As soon as I heard about CB’s Fierce Cupcake Challenge, I knew I had to participate. CB is one of my most faithful Cupcake Hero participants, and a good friend. As well as, a good idea bouncer off’er, because she always agrees with me. ha! I went to target in search of some “fierce” cupcake supplies. I found none. So, I came home with Peeps and Bunnies instead. Little did I know, they would not get along, and of the war that was a’brewin. Here is the story of Peeps vs. Bunnies.
It is 10:00am EST on the counter top. The exact time for the Peep vs. Bunny throwdown. Tension was mounting. Peeps have been around forever. Bunnies are new school, and the underdog in this throwdown. You see Peeps have been around the block. They know what’s up. They ARE the Easter favorite. But the Bunnies scoff at that idea. After all, they have the EASTER Bunny in their corner. That’s the most famous Bunny of all. Who do Peeps have, Chicken Little? Whatev.
Meet the Peeps. Non-traditional choosing pink over the standard yellow. They’re fancy. Greta, Eloise and Harriet are ready to go. They are proud and will not back down from a fight.
Meet the Bunnies. They are the new kids on the block. Addie, Isabelle and Emily have may not be old, but they know their way around a good ole fashioned throwdown. They are fiesty and full of grit. Just what may be needed here today.
They line up. Both teams stare each other down. Yet, no one seems to want to make the first move. There is dead silence as we wait.
Greta leaps. She decides to take on Addie first. They are locked up. Neither can break free. Its down to strength. Who will win this initial battle?
Greta broke free, and although older, she still has the moves of a young Peep. She quickly goes for the ears, and is successful in taking Addie down. Greta in a shocking, and disgusting move, tears Addie’s ears from her head and wears them. This is a warning to the other young punks. She is in it to win it.
Greta admires her work, while Isabelle and Emily enraged with the loss of their friend, attack Eloise and Harriet. The Peeps welcome the challenge taunting the Bunnies. Things could get ugly here folks.
But wait! Another Bunny shows up out of nowhere. Its P.J.! She has seen many battles. Her scars are obvious. This Bunny has seen her share of war. She has shown up just in time. The crowd goes wild! Things are looking up for the Bunnies!
Its now 3 on 3. Even Steven folks. The Bunnies mean business, and the Peeps do look a tad worries. They had no idea P.J. would be at this throwdown. They could be in trouble.
All of a sudden, the tables have turned, in a power move, Eloise and Harriet get taken down by P.J. and Isabelle. Greta runs for the hills. The Bunnies scream at her to come finish what she started, but she knows she can not win this war. She will be back to fight another day.
The Bunnies are VICTORIOUS! They knew that had it in them to take down the old birds. No more shall the Bunny be mocked during the Easter holiday. Bunnies will sit in the corner no longer.
But, let’s not forget those who have fallen today….
Addie, The Brave.
Eloise and Harriet, tough old birds, who will not be forgotten.
This concludes today’s Peeps vs. Bunnies Throwdown. Thank you all for coming. May the Marshmallow be with you.
Cupcakes! by Elinor Klivans
Makes 12 to 15 cupcakes.
1 1/2 cups unbleached white flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup cold water
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoons vinegar
1 3/4 cups sugar
1/4 cup water
3 large egg whites
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
2 cups (12 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips or chopped semisweet chocolate
3 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil
To make the cupcakes, preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
Line a 12-cupcake tin with foil or paper liners and set aside. Sift together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, salt, and sugar in a large mixing bowl. In a 2-cup measuring cup, measure and mix together the oil, water, and vanilla. Pour the liquid ingredients into the baking pan and mix the batter with a fork or a small whisk. When the batter is smooth, add the vinegar and stir quickly. There will be pale swirls in the batter where the baking soda and the vinegar are reacting. Stir just until the vinegar is evenly distributed throughout the batter.
Working quickly, distribute the batter into the foil- or paper-lined 12-cupcake tin. If you have leftover batter (depending on how high you fill the liners) you can make a few extra cupcakes by using a few foil liners on a cookie sheet (furthermore, if you don’t own a cupcake tin, you can make all the cupcakes by simply using foil liners and a cookie sheet).
Bake for 20 minutes. Set the cupcakes on a wire rack for 10 minutes to cool. Use a small knife to loosen any tops that might have stuck to the top of the pan. Carefully place the wire rack on top of the cupcakes in their pan. Protecting your hands with pot holders and holding the pan and rack together, invert them to release the cupcakes ont he wire rack. Turn the cupcakes top side up to cool completely.
Make the filling. Put the sugar, water, egg whites, and cream of tartar in a heatproof container or the top of a double boiler with at least a 2-quart capacity and beat with a handheld electric mixer on high speed until opaque, white, and foamy, about 1 minute. Put the bowl over, but not touching, a saucepan of barely simmering water (or the bottom of the double boiler).
The top container should sit firmly over the pan of hot water; be sure to keep the cord of the electric mixer away from the burner. Beat on high speed until the frosting forms a stiff peak that stands straight up if you stop the beaters and lift them out of the mixture, about 12 mintues. The frosting should register 160 degrees Fahrenheit on a thermometer. Remove the container from the water, add the vanilla and almond extracts, and continue beating for 2 minutes to further thicken the filling. The filling will become firmer as it cools on the finished cupcakes.
Spoon the filling into a large pastry bag fitted with a large plain pastry tip or a large plastic freezer bag with a 1/2-inch long hole cut in one corner. Leaving a 1/8-inch plain edge on each cupcake, pipe a spiral of filling into a 2-inch-high cone-shaped mound on top of each one, using about 1/2 cup of filling per cupcake. Place the filled cupcakes on a platter and refrigerate, uncovered, while you prepare the coating.
Make the chocolate coating. Put the chocolate and oil in a heatproof bowl or the top of a double boiler and place it over, but not touching, a saucepan of barely simmering water (or the bottom of the double boiler). Stir until the chocolate is melted and smooth. Scrape the chocolate coating into a small bowl and cool slightly, about 15 minutes.
Holding each cupcake by its bottom, dip the top of the mound of filling in the chocolate coating, letting any excess drip off, then spoon more coating over the unfilled edge of the cupcake and over the rest of the filling to coat it; none of the white filling should show. (You will have some chocolate coating left for another use or to pour over ice cream, but it is easier to work with a larger quantity of chocolate coating.) Let the cupcakes sit at room temperature for about 15 minutes to firm the coating slightly.
Peel off the paper liners and discard them. (This will make for a smooth chocolate-coated edge if any coating has dripped on to the paper liner.) Return the cupcakes to the platter and refrigerate for about 30 minutes to set the coating, then cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Serve cold.
The cupcakes can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.