Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Thanksgiving Turkey Cupcakes

If you search for "turkey cupcakes" on Google Images or Pinterest, believe me: You will get a lot of results. You will get lots and lots of results. When faced with the prospect of making a dessert for Andrew's Thanksgiving feast at preschool, I knew I wanted to make cupcakes that looked like turkeys, so I turned to Pinterest and found, unsurprisingly, tons of options. First I thought I'd make turkey dinner cupcakes, using chewy caramels shaped like turkeys, but I could see that getting tedious very quickly. I'm not the most patient or artistic person, so I could just imagine how my turkeys would look.

I ultimately drew my inspiration from lots of the pins I saw and made my own version, and I couldn't be more pleased with how they turned out. They were so cute, and the kids just loved them. By all accounts, they were a huge hit and quite delicious!

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you! I hope you have wonderful, peaceful days with your families and friends.

Turkey Cupcakes
cupcakes inspired by various pins on Pinterest; frosting from Savory Sweet Life

For the cupcakes:

1 box chocolate or devil's food cake mix
Water, oil, and eggs called for on the box
1 teaspoon vanilla

For the frosting:

1 cup butter, softened
3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
Pinch of salt
2 teaspoons vanilla
4 tablespoons heavy cream

For the decorations:

Yellow and red colored sugar
Chow mein noodles
Vanilla wafers
White decorating frosting
Miniature chocolate chips
Orange and yellow Dots candies

1. To make the cupcakes, preheat the oven as directed on box and line 24 cupcake tins with paper liners. Combine cake mix with water, oil, eggs, and vanilla and stir until completely combined. Bake according to the directions on the box, usually about 18 to 20 minutes.

2. To make the frosting, cream the butter for a couple of minutes until smooth. Sift 3 cups powdered sugar and cocoa into the mixing bowl. Turn your mixer on the lowest speed (so the dry ingredients do not blow everywhere) until the sugar and cocoa are absorbed by the butter. Increase mixer speed to medium and add vanilla extract, salt, and cream and beat for 3 minutes. If your frosting needs a more stiff consistency, add a little more sugar. If your frosting needs to be thinned out, add additional cream 1 tablespoon at a time. Frost the cooled cupcakes.

3. Place a dollop of the chocolate frosting on the front of each cupcake (this is where the "head" of the turkey will rest). Combine red and yellow sugars and sprinkle over the cupcakes. Stick chow mein noodles in the back of each cupcake for the feathers.

4. To make the faces, add dots of white frosting on the vanilla wafers to make the eyes. Use a miniature chocolate chip for each pupil. Using a rolling pin, roll Dots out into relatively thin layers and use a paring knife to cut them into beak shapes. Secure the beaks with a dot of white frosting. Place the heads on the cupcakes and gently press down to ensure that they're secure.