Thanksgiving Dinner Cupcakes!

Guys. I’m dropping out of college and opening a bakery. Seriously.

Not seriously, but I feel like I could after this project.

This week, I was determined to make these Thanksgiving Dinner Cupcakes that I found on a pin that took me to this website: http://makebakecelebrate.com/thanksgiving-dinner-cupcakes/ . I made all of them except the sweet potatoes, because I didn’t have any marshmallows and no one would have understood that one if I just did it without them. Now that you’ve seen that picture, take a look at my slightly modified but still adorable version:

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Even though I’m obviously a master fondant sculptor, I guess I’ll go through them to make sure you get the full effect of the cuteness. Starting top left and going clockwise: mashed potatoes with gravy and a pat of butter, a turkey leg, stuffing, green beans and corn with butter!

So this endeavor started like, a week ago when I started trying to figure out how I was going to get a hold of all the ingredients I needed. This is definitely the biggest project I’ve taken on, and I hope it’s not bigger than you guys were expecting of me. I think you guys can do it though. It took a lot of time, but all of the steps are easy enough that I know you can do it. And it was a great Saturday afternoon project! If you’re ever bored on the weekend, this is a fun way to pass the time. Saturdays at my school are boring. I go to a suitcase school and all my friends are home. I, however, am two hours away so I need a lot of these time-passing projects.

… try doing homework? Yeah, let’s just move on…

Anyway, it took me forever to acquire all of the ingredients. I ended up getting the cupcake mix and vanilla frosting at Walmart, the eggs and butter at 7-11, and the fondant and icing colors at Michael’s. It was also one of the more expensive projects, but it shows in the result so I guess it’s worth it. You can get the fondant in the colors that you need, but that’ll give you WAY more than you need for this project, so I suggest getting these products. Not necessarily these brands or anything; this is just what I picked up.

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This way, you can buy one little box of fondant for like $7 and then icing colors to dye it whatever color you need. I only used half of the box of fondant for 15 cupcakes.

SO..the very first step is to bake the cupcakes. I did this in my laughably small and poorly equipped dorm kitchen. I forgot cupcake liners at Walmart, so I was praying that the kitchen would have them, and I ACTUALLY FOUND SOME but they were mini. Who in the world, may I ask, uses mini cupcake liners, and what in the world are they for? Regardless, I had to just butter the cupcake pan and do without liners, which worked just fine.

Also, it’s so funny when you’re baking in a dorm. Students just come by and look longingly inside at the food you’re making that didn’t come from the dining hall. So many people came by going “OH MY GOD IT SMELLS SO GOOD IN HERE!” and I was like yeah, that’s just me making the cutest cupcakes you’ve ever seen. Here’s a picture of the little guys while they were baking:

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After I baked as many as the batter would allow, (it was around 20 or so but I ate the ugly ones and some were sacrificed for the stuffing ones so there were 15 to work with) I brought them back to my room to finish the project there. I set up three stations, and by stations I mean paper plates. There was one place for frosting, one for yellow fondant and one for green. I thought that was the least messy way to do it. By the way, you’re about to get REALLY freaking messy.

Okay, at your frosting station you’ll need a paper plate, a bowl for mixing, and the brown icing color that came in the package from the picture. You’re gonna be using all vanilla frosting to make it easier, but you’ll be dying some of it brown. Your mashed potatoes, corn, green beans and stuffing all need to be iced white, so go ahead and do that. Now, in your mashed potato cupcake, take a spoon and dig a little hole in the center. Not too deep, but into the cake part. Now take a little dollop of brown icing and drop it in! There are your potatoes and gravy! In the original, the baker used caramel syrup, but this was easier, less messy for the eater, and just as cute in my opinion. We’ll do the butter soon. Next, pick out the one that you want to be your turkey leg, and ice that one in brown.

That’s all for the frosting station! Right now you should have five frosted cupcakes. Three completely white, one brown, and one white with some brown in it. You’ll also need one un-frosted one. I’m assuming that you’re only making one batch of these, even though that may not be the case. Now, we’ll move on to the yellow fondant station, where you’ll need a paper plate, a chunk of fondant (the size of the chunk depends on how many you’re making) and your yellow icing color. This is where you get messy, but it’s fun! Take a few drops of the yellow icing color and mix it into the fondant, kneading it with your hands until it’s all worked in. If you need more, feel free to use it until you get the shade of yellow you’re looking for, but the stuff is so concentrated you probably don’t need as much as you think you do.

Now you start shaping your little pieces! First, we can finish the mashed potatoes. All you need for this one is a thin square a little bit smaller than your gravy. It might be a little sticky, but I think that once the icing color dries a little bit it got easier to work with. Just place the square right on top of the gravy pool, and voila! Mashed potatoes with gravy and butter. I don’t actually put butter or gravy on my mashed potatoes but I’ll admit it looks much tastier in cupcake form.

Let’s do the corn next since it’s also yellow. Start rolling out long yellow pieces about the length of the cupcake.You’ll probably need 6-7 of those, and some need to be longer than others if they’re going across the middle vs. the sides. Now, flatten them out a little, but not completely, and then get a toothpick .Or, if you’re a very resourceful college student like myself, you’ll get a tooth flosser. Gotta do what ya gotta do. Now just make little indentations in the fondant to make it look like individual corn kernels, and lay them on top of one of the cupcakes with white frosting. I’m under the impression that frosting helps the fondant stick, but I could be wrong because the pat of butter for this cupcake sits on top of the fondant. By the way, make another pat of butter and sit it on top of the fondant. If you’re having trouble following, take a look at the picture at the top of this post to help you out.

And don’t worry about your hands! The icing colors wash right off, most of it without even using soap. Once you’re done making the mashed potato cupcakes and the corn cupcakes, you’ll be done with the yellow fondant, so you can go ahead and wash your hands. You’ll want to get that off before you start working with the white fondant again, because just touching it with dye on your hands will color it.

Now, we’re moving on to your green fondant station. Take another chunk of fondant, again the size depends on how many you’re making. The set of icing colors I bought was a set of primary colors, so mix the blue and yellow to make green, and then do the same thing you did to dye the fondant yellow. Wanna see what my hands looked like after this step?

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That’s how you know this was a fun project. I think my hands are permanently tinged green. Once you have the shade of green you’re looking for, start rolling them into what you find to be acceptable green bean shape. Once you have around 8-10 of those, find your toothpick and make lines down the middle of them, like you can see in the picture at the top of the post. Just place them on one of your two remaining white cupcakes however you like, and that completes your side of green beans!

The last thing you have to do with the fondant is for your main dish, the turkey leg. Cut off a decently thick slice of fondant, maybe about a quarter inch. Use your toothpick to draw out the shape of half a bone and then punch it out like you used a cookie cutter. If you have a tiny bone shaped cookie cutter, go you. I just used the toothpick kind of like a saw and did what was necessary to reshape it after it was out. Then, place it in your brown cupcake! I suggest putting it off to the side as opposed to right in the middle. There’s your turkey leg!

Finally, we’ll do the stuffing. I saved it for last not because it’s best, but because it doesn’t require fondant. In fact, it’s probably the worst in my opinion, in terms of looking like what it’s supposed to. Remember that plain, unfrosted cupcake I mentioned way back at the beginning? You need it now. I want you to just crumble it up, all over the top of the last white iced cupcake you have. All it is, is chunks of cake on top of the frosting! To make it look darker, like real stuffing, I took the most well done parts from the bottom of the plain cupcake and put it at the top. I think that people will at least be able to tell what it is in context with the rest of them.

So that was my biggest undertaking so far. It took me about four hours overall, not including travel time for the ingredients. It was less than $15, and I still have plenty of icing color and fondant left over for another project. I actually don’t know if I can save fondant, so that might be a waste but at least I have more dye for next time.

Anyway, I hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving this week, and I hope that we can all remember the real meaning of this day. Honestly, take a minute to be thankful for what you have. I know everyone says that every year, and even sometimes not at this time of year, but how many times do you really sit down and do it? I know I don’t do it as much as I should. I’m thankful for my amazing, supportive family, my friends from home who still manage to keep in touch even though we’re all over the east coast, my friends at school for making me feel so at home, and I’m thankful that I have a passion and the inspiration to keep it going. After all, that’s what keeps this blog alive! 🙂

So, next Sunday is December 1st, and that could not be more perfect. Obviously, that’s the usual day that I post, but for the month of December, I’ll be posting a new craft or recipe EVERY DAY UNTIL CHRISTMAS. I told you you were gonna be overwhelmed by all the Christmas. You didn’t even know what you were in for. You still don’t even know what you’re in for. You won’t even know which things to try because there’ll be so much. Oh yeah, get ready.

See you in the Christmas season!

Love,

Nicole

PS- Gobble Gobble

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