In honor of the greatest thing about fall kicking off tomorrow (Gator football!!), I thought I'd share a little gator friend that I created last year for the SEC championship. Yes, I'm aware that this was an awful day for Gators everywhere but at least I had cute cupcakes to eat my sorrows away! The inspiration comes from the book Hello Cupcake via my sister-in-law. I added a Florida shirt to him for a little extra spirit.
This little guy was surprisingly easy to create! I had never done any decorating like this before and I was so excited about the way it turned out. To make the scales, I used a ziploc full of icing with the corner cut off. I started at one side of the cupcake and created a row of scales. Then I worked my way across adding one row at a time, overlapping a little each time. For the shirt, I bought a pack of cheap icing tips at the grocery store and stuck the star tip in the end of a bag. I just iced one glob at a time till I was done! The tip made it incredibly easy. My gator's finger nails are banana runts and his "F", nostrils and pupils are m&ms. His eyeballs are big marshmallows covered in icing and his teeth were made by cutting up large marshmallows. Refrigerating them prior to doing this made the task a little less sticky.
At the time, I used a box cake mix and can of icing. This is totally unlike me but I recently tried the most incredible recipe for almond cupcakes which is seriously yum! It's also from Hello Cupcake:
2 cups all purpose flour
2.5 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
3.5 ounces (1/2 tube) almond paste (I found this at Whole Foods)
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line 18 muffin cups with paper liners.
2. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl.
3. In another medium bowl, with an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the butter, almond paste, and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
4. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Reduce the speed to low and add the flour mixture alternately with the milk in batches, begining and ending with the flour mixture and beating just until blended. Stir in the vanilla.
5. Fill the liners two-thirds full. Bake until golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 15-20 minutes. Remove the cupcakes from the baking pan and allow to cool completely.
I regularly flip through this amazing book although I haven't yet attempted any of the other creations. Many of them are a little intimidating! Has anyone else ever made anything from this book?