Squirt Sea Turtle Cupcakes (with instructions!)

I do not often make “cutsie” cupcakes. They tend to be a lot of work and not as tasty. But a coworker requested these for her son’s first birthday, and since it’s summer, I agreed. [And sea turtles are also my favorittte animal.  We went to see the Sea Turtle Lady in SPI many many times.  Family vacations at SPI for spring break… that’s a story for another day.]

And a BIG shoutout to my self-designated “cupcake engineer” – she figured out how to solve many of the problems I came across.  And did a lot of the cutting of the candy.  I’m just not careful enough for that…  Thanks Olivia!

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The cake: I made 2 flavors of cupcakes at her request – my favorite chocolate and my now favorite vanilla recipes I even used my new surprise cupcake pan (isn’t my boyfriend sweet? Happy birthday to me!) to have Reese’s in the middle. Mmmmm. (I even had blue wavy cupcakes – water!)

The candy:

You will need…

  • Peach gummi ring candies – 1 per cupcake
    • make sure they’re not hard when you buy them!  The first few bags I bought were and it made them difficult to manuever.
    • try to find some that are mostly red on the top portion of the ring.  It just looks better!
  • Gumdrop candies (green for the head and red/orange to match the gummi rings) – 1 of each per cupcake
    • See if you can find them in where you can buy just one color.  I couldn’t, so I had to buy lots of bags to get enough.
    • You can also use small spice drops for the center of the shell (then, no cutting is necessary) – but since I had to buy lots of packages of gumdrops anyways AND I didn’t want any frosting poking out of my shells, I went with red gumdrops.
  • Spearmint Leaves candies – 2 per cupcake
  • Mini chocolate chips – 2 per cupcake
    • If you live in Texas, and it’s June, therefore a gazillion degrees outside, don’t leave in your trunk for 2 days.  Unless you want a long and slow method of melting chocolate and you’d like to pipe the eyes.  I may or may not have experienced this…
  • Wooden kitchen skewer or toothpick

Red GumdropGumdrop shell: (I did this ahead of time. Make sure to seal them somehow – I used Saran wrap.) Slice the red gumdrop in half, eat or discard the bottom half (warning: may taste slightly like cough syrup.  According to my cupcake engineer.  I was perfectly happy eating the leftover peach rings.)  You will place the red gumdrop top on the center of the gummi ring to create the turtle shell.

Fins: Slice a Spearmint Leaves candy in half. Then use an oval or heart fondant/cookie cutter to cut each half into two pieces, as shown.  Use the outer pieces for the front fins and the inner pieces for the hind fins.

Gumdrop head: If using chocolate chips, use a kitchen skewer or toothpick to poke eyeholes in the sides of a green gumdrop. Then press a mini chocolate chip into each hole, using a dab of white icing to help hold it in place. If you’re going to pipe the chocolate, you better be more cautious and careful than I am.  Luckily, I had my trusty “cupcake engineer” friend Olivia to help me do the tricky parts for me and be the brains of the operation.

The frosting: Once the cupcakes have cooked and when the candy is prepared, frost them with the frosting of your choice.  I love me some vanilla buttercream! I scooped it onto the cupcake using a small or medium cookie scoop and then spread it using a small icing spatula.

Assemble the turtle:  (see picture below) I put the head first, then the shell with the top-half-red-gumdrop in the center, then the legs.  Press down slightly to stick in place.  I refrigerated my cupcakes until serving.  I live in Texas. It’s hot.  Frosting melts…

Turtle method adapted from Spoonful: Courtesy of Disney.  Here are some other versions (with varied candy types): Zimbio, these made with chocolate shells, Thrifty and Chic mom

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