The pupcakes are just a classic chocolate cupcake, topped with a chocolate buttercream for the face and a salted caramel buttercream for the muzzle and little patch on the eye. M&Ms for the eyes, chocolate chip for the nose, milk chocolate ears, and a Pez tongue.
I had so much fun making these. It was my first time making caramel, and I cannot believe how easy it is! So yummy, too. I'll definitely be doing that again soon..
The two frostings were definitely very sweet, so it's a good thing there wasn't a huge mound of it on the cupcake. I had a good bit of frosting left over from these, but that was fine - my mom ended up loving the salted caramel buttercream so much, she licked off all my spatulas and even had some of the leftover after she ate her breakfast.. it's that good. I really liked the chocolate buttercream. Definitely my favorite!
There are a few steps in making these, for sure, but it comes together really quickly once you start going! And they're so adorable, they're sure to be a hit!
makes 3 1/2 dozen cupcakes
For the chocolate cupcakes:
adapted from Sweetapolita
1 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3 cups sugar
1 cup cocoa
1 T baking soda
1 T baking powder
1 T cornstarch
2 t salt
1 1/3 cup buttermilk (I used whey leftover from my yogurt making)
1 cup brewed coffee (still hot)
3/4 cup vegetable oil
2 T vanilla
In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the flours, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, cornstarch, and salt. Add the buttermilk, eggs, vegetable oil, and vanilla, and mix well on medium speed. Pour in the coffee, and mix on medium speed for about 2 minutes.
Fill lined cupcake pan 2/3 full (I used a 1 1/2 T cookie scoop to ensure even cupcakes). Bake at 350ºF for 15-17 minutes, until toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool on a wire rack; cool fully before frosting.
For the chocolate frosting:
adapted from Sweetapolita
2 cups butter, softened (4 sticks)
3 cups confectioner's sugar
4 t vanilla
8 oz. dark chocolate, melted and cooled
2 T milk
1/4 t salt
In a stand mixer, beat together the sugar and butter. Beat in the vanilla, salt, and melted chocolate. Beat in the milk until smooth and fluffy.
For the salted caramel frosting:
1/2 cup + 2 T sugar
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup cream
pinch sea salt
1 cup butter, softened (2 sticks)
1 1/2 cups confectioner's sugar
1 t vanilla
1/4 t salt
In a medium saucepan, combine the water and sugar. Heat over medium heat until boiling, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Brush down the sides with a damp pastry brush to avoid sugar crystals, and stop stirring. Cook until the caramel is a dark amber color (not stirring), swirling every so often. Remove from heat, and add the cream slowly. Whisk until smooth (it may splatter a bit). Stir in the sea salt. Set aside to cool.
Once the caramel is cool, beat together the sugar and butter in the bowl of a stand mixer. Add in the vanilla and salt, and beat to combine. Add in the cooled caramel, and beat until smooth.
For the chocolate ears:
2 1/2 cups chocolate, melted (pick your favorite kind)
Once the chocolate is melted, place it into a plastic bag and snip the corner off. Pipe little ear shapes (tear drop or slight oval shape) onto a wax paper lined baking sheet. Place in the fridge to harden.
What you will need:
pastry bag & tip (I used a large star tip)
Using an off set spatula, frost the cupcakes with the chocolate frosting - just enough to cover the top of the cupcakes.
Using your favorite tip, pipe the caramel frosting on the lower center of each cupcake in a tight swirl for the muzzle. Using the same tip, pipe a small dot of frosting on one side for the eye patch.
Place a chocolate chip on the point of each muzzle for the nose.
Place two M&Ms on each cupcake, one on top of the frosting eye patch, and one next to it, for the eyes.
Place a Pez candy at the bottom of each muzzle for the tongue.
Place two chocolate ears on the sides of each cupcake, level with the eyes.
Refrigerate until needed, but serve at room temperature. Store in an airtight container.