Our niece turned three this month, and my sister-in-law and I continued with our wonderful tradition of making homemade birthday cakes for the kiddos.
This year, the birthday ninja-princess chose a party theme of ‘baby animals’, and honed in on hedgehog cupcakes for dessert!
Of all the different cakes we’ve made over the years, these are definitely one of my favorites. They are SO cute, and they went quickly enough that instead of baking until the wee hours of the morning, we got done early and were able to go out for lunch! Win-win!
The technique on these doesn’t get much simpler – first, frost a smooth layer of frosting in the base color for the hedgehog’s face (in our case, the plain untinted frosting), and lightly press a heart shaped guide to help define where to pipe around the face area. Then, tint frosting in several colors (we did a dark brown, a medium brown, and a tan) and stripe a piping bag with each color. Fit the piping bag with a grass tip, and pipe short spikes all over the top of the cupcake, piping around a heart shaped section for the face. Our hedgehogs featured fondant eyes, heart sprinkle noses, and fondant accessories, but the right sprinkles could be used for all of the elements. In our case, the party was outside and the black fondant bled into the icing (thus why these are cell phone photos! 🙁 ) so definitely keep that in mind when choosing your embellishments.
The cupcakes themselves are *fabulous* chocolate gluten free cake. I was pretty skeptical when I was making them (what is it about gluten free flour mixes that, despite their best efforts, just scream “HELLO I AM RICE! I AM QUINOA! I AM POTATO! I AM BEAN!”?) but after a night to mellow out, these were moist and chocolatey and lovely!
- 2 cups plus 2 Tbsp gluten-free cake flour
- 3/4 cup cocoa powder
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 4 eggs, large
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
- 1 1/4 cups water
- 2lb powdered sugar (1 bag)
- 11 Tbsp milk (of your choice)
- 1 cup organic shortening (look for Spectrum brand)
- 1 tsp lemon extract
- 1 tsp almond extract
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 Tbsp lemon juice