Friday, July 9, 2010

Building a Nest: Samoa Cookie Flavored Bird Nest Cupcakes

I found the idea for these cupcakes on Martha Stewart's site and they worked perfectly for the theme I was going for for the shower. The hardest part came wtih deciding the cupcake/ frosting combination... i needed to pair with coconut and fit in with bird nest concept-- I searched high and low, and had several ideas... but I wasn't set on any of them. At lunch, the last day of work before the shower, one of my coworkers suggested samoa cookie as a flavor idea... and I literally hopped up and ran to google it. I came across this recipe and it just seemed perfect.

It turned out great! The only problem I had was halving the recipe-- it believe I added the whole amount of cocoa for half the recipe-- but it was pretty good! I'd have to make it again to double check that. The frosting is A.M.A.Z.I.N.G.... it was pretty easy to make and tasted perfect. I'm very happy with how these came out... minus the birds. I think they could have been better... plus I forgot to add their eyes! Ooops!

Samoa Bird Nest Cupcakes
adapted from Life in a Peanut Shell (adapted from Ghirardelli Grand Fudge Cake)

Made 24 regular sized cupcakes (I made half the recipe)

3/4 cup Unsweetened Cocoa (I tried Ghirardelli cocoa for this recipe)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 3/4 cups sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter, softened
1 1/3 cups milk
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Line 2 regular muffin tins with liners.

In a medium bowl, combine flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt, and set aside.

In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Reduce speed to low, and add vanilla and eggs one at a time, scraping bowl after each addition. Alternately add flour mixture and milk (starting and ending with the flour mixture), while mixing on low speed. Continue to mix until smooth. Scoop into muffin tins.

Bake for about 15-18 minutes.

Caramel Buttercream

2 1/2 cups light brown sugar
1/2 cup butter
1 cup heavy whipping cream, (put 2-3 tbsp aside)
1/2 tsp baking soda
3-4 cups powdered sugar, sifted

In a medium, heavy saucepan, bring the sugar and cream to a rolling boil. Boil one minute.

Add soda, and boil one more minute. Remove from heat.

Add butter, but do not stir yet. Let the mixture cool in the fridge for 1-2 hours. Do not stir until mixture is completely cooled.
Pour mixture into a stand mixer and, using the paddle attachment, beat well. Gradually add powdered sugar alternately with 2-3 tbsp of heavy cream. Beat until desire consistency.

To Decorate:

Toast sweetened coconut until golden in color. Let cool.

Using a 1M tip, frost the cupcakes. Then sprinkle coconut on top of the frosting (most around the perimeter). I used buttercream for the birds-- divide into 2 bowls and color blue & yellow (or whatever color you want). Using a round tip, pipe 3 mounds of blue icing in the middle of the cupcakes. Then use a leaf tip and pipe the beak. Melt some chocolate and use a toothpick and dot the eyes on each bird (use your imagination here).


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