Sunday, 11 May 2014

Monster cupcakes (apple and cinnamon)

Purple and green monster cupcakes
The monsters! 
These apple and cinnamon cupcakes were actually made back in February - before I used the same recipe to make the Sheep Cupcakes for my friend’s hen weekend – I just haven’t gotten around to writing them up!  These cupcakes were made for a visit to see my sister, brother-in-law and 18-month-old nephew. I wanted to make something fun and remembered having pinned monster cupcakes to my Cupcake Inspiration board on Pinterest.

I experimented with different piping nozzles for the buttercream – making spiky monsters with a small round nozzle, hairy monsters using a grass effect nozzle, and wiggly wormy-like monsters with a medium round nozzle. I chose purple and green buttercream to contrast, but you could make any colour monsters!

To decorate the cupcakes, I made circles out of white fondant icing for the eyes and mouths out of black fondant icing. I have this small cutter set, which has lots of basic shapes and is very useful! Making the teeth and sticking them on was quite fiddly – as they are tiny pieces of fondant – but worth the effort! The easiest way to make tiny triangles is to cut out stars using a star cutter, and the cut the triangles off each star. The tongues were made from fizzy belt sweets, cut with a pair of kitchen sweets and then inserted through the mouths – again a bit fiddly! The hair/antennae were simply made from strawberry pencil sweets, cut into short lengths. You could experiment with various different sweets for different hair-types / antennae.

If you wanted to make these cupcakes as a fun activity with kids, you could use white chocolate buttons for the eyes, teeth / lip / fang sweets for the mouths and various different types of sweets for the hair!

These cakes tasted fantastic, but the cake / icing didn’t really go with the strong taste of the sweets on top! If I were to make monster cupcakes again, I’d probably go for a simple vanilla cupcake, or a strawberry cupcake to go with the sweets!

Cinnamon cupcakes with apple puree and maple syrup buttercream 
(makes 12 cupcakes and 4-6 mini cupcakes)
Green monster cupcake sticking out his multi-coloured tongue!
Ingredients
  1. 110g butter, at room temperature
  2. 225g golden castor sugar
  3. 2 large eggs
  4. 150g self-raising flour, sifted
  5. 125g plain flour, sifted
  6. 120ml semi-skimmed milk
  7. 2 tsp cinnamon
  8. 1 tsp vanilla extract
  9. 2 large / 3 small Bramley apples
  10. ½ - 1 tblsp soft brown sugar

Buttercream:
  1. 115g butter, at room temperature
  2. 500g icing sugar, sifted
  3. 2 tblsp maple syrup
  4. 2 tblsp milk
  5. Food colouring

To decorate
  1. Sweets (I used fizzy belt sweets and strawberry cables)
  2. White fondant icing
  3. Black fondant icing
  4. Black writing icing (optional)
  5. Red food colour pen (optional)

For the eyes and mouths (this can all be done in advance):
  1. Roll out a small amount of white fondant icing.
  2. Use various circle cutters to cut out different sized eyes.
  3. Use a star-shaped cutter to cut out several stars and then use a knife to cut these stars into small triangles for teeth.
  4. Cut out small rectangles for additional teeth.
  5. Roll out a small amount of black fondant icing.
  6. Use an oval cutter to cut out mouths and shape as desired.
  7. Use a paint brush dipped in a tiny amount of water to attach the teeth to the mouths.
  8. Use scissors to cut tongue shapes from the belt sweets.
  9. Cut small slits in the mouths and then push tongues through these.
  10. Use black writing icing or a black food colour pen to add pupils to the eyes.

For the cakes:
  1. Peel and chop the Bramley apples.
  2. Place the chopped apples in a saucepan with two tablespoons of water and half a tablespoon of soft brown sugar.
  3. Cook over a low heat until softened and mostly pureed ( a few small lumps is fine).
  4. Taste and add extra brown sugar as required.
  5. Place to one side to cool.
  6. Preheat oven to 160C.
  7. Line a 12 hole muffin tin with cupcake cases.
  8. In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy (this will take at least 5 minutes with an electric hand /stand mixer – don’t rush this stage).
  9. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing for a few minutes after each addition. It should result in a lovely light mousse-like mixture.
  10. Combine the two flours and the cinnamon in a separate bowl.
  11. Combine the milk and vanilla extract in a jug.
  12. Add one third of the flour mixture to the creamed mixture and stir gently to combine.
  13. Pour in one third of the milk mixture and stir gently.
  14. Continue to add flours and then milk mixture alternately, stirring gently after each addition, until all have been added.
  15. Spoon mixture into the cupcake cases, filling to about 2/3 full.
  16. Bake in the oven for about 30 minutes until lightly golden brown. The cakes will spring back lightly when touched, if cooked.
  17. Remove from the oven and leave to cool in tin for about 10 minutes, before carefully placing on a wire rack to finish cooling.

While the cakes are in the oven, make up the buttercream:
  1. In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter, maple syrup and half of the icing sugar until smooth.
  2. Add the rest of the icing sugar and beat until smooth and creamy.
  3. Add milk (if needed to bring the buttercream to a piping consistency) and beat again.
  4. Put buttercream into a piping bag with a nozzle adaptor.

Once cakes are cooked and cooled: 
    Purple monster cupcake sticking out his multi-coloured tongue!
  1. Use a tea spoon to cut a cone out from the centre of the cakes.
  2. Cut the top disk off each cone and retain.
  3. Fill the hole in each cake with a teaspoon of pureed apple and then replace a cake disk onto each cake to seal the hole.
  4. Pipe the butter cream onto the cakes using various nozzles.
  5. Add eyes, mouths and hair / antennae.  



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