Hello all! This will be my last post before Halloween, so I decided to do something a little less traditional. Since Halloween’s all about tricks and treats, I thought why not focus on sweets. The movie I watched this weekend was John Carpenter’s The Thing, and a friend of mine gave me the cute idea of “Kurt Russell-Stover”. So from there I looked around for recipe that could mix baked goods with one of my favorite Russell Stover candies: chocolate turtles. That’s when I had the idea to do a chocolate cupcake with a caramel frosting and a chocolate turtle tucked inside as a surprise. Check it out!
I used about 3 different recipes for this cupcake. I was really looking for the perfect combination, plus they are gluten-free so that had to be taken into consideration. Here’s what my main inspiration was, and here’s the cake recipe that I actually followed. We’ll get to the frosting later. For the cake, you’ll need:
1/4 cup cocoa powder (I used Hershey’s special dark for a richer flavor)
1 1/2 cup gluten-free flour (I used white rice flour)
1/2 tsp xanthan gum (let it be known that this stuff if very pricey for the small package it comes in)
1 1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
2 large eggs
3/4 cup warm water
3/4 cup buttermilk
3 tbsp canola oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 package chocolate turtles
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare muffin pan by lining with cups. Mix all of the dry ingredients into a bowl and then add your wet ingredients.
Mix until smooth and pour into the cups about 2/3 of the way full. Bake for 20 minutes until toothpick comes out clean when inserted.
Pull out of the oven and cut a hole into the center of the cupcakes and insert one of the turtles into each cupcake and put back in the oven for another 3-4 minutes. Pull out of the oven. Set aside until cool enough to transfer to another pan/rack. I was able to get 21 cupcakes out of this and I only have one muffin pan so I absolutely had to transfer them to another rack.
While the cupcakes are cooling you can start with the Salted Caramel Cream Cheese frosting. This is where I got the recipe for the frosting. Here’s what you need:
2 sticks butter
8 0z package cream cheese
2 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup salted caramel sauce (I used Smucker’s Salted Caramel Sauce, found in the ice cream area)
Blend your butter and cream cheese and add powdered sugar and caramel and mix until smooth.
Frost your fully cooled cupcakes and top with pecan pieces.
This was my first time to bake gluten-free, and I am only slightly disappointed. I’ve read that using GF flour can be really tricky, but there’s a first time for everything. The cake didn’t have very much chocolate flavor to it, which was a downer. Also the texture was lacking a springy/fluffy quality and I can’t put my finger on it, but it was almost dry. Next time, I would try to add more cocoa or maybe coffee to it to bring out the flavor and also take the cupcakes out sooner, especially if I was putting them back in after adding the turtles to them. The frosting was absolutely delicious, though, and really carried the cupcake. They weren’t bad, but I just really wanted all of the flavors to come out and instead I could only taste the frosting. Also, I immediately put the cupcakes into the refrigerator to cool, which could have had something to do with the way they turned out. Another thing, was that the turtles inside are a nice addition, but they, especially being in the refrigerator, are more hard and chewy and not soft and melty like I would have expected them to be from the oven. All different things to try next time, but they still kick the sweet tooth!
The Movie: (Spoilers)
Like I said earlier, I watch John Carpenter’s 1982 movie, The Thing. It’s about a small group of researchers who are stationed at a site in Antarctica for the winter. They have a run in with some Norwegians from a different site a ways off that changes the course of their winter completely. The Norwegians barge in on their base, act irrationally and finally blow themselves up. When the American crew decides to dig a little deeper into this, they find out that the Norwegians uncovered an unidentifiable aircraft and all wound up dead at their base. Getting slightly unnerved by this information, the American team realize that Norwegians left something with them: an alien organism who can perfectly replicate any subject. Now it’s a classic game of guess who and tensions rise as their trust in each other weakens. They must figure out who is real and who is a replica before it’s too late for everyone.
First off, I know it’s crazy that I’ve never seen this movie before, because it’s a classic, and I’m sure it won’t surprise any of you that I really liked it. This movie was really good. It came out in 1982, so some of the effects are dated. For the most part, though, it’s pretty timeless. Although older horror flicks don’t really make me jump or get me covering my eyes or anything like the scary movies of the past 20 years, John Carpenter does a great job of building suspense. I thought that the creature effects were really good too, maybe not haunt-your-nightmares-scary, but disturbing nonetheless, which is why I stand by my statement of this movie being timeless.
I really enjoyed the premise of the movie, it’s an original plot line with pretty strong characters. Kurt Russell plays MacReady, who is our protagonist. Not ever having seen this movie, even I still knew that Kurt Russell was the hero, and yet there’s a point in the movie when all signs point to him for being “the thing” and I thought to myself “Is everything I ever thought I knew wrong? Does this movie have this big of a plot twist in it that our hero isn’t really a hero?” That’s good writing. So, like I said, not ever having seen it, I still knew certain things about it, so it was a pleasant movie-watching experience to still have some surprises thrown at me. I liked watching Russell start out the movie being too-cool-for-school and morph into a paranoid maniac, while everyone else stays calm and collected for the most part. That only added more suspense to the big question of who’s really who. This is one of The Boyfriend’s favorite movies, and I can see why. It’s got so many explosions. This movie, in that sense, could have easily leaned more towards an action movie than a horror movie. All in all, I really enjoyed it and would be happy to watch it again.
Don’t forget to check in next Tuesday!