Monday, February 07, 2011

Mud Turtle Cupcakes

This project sucked up my whole day. Not that spending a Sunday baking is terrible, but I certainly didn't think these cupcakes would turn into an all-day project. However the result is pretty, and pretty darn good.

Mud Turtle Cupcakes

February 06, 2011
Name of Cupcakes: Turtles!
Occasion: HCB
Constituents: sour cream chocolate cupcake, topped with ganache, soft sticky caramel, toasted pecans, more caramel, more ganache

The recipe warns to make the ganache first, as it takes several hours to cool down and thicken to frosting consistency. For me, it took all freaking day, in fact when I gave up and frosted last night, the ganache was still a little too runny. This morning, the leftover ganache I abandoned on the counter has thickened up to a nice frosting consistency. Same chocolate I usually use, the kitchen was as cold as usual, not sure why this time it took so much longer to firm up. Now I know what those of you who've complained about this are talking about.

Mud Turtle Cupcakes
sour cream and cocoa powder and eggs and vanilla

So after the ganache is put together and left to firm up, the cupcakes are made. These cupcakes are my favorite sour cream butter cake, which yields dense yet tender chocolate cupcakes. The classic two-stage mixing technique is used, with a little bit of variation: instead of blooming the cocoa powder in boiling water and adding a bit of sour cream to it, the cocoa powder is blended with the sour cream, eggs and vanilla. Usually in the two stage method the eggs are added in after the butter and part of the liquid (usually milk, or cocoa paste) are blended with the dry ingredients. In this case, as there wasn't any liquid, about half of the eggs/sour cream/ cocoa powder mixture is added in with the butter, and the rest added in two parts just like usual.

Mud Turtle Cupcakes

It has been a while since we've made a sour cream butter cake, so I don't remember if the velvety soft quality of this batter is typical for a sour cream etc cake. Is it? I was particularly in love, as the batter tasted a lot like soft chocolate ice cream.

The batter is enough to make 16 cupcakes, which when portioned out is about 53 grams per cupcake.

Mud Turtle Cupcakes

I only made 12 cupcakes, then made a little cakelette with the rest. It did not survive for photographs.

Mud Turtle Cupcakes

Then the waiting game began. Was the ganache thick enough yet? No? How about now? No? How about now?

Eventually, the sun set, thus losing my light, and I decided I am DONE. So I made the caramel. This caramel came together really quickly and easily, and tasted lovely. It did start to set too thickly after I pulled it off the heat, so I kept the caramel in a warm water bath while I got the cupcakes ready.

Mud Turtle Cupcakes

First, two teaspoons of ganache are spread onto the cupcake. My cupcakes came out of the oven domed but cooled fairly flat, which I hoped would keep the runny ganache on the cupcakes. Alas, it did not, and the ganache dripped over the side of the cupcakes, luckily onto the plate I put under the rack. On top of the ganache goes a teaspoon of caramel, which was really freaking sticky. Five toasted pecan halves are stuck into the caramel to resemble a turtle, kind of. On top of the pecans goes another teaspoon of caramel (I just used 1/2 teaspoon) and another teaspoon of ganache.

Mud Turtle Cupcakes

Thankfully, the ganache seemed to set up fairly quickly once it was on top of the cupcakes and mingled with the sticky caramel that threatened to set up too thickly. Can I get a happy medium here, please?

Mud Turtle Cupcakes

I liked the way the ganache was thin enough to show the caramel underneath.

I was worried the cupcake would be too sweet, but actually it wasn't. It was really rich but the toasted pecans and the caramel were perfect together, and the bittersweet ganache toned down the sugar, and the dense mellow cupcake acted as a nice soft pillow for all that action on top.

Mud Turtle Cupcakes
isn't the light great? taken at cookie's desk at her place of employment

13 comments:

  1. These look wonderful! My brother loves Turtle candies, I am going to have to make these for his birthday.

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  2. ב''ה

    Looks like your got a great texture for the cake and the caramel!

    Love that last picture.

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  3. So pretty and the cupcakes look very chocolaty and moist. I don't eat pecans and wasn't sure if almonds would work, so I skipped this one...

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  4. Great looking turtles; your photos are fantastic!

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  5. Ronda, I bet your brother would love these!

    Mendy, thanks!

    Hanaa, I think toasted almonds would be great, hope you try them someday.

    Lois, thanks!

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  6. This combination sounds so amazing - turtles and cupcakes?! I'm actually a big fan of that kind-of "runny ganache" look. Maybe it's because I can never get it to look perfect, so at least it's shiny, even if it's everywhere!

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  7. It looks really yummy ECL! I was going to make this as well but gotten sidetrack with the Orange tart that took 2 days!

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  8. Caroline, it is a pretty good combination--worth trying!

    Jenn, thanks, but your Orange tart looks really yummy too!

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  9. Very cute! Wasn't it frustrating waiting for the ganache to firm up? I love the combination of flavors in these.

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  10. OMG. Thank goodness my mother and best friend don't read your blog or I wouldn't hear the end of it until I made them! Which book is it you're baking from Heavenly Cakes? I might have to make these soon.

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  11. Oh, the caramel. I probably would have just eaten that and forgot the rest. Yum.

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  12. These look amazing and I love your photos! The overhead shot on the ceramic plate is especially beautiful and scrumptious-looking :)

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  13. raiuchka, it was frustrating! but well worth it, in the end.

    Allison, yes, this is Rose's Heavenly Cakes that we're baking from. I've baked about 2/3 of the recipes, and maybe only 2 have not been to my taste, and that was mainly due to my error. You can't go wrong with this book!

    Cher, it was hard not to eat all the caramel, truly.

    Thanks Sarah!

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