Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Witchy Cupcakes, My Pretty

There are a million witch hat cupcakes in Pinterest. Hershey Kisses with some kind of cookie for the brim... Oreo chocolate ice cream cones... or even little witch hats made out of cupcake papers. It's been done.

They're all pretty cute, but don't fancy the idea of eating a plain ice cream cone along with my cupcake, and the Hershey kiss hat has been done so many times. Plus, I have this delicious recipe for chocolate cream cheese frosting that uses black cocoa just begging to be piped into the shape of a witch hat.

The piping technique is simple. Pipe the hat brim around the cupcake using a petal tip (the kind you use to make ruffles). Then using a large round tip, pipe the peak of the hat. Easy peasy!

Once I had this concept in mind, I started thinking about the cake. I've used the black cocoa cream cheese frosting on red velvet cupcakes that were Minnie Mouse themed before, and I immediately started wondering about a green velvet cake recipe. I found this green cake recipe that uses  puréed spinach to give it a green color, and used it as inspiration to develop my own green velvet cupcake recipe.

The color is perfect-- for Halloween cupcakes. Deep green muddied a bit by the cocoa, very witchy. And you can adjust the color a bit by varying the amount of cocoa (if you use 1/4 cup less cocoa, use 1/4 cup more flour, etc.). Because these cupcakes use oil they are very moist and the chocolate flavor is subtle and nice, like a good red velvet. 

The frosting hats turned out well. Next time I might add more powdered sugar to stiffen it up a bit so that the peaks will hold their shape better (cream cheese frosting is usually softer than regular buttercream). I'd recommend starting with three cups powdered sugar, adding more until the frosting holds its shape.

One thing I love is that you get these intense colors using all natural ingredients. How cool is that?!

Witchy Green Velvet Cupcakes with Black Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting

For the cupcakes:
4 eggs
2 cups sugar
3/4 cup oil
1/2 cup fresh spinach puree
1/3 cup water
2 teaspoon vanilla
2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup cocoa
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

For the Frosting:
8 oz. cream cheese
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon sour cream
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup cocoa powder
3+ cups powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Start by prepping your spinach puree. I put a few handfuls of spinach into my Blendtec and ran it on high speed for 30 seconds (earplugs, please!), then added more as needed until I could tell I had 1/2 cup in there. Then I added in the 1/3 cup water to the blender to help it run a little easier, and blended it until super smooth.

Next mix together your eggs and sugar until light and fluffy. Add in the oil, puree (and water if you didn't add it to the puree), and vanilla. Mix until your batter looks nice and green. Sift together your dry ingredients, and add them into your batter until just combined. I like to use the mixer for just a few seconds and finish mixing by hand to ensure that it is evenly mixed but not overmixed.

(If you're worried about color, start with just 1/4 cup cocoa mixed into your batter. If you like the color, then add in 2 1/4 cups flour. If you don't mind it mixing up a bit darker, add the remaining 1/4 cup cocoa and 2 1/2 cups flour).

Fill cupcake liners 3/4 full, turn oven temperature down to 325, and bake cupcakes for 20 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean. Let cupcakes cool completely before frosting.

For the frosting,  mix together the cream cheese, butter, sour cream, salt, and vanilla on medium speed until smooth and well combined ( 2-4 minutes). Add the cocoa powder, then gradually add in the powdered sugar. Continue adding in powdered sugar until frosting is stiff enough to hold the witch hat peak.

Pipe your little witch hats, and don't tell anyone their eating a vegetable in cupcake form! 

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