Friday, April 30, 2010

Butterfly Cupcakes

I wanted to make my supervisors something unique and special as a way to thank them for their hard work and perseverance. Even though I own "Hello, Cupcake" book, I completely forgot about them until Chef Mommy blogged about them recently. With spring upon us, I thought these would be an appropriate treat.

The end result was beautiful. I loved the colors, and they did look so pretty on top of the cupcakes. As one of my supervisors stated, "they're too pretty to eat". SCORE! However, making the butterflies were time consuming. This was also the first time I used candy melts/wafers. Having done this, I've listed a few tips to help you (and a note to myself) when you make these. In all honesty though, the cupcakes were so pretty, and I was very happy with the results! Happy spring, and thank you Kristie, Robert, and Tina for all your dedication and hard work you've done for me and Fraud.

Tips & Notes
- Prep work: You can make the butterflies and antennas up to 2 days in advance. I am so glad I did. Make sure to set aside an afternoon to make these so you don't feel rushed
- Make extras: Make extra wings and antennas. They are delicate and can break easily if use too much pressure when assembling them on top of the cupcakes
- Be careful: Be fragile when assembling the butterfly wings on top of the cupcakes as they are delicate
- Bottles: I used bottles to outline the wings and fill them in. I would highly suggest using the bottle to outline the wings, but NOT to fill them in (use Ziploc baggies for those.) I had a mug filled with very hot water to keep the bottle warm (and to prevent the candy wafers from hardening)

Butterfly Cupcakes
Wax paper
Plastic baggies
Scotch tape
Squeeze bottle
Dark cocoa candy melts
Colored candy melts (whatever color you would like the wings to be) (You can purchase these at Michael's or Hobby Lobby for $2.99 per bag)
Mug of hot water (to set the squeeze bottle in)
White nonpareils
1 batch of vanilla cupcakes
1 batch of vanilla buttercream (My favorite recipe is below)
Food coloring (for the frosting)
Chocolate chips (or M&Ms work well too)
Canned chocolate frosting

1. Draw your butterfly wing template on a piece of paper. Place on a metal baking sheet. Cut out squares of wax paper large enough to fit pairs of wings, and some smaller ones for antennae.

2. Place 1 cup of the dark cocoa wafers in a glass bowl, and 1/2 cup of colored candy melts in a plastic bag (do not close the baggie) set into a glass mug. Reinforce a corner of the plastic baggie with some scotch tape. Microwave in 10 second intervals, unsealed, massaging the candy melts in between, until the candy is completely melted and no lumps remain.
3. Pour the dark cocoa wafers into a squeeze bottle. For the colored candy wafers, press out the excess air in the bag and seal. Push the mixture down to one corner of the bag, and snip off a very small corner (where you reinforced with scotch tape).
4. Trace the outline of the wing template with the dark cocoa melted candy. Do one wing at a time- outline and then the colored filling, otherwise it will be too set to swirl by the time you have outlined two wings. I also had a mug filled half way with very hot water nearby. I put the squeeze bottle in the mug to keep the cocoa melted in between each wing set. Use a toothpick to gently spread the colored cocoa to fill the wing. Be generous with the colored candy melts, so that it will spread all the way to the sides.

*Note – tracing the outline was definitely the thing I found most challenging initially, but eventually I got the hang of it. Keeping the tip of the squeeze bottle very close to the wax paper and going slowly helps keep things neat.

5. Use a toothpick to swirl the edges and the filling together slightly. While the
candy is still soft, use a toothpick to pull the outside dark cocoa into the colored middle part, to create a pattern.(Here is a close-up of the "swirls")

6. Rap the baking sheet against your work surface a few times until the filling and outline spread together.
7. Sprinkle the top and bottom of each wing with a few white nonpareils. The melted candy will begin to cool and harden as you work. If it becomes to stiff to work with, microwave for 10 more seconds until melted again. (This step is very important – if you think you might need to reheat the candy, definitely do it. You will save yourself a lot of messed up wings by keeping the candy melted.) Add a few sprinkles before the wings set. Then set aside to dry.

7. Repeat this process with more candy melts until you have enough sets of wings for all your cupcakes. Let set completely, or place in the fridge to quicken the hardening process.
8. You also need to make pairs of antennae for your butterflies. Basically, just draw a template with a very narrow “V” shape, long stem and curved ends. Trace chocolate onto wax paper in the shape of the antennae as you did with the wings. Allow to set completely.
9. Once the wings are completely dry, gently peel them from the wax paper.
10. Tint frosting with food gel, and frost your cupcakes as desired. (I think the frosting colored to match the butterfly wings looks great!)
11. Place two chocolate chips on top of each frosted cupcake, about half and inch apart. These will help support the butterfly wings.

12. Place the wings on top of the chocolate chips. (I wiped a small amount of frosting out from in between the wings to make room for the body.)
13. Place the chocolate frosting in a plastic bag with a tip cut off. Pipe it on in a line of small blobs to look like a body between the wings. Stick the chocolate antennae into the frosting at the head of the butterfly.

Source: As seen on Chef Mommy and Annie's Eats

My favorite buttercream frosting
I love this frosting since it's quick, easy to pipe/frost, and super tasty (without being too sweet). My go-to buttercream frosting recipe.


20 tablespoons (2½ sticks) unsalted butter, softened
2½ cups Confectioners’ sugar (10 ounces)
1/8 tablespoons table salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 tablespoons heavy cream
In standing mixer fitted with whisk attachment, beat butter at medium-high speed until smooth, about 20 seconds. Add confectioners’ sugar and salt; beat at medium-low speed until most of the sugar is moistened, about 45 seconds. Scrape down bowl and beat at medium speed until mixture is fully combined, about 15 seconds; scrape bowl, add vanilla and heavy cream, and beat at medium speed until incorporated, about 10 seconds, then increase speed to medium-high and beat until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes, scraping down bowl once or twice.
Yield: 3 cups
Source: Cook's Illustrated


Carrie said...

Wow, those look amazing, great job!

KikiBelle said...

lovely and i'm sure yummy too

Kathleen said...

I made these with my MIL and WOW they were a hit! I mean my husband and father in law were even in awe over how pretty they were. They are GORGEOUS and I will be making them again for a friends baby shower. Thanks so much!

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