Hi everyone! Have you been looking for new, fun ways to impress your friends or little siblings? These fruity caviar beads are a great way to conduct simple little kitchen science with younger children or friends who might be interested. I made this Instructable to inspire creative thinking, and the tasty orbs are sure to be popular with kids--you might even get some future pro chefs.
Personally, cupcake filling can be too sweet for my liking, as I'm not typically an icing person, I usually eat plain cupcakes with a small amount of frosting. However, I decided that I wanted to try and make a filling where the icing would not compete with the sweetness, and would instead enhance it and make eating cupcakes with filling more enjoyable.
Step 1: Assembling Materials
For the taste fruity caviar filling you will need:
- Cupcakes! (I made them from boxed mix, but of course you can use your own recipe if you so desire!)
- Tall glass of canola oil (as many as you need)
- 1/4 tsp Agar Agar (you can buy it HERE on Amazon, of you can look in the Asian section of your local grocery store)
- 3/4 cup of liquid (I used healthier fruit juices, but you can used bottled beverages as well, I'm not sure how well carbonated drinks will work with the process, but it's worth a shot! The white bowl has apple juice in it, not chicken stock or oil, I swear.)
- Strainer to drain the oil
- Bowl to catch oil
- Some sort of dropper (or you could use straws)
SCIENCE NOTE: If you decide to use straws, be extremely careful because the liquid will have been boiled. I recommend putting the liquid in another tall glass and using it from there. If you're unfamiliar with this method, what you do is put the straw into the liquid, then use your index finger to seal the top of the straw so no liquid escapes when you take the straw out. From there, it's a matter of carefully releasing pressure from your finger so the liquid can carefully drip out into the oil.
SCIENCE NOTE: The strawberry cupcakes on the top right turned out to be too short to use, so I ended up using the red velvet and chocolate cupcakes.
Step 2: Oil, Meet Freezer...
I chilled the oil by putting it in the freezer and waited about 40 minutes to an hour. You don't want to freeze the oil, of course, but make sure it's really cold before you start preparing the your fruit juice. I waited until about an hour before taking the oil out of the freezer, but you don't need to wait that long.
Chilling the oil is one of the fastest steps, so during this time you can prepare the other ingredients, as the Agar Agar and your fruit juice or other liquids. I also recommend baking cupcakes a day earlier, so the kitchen won't be quite as chaotic. :) The hard part is keeping everyone's hands away from the cupcakes, though!
SCIENCE NOTE: You could even take the oil out after you've let your juice and Agar Agar mixture cool, just as long as it doesn't completely freeze.
Step 3: Flame On...
Put your fruit juice or other liquid into a small sauce pan and bring the heat up to high. Using your whisk, mix in the Agar Agar continuously. Keep mixing until it comes to a boil, which shouldn't be too long, since there isn't a ton of liquid.
After your liquid has come to a boil, turn off the head and remove it from the burner. Set it aside for several minutes (I waited 7-8 minutes), and you can finally begin the fun part!
Step 4: Drops Away!
Now it's time to form the fruity caviar! Do this by filling a dropper, straw or something that can create good-sized caviar. Once you've filled your dropping device with the liquid, you'll want to move fairly quickly so the drops don't become too large, but varying sizes of fruity caviar would certainly be fun to play with.
You can do multiple types of liquid per glass of oil, or you could have two glasses of cold oil going at once, for double the fun! The oil shouldn't get too warm too quickly, depending on the temperature of the room, but if it is a little warm, or if you're trying this in the summer, I recommend finding a cooler place to drop the liquid, or work a little faster to keep the oil from getting too warm.
SCIENCE NOTE: If you have a dropper like the one I'm using, then it's okay to let a continuous stream of liquid out, as long as you move in circles and let the drops spread out.
Step 5: Rinse the Caviar + Set Aside
Now that you've made little caviars, carefully pour the glass of oil and fruit caviar into a strainer set in a bowl. You can reuse the oil for this experiment or save it for future cooking. The orbs themselves are strong enough that you can spray them with a steady stream of cool water. You can shake the strainer back and forth gently to wash them easily. Shake all the excess water and put in a small bowl to use for later.
SCIENCE NOTE: After trying some of the orbs, I noticed they lacked the strong flavor apple juices had. You could try adding some sugar, but if you want it to be a little healthier, then any toppings you put on the cupcake may make up for the slightly less sweet filling for the cupcake.
Step 6: Repeat As Necessary
Using these techniques, you can make as many different flavors as you'd like! I did the experiment again with cherry juice, but you could use this Instructable as a way to experiment with many different liquids (including silly pranks on your friends). As I mentioned a couple steps back, it may be easier to either have a couple tall glasses of oil chilling in the freezer, or you could even use a larger container--remember that the oil is still usable for future cooking after you've drained the caviar.
SCIENCE NOTE: If your liquid and Agar Agar mixture starts to bubble and foam on the stove, don't panic; they'll go down after you've turned off the heat and are waiting for it to cool.
SCIENCE NOTE 2: I tried to make a strawberry caviar filling using blended strawberries, but the juice ended up being too thick even after I strained out the seeds and skin. You need a pure liquid for this, so if you really wanted fresh juice from berries, you could try using a cheesecloth to get just the liquid without the pulp.
The caviar looked fine when it was in the oil, but when I tried to drain it and wash them, they completely fell apart and mixed with the oil.
Step 7: Prepare the Cupcakes
Take your cupcakes and hollow them out by carefully using a small knife to create a circle in the top. Remove the center and set it aside, but don't forget to keep the part you've just removed. Now you can spoon small amounts of your fruit caviar into the hole, and close it with the cupcake part you carved out and voilà! You have your fruit caviar filled cupcake!
You can add any sort of toping to the cupcake you'd like, get creative!
SCIENCE NOTE: You don't need to just use it as filling for cupcakes. You can put them in yogurt (personally I enjoy them on frozen yogurt). You can use them to spruce up any desert as a fun eye-catcher.
Step 8: Enjoy!
Have fun eating your cupcakes! If you have any leftover caviar, you can use them in any way you please, as toppings, by themselves, have fun! I made some vanilla buttercream frosting to go along with mine (recipe HERE) This fun cupcake experiment is sure to be enjoyed by everyone (if not just for the filling part), whether it be kids, friends or family.
SCIENCE NOTE: You really can use any liquid. If you're making a double chocolate cake or desert, maybe try making the orbs with coffee as a cool side-dish.