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!
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!)
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
- I found at Walgreens, the Nice! brand.
- 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
Gumdrop 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…