Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Paw Print Cupcakes for a Puppy Paw-ty

The first batch of "pupcakes" that I made were tricky, and they didn't hold up as well as I had hoped. So I decided to make a simpler design for the cupcakes that Mia took to school for her birthday. To start, I made this chocolate cake recipe for the second time. This time I was careful to not fill the cups more than 2/3 of the way, and I let them bake a bit longer, 20 minutes instead of 18. This seemed to help. Also, our baking took place on a snow day, so I had two eager little helpers in the kitchen.

For the frosting, I used this recipe, from my friend Jenifer:
Butter Frosting (Chocolate)
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 4 1/2 cups sifted powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • additional milk, as needed
  1. Beat the butter until fluffy. 
  2. Slowly add 2 cups of the powdered sugar, beating well. (Admittedly, I am lazy about sifting it first. I can't tell if it makes a difference or not.)
  3. Add 1/4 cup milk plus vanilla. 
  4. Slowly beat in the remaining powdered sugar plus the cocoa powder, adding additional milk as needed to get a good consistency for spreading. (For me, I think it was another two or three tablespoons. Add one at a time, mix, and continue from there.)
{Finished Cupcakes}

To decorate the cupcakes, I spread the frosting on with an angled spatula. My inspiration for these cupcakes came from this picture (which appear to use Jr. Mints and chocolate chips, inserted point-side down). Using candies I had purchased for the previous "pupcakes," I added a mini Reese's peanut butter cup (the kind that comes in a stand-up bag and doesn't have a wrapper -- perfect for baking) to the center of each frosted cupcake. To finish the paw prints, I added four "toes" made out of brown mini M&M's (I had to first pour them into a bowl and then sort out the ones I wanted, but it wasn't that much work, certainly quicker than when I sorted them for the Cheer Bear cake.) That's it! They were cute and very delicious.

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