Saturday, February 12, 2011

The Cupcake Project

Butterfly Cakes

The cupcake project has been fun but it's about time for photo season to strike up again. So to finish (other than possible occasional entries of cupcakes in the future), we went for a more tricky recipe. As usual, it didn't turn out perfectly, but these butterflies were still kind of cool!

The cakes themselves are actually the same as the last ones (the vanilla recipe). They were supposed to be chocolate but it turns out I was missing an ingredient for that one, so I just went with the tasty classic vanilla instead. No worries, it worked out fine!

^All the ingredients for today's attempt... all-purpose flour, sugar, eggs, vegetable oil, milk, baking soda, baking powder, vanilla, salt, butter, cocoa powder, baking chocolate bars, a Hersey dark chocolate bar, light colored frosting (I went with Cream Cheese again), food coloring, and butterfly templates on wax paper.

^The dry ingredients go in the mix together first, flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.

^Then the liquids, milk, oil, and vanilla.

^Sugar and butter get beat together in still another bowl. I didn't put the butter out ahead of time so I tried to soften it up but heating it a bit. I left it too long, thus the melting, but softened from being out in room temperature is preferable.

^In the sugar and butter mixture, add three eggs, one at a time, beating each one in as you go.

^Alternate beating in the dry and liquid mixtures, starting and ending with the dry.

^Fill each cup two-thirds full, baking for 12-15 minutes.

^And you get lovely, rounded cakes!

^In the meantime, while baking, use your butterfly templates (large and small), which include the wings and the antenna for each cake. I used permanent marker to draw on the bottom side of each piece of wax paper.

^I didn't have access to a baking shop at the time, so I improvised with the recipe a bit. I purchased one white chocolate baking bar, which SHOULD have been a cup of orange melting wafers. In my attempt to color the white chocolate, I burnt the bag, ruining my first bar. If you would like to color the chocolate, do so AFTER it is melted in the bag, and don't add the food coloring before. In the other bag is the regular chocolate melting bar (which was supposed to be dark chocolate melting wafers). Microwave the bars at 10 second intervals until melted. Massage the bag between heating periods to speed the process up a bit!

^This was the tricky part, after the chocolate is melted, you have to cut a small hole in the corner of the bag so you can squeeze it out alone the templates. It can run a little quickly, so it takes some practice. Outline the antenna and the wings with the brown chocolate, and fill it in with the white. Use a toothpick to smooth and then to pull some brown chocolate to the center of the white to get a monarch pattern (see in the photos further below). Put the chocolate templates in the refrigerator to help them cool down and set. 

^Tint your frosting yellow with food coloring and spread on the cakes. Leave about a cup of the frosting uncolored because...

^ need to use about a cup of the uncolored frosting and add cocoa powder to get some chocolate. This is the fast and dirty way to do it, and I wouldn't suggest you use this version of a chocolate frosting recipe for a whole cake. Just so you know! But it worked for what we needed it for.

^Use the Hersey bar but cutting very small pieces and placing them about a half inch apart off the center of the cakes. They help keep the wings propped up. The recipe called for brown M&M's, which I think would work better. Live and learn! Also, the wings and especially the antenna of the butterfly, even if you put them in the cool to set, are ver fragile when you pick them up. The heat from your hands melts them quickly, so handle with care!

^Squeeze the "chocolate frosting" between the wings and over the antenna to create a body for the butterflies.

^They would have looked better if they were orange like the monarch butterfly, but it was a pretty cool project! ENJOY!
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