With Thanksgiving on the horizon (OMG 4 days!) I felt it timely to finally upload this post. In the past year I’ve taken my baking decoration to the next level. Delicious tasting cupcakes aren’t enough anymore, they need to have that WOW factor. Enter the Thanksgiving turkey cupcake.
When looking for ideas on how to execute these cupcakes, I didn’t find great suggestions for making the head. Some websites suggested just adding globs of frosting to build it up, but I did one better. These turkeys have a peanut butter-chocolate malt ball head with frosting covering (Thank you Dylan’s). So delicious you could eat them right up, mmmm. I wanted to use candy corn for the beak, but could not find any last year, so I made do with fondant and added food coloring. I used white fondant (you can buy at Micheals, or baking supply or make your own) for the eyes and dotted with an edible food pen. Pecan tail feathers round out the decoration.
I went with a traditional chocolate cupcake for the bottom and chocolate butter cream frosting for the top. I think a vanilla cupcake would be fine, as long as you kept chocolate frosting on top. I happen to love this particular chocolate cupcake recipe because it calls for melted chocolate over cocoa powder. Is there anything better than watching chocolate and butter melding in a pan over low heat? I didn’t think so.
I brought these to a bar, my family Thanksgiving dinner and work. They were enjoyed by all; including the one child who had a mild allergic reaction to the peanut butter malt ball. An allergy wouldn’t have stopped me from eating these either. When carrying intricate cupcakes like these I highly recommend this 2 Layer-Cupcake Carrier.
Detailed decoration diagram/photos below
adapted from The Good Housekeeping Illustrated Book of Desserts recipe for Chocolate Truffle Cake
makes about 36 cupcakes (I got 34 out of my batch)
12 oz unsweetened or semi-sweet chocolate
2 sticks butter
2.5 cups water
3 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 2/3 cups flour
2 cups sugar (if using semi-sweet chocolate I subtracted 1/3 cup sugar from 2 cups)
1 1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
Prepare cupcake tins with liners and preheat oven to 325 degrees. In heavy 4 quart saucepan over low heat, heat 12 squares chocolate, 2 sticks butter, and 2.5 cups water, stirring frequently until melted and smooth. Remove from heat, cool slightly. In large bowl, with wire whisk or fork, beat eggs and vanilla extract. Gradually beat in warm chocolate mixture. To chocolate mixture, add flour, sugar, baking soda and salt; continue beating with wire whisk or fork until batter is smooth and blended.
Pour batter into cupcake liners about 3/4 full and bake 20 minutes until toothpick comes out clean. Cool on wire racks until cold enough to decorate.
2 sticks of butter at room temperature
6 ounces semisweet chocolate, melted and cooled
1/4 cup heavy cream, add slowly by Tablespoons
2.5 cups confectioners sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
Note: To melt chocolate, place in a double-boiler over simmering water on low heat for approximately 5 to 10 minutes. Stir occasionally until completely smooth and no pieces of chocolate remain. Remove from heat and let cool for 10-15 minutes.