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
- Beat the butter until fluffy.
- 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.)
- Add 1/4 cup milk plus vanilla.
- 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.)
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.