Mud Turtle Cupcakes (and some catch-up)

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.

Isn't that cake gorgeous?

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.

Chocolate Banana (no) stud cake

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).

Cupcake batter stuff

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…

Cupcakes, ready for the oven

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. 🙂

To chip or not to chip?

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.

Chip tails!

Chocolate chips make cute little turtle tails, dontcha think?

A little turtle army, ready to go to work.

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.

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4 thoughts on “Mud Turtle Cupcakes (and some catch-up)

  1. I love your turtle army! Yours look like the proper turtle candy sitting nicely atop a cupcake, with cute little chip tails.

    Also, I had forgotten about the chocolate banana cake–I do remember it was very good. Yours looks rich and delicious.

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  2. Two cake week! Both look good.

    Your caramel problem is interesting. Did you use the corn syrup? From my small understanding of it, the corn syrup should have put enough invert sugar into the mix to prevent crystallization. The only time I had crystallization problems, anyway, it was with a recipe that didn’t use an invert sugar.

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