At Halloween, I saw an idea for mummy cupcakes, so I decided to try a new (to me) dark chocolate cupcake recipe.
I found one at the Brown Eyed Baker blog here. For these, I used only her cupcake recipe and the Bouchon Bakery recipe for basic buttercream, my favorite buttercream of all time. Unfortunately, I realized after making the cupcakes and butterream that although I did have Wilton eyeballs on hand (who doesn't?), I didn't have the right sort of tip to create the strips of bandage. I tried winging it with a round tip and squishing down, but it wasn't quite as precise as I'd have liked. I've since bought a flat tip for next year, because the cupcakes were definitely good. And they were cute, they'll just be cuter when done right.
Meanwhile, back in September I was cast in the early December production of Snew White, obviously a takeoff on Snow White, at the Studioplayhouse in Montclair. I played Evelyn Crabtree, assistant to the Evil Queen. I figured, what with working with the Evil Queen and all, that it'd be fitting for me to go with a poison apple theme. So I decided almost immediately that I'd do apple cake pops. I have Bakerella's book and had done pops just once before, for a Mardi Gras party years ago. To stay with the theme, I set out to find a good apple cake recipe to use for these pops.
This apple cupcake with brown sugar buttercream (I've determined that I really prefer buttercream that uses zero confectioner's sugar) recipe I found looked just about right, but I needed to test them for both taste and texture. I made them first as cupcakes for a book club meeting, and they were a complete hit. Somewhat more like dense muffins than cupcakes, they were really tasty and actually about as healthy as cupcakes are going to get, what with the 4 cups of apples in them!
All that remained was to make them into cake pops for my cast party on December 15. Yeah, right. I hit my first stumbling block in searching for the jumbo green diamond sprinkles that Bakerella suggests for a "leaf" on each apple. Would you believe Wilton discontinued those? Why on earth, with someone as popular as Bakerella pushing their use in her books and on her blog, why on earth, I ask you, would Wilton discontinue them?! And I couldn't find anything truly comparable. Finally, I found Wilton's sugar gems and spent quite a bit of time sorting through them to find the most leaf-like ones.
I was even good about it. I made the cupcakes that Friday evening and the buttercream Saturday morning. Saturday after our afternoon performances, I went home, crumbled the cupcakes, mashed in the buttercream, and formed 40-something little cake apples on parchment paper. Into the fridge they went for the requisite time period, while I got my sticks, "leaves," and pretzel "stems" ready and dug out my candy melts.
Candy melts. Ha. A misnomer if I ever heard one. I had (note: had) a good number of red candy melts. Tried to melt them. Failed. Decided my apples would be pale green. Tried my green & white candy melts. Better luck, but not by much. I ended up with a candy melt paste that I had to spackle on to each "apple," which therefore no longer actually looked like apples, after I spent all that time shaping them into cute little apple shapes. Ugh. Sticks, candy melt spackle, pretzel stick stems, and after an even 40 I gave up. I was exhausted, disheartened, and annoyed. Why can Bakerella get her melts to hit a nice liquid and mine were a mess? It's not like I've never melted chocolate before. I make chocolate candies, for pete's sake. I even tried adding a little vegetable oil based on a tip I found online, and it did very little. Plus, I think that's kind of gross.
If any of you have any ideas, let me know, because I'm about ready to never make a cake pop again as long as I live. If I ever do succumb and make another pop, I'm only using good chocolate to coat them, and the heck with cutesy shapes and colors. I just can't do it. Notice I'm not providing a photo of my pops. There aren't any. No way, no how.
Meanwhile, my fellow cast members & the show's crew loved them. Of course. Thought they were adorable and delicious. Delicious, I agree. Adorable? Go figure. One fellow actor actually said that I have a great "go to" when I get invited anywhere. Hahahahahahaha! Obviously, they looked easy and low-labor.
But I promised cupcakes in this post, so enough about my semi-failed/semi-successful cake pops, and on to more cupcakes!
My office holiday party.
I made that Bouchon Bakery tart. But it just so happens that there is one single, solitary woman in the office who's allergic to hazelnuts. Of course. The one nut in the tart is her one allergy. Sigh. So I had to make something else as well. I went back to the Brown Eyed Baker's dark chocolate cupcakes, but this time I topped them with Bouchon Bakery's peanut butter buttercream, the recipe for the filling in Sebastien Rouxel's Better Nutters. Wow. Rich and... well, rich... and wow. Again, a hit.
I may complain and I may wear myself out, but I really do love baking. I promise.