Introduction: Ninja Turtle Cupcakes

About: "Things don’t have to change the world to be important." Twitter: @PancakePatrol, Google+: Austin Simonson

Just when you thought your cupcakes couldn't get any better, these came along. What could possibly be better than ninja turtle cupcakes? Whether it's for you or someone else (but let's not fool around, we both know it's really for you), these can't be beat!

Before we get started making them, here's a list of the ingredients you'll need (linked to the corresponding Amazon page...which may or may not be cheaper than buying it at the grocery store):

Step 1: Cupcakes - Dry Ingredients

First, you will want to gather your flour, sugar, and baking soda. In your mixer, combine 2 cups sugar, 2 cups flour, and 1 tsp baking soda. Mix them together until seemingly homogenous.

Step 2: Cupcakes - Here Comes the Chocolate

In a saucepan over medium heat, bring 1 cup of water, 1/2 cup butter, and 4 tbsp cocoa to a boil. Be sure to keep an eye on this and mix it fairly often so that it doesn't burn. Slowly bring it to a boil and then turn off the heat.

Step 3: Cupcakes - Combining It All

Carefully pour your hot chocolate mixture into your mixer that has the blended dry ingredients in it. Turn on your mixer on low speed to begin mixing it together; while this is happening, add in 2 eggs, 1/2 cup buttermilk, and 1 tsp vanilla. Continue mixing until ingredients appear fully combined. Be sure to scrape the edges of the bowl (while the mixer is unplugged, of first!).

Step 4: Baking Time!

At this point, hopefully your oven has already preheated to 400 degrees fahrenheit. Add your cupcakes liners to your cupcake pan(s). Fill each one about only halfway to prevent the cupcakes from getting too tall - the goal is to have them end up right in line with the top of the cupcake liners when they are fully cooked. In addition, it's best for them not to rise too much; later on, it will be easiest if the cupcakes are fairly flat. In our oven it only took about 18 minutes for them to be fully cooked, however this time may vary based upon your specific type of oven (convection, etc.).

Step 5: Starting to Frost Them

Once your cupcakes have been cooked and are pretty cool, you'll be able to put on a thin layer of frosting to help the fondant adhere to it in the next step. It really doesn't matter what kind of frosting you use; we used store-bought frosting as it was much simpler than having to clean out our mixer to make frosting from scratch. Apply a somewhat thin layer of frosting to the cupcake, making sure to thoroughly coat it and attempting to make it as flat as possible.

Step 6: Fondant Time

Once again we opted to use store-bought fondant instead of making it ourselves for simplicity's sake, however you are more than welcome to make it yourself! Assuming you're using store-bought fondant as well, begin by opening the package and taking out the fondant. Only take out as much as you think you'll need to the green part at this point to prevent the whole package from drying out. Start to knead the fondant until it becomes more workable. Next, take your food coloring and apply it to the fondant with a toothpick (Note: we used oil based coloring as the colors in this would most likely work out best with that kind of coloring). Knead the fondant and the coloring together until it becomes a uniform color; keep adding coloring and repeating the previous instruction until the color becomes the shade of green you'd like. If it starts to get sticky, just add in some powdered sugar. Once it's the right color, roll out the fondant into a thin sheet and cut out circles that will correspond to the top of each cupcake. You could use anything that's the appropriate sized circle (cookie cutter, cup, etc.) to cut this out.

Step 7: Starting to Apply the Fondant

Now if you've cut out the fondant correctly, you should have circles that are just smaller than the top of the cupcake. Using your fingers, carefully squish around the edges of the fondant circle so that it will stretch it out a bit. Lay the circle on top of the frosted cupcake and gently press down, making sure it adheres well. Smooth out any imperfections on the top of the fondant.

Step 8: Fondant Masks

Now, using the same instructions as with the green fondant, make some red, orange, blue, and purple fondant to use for the masks (and a little extra red for tongues later on). Roll them out in thin strips and cut them so that it will perfectly fit about 1/4 of the way down from the top of the cupcake. Press down in two places on the mask to show ridges for the eyes you will put on next. Moisten the back of the mask and place it on top on the cupcake int eh designated area.

Step 9: The Eyes

Take some of the plain, white fondant and carefully form it into small ovals to be used for the eyes. Don't make them bigger (in any dimension) than the mask, otherwise it won't fit. Moisten the back of the completed eyes and place them on the mask.

Step 10: Finishing Them Up!

With a toothpick, draw on the mouth; this will make it easier to frost next. In addition, take some of the red fondant that was leftover from the masks and make them into very small tongues. Using some black frosting, add one dot to each of the eyes to complete them, then fill in the mouth. Finish the cupcakes by adding in one of the tongues you made to each of them.

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