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Eyeball Upside-Down Cupcakes

These cupcakes look right back at you. The fanciful topping of canned pear slices and cherries, arranged like a wide-open eyeball, mean that frosting is unnecessary. By using corn muffin mix for cake, the sugar content is lower --for an eye-popping Halloween treat.

Recipe by Canned Food Alliance
gluten free, nut free, vegetarian, dessert, halloween


  • 4 teaspoons soft margarine or butter
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 can (15 ounces with16 slices) sliced pears in heavy syrup, drained and blotted dry
  • 8 canned dark, sweet cherries, blotted dry
  • 1 box (8 1/2 ounces) corn muffin mix
  • 1 large egg, slightly beaten
  • 1/3 cup 1 percent low-fat milk
  • Non-stick vegetable spray
  • 5 or 6 strings of black licorice or other color licorice


  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  2. Coat interiors of 8 cups in a standard (2 1/2 x 1 1/4-inch) muffin tin with margarine or butter.
  3. Sprinkle a coating of sugar on the bottom of the coated cups.
  4. Arrange 2 pear slices and a cherry in the bottom of each prepared cup, arching the pear slices against the sides of the cup and placing the cherry in the middle, so that the arrangement of fruit looks like an eye. Set aside.
  5. Mix corn muffin mix, egg and milk in a medium bowl according to package directions and spoon into muffin tin cups over the fruit.
  6. Bake for 8 minutes; the cakes will have formed a crust and begun to peak in the center.
  7. Spray the bottom of a sheet pan with vegetable spray and place it sprayed-side down on top of the muffin tins to flatten peaks of cakes.
  8. Bake for 10 more minutes.
  9. Remove sheet pan and muffin tin from the oven; place tin on a cooking rack to cool for 5 minutes.
  10. Run a knife around edge of each cupcake and invert onto cooling rack or lift each cake from the tin with a small, flexible spatula.
  11. Cool to room temperature.