Thanksgiving Turkey Cupcakes

Thanksgiving Turkey Cupcakes


For the cupcakes:

  • 2 cups all-purpose unbleached flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 12 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for the pans
  • 2 cups plus 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 3/4 cup nonalkalized cocoa powder (not Dutch-processed)
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cups water
  • 1/4 cup milk

For the frosting:

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 4 tablespoons heavy cream

For the decorations:

  • Yellow and red colored sugar
  • Chow mein noodles
  • Vanilla wafers
  • White decorating frosting
  • Miniature chocolate chips
  • Orange and yellow Dots candies


 To make the cupcakes,

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and line 24 cupcake tins with paper liners.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter at medium speed until smooth, about 2 minutes. Increase the speed to medium-high and slowly add the sugar. Continue beating until light and smooth, about 4 minutes. Turn the mixer off and scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Add the cocoa powder and vanilla and beat at medium speed for 1 minute more. (Stop the machine and scrape down the sides of the bowl again, if needed.) With the mixer running at medium-low speed, add the eggs, one at a time, beating for 1 minute between each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
  4. Combine the water and milk in a saucepan and bring just to a boil. Remove from the heat.
  5. With the mixer at low speed, add the flour mixture, about a 1/4 cup at a time. Carefully pour the hot liquid into the batter. Remove the bowl from the mixer and, using a large rubber spatula, finish combining the batter until smooth
  6. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans. Lightly drop each pan onto the counter to settle the batter.
  7. Set the pans on the middle rack in the oven. Bake until the cakes begin to pull away from the sides of the pans and the center springs back when touched lightly, about 20 to 25 minutes.
  8. Let the  cakes cool Cool


To make the frosting,

  1. Cream the butter for a couple of minutes until smooth.
  2. Sift 3 cups powdered sugar and cocoa into the mixing bowl.
  3. Turn your mixer on the lowest speed (so the dry ingredients do not blow everywhere) until the sugar and cocoa are absorbed by the butter.
  4. Increase mixer speed to medium and add vanilla extract, salt, and cream and beat for 3 minutes. If your frosting needs a more stiff consistency, add a little more sugar. If your frosting needs to be thinned out, add additional cream 1 tablespoon at a time. Frost the cooled cupcakes.

For the decorations:

  1.  Place a dollop of the chocolate frosting on the front of each cupcake (this is where the “head” of the turkey will rest). Combine red and yellow sugars and sprinkle over the cupcakes.
  2. Stick chow mein noodles in the back of each cupcake for the feathers.
  3. To make the faces, add dots of white frosting on the vanilla wafers to make the eyes. Use a miniature chocolate chip for each pupil. Using a rolling pin, roll Dots out into relatively thin layers and use a paring knife to cut them into beak shapes. Secure the beaks with a dot of white frosting. Place the heads on the cupcakes and gently press down to ensure that they’re secure.

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