Yes, that’s catch-up, not ketchup, thank goodness. I don’t think ketchup would be very good with mud turtle cupcakes. I had a single lonesome banana turning brown that I had to use up, so I took the opportunity to knock another cake from Rose’s Heavenly Cakes off my “to bake” list: Chocolate Banana (stud) Cake. The cake component turned out beautifully.
I almost feel like I ruined it a bit with my sloppy frosting job, but the taste of that ganache, with a touch of banana liqueur was so totally worth it.
I didn’t bother with the chocolate chip “studs” because I remembered a few of my fellow bakers saying the chips detracted from the soft texture of the cake. The rest of the Heavenly Cake Bakers’ group baked this cake last summer while I was in the middle of kitchen renovations.
Anyway, enough about catching up… What was this week’s cake selection? It was the mud turtle cupcakes. I asked my husband how he felt about turtle chocolates this weekend and he said “I don’t think I’ve ever had one. Remember, I didn’t really have a sweet tooth growing up.” Ah, well, we’ll fix that. 😉
The cupcakes are a butter/sour cream/cocoa concoction, following something similar to the normal Rose Levy Beranbaum butter cake technique (cream butter and some of the liquid with the dry ingredients, add the rest of the liquid in two stages).
It’s a really thick batter, so a cookie scoop seemed like the best bet to distribute it among the cupcake tins. Yes, I refuse to call them muffin tins, considering what they’re normally used for in my kitchen…
You can see the ganache lurking in the back of that last picture. It’s cooling. After the cupcakes bake, let them cool, and start working on your caramel. If you’re like me, as it’s cooling, it’ll start crystallizing. I scooped it into a clean microwaveable container, and brought it up to a good hard boil in the microwave. The crystals disappeared temporarily, and didn’t start reappearing until I introduced the caramel to the ganache. They shook hands and turned grainy. By this time it was too late to do anything about it, so I didn’t. 🙂
The next decision I had to make was whether to go for the chip studs on the turtle backs. I decided I didn’t like the look (that, or I decided to be lazy, I haven’t quite decided which). I did come up with a compromise, though.
Chocolate chips make cute little turtle tails, dontcha think?
I bundled up my turtle army and took it to work today. My husband actually just started a new job today, after his former employer laid off most of their development and design team 2 1/2 weeks ago. The director of my department overheard me mention his new “job seeker” status at lunch one day, and decided to call him in for an interview for a new position they’ve been having trouble filling for almost a year now. He’d applied and interviewed previously with my employer, but I guess it wasn’t quite the right fit at the time. I think he’ll be good in this new role. So, I took the cupcakes and the chocolate banana cake to work, and put them in Jay’s new office when his manager sent out a “please welcome new employee” email. I think he enjoyed the attention the cakes got. 😉
Now, can anyone tell me why my caramels always crystallize? This one softened again once it had been on the cupcakes overnight (maybe picked up some moisture from the ganache?), but it certainly was never both soft and sticky. Sure tasted darned good, though.