Saturday, April 2, 2011

Spaghetti for dessert.....April Fool's Cupcakes!!

Who wants dessert? I mean dinner...I mean...Nah, there are no dinner recipes in this post, just cupcakes!  These are cute (and delicious, I promise) cupcakes for April Fools' Day.  I got the idea from the blog OurBestBites.  I'm sorry this post didn't come sooner, I wanted to have it up BEFORE April Fools' so you guys could use it....but, I wasn't able to find time to make them until Thursday night.  Sooo, here they are:

Don't they look, um, delicious???? Well, they are, and they are super easy!
I will say, I did use a "cake from a box" for this one.  I was worried the decorating part was going to be more involved than the girl from OurBestBites  (Sara) said.  Sometimes people who are pros forget the rest of us aren't divinely talented :) ...but she wasn't exaggerating, it was really easy!  

I did make my own frosting, also from that blog.  The frosting turned out pretty well, and it held it's shape perfectly! No melting to be had!  However, the taste is very similar to red velvet frosting.  And I don't mean the cream cheese kind.  I'm talking the old school, cook it on the stove kind (for those of you who've never had it, you're probably thinkin' I'm, you DO cook it on the stove). And don't get me wrong, I do like that frosting a lot, but I don't know how I feel about it on white cake.  Sara (the girl who originally posted this recipe) said she loved it and had rave reviews because it isn't as sweet as other frostings used on cupcakes.  And that is very true, however, with me?  Ummm, more frosting, less cake please.  I'm super weird!  I'm the kid at the birthday parties that insisted on a corner piece with a frosting flower on top!  I never think frosting is too sweet...ever. :) But it you're like the rest of the modern world, I suggest you try this frosting recipe at least once.  It is very good, and it isn't as overly sweet as other recipes.  (I will post the full frosting recipe at the end of this post)  :)

I'm also going to show a few techniques I've picked up looking at other blogs.  I'm very new to this whole decorating thing, so I'm excited to share some tips and tricks on how to keep decorating as painless as possible!

For these cupcakes you will need:
-Ferrero Rocher chocolates (they are covered in gold foil and usually in the candy aisle at the grocery store)
-Strawberry Jam (sauce)
-White chocolate bar (parmesan cheese)

Here are my little cupcakes all ready to be frosted.  You'll want to make sure they are completely cool before decorating.

Here is what the frosting should look like once completed.  You want it very light and fluffy so it will hold it's shape (also, it's more delicious that way):

If you are a baking guru, please skip down the the actual frosting pictures.  These next few are for us rookies out there (me included).  This, actually, was my first ever attempt at frosting using a piping bag and all that jazz.  Having frosted many cakes and cookies (completely free hand) in my life with my mom, I seriously don't know how she never used these!  What were we thinking??? 

Anywho, go ahead and put the coupler (inside part only) into the piping bag and snip off the end of the bag.

Here's the piping trick I used...guaranteed to avoid a HUGE clean-up process. I promise, no more cleaning out piping bags!
Take some clear plastic wrap and lay it out on the counter.  You'll want it to be about a foot and a half long, a foot at the least.  You want it to have the ends extending past the frosting.  Put a medium-sized dollop of frosting in the center (I used about a cup-ish).  Then, roll up the plastic wrap around it:

Twist the ends (doesn't matter which way) so that no frosting can get out:

Then, slide the frosting into the piping bag.  Pull one end of the twisted wrap out the coupler/end of the piping bag.  This part was a little odd the first time I did it.  I used a toothpick to help the plastic wrap come out the end. When you do this, you'll notice the wrapped frosting doesn't reach the coupler and the end of the bag.  That's okay, we'll fix that in the next step.

Just like you're going to frost, hold the end of the piping bag and squeeze until you see a little frosting come out the end:

Put a rubber band on the other end of the bag (the large end, so you don't have to worry about the bag leaking any).  Cut off the plastic wrap right at the tip of the piping bag (where you just forced the frosting to squeeze out a little).  Put your piping tip (I used a #3) and coupler cap on, and you're ready to frost!  

Now, the magic of this process won't be fully realized until you're finished.  Simply take off the coupler cap and tip, take off the rubber band, and then slide the whole plastic wrap bundle out.  Throw it away, and you're left with a clean piping bag and coupler!  The only thing you really need to wash out is the tip.  (I was a little messy and a little frosting got on the bag when I pulled out the plastic wrap, so I did have a few spots to clean off...but sooo much easier!)

But, onto to the frosting!  I swear, this is super easy!  Hold the bag about two inches above the cupcake, and squeeze the bag gently.  The frosting will naturally coil and look messy (just like spaghetti noodles).  

Slowly, as you continue to frost, move around the cupcake to cover it in "noodles."

Using Ferrero Rocher chocolates (they can be found at any grocery store in the candy section), place your "meatball" in the middle of each cupcake.  

Then, take some strawberry jam, and heat it for about ten seconds in the microwave to get it nice and smooth.  Spoon a little out and drizzle over each cupcake.  Now you have your sauce! Voila!

If you want to get really fancy, take some white chocolate and grate it for some "parmesan cheese."  I didn't have any on hand, so mine is simply marinara. ;) 

My friend Nikki came up with another alternative (she's always brilliant with this stuff).  Take a cookies n' cream bar and grate it...and, you have parmesan and pepper on your spaghetti! :)

I found the real trick with these is convincing people they aren't actually disgusting, but delicious! :)  Haha, I took these to work, and I ended up eating three, trying to prove to people that I didn't put anything weird in them...Happy April Fools' Day!

Here is the frosting recipe I used...this is originally from

Cupcake Frosting:
Frosts 12 cupcakes

3 Tbls Flour
1/2 Cup of Milk (whole is best, I used 2% and it was fine)
1/2 Cup real butter (room temp)
1/2 Cup granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

Whisk milk and flour together in a small saucepan on medium heat.
Keep stirring continuously until it thickens.  You will know it's done when you can start to see the bottom of the pot.  If it's lumpy, that's okay. (Don't let it get too thick, it should still be liquid-y)  
Pour into a mesh strainer over a mixing bowl and stir with a rubber spatula to push it through (this will take out the lumps).  (I used a plastic strainer, and it worked fine.)  
The mixture, once it's strained, should be almost like pudding.
Put it in the fridge to cool completely. (It took mine about 1 1/2 hours)  It's okay if it gets chilly, you don't want any warmth in it.
In an electric stand mixer, use the whisk attachment and beat the butter and sugar together until it's combined and fluffy.
While it's stirring, slowly add the mixture from the fridge and the vanilla.  Take a moment and scrape the sides to combine it.  It will look nothing like a light frosting....just wait.
Beat on med-high for 7-8 min.  Yup, I'm serious...that long.  It's amazing!  It will turn into a delicious, fluffy, and silky frosting when it's done, promise!
Once you're finished with that, you are ready to frost!

Hope you enjoyed this post, happy baking!

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