My friend Kylie celebrated her birthday this past week, and she loves mooses (moose/meese?!) so I decided to make her some moose cupcakes. I got the idea from a book I got for my birthday, What’s New, Cupcake? which is brilliant for novelty cupcakes. The only downside is that it is VERY american – so a lot of the things they use, we can’t really buy over here for a good price and finding alternatives isn’t always easy.
Step one is to cover the cupcake with a small layer of chocolate frosting, I found it worked better when I used slightly stiff frosting as it helps to hold the sponge finger in place. The recipe calls for twinkies – which aren’t easy to get hold of in England, and as it was more for the shape rather than taste, I ended up using some chocolate chip sponge fingers from Tesco.
Step two was to trim down the sponge fingers so that they could be placed onto the cupcake at an angle. I secured these with a small piece of straw to make sure it would be stay on properly, before covering the ‘join’ with more frosting. Remember – warn your friends there is a straw otherwise it will hurt biting into the cupcake!
Step three – make moose ears – the book suggests using tootsie rolls but I used chocolate fondant instead. All you need to do is roll out a small circle, then pinch the bottom together and ta-da. Keep these handy though – it’ll be needed for the next step.
Step four uses Wilton candy melts (Hobbycraft sells these) to cover the cupcake in a smooth chocolate finish. After microwaving the candy melts, hold the cupcake upside down and dip it into the melted chocolate – I found this a little difficult with some as the sponge finger looked like it might fall right in, so used a palette knife to smooth it on instead. The best option now is to add the ears on, whilst the chocolate is still melted as it will hold them in place once it hardens. This is much easier than digging holes into the solid chocolate afterwards!
Step five is to make the antlers, this also uses Wilton’s candy melts. The book has a template for antlers, which I copied out onto greaseproof paper. After filling a piping bag with the melted chocolate , I traced out the outline and filled in the centre. It hardens quite quickly, but it’s best to leave it in the fridge so it hardens properly.
Looking back, I would suggest that you have these prepared and ready before step four, because you can add the antlers in before the melted chocolate and it will hold it in place, like the ears. It’s not a problem to do this last either, but I found it a bit difficult to make holes large enough to stick the antlers into the cake (without snapping the antlers).
Last but not least, add some features onto the moose to make it more lifelike – I would suggest using a lighter coloured chocolate frosting as the features will stand out better. Also, make sure its stiff frosting as the beard/eyes/tufts of hair will look more realistic and less like a splodgy mess! The book suggested using chocolate coated sunflower seeds for the nostrils and mini M&M’s for the eyes – if you can get your hands on these.