Who here loves deceptive desserts? The strange sensation of expecting the savoury taste of pasta and biting into a deceptively sweet cupcake is one of the most interesting experiences I have ever had. I think this is a really cute idea for kids parties or to make for a friend who really loves Italian food and I highly recommend you give it a shot! They are rather simple to make and they don't require too much work either!
The simple vanilla cupcake tastes beautiful with the chocolate cake 'meatballs' and the sweet strawberry zing of the 'pasta sauce'
The decorations are very versatile If your friends are 'vegetarian' leave out the 'meatballs' and if anyone is 'lactose intolerant' you can leave out the 'cheese' (this will make sense later in the steps).
I confused my brother and dad with these when they walked into the kitchen they thought they were brilliant and wanted me to make more!
Step 1: Ingredients
Ingredients for the cupcakes:
-113g Unsalted butter (softened at room temperature)
- 1 3/4 Cup plain flour
- 2 Teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 Teaspoon salt
- 1 Egg (room temperature)
- 3/4 Cup milk
- 2 Teaspoon vanilla bean paste
- 2 Tablespoons Canola / vegetable oil
Butter Cream Frosting
- 3 Cups icing sugar
- 113g Unsalted butter, soft
- 3 Tablespoons Milk
- 1 1/2 Teaspoons vanilla bean paste
- Yellow food colouring
- 1 Punnet of Fresh Strawberries (250g)
- 1 Teaspoon of sugar
- Some leftover dark chocolate cake (about 2 cups worth)
- Grated white chocolate
Step 2: Equiment
- Electric beater
- Large bowl
- 12 hole muffin pan
- 12 Paper muffin liners
- 1/4 cup measurement
- Piping bag with multiple hole tip
- Small sauce pan
- Small sieve
Step 3: Make the Cupcake Batter
The first thing to do is to make one large batch of cupcake batter by creaming the unsalted butter (113g) in the kitchen aid mixer until the butter becomes light and fluffy. Then add the 1 cup of caster sugar and continue to beat until light and fluffy. Then add the vanilla bean paste and egg to the butter and cream and continue to beat them.
Add the baking powder to the plain flour and whisk it together to get rid of any lumps then add 1/3 of the flour mixture to the butter mixture and beat it together. Then add 1/3 of the milk and continue to beat the mixture. repeat adding 1/3 of the flour and milk mixture alternatively until all incorporated. Finally add the 2 tablespoons of oil to the mixture and stir until combined.
Step 4: Bake the Cupcakes
Fill the muffin tins with the paper liners. Take the 1/4 cup measuring cup and fill each lined muffin hole with 1/4 cup of cake batter. Then bake the cupcakes in a preheated fan-forced oven at 180 degrees Celsius for 17-20 minutes until the cupcakes are golden brown and springy to the touch.
Let them cool for about 10 minutes then transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely.
Step 5: Make the Strawberry 'Pasta' Sauce
While the cupcakes are cooling make the strawberry 'tomato pasta' sauce as this will need to be cold when put on the cupcakes. Wash the fresh strawberries and cut them into small quarters. Place them in a small saucepan and let the cook for about 3-5 minutes on medium low. Then add 1 teaspoon (or more) of caster sugar to the sauce and let it cook until it gets nice and thick. This will slowly break down the strawberries into a thick sauce. To make the sauce smooth you can also break up the berries even more with a spoon and/ or sieve it to remove seeds. Then place this in the fridge until it has cooled completely.
Step 6: Make the Meatballs
Take the 2 cups of left over mud cake (with the frosting on it) and squeeze it in your hands to roll out small chocolate 'meatballs'. I prefer to have 3 small 'meatballs' on top of the cupcakes so you will need to make about 36 meatballs for 12 cupcakes. You can also make large ones as well but it looks more cute with smaller ones as it is more true to actual spaghetti and meatball size. Then place the meatballs in the fridge to firm up.
Step 7: Make the Butter Cream Frosting
Once the cupcakes and strawberry sauce have cooled completely make the butter cream frosting. Place the unsalted butter in the electric mixer and beat until it is light and fluffy. Then add 1 cup of icing sugar to the butter and beat until incorporated, then add 1 tablespoon of milk and mix, adding alternatively until all milk and icing sugar has been added. Then add 1 1/2 teaspoons of vanilla bean paste and a few drops of yellow food colouring to the icing and beat it until the colour spread equally through the icing.
Step 8: Form the Cupcakes
One all the separate parts of the spaghetti have been made they can be assembled. First using a small round tipped piping bag place some of the butter cream icing in it. Then in random or circular motions pipe the icing loosely on the cupcake to resemble spaghetti noodles. Then add your cold strawberry 'pasta sauce' on top of the 'noodles'. On top of the sauce place your chocolate cake 'meatballs' (3 small ones looks the best). Add a small amount of sauce on top of the cupcakes then to finish it add some grated white chocolate 'parmesan cheese'.
If your friends are vegetarian do not add the 'meatballs' and if they are lactose intolerant do not add the 'cheese' as I have done for some of them.