft folds of the ghost. If it's not long enough play with the edges a bit to thin out the fondant and create a bit more length.
Next, you will need a small amount of black fondant. If you didn't buy it premade you can make some by adding black icing coloring to the white fondant. I recommend wearing some gloves while kneading the color into the fondant unless you don't mind staining your hands. Start with a little coloring and add more as you knead it until you get the desired color.
Then, break off a tiny bit of the black fondant and roll it into a circle in your hands. Flatten it with a finger so you have a small disc of black fondant. Take your brush and dip it into the water and brush it onto the backside of the fondant disc. Place the disc onto the ghost where you'd like the mouth to be located. Repeat this step two more times for the eyes with slightly less fondant. You can also use chocolate covered sunflower seeds but these you should affix with royal icing and I think it's easier just to make some black fondant instead of a batch of royal icing. Plus with fondant you can get creative and make different shaped mouths and eyes!
1 lb white mini marshmallows
2-5 tbsp water
2 lbs powdered sugar
½ cup vegetable shortening
Place marshmallows and 2 tablespoons of water in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave the marshmallows on high for 30 seconds. Stir the mixture and microwave again on high for 30 seconds and stir again. Continue doing this until the mixture has melted, usually about 2½ minutes.
Place ¾ cup of the powdered sugar on top of the melted marshmallow mixture. Now generously grease your hands with the shortening (palms, backs of hand, and in between fingers), then heavily grease the counter you will be using and dump the marshmallow mixture onto it.
Knead the marshmallows as you would bread. Add the rest of the powdered sugar slowly and continue kneading the fondant. Re-grease your hands and counter as needed. If the mixture is tearing easily, it is too dry, so add ½ tablespoon of water at a time until it softens up. It usually takes about 8 minutes to get a firm smooth elastic ball.
Double wrap the fondant in plastic wrap and let it sit overnight.
Prepare the fondant for storing by coating it with a good layer of shortening, wrap in a plastic wrap or Ziploc bag.