Tag Archives: filled cupcakes

Halloween Witch Cupcakes

It would be easy to show only the way the cupcakes came out, and give you the instructions about how they are made, but then as you probably know, I don’t ever do things the easy way. So this article is a story about how I made the witches.

witches 004Mini-cupcake witch with tempered chocolate hat brim

I made 3 boxes of cake mix into 6 dozen regular size cupcakes, and a couple dozen mini-cupcakes. What happens is that the box says to fill the regular cupcake cups with 3 Tablespoons of batter; when I did that and got 24 cups filled, I had batter left over. So I filled mini-cupcake cups with 1 Tablespoon of batter each, and got anywhere from 6 to 12 mini-cupcakes with each 2 dozen regular cupcakes. That was the how and why of the mini-witches.

To make the witch, the general directions are to cut a cone out of the cupcake, which will become the pointed hat. Then the empty space left from taking the cone out of the cupcake is filled with frosting- green butter cream- which is overflowing to make the witches head. I used black frosting to paint the eyes and mouth. Then the cone is stuck to the brim of the hat with a drop of frosting, and I piped an orange ring around the cone to fill that space between the rounded bottom of the upside down cone and the brim.

I made the cupcakes over a period of 3 weeks, and then packaged them by the dozen and froze them after they had completely cooled. I was pleasantly surprised at how moist they had kept. Perhaps the only thing that was different from fresh cupcakes was that the paper cups seemed to want to pull away from the cupcake.

When I was making my test version of the witch, I had concerns that the cupcake, and especially the point of the hat, would dry out prematurely and make for an unpleasant product. I decided to do something about that by frosting the cupcake, and dipping the cone, like I would a firm chocolate filling, into a pot of tempered chocolate. I made a couple mistakes in doing all that. First, I frosted the top of the cupcake with chocolate ganache (there is never enough chocolate even with the cupcakes made with chocolate cake mix). The frosting left the cupcake tacky, and with the crusted exterior, seemed to be overkill. Second, dipping the cones just didn’t work for a couple reasons- the chocolate made the cones lose their shape, and made the whole hat heavier so that it tended to squash the head of the witch. I decided I just had to let the cones dry out if they were going to dry.

witches 002Witch in frosted cupcake and dipped hat cone, and mini-cupcake witch with OREO brim.

The brim of the hat is a chocolate wafer cookie. The first time I looked for them, I didn’t find them, but they are available. However, I felt I could improve on the cookie as a brim. I painted a piece of parchment paper with tempered chocolate, and when it was mostly set up, I cut it with a biscuit cutter. The trick is to get the painted chocolate thin enough. I found that using a cup of tempered chocolate (2/3 cup melt and 1/3 cup temper seed) I was able to spread almost a 9 x 13 sheet of parchment and the thickness was about 1/8 inch.

When I started making the mini-cupcake witches, I needed a smaller cookie as the brim of the hat. I found that the OREO cookie wafer was about the right size. So I had to separate the wafers from the center. Never fear, I didn’t let all those centers go to waste- they went to waist. After working with the tempered chocolate, I made brims by using a smaller biscuit cutter for the mini-cupcakes.

The one area in which I did not find the complete solution is in putting the hat on the head. Too often, it seemed the hat squashed the head and the face features were pushed down into the cupcake. I tell people that the witches pulled their hats too low. I think there might be a couple approaches to fixing that problem. First, maybe making the heads bigger would better support the hat. And second, maybe letting the butter cream harden before adding the hat would keep the face from being squashed.

Chocolate Bunnies for Easter Cupcakes

This year for Easter I am making cupcakes for all the kids, young and old. Now I have talked about cupcakes, and making pull-apart cakes out of cupcakes before; I am not going to say anything different about cupcakes as such. I did fill my cupcakes with some left-over butter cream frosting that I had, and I frosted them in green with the twisting rose-like pattern. On the frosted cupcakes I placed a chocolate rabbit, and a couple jelly bean eggs.

Easter 003

So today, I want to talk about the making of the chocolate rabbits. First, I bought a sheet of molds from the Decorette shop– my favorite cooking store. There were three whole bunnies on the sheet, and I cut them apart so I could more easily handle them. Half the molds are the left side of the rabbit and half the molds are the right side. With the bumps and holes in the molds, you can put the two halves together aligned.

molds 005

With this mold set, you can make either hollow rabbits, or solid rabbits. I tried both, but had enough trouble with the hollow rabbits that I ended up making all mine solid. The trick is to get the chocolate the correct temperature so that it flows nicely. And this is a trick. I first tried to use a bain marie to melt the chocolate, but then the problem was to transfer the melted chocolate into the mold. I used a small spoon, but still the chocolate got outside the cavity of the mold and I had work cleaning up after the chocolate set.

So next I tried the use of the disposable piping bag. In this case, you put the chocolate pieces in the bag, tie it shut, and microwave it for 15 seconds at a time until the chocolate is melted. Then you snip the tip of the bag off with a scissors and pipe the chocolate into the mold.

This works real well for the first one or two rabbits, but then the chocolate cools too much and you have more trouble. I didn’t do this, but I think you need to use the equivalent of a warming tray to hold the bag after each use so the chocolate stays at a temperature of about 105 degrees, and easily flows.

To make hollow rabbits, you fill one side of the mold, put the second side on the filed side and shake the mold so that the warm chocolate flies around the mold and sticks to all of the cavity. Then you let it rest for a few minutes and open the mold. If the chocolate has set, one side of the mold will come off easily, and then you turn the other side so that the rabbit can drop out onto a dish towel. As I said, I had trouble with hollow bunnies and I think it was that my chocolate was not warm enough to fly around the mold when I shook it.

To make the solid rabbits, you mold the two halves separately. First you fill one side of the mold and set it. (I placed it in the freezer for a couple minutes). Then when it has set, it falls out of the mold. Now you fill the opposite side of the rabbit and set the already molded side on top and let that set up. Voila, you have a solid rabbit ready to fall out of the mold.

Easter 004

The Decorette shop had other Easter theme molds for chocolate, too. Most of them were larger, and would need to be made with the hollow technique. There were some egg molds that were about 5-6 inches long, and there was a rabbit that was more like 8-9 inches tall. Maybe next year I will try some of those for Easter goodies. It would be fun to decorate a large chocolate egg with Royal Icing.

Valentine’s Day Cupcakes

For Valentine’s Day, I distributed cupcakes. Not just ordinary cupcakes, but filled cupcakes. I made two different recipes of cupcakes; a chocolate recipe and a white cake recipe. Each recipe gave me 24 cupcakes for a total of 48. Then, because some people think cupcakes are a dry cake, and not very tasty after you eat the frosting off, I decided to fill the cupcakes to make the dough tastier. I ended up filling the white cake ones with chocolate ganache, and the chocolate cupcakes with creme patissiere. (There are a bunch of those marks over the vowels in creme patissiere, but they are difficult to put there; think of it as pastry cream which is a custard filling). This photo shows my test cupcakes before I used the chocolate ganache or creme patissiere and used some existing buttercream frosting both as the filling and as the pink frosting. I mixed some red frosting for the final assembly.

filled 011

There is really no trick about the filling of the cupcakes. You use a knife to cut a lid off the cupcake. Insert the knife at a 45 degree angle and rotate around the cupcake. When you lift the lid off, cut the point of the cone away as scraps. I also did a little digging of the center of the cupcake with the lid off to make the space bigger. Then you put the filling in that open space and put the remaining lid back on; the filling will help keep the lid in place.

I piped the frosting with a #2D tip; this is a very large star tip that requires the special large coupler on the bag. The design is created by starting with a star in the center, and then creating a spiral around the center until the top of the cake is filled. You can see the difference the large #2D tip made compared with the pink frosting on my test cupcakes which used a smaller #21 piping tip.

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I thought that the frosting might cover the cupcakes to the point that one would not be able to tell whether the cupcake was a white cake or a chocolate cupcake. So I planned ahead and created the purple drop flowers with brown and white centers. Then at the end of each spiral of frosting I placed one of the dried drop flowers to indicate the cake type. These big drop flowers were also made with the #2d piping tip. I wanted them big and bold.

I hope this gives you some ideas for moving forward with cupcakes that you might make. I note on the internet that lots of people are now doing filled cupcakes, and even the top frosting design is starting to be common; I saw it referred to as a rose on one site.