Well, my sis leaves today. I’m taking her to the airport this afternoon. It has been so amazing having her here…we don’t get to spend nearly enough time together. But I’m grateful for the time we do have, and I can hardly wait for us to see each other again!
It’s a shame she’s leaving today, though, because tomorrow, on our little island here, we’re celebrating Mardi Croix. It’s the Virgin Islands version of Mardi Gras, and from what I hear, it’s pretty wild. There will, of course, be a parade and floats. There will be beads. But what I think will be best is the fact that it’s held on a beach and there’s water balloons and water guns involved!! This is going to be A-MA-ZING! Obviously, with something so fun on the horizon, you know I had to bake something in honor of it, right?
Something about Mardi Gras always makes me think topsy turvy. And this year is no exception, so I made topsy turvy cupcakes! I made standard sized cupcakes, then topped them with sweet little cupcake bites, and topped those with tiny little Rolo cupcakes! Of course, I dressed them up in traditional Mardi Gras colors of green, yellow, and purple, and if you have access to tiny plastic babies, you could either bake a couple in for tradition, or top the cupcakes with one for something a little different. Either way, these are really whimsical and fun, and will totally put you on a sugar high…I love them!I chose to make the cupcake bites for the middle cupcake, but you could also just make mini cupcakes, or you could use Reese’s Miniatures candies. The top, tiny cupcake on mine is made with a Rolo candy, but you could also use a Reese’s Mini candy (which I prefer, for the ridged edges, but couldn’t get here).
As I was preparing to make these fun treats, I stumbled upon a new kitchen gadget. I love new kitchen gadgets, and this one is no exception. It’s a cupcake bite mold! My Little Cupcake was invented by a mom who wanted to be able to make cupcake bites faster and easier. There are great directions out there (most notably from Miss Bakerella) for how to make cupcake bites using tools around the kitchen. I’ve made them that way, and they turn out fine, but I gotta be honest, they’re nowhere near as easy as using this little baby. The best part is that this was only five bucks from the My Little Cupcake website. And I got free shipping!
The mold is just a cute little cupcake with a hinge on the bottom that allows it to be opened up. I love that it’s hinged, because that means it’s just one piece and I won’t have to keep track of extra parts. For the record, I am talking about the My Little Cupcake mold of my own free will today. They did not contact me for any reason and I ordered and paid for the mold myself. I just want to share with you something that I found while bumbling around amazon one day. I think it’s a great tool and deserves to be shared.
Alright, now that that’s out of the way, let’s see this little baby in action. After you have your cake bites prepared (directions below), you just place a ball (about one-inch or one tablespoon) into the mold. Press the mold closed tightly, allowing the excess cake to squeeze out. Use your fingers to pull the excess away, pop the cake out, and voila! Now you have a sweet, perfectly shaped little cupcake bite. Two tips that I find important:
1. The cake balls work best when chilled well. If they aren’t cold enough, they tend to stick inside the mold.
2. Save the excess cake. By the end of the shaping process, I had just enough scraps to form one more cupcake bite.
Now, all you have to do is dip the cupcakes. The cupcake mold made everything go so much faster and smoother. I love the way these turned out, but I also love using a candy mold, like the one I used to make my raspberry cupcake bites. Both are fast, easy, and clean. I had a little trouble maintaining the cupcake details when I used the My Little Cupcake mold this time, but that’s just due to the environment here. I’ve found that on our cooler, dryer Caribbean days (rare though they are), these have better detail and shape.
If you choose to make the topsy turvy cupcakes, you may want to press the candy into the top of the cupcake bite before dipping, just to give yourself a little foothold for the candy. It’s not really necessary, though, so skip it if you want to save time. As soon as you have dipped the tops of the cupcake bites, though, immediately press the candy into the top before the chocolate sets up. If you’re going for the topsy turvy look, press the candy in at an angle.
Once the cupcake bites are hardened, it’s easy peasy to get the topsy turvy treats put together. Frost a batch of cupcakes in your favorite flavor with your favorite frosting. Add sprinkles to the cupcakes, if desired, then press a candy topped cupcake bite into the frosted cupcake. Again, sit the bite at an angle for a more whimsical look. Now, just top the tiny candy with a swirl of frosting to make it into a teeny little cupcake. That’s it! Now you have an simple, adorable, tasty little treat that is as fun as Mardi Gras itself.
These went over amazingly with my people! They’re such a mega-treat, what with all that cake, frosting, chocolate, and candy! They can really be as simple, or as elaborate, as you want to make them, and there’s no doubt that people’s eyes will light up when they see them. Whether you make them for Mardi Gras, or as an ultra fun birthday sweet, you’ll bring smiles to everyone’s faces! I can’t wait to try them again with other themes…I’m thinking a pretty Spring theme is in order! Enjoy!
Topsy Turvy Cupcakes
Makes 1 dozen cupcakes, 2 dozen cupcake bites
1 recipe your favorite cupcake flavor (the recipe needs to be big enough to make at least 2 dozen cupcakes)
1 recipe your favorite frosting
Food coloring, if desired
6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips or chocolate candy melts (for dipping)
6 ounces white chocolate or candy melts, in the color of your choice
12 Rolo candies or mini Reeses peanut butter cups
To make the cupcakes/cupcake bites: Line a 12 cup muffin pan with cupcake liners. Grease and flour an 8-inch round cake pan. Prepare the cake batter as directed in the recipe. Divide half of the batter into the prepared muffin pan (2 tablespoons of batter per cup). Pour the remaining half of the cake batter into the prepared cake pan. Bake as directed.
Allow cupcakes/cake to cool completely before proceeding.
To make the cupcake bites: If you’re using a light colored cake, cut away the brown bits to keep the cake from having dark spots in it. Over a large bowl, break chunks of the cake up and crumble it until the entire cake is crumbs. Add 8 ounces of frosting and mix thoroughly. Cover and chill for 15 to 30 minutes. Once chilled, roll about 1 tablespoon helpings of the mixture into balls. Set the cake balls onto a baking sheet lined with parchment or a Silpat mat. Chill the balls for another 15 to 30 minutes.
To make these into cupcakes, either use the mold as shown above, or follow Bakerella’s directions, using a small flower shaped cookie cutter. Once all of the balls are shaped into cupcakes, chill one more time for about 5 minutes.
While the cupcake bites are chilling, melt the semi-sweet chocolate chips, or the chocolate candy melts. If you use chocolate chips, I recommend adding 2 or 3 teaspoons of crisco to the bowl before you start melting them, then stir them together as they melt. This will thin the chocolate slighly, making it better for dipping. Dip the bottom of each cupcake bite in the melted chocolate, then sit it on the baking sheet, top down, and allow to harden. Once all of the bites are dipped, place them in the refrigerator while you melt the white chocolate or candy melts. Again, if using plain white chocolate, I recommend a small amount of shortening. Once melted dip the tops of the bites, and place them right side up on the cookie sheets to harden.
Before the tops harden completely, press a Rolo candy or mini Reeses peanut butter cup into the top at an angle. If you want to add sprinkles to the bites, add them before the chocolate hardens so that they will stick.
Once the cupcake bites are hard, frost each cupcake and add sprinkles, if desired. Top each cupcake with a cupcake bite, sitting in the frosting at a topsy turvy angle. Top the Rolos with a little swirl of frosting and sprinkles, if desired.
Topsy Turvey Cupcakes by Darla