Owl Chocolate Cupcakes with Chocolate Frosting
Makes 24 cupcakes
For the cupcakes:
1/2 cup + 1 Tbsp Dutch-process cocoa powder
1/2 cup + 1 Tbsp hot water
2 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 sticks + 1 Tbsp unsalted butter at room temperature
1 2/3 cups sugar
3 large eggs
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup sour cream
For the Frosting:
1 lb. semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
6Tbsp Dutch-process cocoa powder
6Tbsp boiling water
3 sticks (1 1/2 cups) unsalted butter at room temperature
3/4 cup confectioner's sugar, sifted
pinch of salt
For the Owls:
Pack of Oreos
Pack of mini Oreos
Brown Mini M&Ms
Yellow/Orange Peanut M&Ms
Yellow/Orange Reeses pieces
Preheat the oven to 350*F. Line cupcake pans with paper liners (use mini cupcake pans with mini liners if making mini cupcakes). In a small bowl, combine the hot water and cocoa and whisk until smooth. In another medium bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Whisk to blend.
Combine the butter and sugar in a medium saucepan set over a medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally until the mixture is smooth and the butter is completely melted. Transfer the mixture to the bowl of an electric mixer and beat on medium-low speed until the mixture is cool, 4-5mins. Add the eggs, one at a time, mising well after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Blend in the vanilla and then the cocoa mixture until smooth. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture in three additions, alternating with the sour cream, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients and mixing each addition until just incorporated.
Divide the batter evenly between the prepared liners. Bake until a toothpick inserted in teh centre comes out clean, about 18-20mins, rotating the pans halfway through baking. Let cool in the pan about 5-10mins and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
To make the frosting, melt the chocolate in a heat-proof bowl set over a pot of simmering water. Set aside to cool until just barely warm. Meanwhile, combine the cocoa powder and boiling water in a small bowl; stir until the cocoa has dissolved.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and confectioner's sugar on medium-high speed until fluffy, about 3-4mins. Add the melted chocolate; beat on low speed until combined, 1-2 mins. Beat in the cocoa mixture until well blended. If the frosting is runny at this point, let it cool longer before frosting the cake.
To assemble the cupcakes, frost the cupcakes. Separate the Oreos and mini Oreos so that the cream filling is on one cookie and the other cookie has no cream filling. Cut the cookies without the cream filling in half. The mini oreos are used on mini cupcakes if you have made them. Place the cream coated cookies on the frosted cupcakes. These are the eyes. Place the cookie halves above the eyes so that the curves are on the inside and they are tilting out. Cover with frosting so that they look feathered. Using frosting, attach the junior mints onto the large Oreo eyes and the brown mini M&Ms on the mini Oreo eyes (these are the pupils). Place the peanut M&Ms on the larger cupcakes for the nose. Use the Reeses pieces on the mini cupcakes for the nose.
Cupcake recipe adapted from Martha Stewart's Cupcakes
Frosting recipe adapted from Martha Stewart's Baking Handbook
Owl design adapted from Hello, Cupcake!