Introduction: Baby Back Cupcakes

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Like cupcakes? Like Baby Back Ribs? Like Corn bread? I know I do, but its such a hassle switching back and forth.  Hey wait, why not combine them all!  And, just like that, Baby Back Cupcakes were invented.  Now usually when i come up with a zany idea, I'll trawl the internet to see if someone else has all ready done this before or not, and to my surprise it hasn't.  Now sure lots of people make savory cupcakes, I've seen some stuffed with pulled pork and other tasty options , But none on the actual bone.  Doing this with ribs is perfect as it even gives you a stick of sorts to eat the cupcake off of.  The frilly paper hats are optional of course, but they do offer a fun silliness and a functional application as well, a reduction in the messy fingers category.

The more I think of this cupcake on the bone sort of think I realize this could be applied to other meaty things!  Why not pre-cooked chicken drumettes or even raw jumbo prawns with the tails popping out.  The prawns would steam cook as the batter finishes!  Once again an exhaustive internet search left me with no such cupcakes ever done before, on the bone that is...  (Gotta trademark this quick! , remember you saw it first here on instructables, June 13, 2011)

Now one could easily modify how much or how little of the recipe they want to do.  For one, one could skip on the marinade and just braise them in whatever BBQ sauce they had on hand, some beer/cider maybe or just a dry rub and then steamed in there own juices.  Even the de-boning could be skipped, you'd just have a meaty handle!  Now the sweet chili glaze and  spicy chipotle cream-cheese really do taste great with it and both are so easy.  Its up to personal tastes really.  Make sure to check out the videos and get busy baking/braising/barbecuing?

Step 1: Ingredients & Tools

Ingredients - for 1 dozen

Dr.Pepper Marinade/braising liquid
  • 750ml Dr.Pepper - diet doesn't work
  • tablespoon salt
  • 1/4 cup sweet stuff - brown sugar, white sugar or honey
  • 1/4 cup cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons dried chili flakes
  • 2 tablespoons hot chili paste
  • 2 tablespoons  whole cumin seed
  • 2 tablespoons dried ground smoked ancho or chipotle chili powder
  • 1 jalapeno minced - more if they are not very hot
  • 1/2 bunch of cilantro - minced
  • 1/4 cup butter
Rib Rub - no real directions here, just mix it all up - pooooof! your done
  • 2 tablespoons whole cumin seed
  • 2 tablespoons dried ground smoked ancho or chipotle chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons each powdered onion and garlic
  • 1 tablespoon each of sugar and salt

Cupcake batter
  • 1 ear of corn, shucked, and kernels cut off and steamed for 3 minutes
  • 1/2 bunch of cilantro
  • 1 jalapeno minced
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 tablespoon whole cumin seed
  • 1/2 tablespoon of salt
  • 1/3 cup melted butter

Cupcake toppings
  • 1/2 jar sweet red chili jam
  • 1 cup cream cheese
  • 1 tablespoon each of minced cilantro and ground smoked chili powder
  • another tablespoon of minced cilantro for sprinkles
And of course, 1 rack of pork baby back ribs of course

  • cutting boards and knives
  • cupcake tins
  • parchment paper and tin foil
  • pots, pans the usual sort of kitchen-ee stuff

Step 2: De-bone & Spice

De-boning the ribs are actually quite easy.  Check out the video!
  1. Start by cutting apart each rib, cut between each bone allowing each piece half of the meat on either side.
  2. Then toss in the rub mix and allow to soak up the flavours for a couple of hours in the fridge
  3. Next pick up a rib and place it pointing down at your cutting board, it works better if you have the narrowest part of the bone in your hand.
  4. With a sharp knife, slice into the meat at the top, letting the knife edge slide along the bone guiding it.
  5. Stop about an inch from the bottom
  6. Work your way around the bone, keeping as much meat attached at the bottom to make an anchor in the batter later.
  7. When your done lay the ribs meat side pointing down in a pan just big enough to hold them.  For cleanup purposes I line the pan with tinfoil and parchment paper.  Lots of tinfoil will be used to make a steam tent after, so don't be chintzy!

Step 3: Dr.pepper Marinade & Braise

  1. What can I say, add everything into a big bowl thats on the ingredients list for the Marinade.
  2. It is fun to do the pop first then watch as the various items cause angry little explosions as you add them to the fizzy drink, the chili pepper was the most reactive!
  3. Pour it over your ribs, wrap up the foil around it all.  I chose a kiss shape it will let out just the right amount of steam yet keep all the nice flavours in.
  4. Bake at 350 for 2 hours
  5. Remove from the oven and ever so careful pull back the foil.  Steam makes for a very nasty burn so be careful, kitchen tongs are great for this.  Allow to cool enough to handle before proceeding, as you will be manipulating this with your hands.

Step 4: Batter Up

Nothing is easier or faster then a simple corn bread type recipe, but with a couple additions you will have much moister cake like consistency with a nice crumb.  Gentle mixing and the addition of moisture giving corn and rib keep it fresh and light
  1. I used 1 fresh cob of corn, but in a pinch you could used about 3/4 to a cup of canned corn.  For the fresh corn, I shucked it and with a knife cut off the kernels.  I then steamed the kernels in about 1/4 cup of water with a pinch of salt for 3 minutes
  2. Next mince up a bunch of fresh cilantro and 1 jalapeno
  3. In a large bowl mix up all your dried ingredients, then add the well drained corn, cilantro and jalapeno.  Toss it all together
  4. In a separate bowl beat the egg and then add the milk and butter.  If your using honey instead of white sugar add this now.  Stir it all till well combined.
  5. Dump the liquid into the dry material and stir just until combined, lumps are fine - trust me, this is the secret to a light batter!

Step 5: Pour & Bake

Put it all together!
  1. In a buttered muffin tin, add about a table spoon of batter.
  2. Next position a rib, meat side down standing straight up in the batter
  3. Spoon more batter around the rib till the cup is just shy of full
  4. Bake in a pre-heated oven at 400 degrees for 15 minutes.  Poke with a tooth-pick or bamboo skewer, if it comes out clean they are ready.
  5. Allow to cool about 10 minutes and remove from the pan

Step 6: Frilly

While the rib-cakes are cooking why not make some frilly hats!
  1. Take a standard letter size sheet of paper and fold over about an inch of paper
  2. Cut this off like in the picture, and through the folds make a slit about 1/2 deep every 3-4 mm about 1/4"
  3. Curl this around your finger and secure with a piece of tape or staple
  4. Repeat for each muffin, or about 2 sheets of paper worth

Step 7: Toppings

Here is where you can go nuts!  For mine read below, part of it is cheating a little though, store bought red chili jam!
  1. In a nuke safe bowl put in 1/2 cup of pepper jelly or jam, heat for 1 minute to make a thin pourable glaze
  2. In another bowl mash 1 cup of cream cheese with about 1-2 tablespoons of finely minced cilantro and 1 big tablespoon of dried chili powder
  3. Put this in a piping bag and pipe a cream cheese rim around the outside top edge of the cupcake
  4. Then pour about a tablespoon of the glaze right over the rib bone.  It will pool nicely within the cream cheese moat.
  5. Sprinkle with minced cilantro and add a frilly hat for fun!

Step 8: Nom-nom-nom

Hand these out at parties, get together's or what have you. Was getting these ready for the final stanley cup game, but I don't think they will last that long.  Enjoy!

BBQ Contest

Second Prize in the
BBQ Contest

Cupcake Contest

Second Prize in the
Cupcake Contest

BBQ Contest

Participated in the
BBQ Contest

Chili Pepper Challenge

Participated in the
Chili Pepper Challenge