Saturday, May 28, 2011

See Ya Later, Milk Chocolate Cupcake Alligator

This guy was the result of a special request from one of my nieces. Today is her end of year school party and she wanted something special to share with the other kids. The only requirement she gave me was chocolate flavored cupcakes.

Louisa is 10 and super girly girly but I wanted to make a treat that would be fun for both boys and girls.

Digging into my Hello Cupcake book for inspiration was a no brainer. Replicating this alligator made of cupcakes was the perfect surprise. 

Please excuse the pictures. After a year of trying to take photos of the most intimate and up close parts of food, it's challenging to snap a proper picture of a real live person let alone an entire alligator.  My brain is in permanent macro-mode. Here is a not so pretty aerial shot:

 But you get the idea.

Originally the board was covered with gummy strips and strings in brown and green as edible vegetation. I also sprinkled some candy rocks around. But after placing everything, I removed them because they pulled focus from the alligator. The gummies will be stashed in the pantry until the next visit from the husband local gummy monster. 

Instead I ground up plain vanilla cookies to make some "sand" to sprinkle around and gave it to my sister in law in a ziplock to style around the alligator when they get to the school. It's real windy here so not a good idea to do it beforehand. Old Swampy wouldn't survive the car transfer intact.

The decorating ideas in Hello Cupcake rely heavily on candy ingredients found in the States so I improvised the claws, eyes and nostrils with fondant.

Even with taking all the extra fondant steps, this project took me way less time than I thought it would. It's surprisingly easy to put together. The instructions in the book are excellent. 

However, what I really want to talk about are the cupcakes. 

Most kids are not so fond of bittersweet chocolate so I used milk chocolate instead. The cupcakes came out moist and full of flavor but not overpowering. The cake itself is extremely light, a good thing in case the kids decide to start lobbing them at each other. No one will get hurt. 

This improvised recipe was a real winner.

Milk Chocolate Cupcakes

  • 14 ounces milk chocolate, chopped
  • 4 cups flour
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 3 tablespoons baking powder
  • 6 tablespoons cocoa
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 7 ounces of crème fraiche
  • 2 eggs
  • 1+3/4 cups milk

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Place liners into cupcake pans.
  • In a double boiler, melt the chocolate.
  • While the chocolate is melting, whisk together the flour, cornstarch, baking powder and cocoa. Set aside.
  • Beat the butter until creamy.
  • Add sugar and combine thoroughly.
  • With the mixer on medium speed, slowly pour in the chocolate until combined.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together the crème fraiche, eggs and milk.
  • With the mixer on medium, alternate adding the flour mixture and the milk mixture to the chocolate batter until everything is mixed in.
  • Load the batter into a disposable pastry bag and fill the liners.
  • Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a knife comes out clean from the center of the cupcake.
  • Cool completely on a wire rack before frosting.
Makes 30 cupcakes

The frosting on the alligator is Magnolia Bakery's Vanilla Buttercream found HERE. The recipe says it's for 24 cupcakes but it covered all 30 I made. Granted, there was no high swirling action involved.


  1. You are so crazy inventive! That is awesome! Your niece must have been thrilled.

  2. This looks amazing! You are just creative!

  3. I love that recipe in Hello Cupcake! I've always wanted to see it in action. Yours came out amazingly - so perfect for a kids party. I bet your niece loved it!

  4. Everything here is a winner! Love that you ruffled the icing, gives the perfect *scaly* look to the *alligator*. Your niece's class is going to go crazy for this and I'm betting even *girly-girl* Louisa was bursting with pride over it.

  5. WOW! Great idea how much fun for the kids!
    I will send it to Sybil but not sure if could do it!

  6. That is amazing! What nozzle did you use to get the scales looking sooo good?

  7. @Sarah - The book says to snip the end off a ziplock bag and pipe up and down for each ridge but I didn't think I could pull it off so I used a Wilton #45 tip.


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