Thursday, March 1, 2012

Mexican Chocolate Cupcakes: Fire Ants!

Currently, I am taking the second class in a three part biology sequence: Biology 212. Luckily, my professor is an Entymologist. This means that I am learning more about bugs than I ever hoped to know. So, as is only appropriate, the best way to kiss ass and help get yourself an A in a class is to make cupcakes for your teacher.

We had specifically been studying the Phylum Arthropoda, which includes bugs! My professor had mentioned that he had quite a bit of information about ants - which are in Phylum: Arthropoda, Subphylum: Hexapoda, Class: Insecta, and Order: Hymenoptera. This is where I get to put my nerd glasses back on.

I had just made my Valentine's day cupcakes (see Cabernet Red Velvet Cupcakes) and was still in a cupcake mood. Seeing as how we were having an exam two days after, I decided the best way to study would be to make a test batch of Fire Ant Cupcakes.

As you may have noticed, I'm not one for making your average, ordinary chocolate or vanilla cupcake. But I had a problem here - I wanted the cupcakes to look like a mound of dirt with an ant on it. So, what would look like a mound of dirt? Chocolate. But, that's BORING!

To the cupcake bible I went and I found the Mexican Hot Chocolate cupcakes. How perfect! I quickly put it together. I'll make a spicy chocolate cupcake and call them Fire Ant Cupcakes! Brilliant, right? I didn't even get this one from Pinterest!

Not only was I ecstatic about my Fire Ant Cupcake idea, I was completely elated by the fact that I would have another wonderful opportunity to play with marzipan. I mixed the marzipan with some cocoa powder and beet powder and got that perfect red ant color and went right to work at making my little ants.

It was so fun! Probably more fun than making my tiramisu cupcakes...but definitely much more time consuming. This stuff is sticky as hell and it's kind of like working with clay.You'll need to use powdered sugar as you would flour when rolling out dough. I made 24 of these guys, so it took me about 2 and a half hours. Mirko would be able to put together a lot of furniture from Ikea while I make these.

I didn't care, they were worth it! I LOVE how they turned out and was super excited to bring them to my class. I had my study buddy test them out first; he said they were great.

I had to modify the recipe so much that I'll post yet another recipe! Hooray!

Makes 12 cupcakes

1 C Almond Milk
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp ground flax seed
1/3 C Canola Oil
1/3 C granulated Sugar
1/3 C Stevia in the Raw
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp coconut extract
1 tsp chocolate extract
3/4 C All purpose flour
1/4 C Whole wheat pastry flour
1/4 C Almond flour
1/2 C Cocoa Powder
2 tsp Cayenne Pepper
1 tsp Cinnamon Powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

Preheat your oven to 350 and line your muffin tin with cupcake liners. Whisk the almond milk and vinegar and let it sit for a minute or two before adding in the oil, extracts, ground flax seed, sugar and stevia. Sift in the dry ingredients. The batter may be a little thick, so add a little extra almond milk if needed. Fill the liners and bake for 10 minutes and then decrease your oven temperature to 325 and bake for another 18 minutes.

It was fun! Oh, and everybody loved these - surprised the hell out of me since they were spicy!