Feb 25, 2013

Campfire Cupcakes

This is another picture of me following through.  The personal growth is so rampant around here it's killing me.  I think it's Evernote, or more specifically using The Secret Weapon system with Evernote, but that's another post.  When I got word that the Cub Scouts were having a cake contest as part of the Blue and Gold Banquet, I made an Evernote to remind myself to search Pinterest for ideas.  As I did my search, the clear winner was this idea of the campfire with candy flames.  I made myself another Evernote listing the steps needed to get it all done, including items I needed from the store.  Breaking it down into steps like that really helped, instead of trying to do it all a few hours before the banquet I was able to fit parts of the job in here and there, picking up the candy and pretzels one day, making the candy flames and cupcakes another day, leaving just the assembly for the last day.

The Cub Scouts were supposed to make the cakes themselves, and while I knew they'd all get varying degrees of help from their mothers I wanted to make sure my son did most of it himself.  That's why this idea was so perfect, it was impressive looking but didn't require any advanced skills like piping.  The candy flames look impressive, but they were really easy.  Willowday has a great tutorial with pictures on how to do this, so I didn't try to replicate her work.  My son crushed the candies himself, spread them on the parchment paper covered cookie sheet, and put them in the oven.  I took them out of the oven myself to avoid any accidents with the molten candy.  To be even safer, you could just turn off the oven and leave the candy inside until it cools completely.

After some discussion of cupcakes options- he didn't want to do 'just plain chocolate', we decided on Bakerella's S'more Cupcake recipe.  Having made them once already, we knew they were great tasting, which was important to both of us. I hate beautiful desserts that taste like nothing.  It feels shallow, like it's all about appearance and what's inside doesn't matter.  (I know, that's probably overthinking it, but that's what I do.)  These great tasting cupcakes fit the campfire theme perfectly, and as a bonus, the crumb topping takes the place of frosting, so that was one less thing to make.   My son made the cupcakes mostly by himself, he fetched all the ingredients, measured them into the bowl, and mixed them up.  Filling the cups for baking was a little involved, with two kinds of batter, crumb topping, and a marshmallow that had to be layered in a specific order.  He was very meticulous and I had to bite my tongue and resist the urge to take over at least a dozen times.  Once that first dozen was in the oven, I congratulated myself on my restraint, told him great job, you're all done, and did the second dozen by myself.

With the cupcakes and the candy flames already made, on the day of the event it was an easy matter for him to stick the pretzels into the cupcake and arrange the flames inside them.  I knew I'd be tempted to arrange every pretzel stick and flame just right, so I demonstrated one for him and then I left the kitchen.  He did them all by himself and they turned out awesome.  He had fun showing them off at the banquet that night, and I hope he was extra proud that he did so much of it himself.

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