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Oh, Rats!

May 12, 2010

The other day, I picked up an interesting book called “What’s New, Cupcake?”  The cute cupcake pictures just sucked me in and begged me to make a few.  My granddaughter, Vienne, loves to bake with me so I showed her the book.  She absolutely loves gross things and immediately chose the cockroach cupcakes and the rat cupcakes.  For me, the rat cupcakes were the lesser of the two evils so grocery lists were made and the plan was in place.

I read through the recipe/ instructions and rationalized that since I was a professional cake decorator and I’ve been in charge of a commercial bakery, I can do this . . .no problem!  Was I wrong!!!  I really didn’t discover this until I was knee deep in cupcakes and it was too late to turn back.

Photo by Gerik Parmele

Yesterday evening, the family gathered to watch as the rats were assembled and after an hour dragged by, they jumped in to help.  I thought it would be a great project for Vienne and I but found out that adult fine dexterity movements were needed along with a padded white room!!  This is insane.

We finally got enough done for her kindergarten class and as we cleaned up we decided that maybe these cute little cupcakes look great in a book but to do them takes a medicated mind.


Vanilla cupcakes – 2 sizes: regular and mini

1 box (18.25 oz.) cake mix

1 cup buttermilk in place of the water called for on the box

Vegetable oil as called for on the box

4 large eggs in place of the number asked for on the box

Bake according to the box directions

Pink fruit chews such as Starburst or Jolly Rancher

Vanilla frosting (small amount)

1 can (16 oz.) dark chocolate frosting

Large marshmallows

Strawberry fruit leather (Fruit by the Foot)

1 cup chocolate sprinkles

Mini M&Ms, brown and red ones only

  1. Soften 3 pink chews at a time in the microwave for 2-3 seconds.  For the tail, press the 3 pieces together and roll between your hands to make at tapered rope about 5 inches long.  Score the sides of the candy rope with the back of a paring knife.  Roll more chews on a piece of wax paper to a 1/8th inch thickness.  For the ears, cut out ovals and pinch the smaller end to shape them.  For the feet, cut 3/4×1 1/2x 1 ½-inch triangles.  Cut notches in the short side to make the claws.
  2. Spoon the vanilla and about ¼ cup of chocolate frosting into pastry bags or zip lock bags, press out the excess air, and seal.
  3. For the rats’ muzzles, cut a 1-inch V-shaped notch from a short end of each marshmallow.  Cut 2-inch long ovals from the red fruit leather to fit the notched mouth openings and press into the notches of the muzzle to stick.  Trim off any excess fruit leather with clean scissors.  Trim a ½-inch slice from the opposite short end of the marshmallow to shorten the snout.
  4. Place the chocolate sprinkles in a small shallow bowl.  Spread a single mound of chocolate frosting on top of the cupcakes. Roll the tops of the frosted cupcakes in the sprinkles to coat.  Spread a thin layer of chocolate frosting over the top of the mini cupcakes.  Place a marshmallow muzzle, on a slight angle, close to one edge of each mini cupcake.  Spread a thin layer of chocolate frosting up the sides of the marshmallow to cover.  Carefully roll each mini cupcake and marshmallow in the sprinkles to coat.  Remove any extra sprinkles that attach to the red fruit leather.
  5. Insert the fruit chew ears on each side of the top edge of the mini cupcakes.  Snip a small (1/8th inch) corner from the bags with the vanilla and chocolate frostings.  Pipe 2 teeth on the top and 2 on the bottom of the open mouth with the vanilla frosting using the squeeze-release-pull technique.  Add 2 red candies as the eyes and 1 brown candy as the nose.
  6. Assemble the rat by using a dot of chocolate frosting to secure the mini cupcake head on top of the standard cupcake.  Arrange feet where the neck of the head and the larger cupcake meets.

To be published Columbia Daily Tribune May 26, 2010

5 Comments leave one →
  1. May 12, 2010 9:05 pm

    Seriously, mom. Everyone here at the office is stunned. Those are fabulous.

    • May 12, 2010 9:41 pm

      Thanks for passing along the comments. Gerik’s pic turned out wonderful and really showed it’s true personality – icky!

  2. Earlene permalink
    May 13, 2010 2:21 am

    Incredible. I will take your word for it and probably forgo the pleasure of making rat cupcakes. Quite a feat tho.

  3. gary permalink
    May 13, 2010 7:56 am

    So funny! Published, chef/author, eh? Pretty impressive! You are so full of energy.

    Will mail you one of the rats soon–by row boat. LOL


    • May 14, 2010 1:21 am

      No, no, no, . . . . don’t send any rats! I’m good!

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