A few weeks ago I was browsing the magical world of Pinterest and came across a cute project that involved owls. I am always looking for excuses to bake more things and so, I shared the idea with a friend at church and that’s how I ended up baking more than 100 cupcakes for my church this week. The owls were given away as part of the Teacher Appreciation week and kept my oven warm all week long.
The owls were SO easy to do! The original idea, I believe, was published in the book Hello Cupcake! I don’t own the book but many blogs listed it as the source of inspiration. Without real instructions to follow and improvising my ingredients, this is what I came up with:
The owls were made out of chocolate cupcakes. Choose your favorite batter and have fun baking as many as you need (we have about 120 teachers in the School of Religion so, this kept me busy the whole week as I delivered the cupcakes in small batches, according to their class schedule.)
The next step in my kitchen is the filling. No, you don’t have to fill your cupcakes! But I like the idea of biting into a soft, spongy cake, covered with silky buttercream, and finding a little surprise in the middle: fruit marmalade, delicious cream, or even a little bit of the same buttercream used for the icing… I’m drooling already!
For my Chocolate Owls I used a White Chocolate Cream I came across (thanks Google!)
[note_box]Normally I would enhance this cream with a little bit of orange liqueur. Sadly, I’m out of Grand Marnier these days and so, I had to do without it.[/note_box]
The next step on this particular project was covering my cupcakes with ganache.
Ganache is just some fancy word for melted chocolate sauce… delicious chocolate sauce! Luscious, silky, shiny chocolate sauce … Don’t let the fancy name stop you from trying this. It’s as simple as it gets!
Chop some bittersweet chocolate, add some heavy cream and butter, stir gently and witness a miracle!
[toggle heading="Ganache Recipe"]
- 8 ounces (227 grams) semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, cut into small pieces
- 3/4 cup (180 ml) heavy whipping cream
- 2 tablespoons (28 grams) unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoons cognac or brandy (optional)
Place the chopped chocolate in a medium sized heatproof bowl. Set aside.
Heat the cream and butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. (Can also heat the cream and butter in the microwave.) Bring just to a boil.
Immediately pour the boiling cream over the chocolate and allow to stand, without stirring, for a few minutes. Stir gently (as you do not want to incorporate air into the ganache) with a spoon or whisk until smooth. If desired, add the liqueur.
Makes enough ganache to cover one – 9 inch (23 cm) cake or torte.
Thanks to the Joy of Baking for sharing the recipe and this helpful video!
Working with ganache is a messy job, but somebody has to do it! Take your cupcakes and dip them in the ganache, while it’s still warm. After a few days of doing this every night I started to believe that I have liquid chocolate running in my veins! … Here is the proof! LOL
Let the ganache sit for a bit (you may want to stick the cupcakes in the refrigerator for a while) and you are ready for the fun part!
For the eyes: Grab a few mini Oreo cookies (mini cream filled chocolate sandwich cookies) and separate them. Supposedly you could use the cream sided cookie facing up, but I found that the cream didn’t stick to all the cookies, or maybe it had crumbs (resulting into “dirty white” on the eyes). I scraped the cream off (my husband was delighted with the left overs!) and replaced it with little circles of white fondant.
Use brown Reese’s Pieces (candy in a crunchy shell, for those of you who are not familiar with this sweet treat) for the eyeballs and yellow ones for the beaks.
Play with chocolate frosting to create feathery eyebrows (store bought frosting is fine. The texture is right, the flavor is OK, and you only need a few drops here and there.)
Your owls are now ready to fly!
NOTE: After I was done with this project, and the last of my owls had flown the nest, I sat down to write this post and came across this recipe for Owl Cupcakes… Would have been nice to have read it a week ago! LOL Oh well, cupcakes were fun to make!