It’s my nephew’s 7th birthday this week. He’s completely enamored with dogs, and so requested dog cupcakes for his party. My sister is great at this sort of thing, and whipped up a batch of chocolate-frosted chocolate cupcakes, some full-sized and some mini, all decorated with brown M&Ms, black jellybeans, broken pretzels and red sour belt-shaped candy, cut into perfect puppy tongues. As you can imagine, they were a hit.
You could, of course, make pupcakes out of any combination of cake and frosting; marble cakes would make great dalmations, even. Start with full-sized and/or mini cupcakes, completely cooled, then frost with chocolate frosting. Make puppy faces using brown M&Ms or Smarties for the eyes, black jellybeans for the nose, and cut pieces of pretzels for the mouth and ears. Cut pieces of flat belt-shaped candy (here, we can get it at the dollar store) into tongues, or use fruit roll-ups cut into tongue shapes.
These are sure to please any kid who begs for a puppy for his or her birthday.
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, or half all-purpose, half whole wheat
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup cocoa
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 cups milk
1/2 cup canola oil
2 large eggs
2 tsp. vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line muffin tins with paper liners.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, brown sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt, breaking up any lumps of brown sugar and cocoa.
Add the milk, oil, eggs and vanilla and whisk until well blended and smooth.
Divide the batter among the cups and bake them for 20-25 until the tops are springy to the touch. Tip the cupcakes in their tins to allow the steam to release, and cool completely before you frost them. Makes 1 1/2 dozen cupcakes.
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup cocoa
2 cups (ish) confectioners’ sugar
water, orange juice or milk – enough to make it spreadable
In a medium bowl, beat the butter, cocoa, half the sugar and a couple spoonfuls of water; beat until smooth. Beat in the rest of the sugar and enough extra liquid to make a spreadable frosting.