There's something about turtles that I find so endearing.
I don't know if it's their slow but determined way of getting about, or how they can disappear into the 'homes' they carry on their backs. Either way, they're a fascinating creature, and as part of our Earth Week celebration at school this week and World Turtle Day on May 23rd, my classes are making Turtle Cupcakes to raise money for American Tortoise Rescue.
I know, World Turtle Day?
According to Wikipedia and American Tortoise Rescue (ATR), "…the day was created to help people protect and celebrate turtles and tortoises and their disappearing habitats around the world… ATR is the founding sponsor of World Turtle Day and is certified by state and federal agencies as a nonprofit corporation to provide for the protection of all species of tortoise and turtle."
Hope you like my sweet version of these ancient fellows and definitely enjoy this decadent chocolate cupcake with a tall glass of milk!
If you'd like to try making these, the recipes and how-to's follow:
How to Make Turtle Toppers:
The round turtle design comes from these Doodlebug scrap-booking brads, HERE.
- Royal Icing Recipe and Food Gel Colorings
- Piping Tips #2 and #3
- Piping Bag
- Parchment Paper or Acetate/Transparency Sheet
- Black Food Color Pen
Step 1: Using a #3 tip, pipe a circle of green royal icing on slightly greased acetate paper.
Step 2: Using a #3 tip, immediately fill in the center with brown icing.
Step 3: Gently shake the acetate paper on the table so that the icing smoothes over.
Step 4: Wet-on-wet technique – Using a #2 tip, pipe the dots on the brown icing
Step 5: Immediately pipe the second layer of dots.
Step 6: Gently shake the acetate paper on the table so that the icing smoothes over.
Step 7: Using a #2 tip, add the head, legs and tail
Step 8: Let the icing dry for 24 hours and add two dots as eyes, using a black food color marker.
The second turtle kind of happened while I was playing around with the icing. Here's how you do it:
Clear as mud?
I didn't think I'd be using him in this post, so didn't photograph how I did it, but hopefully the instructions were clear enough.
The best thing to do is try it out and the key element to the instructions in the photo above, is that you take the piece of acetate paper, slide it under the edge of the circle of royal icing (the turtle shell), and then move the acetate paper as if you're about to scoop up or scrape off the icing; it makes the circle curl and create the shape of a domed turtle shell.
So now on to the cupcakes themselves:
When you bite into this cupcake, you'll find a chocolate turtle surprise!
*Note: It may look like the batter around the turtle isn't fully baked but the tester (barbeque skewer lol), came out clean!
Besides the recipes, you'll need:
Chocolate Turtle Cupcakes Recipe
- 2 2/3 cups (12 ounces) all-purpose flour
- 1 ¼ cups plus 2 tablespoons (4 ounces) unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup (8 ounces) sour cream
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup (8 ounces) unsalted butter
- 2 cups (14 ounces) granulated sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 ¼ cups (10 ounces) coffee
- 24-28 chocolate *Turtles
*You can buy the name-brand Turtles, but bulk food stores usually carry them as well. If you can’t find them, substitute some chocolate melts, a few pecans and a caramel square.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line your muffin tin with liners.
- In a large bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
- In a separate bowl, combine the sour cream and vanilla extract. Set aside.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine the butter and sugar and beat on medium speed until smooth.
- Set the mixer to low speed and add the eggs, one at a time, scraping thoroughly between each addition.
- Alternately add the flour and sour cream mixtures to the butter mixture in two batches, starting and ending with the flour mixture. Scrape down the bowl after each addition.
- Gradually pour in the coffee. Scrape down the bowl and beat until thoroughly combined.
- Scoop the batter into your cupcake liners with a spoon or ice cream scoop.
- Bake for 26 minutes or until the center of the cupcake has just set. (I insert a barbeque skewer to check).
- Take out the cupcakes, make a little hole in the center with a knife and insert a Turtle chocolate as far as the cupcake allows.
- Bake for another 4 minutes. Once cupcakes have cooled and you’ve removed them from the muffin tin, top with chocolate icing and *optional toppings.
Chocolate Buttercream Icing
- 24 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 1 ½ cups 35% cream
- 1 tablespoon clear corn syrup
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 12 ounces unsalted (room temperature) butter
- 16 ounces (1 lb) icing sugar
- Use a double boiler to melt the chocolate and cream together. (Make your own version by placing a glass or stainless steel bowl on top of a pot with simmering water). Stir occasionally until the chips are melted.
- Off the heat, stir in the corn syrup and vanilla and allow the mixture to cool to room temperature.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whisk the chocolate mixture, softened butter and icing sugar on medium speed for a few minutes, until it has thickened.
*Optional toppings – Caramel sauce, melted milk chocolate and small pieces of Turtles chocolates. I cheated and used the caramel dipping sauce from the supermarket, which you can usually find by the apples. One tip about applying the caramel; I heated it up in the microwave for about a minute, then put it in a canvas piping bag fitted with a #2 tip, and piped it on. This prevents big globs of caramel from falling on your cupcake (although that could be kind of yummy!). Squeeze bottles work really well for this and melted chocolate as well.
* You can find a video on how to make the cupcake swirl here.
Hope you enjoy making these rich chocolate turtle cupcakes!
I'll leave you with this:
Sorry. Couldn't resist! (You can thank my husband for the joke).
p.s. Thanks for making me laugh with your 'turtle speech bubble' suggestions on facebook!
p.s.s. An update on the new Sweet of the Week contest – Wow! I'm so happy to see you're sending me your pictures and please keep on sending them. I have enough for weeks to come and am wondering if I should add more photos to each contest. Let me know your thoughts.
Check out this week's contest HERE and vote for your favorite sweet.