Thursday, May 17, 2012

Charlotte's Web Cupcakes

This week, my oldest son's class is holding a "County Fair" inspired by E.B. White's Charlotte's Web. Each parent was asked to contribute a homemade dessert or craft for the fair (and the "homemade" part was spelled out as a requirement).  Now, ever since my fourth son was born, I've been lax in bringing anything homemade to the boys' classes (see my blog entry detailing my guilt).  So I figured I had one last opportunity to make up for this school year. Besides, I felt inspired to pay tribute to literature's finest pig and spider duo.  One of the many pleasures of parenting is revisiting your favorite books with your kids, and Charlotte's Web is one of those classics worth reading over and over at any age.     

1 12-oz. bag of pink candy melts
1 tube of white frosting
1 tube of black cake decorating gel
Black candy beads
Black Jelly Belly jellybeans
Pink fondant
Betty Crocker White Cake Mix
1 cup water
1/2 cup vegetable oil
3 eggs
Pig candy molds

To make the pig faces:
1. Melt candy melts in a medium saucepan over low heat, or in microwave on 50% power, stirring frequently.  Two minutes should be sufficient in the microwave oven (check every 30 seconds to avoid burning).
2. Spoon melted candy melts into mold cavities.  When the mold is filled, gently tap the mold on a hard surface, to level out chocolate and remove air bubbles.
3. Place filled mold directly onto a flat surface in the freezer.
4. When solid, gently remove pig heads from the mold by turning the mold upside down and carefully tapping it if necessary.  The pieces should fall out easily.
5. Fill in eyes with white frosting and black candy beads. 

To make the pig tails:
1. Cut pink fondant into thin 1"-long strips.
2. Roll strips to round edges, and shape into curls. 
3. Let tails sit for a few hours (overnight if possible) to harden.

To make the cupcakes:
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Fill cupcake tray with pink liners.
3. Beat cake mix, water, oil and eggs in large mixing bowl on medium speed until smooth.
4. Pour mix into cupcake liners, filling 2/3 full.
5. Bake cupcakes at 15-20 minutes, until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
6. Let cool completely before removing from pan.
7. Spread pink frosting on top of cupcakes.

To assemble the pig and spider:
1. Place pig face to the front of each cupcake.
2. Gently press pig tail to the back of each cupcake.
3. Draw eight lines for spider legs using black gel.
4. Add one black jellybean on top of each cupcake for the spider body.

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