With Thanksgiving parties galore just around the corner, this month I selected Marshmallow Turkey Cupcakes for the Martha Stewart Cupcake Club. These cupcakes, looking so adorable in the glossy cookbook photo were fun, but slightly difficult to make.
The cupcake base started with Martha's One Bowl Chocolate Cupcake recipe. Being the master of shortcuts that I am, I was thrilled to see a recipe that actually gave me permission to dump everything together! It reminded me of an old recipe my Grandma used to make called "Crazy Cake". She took it one step further and mixed it right in the 9X13" pan!
The recipe called for brown cupcake liners. I found these glassine brown paper liners here and I love them! They are a bit heavier and less transparent than standard liners and give the cupcake a nice base. Shipping was a little expensive, so I decided it would be better to buy more! (300 to be exact!) I'm sure you will be seeing these in the future!
Although the recipe only stated 18 cupcakes, I stretched it to 23. That way I would have enough for the 4th grade class plus a few for the test kitchen! I reduced the bake time to 14 minutes, which was perhaps a minute or two short. I blame my ADD cupcake effort on the fact that I had one girl suffering from pneumonia and one girl suffering from sleepover jet lag! Oh well, nothing a little frosting won't cover!
Chocolate Swiss Meringue was the suggested frosting for these birds. Even though the recipe DID involve a double boiler, and DIDN'T include cream cheese, I decided to expand my culinary skills and try it. The result was a delightfully fluffy and light topping. I piped mine on with a snipped ziploc bag to cover the cupcake craters!
While the cupcakes themselves were delicious, straight-forward and relatively easy to make, the turkey adornments proved a little trickier. First there was the issue of the coconut marshmallows. Apparently, if you live south of the Mason-Dixon line, these are only available on-line! While I was wiling to pay the shipping for some cool cupcake papers, I had to draw the line at $8.00 shipping for a bag of marshmallows!
On to plan B - make my own! I dipped a marshmallow in melted butterscotch chips and then patted them with toasted coconut. This technique made cute "baby turkeys" with big heads! Swedish Fish made tail feathers, candy corn provided an ample beak and blue writing icing was all I could think of that would show up as eyes.
As an alternate, I used a Nutter Butter cookie. First I coated the cupcake with toasted coconut. Before inserting, I took a candy corn and dabbed it into the melted butterscotch chips and secured it to the center of the cookie. With writing icing, I added two eyes. After it dried, I inserted it into the cupcake, added Swedish Fish Tail feathers, and Voila! Another Turkey Cupcake!
My husband liked the big-headed baby turkeys better. What's your vote?
Thanks for baking with me!
MARSHMALLOW TURKEY CUPCAKES
Martha Stewart's Cupcakes
24 One Bowl Chocolate Cupcakes
Swiss Meringue Buttercream
5 Tablespoons semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted and cooled
24 Coconut Marshmallows, such as Jet-Puffed Toasted Coconut Marshmallows
48 long chocolate sprinkles
1 pound mini gummy fish (144 pieces)
12 ounces sweetened shredded coconut, lightly toasted
1. Using a flexible spatula, fold melted and cooled chocolate into buttercream. Use an offset spatula to spread buttercream over cupcakes in a smooth layer.
2. With a wet toothpick, poke two holes in each coconut marshmallow; using kitchen tweezers, insert chocolate sprinkles for eyes. Cut 12 orange gummy fish in half; push one half into each marshmallow for a beak. Press marshmallow heads onto cupcakes. Press 5 more gummy fish into each cupake to make tail feathers. Sprinkle toasted cocounjut over cupcakes to cover completely. Decorated cupcakes can be stored up to 1 day at room temperature in airtight containers.
ONE BOWL CHOCOLATE CUPCAKES
Martha Stewart's Cupcakes
Makes 18 Cupcakes
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
3/4 cup buttermilk
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup warm water
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners. With an electric mixer on medium speed, whisk together flour, cocoa, sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Reduce speed to low. Add eggs, buttermilk, oil, extract, and the water; beat until smooth and combined, scraping down the sides of bowl as needed.
divide the batter evenly among lined cups, filling each about two-thirds full. Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until a cake tester inserted in center comes out clean, about 20 minutes (0r less).
SWISS MERINGUE BUTTERCREAM
Martha Stewart's Cupcakes
Makes About 5 Cups
5 large egg whites
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
Pinch of salt
1 pound (4 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons, room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1. Combine egg whites, sugar, and salt in the heatproof bowl of a standing mixer set over a pan of simmering water. Whisk constantly by hand until mixture is warm to the touch and sugar has dissolved (the mixture should feel completely smooth when rubbed between your fingertips.)
2. Attach the bowl to the mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Starting on low and gradually increasing to medium-high speed, whisk until stiff (but not dry) peaks form. continue mixing until the mixture is fluffy and glossy and completely cool, about 10 minutes.
3. With a mixer on medium-low speed, add the butter a few tablespoons at a time, mixing well after each addition. Once all butter has been added, whisk in vanilla. Switch to the paddle attachment, and continue beating on low speed until all air bubbles are eliminated, about 2 minutes. Scrape down sides of bowl with a flexible spatula, and continue beating until the frosting is completely smooth. Keep buttercream at room temperature if using the same day, or transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate up to 3 days or freeze up to 1 month. Before using, bring to room temperature and beat with paddle attachment on low speed until smooth again, about 5 minutes.