January 18, 2010 by
With Special Olympics VT’s Penguin Plunge on the way, I was thinking penguin thoughts. Well, I was thinking something like, “What a great event. I should just take that February plunge into Lake Champlain! I just turned 40! What a great opportunity to do something bold! Hmm. I wonder if they’d like a batch of cupcakes instead. That would probably be even more helpful.”
So I did some research to see what penguin cupcakes folks have made, like this and this. I didn’t want to just mold penguins out of marzipan or fondant or whatever, and I didn’t want to buy mini donuts and donut holes, so I thought I’d try something else. And then my friend announced a bake sale to raise money for the Humane Society at our church, so I had a reason to rehearse.
Using the always-reliable Abby Dodge’s Emergency Blender Cupcakes, I made a double batch, baking half in mini tins, and half in regular sized cups lined with foil (don’t line the minis).
This is how we patiently waited for them to bake.
While they cooked and cooled, I prepared some penguin-decorating candy, starting with eyes made from little white ones with dots of black icing. I had pulled out some yellow ones too, prompting CrankyGreg to say, “Excellent. Penguins with jaundice.”
I got some chocolate-covered mint cookies for wings. These were trickier to cut without crushing than I would have thought, but the scraper ended up doing the job right.
Not pictured here:
- Batch of chocolate icing for dipping.
- Orange-colored fruit leather cut into triangles.
- The marshmallows I should have gotten to slice for penguin tummies.
Once the cupcakes were cool, I used a little bit of frosting to stick a mini cupcake on top of a larger one. Then I used a spoon to cover them with icing. We attached eyes, wings, beak and feet. And then I realized I had forgotten something white (like those marshmallow slices) for the bellies, so I clumsily spooned some confectioner’s sugar on. Then we stood back to gaze upon the results, which were decidedly ducklike.
The rest of the batch were improved by making a double stack of the minis on top so that our penguins had necks.
Though there was a lot of self-mockery going on around here, E. & Z. loved them. And when they proudly delivered the remaining ones to the bake sale table Sunday morning, we were swarmed and gasped at and feeling pretty good for the few minutes that they lasted. Plus I think we know enough now to make a truly beautiful batch for the February 6 event. Maybe we’ll see you there.