Sunday, November 1, 2009

My Halloween Cupcake Bites- Inspired by Bakerella

Inspired by the incredibly talented and creative Bakerella whose site/blog I recently discovered, I made these cupcake bites for a Halloween party yesterday. This was my first time making these and overall I was very happy with the result. I won't tell you how many hours, yes hours I spent making them though because I'm too embarrased to admit! Granted I probably began my project too late in the evening to begin with so I was more tired than I realized. I'm sure with practice it won't take so long in the future. But, due to the individual portion nature of these treats, it does take a while to roll and shape everything by hand in addition to the candy coating melting, dipping, and cooling steps.

Plus I tried to do some other shapes other than round balls for the cake part of these treats but they didn't hold up well in the dipping process maybe because the coating was pretty thick and a little stiff. I felt like it'd need to be much more liquid/runny to be able to coat them so evenly and smoothly like Bakerella does and without the filling falling apart. I tried to make ghosts which wasn't too hard to shape by hand, but like I said trying to coat them was very difficult. They might have needed to set in the freezer alot longer before dipping than the balls for the cupcake bites. I'm thinking that was the problem with the ghosts since they are free standing like the cake balls and cake pops on her website and she said to let the cake balls chill several hours before dipping them. With the cupcake bites, you need only chill them a few minutes because you're going to be placing them into melted candy bases that harden and make them sturdy before dipping the top half in "frosting." The cupcake bites were far easier to make than the ghosts and cake balls for me. For now, I think I'll stick to making the cupcake bites in the future because they are fairly easy to make and I love the look of cupcakes!

I didn't have the pleated mini Reese's cup-style candy mold, so I improvised and used a mini muffin pan to mold the base of these "cupcakes." I really think the smooth bottom half looks just as cute as the crinkled look achieved with that mold, but I'd still love to get one of those molds and give that a try too because Bakerella's are super adorable. The "frosted" tops of her cupcake bites have an awesome extremely smooth appearance ( I have no idea how she does this but it looks beautiful and I'd love to pull it off myself sometime). One dip attempt into the process I decided not to try achieving this smooth look due to the thickness of the candy coating so I went to town with the spreader dabbing globs of melted candy coating on top of my cupcake bites and spreading with the same strokes I'd use to frost actual cupcakes. I'm happy with this textured frosting look and think it looks pretty cool too.

I used Betty Crocker Milk Chocolate cake mix, Betty Crocker cream cheese frosting, and Wilton candy melts in orange, white, and black. I dusted the tops with orange sugar I scored from Target's $ Spot.

What you'll need:

1 box cake mix in desired flavor
1 16 oz. container of cream cheese frosting
Candy coating melts, bark, or other chocolate that melts well for dipping
Wax or parchment paper
cookie sheet or other type of flat tray
decorative sprinkles, sugar, or other candy is optional
  1. First, bake your cake and then let cool completely before crumbling.
  2. Crumble your cake by spoon or hand, hands are easier and more fun! (I wore Mr. Clean latex free gloves I have for household cleaning since they said they are approved for food preparation. This kept anything from sticking to me, plus I wanted to be very sanitary since I was taking these to a party. Wearing the gloves also takes away they worry about fingerprints when handling the cupcake bites to dip or "frost" the tops. Of course you can wear any food preparation gloves like they wear in bakeries/delis or special candy making gloves.)
  3. Stir the cream cheese frosting into the crumbled cake and mix by hand. Again the gloves were a huge help with this and I can't imagine doing it without.
  4. Roll mixture into desired size balls. Bakerella suggests quarter sized and that was about the right size to place into the melted candy bottoms in my mini muffin tin. Place balls on wax or parchment paper covered cookie sheet and chill in freezer for a few minutes. Bakerella suggests 3 minutes. Don't worry if they're in there a little longer because mine weren't in any danger of freezing in the few extra minutes they were in there.
  5. Melt desired color of candy coating for cupcake bottoms. Spoon in about a teaspoon-teaspoon and a half or so of melted candy into your mold, muffin tin, or other container of choice. Immediately place a cake ball into the center of each opening filled with melted candy making the coating come up around the sides of the cake ball but not all the way to the top so it looks like a cupcake. Place them into the freezer for a few minutes to harden the candy coating bottoms and set the cake balls in place in it. - I just kind of eyeballed what I thought would be a good amount of melted coating, about 3/4 filled and this worked out perfectly. Any less than half full made bottoms that were too hard to hold onto to "frost" or dip the tops.
  6. Melt desired color of candy coating for cupcake tops. Remove cooled and hardened bottoms from the freezer and one by one dip or frost the tops of the cupcakes with the melted candy coating and place on a wax or parchment paper covered cookie sheet. Before the tops harden decorate the tops with sprinkles, sugar, or other candy if you want.
  7. Have fun admiring all of your hard work and force yourself to taste test one. It's a tough job, but someone has to do it. I can't wait to try these in different colors and themes. They would be adorable at baby or bridal showers and I may even make some for my sons' birthday parties in the future. Thank you Bakerella for your incredibly creative ideas!!!
Here's a cross-section view of the outer layers and filling. This one had a white chocolate bottom since I ran out of black coating.

Arial view of the cupcake bite tops