Apr 10

Calamari Cupcakes

Posted by Nanc

To celebrate the upcoming arrival of our dear Purling Pirate’s squid, we had a shower!

Now, to some of you that sentence made absolutely no sense, so I will now try to explain:
P-lala, the pirate of Purling P’s fame, is “with child.” This wonderful bundle of human goodness, however, picked up the nickname of the Squid. (Sometimes, it’s best NOT to know why.) Ergo, the Pirate’s Squid Shower!

Now that we’re all caught up. To lend a hand in the celebration, I made, well what else? CUPCAKES! But not just any cupcakes…

SQUID CUPCAKES!

Read on, my curious friends. Read on.

look at all those happy, helpless squids!

I baked three different flavors of cupcake and made two types of frosting. And I have to say that they were all winners! My quest for the perfect from-scratch, basic cupcake and frosting may be ending.

For the “meat” of these treats, as it were, I baked my Budget Gold cupcakes (from here), the Dark Chocolate Cupcakes from Cooks Illustrated:April 2005, and a Cherry Chip Cake found on All Recipes. The Dark Chocolate cupcakes were really fantastic – great flavor, moist, and gobble-lisious ta’ boot! I am always so impressed with recipes from Cooks Illustrated. I’m eager to try the yellow cupcake recipe from their sister publication, Cooks Country.

keeping the squids on ice

The Cherry Chip recipe was for a moist, dense cake. The cupcakes came out fine, despite the trouble I had with filling the mini cupcake pan. (The batter was thin, yet chunky with the bits of cherries and chocolate chips. It became quite the mess.) I doubt I’d make this recipe again, mostly because Matty is not a fan of the cherry or its flavor.

But really the best – for me – was the frostings. Dark, fudgy chocolate like silk and my mom’s buttercream. Yum!

Mmmm… tasty treats from the deep

The chocolate frosting recipe is the Hershey’s “Perfectly Chocolate” Chocolate Frosting (which has been one of my favorites for years). I was out of Hershey’s cocoa, so substituted Saco premium cocoa, which is a blend of natural and Dutched cocoa. (What’s dutched cocoa? Find out here!) What an awesome discovery. The Saco cocoa took the tasty Hershey’s recipe to a whole different level! It was like my taste buds were on crack: the flavors were so intensified! Here’s this recipe:


  1. Melt 1 stick of butter in a saucepan over low heat.
  2. Stir in 2/3 c. Saco premium cocoa and remove from heat.
  3. In a mixer, combine the butter and cocoa with 3 c. confectioner’s sugar, 1/3 c. milk, and 1 tsp. vanilla.
  4. Mix until well blended.

The other frosting I used, both for icing some cupcakes and the squids, was my mother’s recipe for buttercream. I’m sure I’ve mentioned in a previous article that my mom used to bake… a lot. For a while now, I’ve been avoiding her recipe despite the compliments and exclamations anytime anyone tastes it. But I couldn’t refrain from it any longer – I knew it was good, and I wasn’t finding anything even close in my searches. Mom was kind enough to send me a postcard from FL with the recipe (which is a great idea for recipe cards). Since the USPS got a peek at this recipe, I feel that it’s only fair if I share it with you.

Buttercream Decorator’s Icing

  • 1 c. Crisco (or 1/2 c. butter) [Crisco will give bright, white frosting]
  • 1 lb. confectioner’s sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • (optional 1/2 tsp. almond flavor
  • 4 Tbl. milk * (more or less, depending on the consistency you desire)
  • food coloring, if desired
  1. Beat shortening until smooth.
  2. Alternately add sugar and milk, add flavoring.
  3. Beat with an electric mixer for 7 minutes.
  4. Stir in food coloring.

* When you desire a spreadable frosting to ice a cake, a little more milk may be required. Use a bit less milk when making decorations, such as flowers… or squids.

4 Responses to “Calamari Cupcakes”

  1. Petra Says:

    Yup… no doubt about it. Your search is over. My fav was the dark chocolate cupcake with the chocolate frosting. TO DIE FOR! Thanks again for all your work on those… they were ADORABLE!

  2. Pamelalala Says:

    You really outdid yourself! Thank you soooo much! They not only looked terrific, they tasted great too!

  3. Nanc Says:

    So did you have more pink squids or blue squids? You know how they say “You are what you eat?”, then this may determine/answer the sex of the baby question.

  4. Aubyn Says:

    YOur squid cupcakes were amazing and tasty to boot

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