Recently I was challenged to come up with a Thanksgiving cupcake and immediately thought – Turkeys! But how to create a turkey cupcake without it being too cute and more “grown-up” than using candy corn?
Last Thanksgiving I made this. . .I found it in the What’s New, Cupcake? book by Karen Tack & Alan Richardson and I couldn’t resist. Guess how many I made? Let’s just say, only one was photo worthy.
This project is easy as we’re starting with a box of French Vanilla cake mix. To get cupcakes with a nice crown and not overflowing everywhere, make 27 cupcakes instead of the 24 recommended on the cake mix box.
To go with the pumpkin spice cake, frost with a Cinnamon Cream Cheese frosting. Delicious.
First, make the cupcakes and while they are baking create the chocolate turkey feathers.
Chocolate Turkey Feathers:
- Red, yellow and orange candy melts
- Parchment (or wax paper works as well) paper
- Sandwich size baggies
- Cellophane tape
- Reinforce one tip of the plastic bag with cellophane tape.
- Place the candy melts in a small glass bowl and microwave for 10 seconds. Microwave beginning at 20 second intervals until the candies are almost melted. Stir the candies to check the status. The heat of the candies will melt themselves, so be careful not to burn them.
- Pour the melted candy into a plastic bag and cut a small hole at the reinforced tip. You can always make the hole bigger, but you can’t make it smaller – so test the flow and enlarge the hole if necessary. (I have tried melted the candy directly in the plastic bag – but there isn’t enough control over the melting and sometimes I’d end up with a melted bag and chocolate all over the microwave. This is more work, but a more consistent result.)
- Draw the “feathers” directly onto the parchment with the melted candy. (Always make more decors than needed to account for breakage.) Refrigerate to harden while continuing to make the frosting.
Pipe the frosting onto each cupcake. Starting from the back, add the first “feather”. Add the remaining “feathers” and add a chocolate kiss for the turkey head.
- 1 box French Vanilla cake mix, sifted
- 1 cup canned pumpkin
- 1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
- 3/4 cup buttermilk, room temperature
- 1/3 cup vegetable oil
- 4 large eggs, room temperature
- 16 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
- 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
- brown gel color
Preheat oven to 350°F and line cupcake tins with paper liners.
Combine all ingredients in a mixer until moistened, about 30 seconds. Increase the speed to high and beat until thick, about 2 minutes.
Fill paper liners and bake until toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 15-20 minutes. Cool in pan for ten minutes and remove to a wire rack to cool completely before frosting.
Beat the cream cheese and butter until smooth.
Turn mixer to low speed and blend in powdered sugar, salt, vanilla and cinnamon.
Turn mixer to high and beat until light and fluffy. Add a touch of brown coloring until the desired color is reached.