Monday, April 4, 2016

Dirt Cupcakes

 When my niece, Kristin, was planning her daughter Shyla's first birthday party, she sent me a text and asked if I would make Dirt or cupcakes for the party. (If you're not familiar with Dirt, it's basically a tray of chocolate pudding with crushed oreos and gummy worms on top, made to look like, well, Dirt!) Anyway, she explained that the theme for the party would be 10 Little Ladybugs (since that's Shyla's favorite book), and there would be butterflies and grass and trees and stuff like that. She said the pudding would look more like the theme, but she likes cupcakes better. So I figured, why not do both in one?? And here we are!
 First, I baked the chocolate cupcakes. Then when they were completely cooled, I cut out the centers, filled each one and also swirled the top with chocolate pudding whipped cream, then dipped it in crushed Oreo crumbs. All it needed was a little gummy worm on top, and boom, it's a Dirt Cupcake!! Aren't they adorable? They were just perfect for our beautiful little lady bug on her first birthday, and they were a big hit at the party!
 For the cupcakes, I used Hershey's Double Chocolate Cupcake recipe, and for the pudding, I used the same recipe as I do when I'm making a trifle, only with chocolate instant pudding instead of vanilla. They were such a big hit, I have a feeling I'll be getting many more requests for them in the future!
Happy Birthday, Shyla!

Hershey's Double Chocolate Cupcakes

1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup water
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 sections (1/2 oz. each) HERSHEY'S Unsweetened Chocolate Baking Bar , melted

  Heat oven to 350°F. Line 12 muffin cups (2-1/2 inches in diameter) with paper bake cups.
Stir together flour, sugar, baking soda and salt in large bowl. Add water, oil, vinegar and vanilla; beat with whisk or spoon until batter is smooth. Blend in melted chocolate. Fill muffin cups 2/3 full with batter. Bake 16 to 18 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center of cupcakes comes out clean. Remove from pan to wire rack. Cool completely.

Chocolate Pudding Whipped Cream

1 3.5 box instant pudding
1 cup cold milk
1 cup cold heavy cream.

Using a mixer (preferably with a whisk attachment), mix the dry pudding with the milk until the powder is dissolved and the mixture becomes very thick. Add the cream and whip until completely combined and fluffy. That's all there is to it!

To make the Dirt Cupcakes:

First, have all of your components ready: the cooled cupcakes, the pudding whipped cream, the Oreo crumbs, and the gummy worms. For the crumbs, I just threw a bunch of Oreos into the food processor and blitzed it until they were completely crushed down to fine crumbs. Then I placed them in a large bowl. The gummy worms were a bit too long for a cupcake, so I cut each one of them in half.
 Using an apple corer, cut a vertical hole in each cupcake, straight through the center all the way down to the bottom of the cupcake, making sure not to cut through the paper at the bottom.
 Fill a ziploc plastic bag with pudding and snip off one of the corners with scissors, then squeeze enough pudding into each cupcake to fill the hole. Finish with a swirl of pudding on top. To cover each one with crumbs, gently but quickly dip the top of each cupcake in the crumbs, being careful not to lose any of the pudding into the bowl of crumbs. It's best if you do it in one quick motion. Place a half of a gummy worm on the top of each.

 Bonus dessert idea! Make individual chocolate trifles!
 Place a little bit of your leftover pudding in the bottom of a few pretty wine glasses. Crumble some of the cut out cupcake centers on top of each. Repeat with a second layer of cream and then more crumbs, then top each glass with a swirl of whipped cream and a bit of shaved chocolate.

-Yes, it's correct that there are no eggs in this recipe. Just sayin'!
-This recipe makes 12 cupcakes, but it was no problem to double it.
-Even if you're not planning to do the pudding, Oreos, and gummy worms, this is still a great go-to cupcake recipe. Simply frost them with your favorite frosting and you're good to go!
-Instead of adding a cup of water as the recipe says, I added a cup of strong coffee. It doesn't make it taste like coffee, it just gives it a richer, deeper chocolate flavor.
-If you have another chocolate cupcake recipe that you'd prefer, go for it! The dirt idea will work with pretty much any cupcake recipe.
-Oh and one other thing, if you decide to use a regular cake recipe instead of a cupcake recipe, be sure to adjust your baking time for cupcakes instead of setting your timer as for a cake. Otherwise you'll end up with 4 dozen charcoal briquettes and you'll have to throw them out and start all over. Not that I would know this from experience or anything...

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