June 22, 2013

Dalek Cupcake Tutorial

Hey guys! I'm super excited for today's post because I made dalek cupcakes! Aaaah, lookit the cute little intergalactic mass murderer! *Squee*!

I've had this idea in my head for a while now, since daleks really are kind of cupcake shaped. Upside-down cupcake shaped. But I finally made them, and they came out even better than I had expected.
Now, you guys already know that I'm not much of a decorator, but the simple shape of the universe's most feared race surprisingly lends itself well to desserts. In fact, the first time that I ever made cake pops, despite the fact that I had absolutely no idea what I was doing, you could still pretty much tell what they were supposed to be:
Please excuse the photo quality. It's from my pre-bloggy days. My very, very pre-bloggy days.

And actually, in Dining With The Doctor, there are like 12 recipes for edible daleks.

Daleks: the homicidal maniacs that are also delicious. Who'd a thunk?

So even with my complete lack of decorating skills, dalek cupcakes seemed really achievable. And you know what? I was totally right.
What you will need:

  • Cupcakes: 6 jumbo, 6 standard, and 6 mini from 1 regular cake recipe. Any flavor works, although chocolate is a little more difficult to cover with frosting. I actually used a box mix (for shame, I know), and that made just enough with a little leftover.
  • 6 Oreos or similar chocolate sandwich cookies.
  • 12 mini marshmallows (or Mallow Bits might be a better size, but I can never seem to find them)
  • Frosting. I find shortening-based frostings the best for decorating- it's smoother, takes color better, and doesn't crust as much, but use your favorite if shortening skeeves you. (The recipe I used was 6 tbsp. butter, 6 tbsp. shortening, 2 cups powdered sugar, small pinch salt, and 1/4 tsp. vanilla extract. Whipped till light and fluffy)
  • Food coloring
  • Pretzel sticks (I broke them in half, so I only used about 9, but if you're using smaller ones, you may need 18)
  • 6 chocolate chips
  • 6 chocolate Cheerios (or more chocolate chips if you don't want to buy a box of cereal just for 6 pieces)
  • Chocolate candy melts
  • Candy Buttons (or mini M&M's work as well)
This is the nekkid base of our dalek, so you can see how they stack up. The first thing you want to do is level the cupcakes so that they sit flat on their tops. Just take a small serrated knife and eyeball it best as you can. It doesn't need to be perfect (I have some gaps because some of the edges got a little over baked) (I can bake gourmet scratch cupcakes perfectly, but give me a box mix and I burn the edges).

Also, the mini cupcake has a rounded top because I baked it in this brownie pop mold from Wilton. I got it from Michaels for about $8, but if you don't want to invest in another pan, regular minis work as well. Your dalek will just have a flat head.
So you're going to start off, with a layer of colored frosting on the top of the jumbo cupcake (remember, they're all inverted, so the bottom is the top and the top is the bottom). I made the daleks 3 colors: yellow, blue, and red(ish). You want to start with the colored frosting in case any squishes out the sides.
Especially if you have gaps from where you over cooked the edges. Place the standard cupcake (inverted) on top of the jumbo.
Cover both cakes with the colored frosting. As you can see, I'm not the neatest froster. You don't have to worry about it being too perfect, since it will get decorated further.
Place the Oreo on top.
Frost the mini cupcake and place (inverted) on top of the Oreo. The best way I found to do this was to hold the mini in two fingers- top and bottom- and frost what I could get at (frosting all over my fingers: added bonus). Then I plopped some frosting on top of the Oreo, and placed the mini (inverted) on top. Then I cleaned up the frosting the best I could manage.
Now that we have the body, we can add the eye stalk, arms, and the lights. Put two mini marshmallows on either side of the mini cupcake "head" for the lights. Squish them into the frosting a bit so they stick.

Each of the pretzel sticks I broke in half, because mine were a bit too long. For the eye stalk, I used melted candy melts to attach a chocolate chip to the end of a pretzel stick. I found the broken end is better for this because it has more surface area. Just place the chip flat side down on a plate, add a little melted chocolate to the end of the pretzel, then press the pretzel firmly onto the chip and hold for 30 seconds. When you let go, it should stand by itself, then just let it sit for another minute to make sure everything's solid.

For the plunger arm, I attached a chocolate Cheerio to the end of another pretzel stick (the unbroken end worked better for that). Again, if you don't want to buy a whole box, you can just use more chocolate chips, or just use a plain pretzel stick. Chocolate Cheerios is like my favorite cereal, so that wasn't really a hardship.

For the whisk arm, I couldn't think of anything good, so I just used a plain pretzel stick.

To any non-Whovian reading: the daleks have two arms. One looks like a plunger that they use to scan things. The other looks like a whisk, but is apparently a very deadly laser gun of some description. And somehow, these things manage to terrify children worldwide.
To finish off, place the candy buttons in even columns on the dalek's body (I only went halfway around. I didn't want to sit there all day placing itty bitty candies). Yellow works best, but since this dalek was already yellow, he's a tiny bit fabulous and got pink instead. I also made a snap decision to add a blue candy button to the end of the eye stalk, because daleks usually have blue eye light thingies. Just add it on with a little more melted chocolate.

Candy buttons are those tiny little candies that come on paper sheets that we used to eat as kids, and end up eating half the paper as well. I don't know why we ever tried, because they weren't especially good, and a pain in the butt to eat. But they are the perfect size and shape for the dalek's little balls, or eggs, or whatever they're called. If you can't find them, or don't feel like picking paper off of them, mini M&M's are a good substitute.
I like that one in the front that's all "Praise the lawd!"
So these ended up being a lot simpler and a lot better than I had originally envisioned. There's absolutely no mistaking what they're supposed to be, and I'm completely in love with them.
And really, anyone could make them. The only "special" tools I used were a small off-set spatula for the frosting, and a small squirt bottle for the candy melts. Those could easily be replaced with a butter knife and a zip-top bag.
Oh no, cupcake daleks have the Tardis cookie jar!
There's just one thing I wasn't completely happy about: I'm a bit disappointed that I couldn't get a good, vibrant red for the daleks. I used Wilton icing colors, and I even added some brown, but it just stubbornly remained pink. I think the Wilton colors dry out to quickly, because I don't really use them that often, and it had gotten kind of overly thick. I might make the switch over to the Americolor gel colors. Any opinions?
So these are kind of baby shower daleks. Blue, pink, and yellow. And really, a Doctor Who-themed baby shower sounds like the world's best baby shower. You'd better invite me if you have one, because it was my idea and all. I'll even bring the cupcakes.

That blue one's my favorite. He came out the best.
Extermi-nom nom nom
Mmmm, yes. Definitely my favorite.

And don't forget, next Doctor Who Saturday will be on July 20th. Although I have no idea how I'll top this one. XD

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